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    Shishio Makoto
The Mummy Returns.
Voiced by: Masanori Ikeda (JP), Steve Blum (EN, TV series), David Wald (EN, New Kyoto arc and live-action)
Portrayed by: Tatsuya Fujiwara (live-action)

The primary antagonist of the "Kyoto arc" in the Manga and the second season of the anime. Like Kenshin, Shishio was an assassin during the Revolution. He aspires to conquer all of Japan by re-creating the chaos of the Revolution. He was known as the successor of the legendary Battousai, replacing Kenshin after he retired. He possessed skills equal or even greater to Himura, but none of the conscience.

  • The Ace: He's just as strong as Kenshin, if not stronger.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • His manga iteration had some tricks like the iron plate and gunpowder glove to give him an edge. In the film, he's just that good.
    • In the source material he fought Kenshin, Saitou, Sanosuke, and Aoshi one after the other. In the film he takes them all on at the same time.
    • In the original he fought Saitou after the man had been through a grueling fight with Usui that injured his legs as part of a gamble for Shishio to fight his already worn out opponents. The Shin Kyoto Hen OVA's has Shishio willingly fight Saitou at full strength and then he himself gives Saitou the leg wounds.
  • Always Someone Better: To Usui. Saitou points out that despite his constant attacks on Shishio, Usui had already realized he had no chance of winning since Shishio had received even greater injuries and came back stronger.
    • In terms of fighting ability he is quite possibly this to Kenshin, given that he isn't defeated by skill so much as Kenshin pushing him past his limits as an Evil Cripple causing him to spontaneously combust. Notably the next major villain of the story is still considered to be ''less' skilled a fighter than Shishio was, defying the usual Sorting Algorithm of Evil through sheer badass-ness.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: In real life, people with anhidrosis are at extreme risk for overheating. Though most don't actually catch fire the condition can be very deadly. Doing something very physical in a very hot place is not a great idea, no matter how badass the flaming sword attacks make the dramatic final duel look.
  • Amazon Chaser: To Rule Flame revealed that part of Shishio's romantic interest towards Yumi was her fiery and strong-willed nature.
  • And Starring: His actor in the live-action films, Tatsuya Fujiwara, is credited this way.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Is an exceptionally powerful swordsman, and he has the ego to match. He's quick to anger at the thought of somebody getting in the way of his fights.
  • Arch-Enemy: Played With. Shishio is portrayed as Kenshin's complete opposite in terms of belief, fighting style, and even stature. However, their conflict is Nothing Personal, and based almost completely on their competing ideologies.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: More than Kenshin/Saito. While he's incredibly strong, Shishio's primary advantage is his extreme intelligence; he can immediately figure out a counter to any technique he's seen before, and even having the technique described to him (as was the case with Kenshin's ultimate technique) gives him a huge advantage.
  • Ax-Crazy: Though he hides it well underneath a veneer of polish and grace.
  • Badass in Charge: The Big Bad leader of the "Kyoto arc". He takes so much punishment, and gives back so much in return, that characters occasionally doubt that he's human.
  • Bad Boss: While he acts polite to his subordinates, most of it appears to be a facade. Our first time seeing him threatening to kill Senkaku if he loses to Kenshin without showing him a single move. After Senkaku escaped prison, Sōjirō stated the only reason Shishio didn't pull a You Have Failed Me was because Senkaku was unimportant and there was no danger in killing him to avoid recapture. Shishio also threatened to kill Hōji for suggesting a more practical approach of sending all the Ten Swords to kill Kenshin and his allies, until Hōji flat out tortured himself to prove his loyalty. He also lied to them about his real plan, and pinned all the blame on Hōji saying it was his suggestion to send them out to burn Kyoto while he used the Rengoku to destroy Tokyo. To be fair, Hōji took the blame willingly.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: During the Bakumatsu, he killed Iizuka.
  • Bandage Mummy: He is covered head-to-toe in bandages. His un-bandaged visage is surprisingly attractive... for someone who was shot in the face, burned alive, and barely survived.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Does this to both Kenshin and Saito. With his fingers.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: According to To Rule Flame this is how his and Yumi's relationship began. In the end it turns out that it was him who murdered her family.
  • Big Bad: Of the Kyoto Arc.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Sadly enough, he is the closest thing Sōjirō has to a father and a best friend.
  • Blood Knight: Second only to conquering and remaking Japan as his Goal in Life.
  • Body Horror: Under those bandages, his skin is horribly burned, and he has no sweat glands.
  • Burn Scars, Burning Powers: Shishio survived third- and fourth-degree burns over most of his body in an assassination attempt by the Meiji government after he had outlived his usefulness, and has a fire theme when fighting. Specifically, the blade of his sword catches fire (from human fats and oils left by previous victims in the manga, from gunpowder in the anime) and can give people he cuts with it flash burns.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Occasionally will call himself a demon from Hell, and fully expects to go there when he dies...and plans on taking it over as well. And once his story arc is finished, he starts following through.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Rather more literally than usual, once he starts Chewing The Costar during his fight with Kenshin. It's an intimidation tactic, and it works too: Kenshin is so freaked out by the memory of "those burning hot teeth" sinking into him that he almost dies seconds later.
  • Covered with Scars: Shishio's full-body scarring is from one incident, but having almost all of your skin be second- or third-degree burns can't be good for the complexion.
  • Crazy-Prepared: This is a man who booby traps his own hands, just in case.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He beats an already-battered Kenshin, Saito, and Sanosuke early on in his final battle with Kenshin, but Aoshi manages to buy time for Kenshin to recover and get back in the fight.
  • Darker and Edgier: Amazingly, he manages it in Shin Kyoto Hen. He is even more of a Blood Knight than usual, giving Usui his chance to defeat him before wiping the floor with him. Messily. He even ends up killing Usui.
  • Death by Irony: The entire arc kept coming back to how Kenshin, with his equivalent skill and opposite views, was the only one who could have stopped Shishio. But in the end, it wasn't Kenshin or Saito or Sanosuke that managed to end his life... It was Shishio's own inhuman strength and endurance, his own passion for violence, that destroyed him.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Behind most of the events of the Kyoto Arc, in one way or another, and has his fingers in other pies later on.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • He genuinely loves Yumi.
    • He does feel an almost paternal affection for Sōjirō. Sure he turned the kid into a violent Social Darwinist like himself, but that was better than how his own family treated him. Even though in public he dismisses Sōjirō for being weak after choosing to depart, in private Shishio takes his departure with respect.
    • Though he can be harsh towards him, Shishio does come to respect Hōji's unwavering devotion. After passing an intense Secret Test of Character Shishio promises that Hōji will be right besides him as he changes the nation.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's a monster and he knows it, but he can't stand the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the government whenever it commits comparably heinous acts while claiming to represent democracy and peace.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To Kenshin, serving as his replacement as Battousai. Kenshin stepped out of the assassin role, becoming a feared Bakumatsu legend that he is not very fond of. Shishio took up Kenshin's former role and wants to make a name for himself, but the Meiji government has done everything in its power to remove Shishio from the annals of history. Yahiko even points it out, stating that if things had been a little different Saito might have been asking Shishio to help him kill a rogue Kenshin. Even his sword is a contrast to Kenshin's. Whereas Kenshin's is specially designed to be unable to kill someone, his is designed to not only kill, but each kill further increases its killing potential thanks to the design of Mugejin of allowing the blade to soak up human fats and ignite them during battle.
    • He's one to Hiko Sejurou, as a highly ambitious Social Darwinist who genuinely wants to make Japan strong, which contrasts with Hiko's relatively indifferent but still-caring nature.
    • He notes the similarities between himself and Saitou as well. Both are ruthlessly devoted to their respective causes and aren't afraid to dirty their hands to achieve it or eliminate obstacles. Their motivations just happen to be different.
    • In many ways, he's what Sanosuke could have become if he hadn't met Kenshin and allowed his thirst for vengeance to completely take hold of him. Both are bitter towards the Meiji government for their betrayal against them, who are dead set on keeping their grievances hidden from the public, and both are capable of tanking plenty of hard hitting blows and return with something even harder. The difference is that Sanosuke simply wants vengeance against the Meiji while Shishio is looking beyond the betrayal to shape Japan with his social darwinism dogma.
  • Eviler Than Thou: His first assignment was to eliminate the treacherous Choshu agent Iizuka, who was instrumental in Battousai's fatal match with the Yaminobu and Tomoe's death. He later remarks that such scum as Iizuka are far beneath his skills, but will bide his time serving the Ishin Shishi in order to make his name known.
  • Evil Is Petty: Played with. When asked why he took over a village and enforced brutal laws against the populace, Shishio states that he did it because the village is home to a particularly relaxing hot-spring that he enjoys because it soothes his burnt flesh. In the face of Kenshin's horrified reaction, Shishio admits to just joking, remarking that Kenshin takes things far too seriously. The real reason is that the village has a good tactical location that he wanted to set up a base at and the hot-springs were just a bonus.
  • Evil Laugh: A few times.
  • Evil Mentor: To Sōjirō. And even then, he was nicer to him than his evil family would ever be.
    • Also serves as one to Ashitaro, who he encourages to get stronger so that he can become the 11th member of the Juppongatana.
  • Evil Virtues: Intelligence, willpower, patience, romantic and platonic love, a lack of prejudice when it comes to the talents of others... for a character as evil as Shishio, he's sure got a lot of these.
  • Fair-Play Villain: Threatens to kill Hōji when he suggests shooting Kenshin in their climactic final battle. This trope is, however, subverted: during the battle, he bites Kenshin to "prove" his ideology as an intimidation tactic, and detonates gunpowder he had stored ahead of time in his gloves.
  • Feels No Pain: An implied and downplayed trope is going on here. Anyone who has lots of scar tissue will tell you that the flesh itself feels very little if anything at all from either the nerves being gone or at least buried deep under the thick healed-over scar tissue. It's implied that part of the reason why Shishio can take so much is that the hits from his opponents don't hurt as much as they would if he weren't burned on most of his body.
  • Flaming Sword: A particularly disgusting one, considering that it works by soaking the blade in human fat.
  • Genius Bruiser: He needed Hōji to put his organization together, but Shishio is nonetheless a very crafty man.
  • A Glass of Chianti: He's no Hannibal Lector despite his hardcore man eat man philosophy, and no, he doesn't have one post literally snacking on our hero, but he downs one during Kenshin's battle with Sōjirō as he lectures Hōji on Sōjirō's Shukuchi technique.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: While Kenshin's scar is heroic, Shishio is just disfigured.
  • Good Weapon, Evil Weapon: His Mugenjin is a katana created by the same prodigal eccentric genius swordsmith who created Kenshin's Sakabatou, Arai Shakku. Considered the Sakabatou's predecessor, the Mugenjin is a sword deliberately made for the process of killing, and to do that infinitely, as its self serrating edge and unique alloy helps keep it cutting down beyond where any other katana would suffer wear and tear, and its ability to catch fire through the soaked blade makes it an even deadlier weapon, expanding the swing of the sword and bringing on the pain more excruciating than with a normal blade by potentially cooking the enemy bit by bit. Symbolically, it is the opposite of the Sakabatou: representative of satsujinken (lit. swords that kill), "the weak are meat, the strong eat'', and times of war and chaos.
  • Handicapped Badass: After surviving an assassination attempt that rendered him unable to produce sweat, Shishio must avoid being in any fight for more than fifteen minutes in a row.
  • The Hard Hat: He wears a steel-lined headband to protect his head, as his "fall" was caused by a bullet to the forehead.
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: By the Ashitaro side story, saying his name or having any connections to his criminal empire can get a person thrown in jail for life since the Meiji government is hell bent on making erasing Shishio's name from history.
  • Hell Has New Management: After dying, Shishio Makoto declared his intent to overthrow the King of Hell. Depending on how you interpret it, Shishio may or may not have succeeded in this endeavor when he visits the catatonic Kenshin in the latter's living hell during the Jinchuu arc.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: Inverted. He was actually the successor to Kenshin and is definitely more evil than him (though Kenshin was more ruthless as a hitokiri).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of his signature techniques is using friction to set his sword on fire by igniting the human body fat that has absorbed into the blade. He dies when repeated use of this technique, combined with being in prolonged combat with Kenshin and company, cause his body temperature to go so high that his own body fat spontaneously combusts.
  • Hot-Blooded: Literally. Figuratively, less so, unless he's in personal combat.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: If the fact that he bites a chunk of meat out of Kenshin's shoulder and savors the taste is any indication.
  • Implacable Man: He blows through the entire cast without stopping, taking hits from Sanosuke's punch to Saito's stab at his forehead to Kenshin's ultimate attack. It takes his own body overheating to kill him.
  • Ironic Name: His name literally means "Idealistic-Hero of The-Truth."
  • I Was Quite a Looker: He was quite good-looking before his assassins torched him.
  • Karmic Death: Shishio evaded death by fire ten years earlier. Didn't happen a second time. And Kenshin didn't have to break his vow.
  • Knight of Cerebus: He's not the first villain introduced in the series who's fought through the Bakumatsu and can give Kenshin a tough time in battle, but his presence does herald the Darker and Edgier Kyoto Arc where the series became more serialized and Kenshin is thrust into a battle for the fate of the country, with lasting consequences for Himura.
  • Last-Name Basis: He's only referred to as "Shishio", his family name.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The movie version of Shishio can not only keep up with Kenshin, but Aoshi, Sanosuke, and Saito as well and all at the same time.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Survived getting shot in the head at point blank range and set on fire. The man is tough. His fight at the end of the Kyoto Arc after said injuries epitomizes this.
    • Not to mention the second of his techniques, the Guren Kaina, involves setting of a gauntlet filled with gunpowder, the kind of move that would probably shatter the bones of an ordinary person's hand and he uses this technique repeatedly.
    • In the movies, most of Kenshin's enemies go down after several hits from his sword. Shishio tanks dozens of his blows to brutalize him. However, he starts to block and dodge when Aoshi and Saito enter the fight.
  • Mad Love: Played for tragedy, with Yumi. They're both very aware of it, too.
  • Man Bites Man: During his final showdown with Kenshin, Shishio bites a chunk of flesh out of his shoulder.
  • Man on Fire: The reason for his current state. And his ultimate fate.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Or "A Japanese Fascist By Any Other Name". Not helped by the fact that while he foreshadows the excesses and ambitions of Imperial Japan, he also harkens back imagery of the notorious Oda Nobunaga (even setting up headquarters in Mt. Hiei, the very site of Nobunaga's most infamous massacres). And while Nobunaga was reputed as the dairokuten maou (lit. "Demon King of the Sixth Heaven"), Shishio has set out to conquer hell after dying, and seems to be succeeding.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Has survived being shot in the head, being doused in oil and set on fire (and losing the ability to control his own body temperature as a result), and having his head cleaved in two.
  • Parental Substitute: During his time under Shishio's tutelage and service, Sōjirō seems to regard him as a combination of master, god, and foster father.
  • Playing with Fire: His sword has had so much human fat soaked into it that it can be ignited with mere sparks; he also uses gunpowder in his gloves to set off explosions against enemies in his grasp. His greatest move is basically a giant fire ball wrapped around his sword.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Anticipates the various fights this way, setting up Anji against Sano as well Usui and Saitou, explicitly trying to wear each of them down for the final battle.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: And he wishes Japan to be a nation comprised entirely of this, too.
  • Purple Is Powerful: What clothing he still wears is dyed in this color, and he's generally regarded as the most imposing antagonist in the series.
  • Run the Gauntlet: A rare villainous example, where Shishio single-handedly takes down Kenshin, Saito, Sanosuke, AND Aoshi in succession, with very little difficulty. Granted they were all injured in varying degrees coming into the fight, but that hardly diminishes the magnitude of the feat, especially considering Shishio had some considerable handicaps of his own.
    • The live-action film decides to distil this into Shishio fighting Kenshin, Saito, Sanosuke AND Aoshi at the same time... Still with very little difficulty. Like in the manga, it's the anhidrosis that kills him.
  • Sanity Slippage: Unless he was always the way he is now, taking a bullet to the brain and getting roasted alive wasn't great for his mental health.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: His Mugenjin, though it's not blatant at a first glance. According to Shishio, such edge will always keep the blade sharp and makes his above-mentioned fueling system possible.
  • Shadow Archetype: Basically, he's what Kenshin might have become had he not rediscovered his moral center. At one point, Yahiko said that if things had gone differently, it might've been Makoto going after a rogue Kenshin.
  • Shout-Out: Word of God states that his character design before getting his burn injuries was based on Kibagami Genjuro from Samurai Shodown.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Hits Kenshin with one after Yumi's death. Kenshin chews him out for killing her just to land a blow on him. Shishio responds that Kenshin made that remark without understanding a thing about her. True to his words, Yumi reveals her action was intentional, having finally been useful to Shishio.
  • The Social Darwinist: His philosophy is that "the flesh of the weak is the food of the strong"—and he drives his point home by taking a bite out of the hero. He is inevitably defeated, but afterwards, Kenshin observes that his victory has not truly proven anything—and that, if the one in the right is merely the strongest warrior, then Shishio was correct all along.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: His ultimate fate. Though a little better explained than most instances, he still burns pretty merrily following the initial ignition.
  • Staying Alive: Shishio was shot point blank in the head, doused with oil, burned alive, and left to die. This is his backstory.
  • Sword and Fist: In the live action moments Shishio has a more viscious and eratic fighting style, punching his opponents when they grapple and even chokeslaming Kenshin against a crate several times.
  • Taught by Experience: Having sustained his burns after being knocked unconscious by a head injury, he wears a metal skullcap under his bandages as protection against further blows to the head. Saitou finds this out the hard way when he tries to put a katana through Shishio's forehead.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: According to the anime (the manga leaves the nature of his head injury unspecified). And he survived it.
  • Übermensch: Believes in his idealized vision of Japan, wherein one must be a great warrior to survive, and hence will one day become a universally proud and strong nation in the global arena, and that, freed from all moral constraints, he is the one to make it a reality.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Yumi. He freely admits that no one else really understands their relationship, but they're rather happy together even in Hell.
  • Unperson: What the Meiji government does to him after his death. It's come to the point that a criminal mentioning his name will apparently get a life sentence, in a prison in Hokkaido. Even the remnants of his forces tend to not speak his name (though more likely out of reverence).
  • Victorious Loser: As the narration in the manga reminds us, his nightmarish dream of Japan reborn as a brutal, fascist and Darwinist military dictatorship would go on to bear cruel fruit in the future, while Kenshin's ideal of peace would not become reality until after World War II. But hey, at least it took longer than it would have otherwise, and he didn't live long enough to be the one running the show.
  • Villainous Breakdown: At the end of his battle.
  • Villainous RRoD: Despite knowing that due to his condition he should only be physically active for short periods of time, Shishio adamantly keep fighting Kenshin and company past that time limit, intent on taking the fight to the bitter end. Eventually this causes his death.
  • Visionary Villain: His goal is to eliminate the Meiji government, which he views as weak and inferior to The Western Powers, and start a new era in Japan in which everyone must live under his brutal and warlike rule, where only the strongest can survive.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Invoked. Shishio anticipates that Kenshin's allies will probably defeat their respective opponents, but be injured enough not to pose a threat. He himself is noted to have the weakness of having damaged sweat glands and no way to manage his body heat, which eventually kills him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Zig-Zagged. Shishio kills Yumi, not because she made him angry, but because she wanted to create an opening for him to deal a blow to Kenshin.

    Komagata Yumi
Voiced by: Kanako Irie (JP), Wendee Lee (EN, TV series), Claire Hamilton (EN, New Kyoto arc), Lindsay Seidel (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Maryjun Takahashi (live-action)

An oiran, a courtesan in Yoshiwara, formerly an akasen. Because of that, she is beautiful, intelligent, dignified, well-cultured, and was brought up in a comfortable life. She was always interested in social issues and occurrences in Japan, and became reviled at the Japanese government's stance regarding prostitutes. She came to love Shishio Makoto with an utmost passion, which he returned. Thus, she joined Shishio's conspiracy to bring down the Meiji government. She is constantly concerned about Shishio's medical state with good reason.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The manga has her with black hair, the anime makes it dark red. It becomes purple in the OVA.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA's she mans a gatling gun upon seeing Saitou attempt to swim his way to the ship. Knowing she can't see him, she tries to track him by the disturbances he makes in the water and blasting there. Eventually Shishio stops her because he'd rather fight Saitou himself.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Her Impossibly-Low Neckline was dropped in the film in favor of an off-the-shoulder one, probably because, as the author would later note, her manga look is pretty much all but impossible in real life.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Not as bad as the other Juppongatana, but she's still portrayed less sympathetically in the live action films.
  • Beast and Beauty: Her relationship with Shishio in a nutshell, and a very dark example of the trope.
  • Beauty Mark: On her lower lip.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: According to To Rule Flame this is how her and Shishio's relationship began.
  • Brainy Brunette: Has reddish-brown hair, and is also very well-read and book smart.
  • Breakout Character: She became quite popular with the fans to the point she was the main character in her own prequel spin-off, To Rule Flame.
  • Broken Bird: Extremely cynical and emotionally broken, due to her past experiences. Yumi was once a very well-known, beautiful, and intelligent oiran (courtesan), she fell in despair during the Meiji Restoration as she saw the uglier side of the Japanese high society and experienced many hardships, as shown in the To Rule Flame prequel which she is the star of. Fed up with this new world, built on lies and injustice in her eyes, she turned towards a man who offered her dignity and solace: Magnificent Bastard Makoto Shishio.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Sōjirō. And to Hanabi, Kogari and Akari in To Rule Flame; the three girls even refer to her as "Big Sister".
  • Cultured Badass: Yumi's not a fighter, but is skilled in other areas. She's a very intelligent woman and former high-class courtesan, Yumi is quite knowledgeable in regards to international affairs and modern discourse.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In To Rule Flame Yumi explains to Shishio that she was from a well-off merchant family, but they were all slaughtered by bandits except for her; since she had no living relatives, young Yumi was sold off to a pimp, and then became a prostitute. It's very, very heavily implied that Shishio was among the ones who did them in.
  • Dark Mistress: To Shishio.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In spite of his sinister, inhuman, fanatical nature, Shishio is genuinely in love with Yumi whom he professed understood him as thoroughly as he understood her.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Kaoru. Both are the main love interest of swordsmen known as Battousai and act as some kind of emotional support to them (Kaoru acts as a Living Emotional Crutch and Morality Chain to Kenshin, Yumi acts as a rare concession to humanity for Shishio). They both feel useless when it comes to helping their love interest. However, Yumi supports Shishio's plan to destroy Meiji government and create Japan as a proud warrior race type of country; Kaoru (who is growing out of her naivety), recognizes the flaws of the government, but refuses to fix it with bloodshed.
  • Go Out with a Smile: She goes out with a smile on her face and crying Tears of Joy, happy that she was finally useful to Shishio in battle, and begging him to win the fight.
  • Hell Has New Management: Accompanies Shishio and Hōji in their endeavor to overthrow King Enma and take the throne of Japan's literal Hell.
  • Hero of Another Story: Of the To Rule Flame prequel, which shows how she and Shishio met.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • She was literally invented by the author to be a sort of "accessory" to Shishio, a sign of his incredible charisma that he could have a beautiful woman waiting on him despite his hideous appearance, but ended up growing into a fully-fledged character with a remarkably developed personality and backstory.
    • She is shown to care more about a person's character than their appearance, given her love for Shishio despite his burned and mutilated physical appearance, as well as her care for Sōjirō.
    • Though entirely clueless when it comes to swords and swordsmanship, she has demonstrated the ability to operate modern Western machines such as the telegraph and seems to be the chief monitor of Shishio's medical condition,changing his bandages regularly and also keeping track of his rising body temperature.
    • As a young girl, she was a victim of sex trafficking, but she made the best of her situation, and rose to become an expensive and popular oiran (to the point where she could turn down clients if she wished). And she is not only skilled in sexual arts, but also well-read (and very likely self-taught), and knowledgeable about politics, art, and music.
  • High-Class Call Girl: What she used to be.
  • Hotter and Sexier: For some, her "killingly hot" "session" with Shishio (although others are beginning to find that awkward) in the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA counts.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: In side materials, the author apologized to all the fans who tried to make her look work in cosplay and found it completely impossible.
  • In the Back: As she's begging for Kenshin to stop, Shishio stabs through her chest and wounds Kenshin.
  • Made a Slave: Was sold into sexual slavery as a young girl, but made the best of her situation, and got to where she could turn down clients if she wished.
  • Mad Love: With Shishio. They both know it.
  • Moral Myopia: Was victim of this in her backstory, and led to her bitter disenfranchisement with the Meiji government. Namely, according to To Rule Flame, Yumi's best friend Hanabi was horribly murdered by a paramilitary group that later kidnapped her other two companions, Akari and Kogari, and intended to sell them as slaves to an American crew. The owner of the high-class brothel that Yumi and the girls worked for coldly dismissed Yumi's deep distress, and that's what got her fed up enough to seek out Shishio.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Then again, she is a former courtesan.
  • Neutral Female: Since she's not a fighter like Kaoru, she's pretty much there to be arm candy for Shishio, and an Audience Surrogate for Shishio and Hōji to drop some info on, though she actually hates being a Neutral Female, and that prompts her death. To give an idea, she's crying tears of joy as she dies, happy to learn that she has finally managed to be useful to Shishio and during his most important battle too.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After she and Shishio are dead and end up in hell, she convinces Shishio to wait a while for Hōji to show up to be there when Shishio takes over the place. It's a small moment, but knowing Hōji's fanaticism, it pleased him greatly to know they waited for him. In addition, she's the one to Throw the Dog a Bone and suggest they meet up with Usui and let him join in on the fun as well.
    • In Shin Kyoto Hen, she makes a grave for Usui after he dies. Sōjirō is surprised at the gesture, especially to a traitor, but Yumi is content to honor him because he, like her and the others, was thrown aside by the Meiji and they were united by their pain.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: In To Rule Flame, she offered herself to Shishio (whom she had Belligerent Sexual Tension with until then) as his mistress, in exchange for him avenging Hanabi's murder and rescuing Akari and Kogari. He accepted, and from then on Yumi was a member of the Juppongatana.
  • The Resenter: She's revealed to have been this to the fighters of the Juppongatana, as they made her feel useless to Shishio, who always respected strength.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Her hair only gets shown undone a few times, but it's quite... voluminous. Guess her former life really trained her to keep it up.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: During the climactic duel between Shishio and Kenshin, Yumi outright asks Hōji why he doesn't just shoot Kenshin, since Shishio's body is approaching its limit. Hōji responds by throwing his gun away, firmly believing that Shishio will beat Kenshin. He almost does... but Kenshin puts up a better fight than expected, and it takes him too long to finish the job.
  • Theiss Titillation Theory: Wakamoto would apologize to cosplayers attempting to reproduce her look and finding it impossible over the years, as her open, bare-shouldered, cleavage-showing kimono is basically being held up entirely by mysterious forces that don't want to up the age-rating.
  • Together in Death: After they both die, she and Shishio reunite in Hell, and seem very happy together as they plot to take it over.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shishio. This was the price of being rescued by Shishio - she pledged her life and death to him, to serve him in any way and die at his leisure.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: An inadvertent example, playing on Kenshin's soft heart to explain Shishio's weakness. He runs her through In the Back to injure Kenshin, but both of them are rather at peace with it.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The OVA gives her purple hair.


The Ten Swords

    In General 

Tropes Associated With The Ten Swords

  • Adaptational Villainy: They are portrayed as complete villains in the live action films by completely downplaying, if not dropping, the sympathetic members' tragic backstories.
  • Adapted Out: New Kyoto Arc drops several of the less important members: Iwanbō, Honjō, Saizuchi, and Henya. Most notable, however, is Hōji's absence.
  • Badass Crew: Excepting Hojo, Yumi, and Saizuchi, every member of the Juppongatana are One Man Armies capable of taking hundreds of police and soldiers and killing them within several hours (with the upper ranks being able to do so within minutes).
  • The Bus Came Back: Several members return in the Hokkaido arc as allies against the Kenkaku Heiki. Saito recruits Chō, Kamatari, and Henya, promising that they would be rewarded for their efforts, while Sugimura Yoshie recruits the wandering Sōjirō and breaks out Anji.
  • Demoted to Extra: The live action films did it to everyone except Shishio (obviously), Sōjirō, Hōji and, to some extent, Yumi. Anji at least got to speak in the third film.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Very few of them are actually swordsmen. Just Sōjirō, Chō and Fuji.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The group has a pretty boy, a Non-Action Guy, a glider, a Dude Looks Like a Lady, a giant, a large skulled man, a Bare-Fisted Monk, a man with unusual swords, a blind spearman and a Fat Bastard who later turns out to be a disguise for a puppeteer who uses corpses to build stronger bodies.

    Seta Sōjirō
Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka (JP), Tara Sands (EN - Episodes 31-47), Lynn Fischer (EN - Episodes 50-51), Melissa Fahn (EN - Episodes 54-56, 61), Clint Bickham (EN - New Kyoto arc), Justin Briner (EN - live-action)
Portrayed by: Ryunosuke Kamiki (live-action)

A teenage boy who is Shishio's right-hand man. He is noted in the series for always smiling, and apparently displaying no emotions in battle. He met Shishio when he was a small boy. After his parents died in the war, he stayed with his abusive relatives that treated him as a slave. He witnessed Shishio killing police men, after carrying large amounts rice packages back and forth, Shishio was about to kill him but didn't because of his habit to smile when he is in danger. Shishio orders him to keep him in a safe house and to provide for him. Days pass and Sōjirō tended to him and explained his situation with his relatives. Shishio then explained his creed of survival of the fittest and gives him his sword. When Sōjirō is blamed for wasting rice his older relatives try to kill him thinking that they can pin it on Shishio. In the end, Sōjirō killed his relatives and went off with Shishio to become his protégé.

Sōjirō's apparent lack of emotion, his simple, insensitive mentality that the strong will live and the weak shall die, and his skills make him a formidable foe for Kenshin. As a master swordsman of his own style, Sōjirō's abilities have earned him the nickname of "Heaven's Sword".

  • Abusive Parents: More exactly, abusive stepmother/step-siblings/step-uncles who hated on him for being an illegitimate child.
  • Adaptational Karma. In the manga, he is left to wander the world to discover his own path in life. In the live action films, he suffers a mental breakdown after he loses to Kenshin and his Social Darwinist viewpoint is shattered.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Not only does the movie tones down the brutality of his backstory, but he aids Kenshin in the battle against Enishi forces.
  • Affably Evil: Surprisingly despite his acceptance of Shishio's Social Darwinist doctrines, he's a genuinely refined and polite person who even is respectful to those he deems weaker. Also he doesn't go out causing pointless destruction and all murders he committed was under Shishio's orders. Unless you press his Berserk Button, in which case, all bets are off.
  • Alliterative Name: Seta Soujirou.
  • Always Someone Better: Notable for being the first (and perhaps only character) to be even faster than Kenshin, and capable of even dodging the Kuzu Ryusen. The ability to dodge Kuzu Ryusen is somewhat justified in that Kenshin's slim physique prevents him from using the move to its fullest potential.
  • Badass Adorable: Easily the series' best male example for both adjectives.
  • Bastard Angst: His entire stepfamily was abusive towards him for his illegitimacy, which caused him to snap and kill them all.
  • Bastard Bastard: Born from an affair and would grow up to be a cold-blooded assassin.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Okubo Toschimichi really was assassinated. However, in the series, Sōjirō is the one responsible and the samurai historically credited for Okubo's death showed up after the fact and decided to take credit for it.
  • Berserk Button: Made more apparent in the anime, but Sōjirō does not take well at all to his worldview being challenged. He met with Senkaku after his escape and assured him that Shisho didn't send him to kill himonly to kill him anyway, when Senkaku started talking about how Kenshin sparing him had changed his outlook.
  • Bishōnen: To the point its one of the primary reasons along with his sympathetic backstory and being one of the biggest badass in the series why he was voted most popular villain when the manga was still running. IN fact even more recent polls frequently give him a spot in the top 5 "sexiest characters" list.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: He murders his abusive relatives after they pushed him one time too many and ended up as The Dragon for a Social Darwinist.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • He returns in the Hokkaido Arc, still wandering the countryside when he stops by a local restaurant terrorized by a wanted man. He later joins Sugimura Yoshie alongside Anji as allies against the Kenkaku Heiki
    • In the live-action films, he reappears seemingly as a ronin under the employ of one of Enishi's associates, only to reveal that he also became a rurouni like Kenshin to see what answers that life could bring him, and helps Kenshin clear a path to Enishi.
  • Creepy Child: Sorta, he's already 17 but is Older Than They Look. When he crossed the Despair Event Horizon and killed his abusive family, however...
  • Cry Cute
  • Dark and Troubled Past: As a child, Sōjirō was abused and beaten by his family, and he would smile instead of cry to make them stop temporarily. One night, he ran into Shishio Makoto, when he sliced a government official in half. Instead of killing him, Shishio took shelter in a shed and Sōjirō would bring him food and bandages. He gave Sōjirō a wakizashi to protect himself by killing his family, but he thought being killed by a sword would hurt too much so he hid it under the porch. When his "family" found out Sōjirō was harboring a wanted criminal, they planned to kill the boy and turn Shishio in... Sōjirō fell in despair, took the wakizashi, and ended up slaughtering the five adults.
  • The Dragon: To Shishio.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Practically the poster child for this trope.
  • Evil Counterpart: He mirrors Kenshin in his seemingly cheerful disposition and sword style (although he's even faster). The contrasts between their philosophies are further emphasized with the influence their mentors and experiences had on them.
  • Fragile Speedster: Is capable of dodging nearly all of Kenshin's attacks, but the one attack that does connect utterly defeats him. Granted, it was Kenshin's ultimate technique...
  • Freudian Excuse: Has a pretty screwed up backstory that really screwed him up, and underneath everything is a traumatized mess. It's clearly suggested that the difference between him and Kenshin is that, at their lowest points, Kenshin was found by a good man while Sōjirō was found by a monster.
  • Flash Step: Fast enough to catch Kenshin off guard.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Last time seen travelling Japan. According to Chō, he won't allow himself to be captured but will simply look for the truth by himself.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: During his fight with Kenshin he holds back from using his full Shukuchi speed until the very end, when he uses his only named attack, Shuntensatsu (which combines his full speed with Battoujutsu).
  • Journey to Find Oneself: At the end of the Kyoto arc, he's wandering the world. By the the Hokkaido arc, he still has yet to find his answer and hopes that joining Kenshin against the Kenkaku Heiki might bring him closer to it.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite killing one of Kenshin's close associates from the revolution (who also happens to be the Prime Minister), he is just allowed to search for his meaning in life, not answering for his actions. That said, his living after having been an assassin is somewhat akin to Kenshin's case rather than an inexplicable escape from responsibility.
  • Older Than He Looks: He's 17, but by looks and voice could easily pass for much younger.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: A more robotic version. He's an older teenager, but his horrible childhood experiences completely fucked him up.
  • Red Baron: Heaven's Sword.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Lampshaded by Sanosuke in the TV series adaptation during his rematch with Kenshin.
    "You little idiot! You might be top-notch in your skills... But in the battlefield of life...... you're just a young kid with a blue butt!"
  • Self-Made Orphan: Killed his abusive relatives and foster family in self-defense.
  • Social Darwinist: Due to his master's teachings though he seems reluctant to follow it literally because of hidden guilt and his polite demeanor towards his inferiors.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Is very polite and all smiles, even when he kills people.
  • Stepford Smiler: Sōjirō is normally seen smiling, with seemingly no emotion. In actuality, he subconsciously suppresses his emotions, making him difficult to read in combat, as stated by Kenshin.
  • Super Speed: Gets pretty damn close. Not only is he faster than Kenshin's, he can't even be seen when he's attacking.
  • Tragic Villain: He turned out the way he is because of his abusive foster family.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shishio.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was genuinely a nice kid before having his ideals warped by Shishio and his life completely trashed by his evil family.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A huge one. And heartbreaking as well.
    Sōjirō: "You speak of not killing, of protecting the weak...that's a lie. Back then, when I needed help, why were you nowhere to be found? If a sword can protect the weak, where were you to protect me?"
  • Walking the Earth: After the Kyoto arc, trying to forge his own path.

    Honjō Kamatari
Voiced by: Junko Takeuchi (JP), Melodee M. Spevack (EN, mainly), Lara Cody (EN, episode 54), Heather Walker (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Hiroko Yashiki (live-action)

A cross-dressing young man from the Juppongatana. He loves Shishio Makoto deeply, but knows that he will never be loved like Komagata Yumi nor will he ever become as talented as Seta Sōjirō, who serves as Shishio's right-hand man. He still devotedly fights for the person he loves.

Kamatari uses a very heavy scythe-like weapon, a reaper, with a chain ball on the end of the weapon; this is called Ogama. He practices Honjō-ryū, his own style of martial arts with his scythe.

  • Always Second Best: He laments that he can never serve as either Shishio's lover like Yumi or right-hand man like Sōjirō. Even so, he does whatever he can to help Shishio succeed in his goals.
  • Berserk Button: In the Hokkaido Arc, he holds his scythe at Eiji's neck when he insults the late Shishio.
  • Boxed Crook: After Shishio's death he's hired by the Japanese government as a crossdressing spy. He makes a return in the Hokkaidou Arc to fight the Kenkaku Heiki.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Played with; he's a villain that dresses like a woman, which the protagonists find disturbing and insult him for, but the story itself doesn't really treat his behavior as so strange.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live-action films, she doesn't have any lines and her integral fight scene with Kaoru (and Misao) is Adapted Out.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Subverted, as the two heroines take on a crossdressing man rather than a woman.
  • Driven to Suicide: Twice. Misao knocks him out from committing jigai ritual suicide after losing to her and Kaoru, and later Chō has to dissuade him from joining Shishio and Yumi in death.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: To the point that the good guys think he's a woman at first.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Both his named attacks (Midare Benten and Benten Mawashi) involves a lot of spinning. The former also borders with Spin to Deflect Stuff.
  • Expy: Noted by Watsuki in the design notes to be modeled after Ikari Yui, Ikari Shinji's mom.
  • Gag Penis: As noted above, his "manly parts" are used as a gag, shocking poor Misao. Apparently, he's *really* hung.
    Misao: "It's like... An elephant, A...FURRY ELEPHANT!!"
  • Gender Flip: The live action films made him a true female.
  • Gender Reveal: In the manga, when he is called a "scythe girl", he proceeds to flash his jibblies to Misao, Yahiko, Kaoru, and the whole Aoiya crew.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Kaoru defeats him by knee capping him with her bokuto. It was so serious in fact that a month after the battle he still had to recover... and his depression didn't helped either.
  • Hidden Depths: His feelings for Shishio are completely sincere, his silly faces hide a skilled warrior, and has a surprisingly low sense of his own worth.
  • Kawaiiko: He was also prone to make cutesy faces in battle, especially when his beloved Shishio was involved.
  • Love Martyr: To Shishio. He's painfully aware that he simply can't be loved back, so he fights to at least be useful to him and after losing he has to be dissuaded twice from trying to kill himself.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The "Kama" in Kamatari means Scythe, and also a play on "okama", Japanese slang for gay men, especially effeminate ones, or a crossdresser or drag queen.
    • His attacks are named after Benten, the only female goddess of the Seven Lucky Gods.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Has the body frame of a young maiden, and yet can swing around his large scythe (30 kg) effortlessly.
  • Sinister Scythe: His Weapon of Choice. During the duel against Misao and Kaoru he uses more the large Epic Flail at the tip of the weapon to fight. Subverted in the live action movie, where she holds a katana instead.
    • In one of the volumes, the author mentions that the character came about as a result of a Japanese pun suggested by one of his assistants. Kama is a word referring to a sickle or scythe, while okama is a slang term for transvestites. Reading between the lines, fans have come to the very reasonable conclusion that the assistant in question was none other than Eiichiro Oda.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Played with. Kamatari is male-assigned, presents (very convincingly) like a woman, and is in love with the male Shishio. But rather than a trans woman the story treats as a man, Kamatari specifically identifies as male, and even corrects Misao for assuming otherwise.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Misao accuses him of this because of his flighty nature and the way she and Kaoru were able to break his defenses and shatter his scythe. Kamatari states that wasn't the case though, as to underestimate his opponent would be a disservice to a job that he takes very seriously. They were just able to beat him because of their skill rather than him underestimating them.
  • Undying Loyalty: to Shishio. He's actually in love with him.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: In the manga, he just flashes Misao upon being called "Scythe Girl". In the anime, when Yahiko notes that Kamatari is sexier than Kaoru and Misao, Kamatari says that Yahiko has the potential to outdo the two of them himself and is willing to give pointers. Eventually, Yahiko, Kaoru, and Misao put the pieces together and are devastated by the realization.
    Yahiko: You've gotta be kidding me! No matter what I do, there's no way a guy like me can become a woman! (both he and Kaoru gasp)
    Misao: So, she's not a "Scythe Girl" but...
    Yahiko, Kaoru, and Misao: ...a "Scythe Queer"...
    Misao: (Turning pale) I lost to a guy...
  • Villainous Breakdown: At the start of his fight against Misao and Kaoru, he's jolly, smiling and joking. By the end he's frowning and a lot more serious. When he actually loses, he sadly accepts his loss and tries to kill himself, but Misao stops him.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Despite being a villain, his habitual crossdressing isn't portrayed as especially negative. After the end of the Kyoto arc, he's hired as a spy for the Japanese government.
  • Wrecked Weapon: The combined efforts of Misao and Kaoru shatter his scythe. However, he can still use a secret technique using the other end of his pole arm to pick up the flail and throw it.
  • Volleying Insults: With Yumi.
  • Yandere: To Shishio.

Voiced by: Unshō Ishizuka (JP), Beau Billingslea (EN, TV series), Lowell B. Bartholomee (EN, New Kyoto arc), Cole Brown (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Kôta Yamaguchi (live-action)

A giant, considered a freak by everyone around him; his real name is not stated in the series. One day he was attacked and almost killed but the old man Saizuchi found him and took him in. The gentle, depressed Fuji was in an ideal state for Saizuchi to manipulate his emotions and turn him into an unbelievable fighter. Saizuchi keeps telling Fuji that he owes him for saving his life and uses that to control him.

  • Adaptational Villainy: Much more lucid and brutal in the films.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the films not only he's not a giant, but he also goes down after Saito stabs him through the chest when he wasn't looking.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: His enormous height terrified everyone, and once he was shot to almost death by scared guards.
  • Armor Is Useless: According to Hiko, the armor actually decreases his real strength, as it makes him feel too confident.
  • BFS: Zigzagged, he wields a sword based on a Matagi Knife which is too large for any normal person to wield, but he's so large the sword fits his size normally.
  • The Big Guy: In the end, literally and figuratively.
  • Boring, but Practical: Due to his size and sheer destructive power, the closest thing he has to a secret technique simply involves using both hands to deliver an impossibly fast attack powerful enough to leave a crater in the ground.
  • Break the Cutie: His backstory is completely heartwrenching. Notice that in the manga, we're only given hints about his past by Saizuchi; in the anime, it's fully exposed to the viewer.
  • The Brute: When controlled by Saizuchi he's nothing more than a brutal attack dog.
  • Call to Agriculture: Becomes a Tondenhei (a sort of soldier who works as a farmer during peace periods in the northern island of Hokkaido) after the Kyoto arc.
  • Composite Character: He's combined with Iwanbō in the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA. Fuji is much closer to Iwanbō's size, and Iwanbō's fight scene with Tokyo's Oniwabanshu was given to Fuji.
  • Cool Helmet: As part of his armor he wears a menacing helmet with a skull-like menpo which makes him look downright monstrous. He discards it alongside the armor.
  • Death by Adaptation: Saito kills him off in the live action film.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live action films, his integral fight scene with Hiko Seijuro is Adapted Out.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After the Kyoto arc, he enters a quiet life as a rural guard and gets friends and co-workers that see him as the decent guy that he is.
  • Empty Shell: When controlled by Saizuchi, again.
  • Expy: of Evangelion Unit-01.
  • Gentle Giant: One who towered over buildings, and despite his terrifying armor, he becomes one of the most normal characters in the series. His flashback in the anime shows him gently placing a fallen bird back in their nest.
  • Graceful Loser: When he realizes that Hiko avoided his deadliest attack by sticking to the side of his blade and is about to counter, Fuji simply smiles.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Thanks to his fight with Warrior Therapist Hiko Seijuurou he switches sides and turns on Saizuchi, and ultimately becomes a farmer.
  • Hidden Depths: Hiko was the first to treat Fuji with respect and talk to him like a person, and it's revealed that far from being a mindless brute using nothing but brute strength, Fuji possesses the spirit of a true martial artist and has excellent swordmanship technique along with his overwhelming power.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: During the flashback to his backstory, both the angry mob and the armed guards refer to him as "it", "monster" and "thing", with the former instructing the later to "get it before it gets us". In the present day, many wonder if he's even human.
  • Karmic Death: In the live action movie, he brutally impales a policeman, patronizingly asks him why he fights and mocks his answer. Then, Saitou backstabs him while he's distracted and cuts him down with the same lack of mercy.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his size, he's so fast that the gang at the Oniwabanshu place didn't notice his presence until after he had cut half the inn down. He also hits surprisingly fast.
  • Manly Tears: When Hiko addresses and treats him as a human and not a tool or a monster, Fuji takes off his mask and helmet and cries in joy. Then, they duel properly, and Hiko wins.
  • Meaningful Name: Fuji can refer to Mt. Fuji and also means "Peerless". Invoked, as it's not his real name.
  • Obliviously Evil: Subverted, he's not a bad guy deep down.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He's not really evil, just being manipulated by Saizuchi.
  • Rage Helm: His helmet has a mask which, paired with his scowling eyes and his snarling teeth biting in the rope holding the helmet in place gives him a furious face.
  • Red Baron: He and Saizuchi sort of share one, which can either translate to "Destructive Army" or "Army Destroyers". (they use different kanji which both translates to "destroy").
  • Screaming Warrior: When Hiko persuades him to discard the armor and fight him with all he has, Fuji lets out a massive yell before challenging Hiko back.
  • Sinister Scimitar: His sword is a huge curved blade resembling an hunting knife and large enough to demolish buildings. However, he's not as villainous as he looks.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted in the movies, as he's stabbed in the back by Saito while calling the policeman he's just slain useless.
  • Token Good Teammate: Subverted at first.
  • Tragic Villain: Fuji is a kind-hearted man who has suffered through all of his life for being different, so Saizuchi easily plays on his despair and gets him on his side.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Or at least, a freakishly huge one. Misao lampshades the trope by wondering if he was a human man or not.
  • Wild Card: When he was first mentioned, it is implied that he is ever a an overconfident brute or a simple-minded behemoth that uses strong, but slow punches. No could have expected he'd be a huge swordsman who's not only subtle, but not look menacing in his armor. In fact, it's implied only Hiko could face him on equal terms.
    • Shishio remarks that Sōjirō is his strongest warrior under him, but it seems that Fuji has more raw power than all of his top men, even him. And is heavily implied that even Kenshin would lose to him, so Hiko the strongest character in the series had to face him.
  • Your Size May Vary: The first time he appears, we only see his feet, which are as big as a normal person. When he appears later, he's huge, but not that big.

Voiced by: Ikuo Nishikawa (JP), Paul St. Peter (EN, TV series), Phil Parsons (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Kentarô Shimazu (live-action)

A cunning small old man who manipulates Fuji and lays out the battle plans for him; his real name is not stated in the series. He believes that his old age makes him the one who is right since he has lived so long. Saizuchi's talents lie not in battle-abilities, but in his proficient use of words.

  • Adaptational Badass: His Live Action incarnation is of normal height, seems to be younger, uses a katana, and tried to personally attack Kenshin on several occasions. He also appears to be a Multi-Melee Master.
  • Adapted Out: Absent from the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA. Shishio takes on his role as the man Fuji swore loyalty to.
  • Bald of Evil: Paired with a very large head to boot. Parodied in the character sketch, in which someone scribbled on the back of his head.
  • Gonk: He's small and downright grotesque, witn a huge bald head and exaggerated facial features.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After Shishio's defeat, he puts his persuasion skills to use as a foreign diplomat for the Meiji government.
  • Humiliation Conga: First, Yahiko refuses to buy his breaking speech and openly challenges him and Fuji, then he's silenced and called an idiot by Seijuro Hiko and finally he's defeated when a defeated Fuji crushes him under his arm.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After using Fuji as an attack dog to destroy Kyoto and tormenting others, he's finally taken out when Fuji, defeated by Hiko, accidentally crushes him under his arm.
  • Kid with the Leash: Inverted, he's an old man with the leash. Of his disciple, Fuji.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Poor Fuji.
  • Non-Action Guy: One of the two Jupponganta that doesn't have an awesome fighting style, and he's only there to order Fuji around.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to the heroes during the assault on Aoiya. Unlike many other examples, he makes use of logic to make his point and even admit that they underestimated them, as they defeated two of the Juppongatana alone.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Claims that his comrades are envious of his "great and remarkable skills". He's wrong.
  • Smug Snake: Talks like a superior and tries a logical analysis on why Kenshin's team will lose, but we all know he's only there to give orders to his giant.
  • The Strategist: Thinks he's this, although Hōji's a lot better at than he is.

    Yūkyūzan Anji
Voiced by: Yasuyoshi Hara (JP), Michael McConnohie (EN, TV series), Lowell B. Bartholomee (EN, New Kyoto arc), J. Michael Tatum (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Tomomi Maruyama (live-action)

I don't blame you for being blind to my mission. Just is the blind who must die.

A warrior fallen-monk who fights alongside Shishio to destroy the Meiji government. He was among the many victims of the Meiji-era sponsored Haibutsu kishaku/anti-Buddhism purge, resulting in the destruction of his home and the deaths of the five orphaned children he cared for in his temple, who came from families who opposed the Meiji restoration and were wiped away during the war. Said horrifying experience made him pull a Faith–Heel Turn, go from an Actual Pacifist from a Warrior Monk, and brutally murder the culprits with his own hands, before Shishio recruits him to his cause.

Anji is the third strongest and most merciful of the Ten Swords and has made an agreement with Shishio that Anji shall decide whether someone lives or dies. Despite being ranked as third most powerful, Uonuma Usui seems to fear him to some extent, having declined from Anji's challenge after the fallen monk protected Makimachi Misao from the Blind Murderer. He does not use a blade directly in combat, instead utilizing Futae no Kiwami (Double Layer Limit or "Mastery of Two Layers") to strike the blade into the ground to attack from a distance, or more usually directly with his fists.

At some point, he and Sanosuke met in the forest; Sanosuke saw Anji perform the Futae no Kiwami, was amazed at the sight and asked him to teach it. Anji accepted on the condition that if Sanosuke didn't learn it perfectly in a week, he would kill him; Sanosuke barely managed to fulfill the deal, and few days later they were pit against each other...

  • Adaptational Villainy: The live action films Adapted Out his tragic backstory. He is also just a straight rival to Sano instead of being his mentor-turned-antagonist.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Shin Kyoto Hen OVA's take a middle ground with Anji's backstory, they aren't as detailed as the source but they don't drop it all together like the films. We get to see a few flashbacks cluing us in to his sympathetic nature and implicit Freudian Excuse, but due to the abridged nature of the OVA's most had to be cut down for time.
  • Adapted Out: The live action films dropped his tragic backsory and his mentor/student relationship with Sano, as well as his Futae no Kiwami technique.
  • Affably Evil: While he may be the most merciful of the Juppongatana, his desire for wrath to purify the world and the downfall of the Meiji Government supersedes that. Plus, he only joined the Juppongatana on the condition that he could choose who lives and who dies. Pray that you are not on his bad side.
  • Always with You: The spirits of Tsubaki and the children Anji watched over remind him this after Anji realizes his life of killing was wrong.
  • Bald of Awesome: Being a buddhist monk, he has no hair on his head. He can also shatter granite with what looks like a light punch or even a shove of his elbow or a stomp.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: He carries a sword, but it's not his Weapon of Choice.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Pulls one despite being a villain, saving Misao from Usui trying to stab her in the back.
  • Break the Cutie: Once was a sweet, caring monk. Then, his adoptive children were murdered and his shrine was burned down. He... snapped.
  • The Brute: To Shishio's Big Bad. Genius Bruiser variant.
  • Cool Sword: Despite not being a swordsman, he carries around a short, buddhist-like sword, which he only uses to turn his Futae no Kiwami in a deadly Ground Pound.
  • Death by Adaptation: He is presumably killed after the fall of the Rengoku in the live action films.
  • Demoted to Extra: He does fight Sanosuke in the films, but their relationship and the majority of his screentime is relegated to that fight alone.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Suffered a brutal one in his backstory when the orphan children he was taking care of were killed by the government.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Killing orphanage children is textbook Kick the Dog, but they never expected the dog who was kicked to traumatic degrees to Take a Level in Badass and turn them all into dilapidated jelly of human beings several years later.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Sanosuke again. They both became bitter after losing their loved ones and turned to violence. While Sanosuke lost the one he looked up to and honored as a youth, Anji lost the children who he took care of and looked up to him. Sanosuke even mentions it during their fight, how Anji's just like him in the past. Sanosuke's relieving of stress in his fights is given a darker reflection with Anji dealing retribution to his foes, though both were really lashing out in hatred. Their meetings are even marked by their hatred of the Meiji Government, but what sets them apart is their insights: Though Sanosuke would like nothing more than the collapse of the Meiji Government by yesterday since the Sekihotai's betrayal, he can at least acknowledge with even the tiniest bit of respect that the people of Japan are able to live in peace and would rather keep fighting for true justice through civil change. Anji however would rather flip the entire nation over like a table, and is so blinded by his bitterness to where he thinks resetting the world will make things better again.
  • Evil Mentor: To Sanosuke, whom he taught the Futae no Kiwami to. Sanosuke subverts the trope by snapping Anji back to his senses.
  • Facial Markings: Painted with ashes to make himself look more imposing. The first time he did it, he used the ashes he took from the lifeless body of the orphan girl who loved him, which marked the definitive point in his Faith–Heel Turn.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: Highly enraged when the children died, after praying for their safety when helplessly injured, and emphasized by him punching the face of Buddha out of pure sorrow. According to him, if Buddha won't listen to the world's prayers, he reasons, then he'll damn well save the world by his own hands.
  • Family of Choice: He tells his adopted orphanage children that they are his family, even though their mothers and fathers are either dead or far away from them (in a time of civil war). For their part, they want him to marry Tsubaki so they can become a "real" family. It's very touching, until, well...
  • Freudian Excuse: The adoptive children he loved were murdered by greedy bureaucrats.
  • Freak Out: Forget Turning Red. If Anji, even being the Affably Evil Token Good Teammate he is, ever gets really angry and out of control, he will brutalize anyone on his target priority. He is not called The Myo-o/The Destroyer for nothing.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: An heartbreaking and terrifying example of how war and the evils that can spawn from it can utterly harm and warp even the most holiest men and most innocent of people in its breadth through drawing out the worst of humanity in its chaos, no matter how intense and how subtle. Anji was originally a happy, friend-to-all monk determined to do good in the world and help orphans. And he'd have stayed that way, too, until the Meiji Government killed his adopted children.
  • Gentle Giant: Subverted on the giant part. Anji is very tall but he used to be rather scrawny and bulked up after his Faith–Heel Turn. He's gentle- Until force is needed on his end.
  • Genius Bruiser: Big, strong, and very, very bright.
  • A God Am I: Downplayed, but he really takes inspiration from the Buddha's of wrath, likening himself to their image. A flashback reveals that he was first told to do this because he was too kind to properly discipline naughty children.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Has huge wide eyes before being broken. Afterwards, they're much more narrow. Double the effect since he paints his eyelids black with ashes to invoke the trope.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Anji realizes that all the killing he did was wrong and is reminded by the spirits of Tsubaki and the children he watched over that they will always be with him.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: He's about half again as tall as Tsubaki, she barely comes up to his chest.
  • Irony: In his flashback, he's chided for having a kinder face than most and an inability to be firm when scolding children. He even says that he just can't muster up enough anger to be imposing. However, the audience doesn't see this until after we've come to know him as the wrath-filled destroyer.
  • Knight Templar: The worst side of him and that which is expected of Anji's fate if he continues his path of a savior by destruction. Answered in the face of an inquisitive Sano, Anji will go on destroying and challenging those who do not share the same views as him for his ideals and utopian world. This even goes for Shishio if his future world does not match up with him either.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his size, he's noted to be quite fast, though not as fast as he could be.
  • Manly Tears: When he's brought back by Sanosuke and remembers the good times with his adoptive children, he collapses in tears. And we all cry with him.
  • Necklift: He gets even with the mayor that ordered his temple destroyed by lifting him up by the head and crushing his skull between his massive hands.
  • Papa Wolf: Deconstructed. It is not played as heroic or noble to become a murderous lieutenant out of grief, but by god do we sympathize with him.
  • Pet the Dog: As the most sympathetic member of Shishio's group, Anji is prone to this.
    • He sits down with Sanno for a meal after learning that his training had made the man drop the food he was previously eating. Anji gets some food for him to apologize for the accident even though Sanno holds him blameless and brought up the issue as a joke.
    • When Sannosuke takes his challenge and tries to learn his technique, Anji makes it clear that if he fails to master it in the allotted time, Anji will kill him. When Sanno collapses of exhaustion and either sees or hallucinates the ghost of Captain Sagara, the captain speculates that Anji wouldn't go through with the murder if he saw just how hard Sanno had pushed himself to learn the technique. In the manga, when he thinks Sanosuke died of fatigue, he prepares to pray for his soul.
    • When Shishio's base finally falls, he goes back into the heart of the destroyed base to rescue Hōji.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Sannosuke destroys his Tragic Keepsake in battle, Anji gets up from a No One Could Survive That! shot that shocks even Kenshin.
  • Religious Bruiser: Rare villainous version. His title in the Juppongatana also alliterates this, being Anji the Myou-ou, meaning either Bright King or the Destroyer, the buddhas of wrath and fear who convert by frightening non-believers into faith and slay evil in Buddhist mythology.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: 5 years after the orphans died, he brutally murdered both the men who set the fire and the local leader who gave tacit approval, despite the guy groveling for mercy.
  • Start of Darkness: Was a humble monk who wanted to look after his adopted children in peace. When the Meiji Government showed up to close his temple he didn't take it well.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Why he is called Anji The Myo-O. Most of the time, he is the most calm and straightforward member of the Juppongatana, but his bottled up anger is but a volcano about to burst and erupt for days on end. Anytime the buttons are pressed to get him to explode, the point that he goes ballistic, nothing will get through to him except violence and a fierce unyielding spirit that is daring enough to try to reach out to him.
  • Token Good Teammate: Shishio states that Anji is extremely merciful, but his thirst for wrath is what keeps him on the villains team.
  • Took a Level in Badass: For his revenge. In five years, he went from a scrawny and sweet monk to a huge Lightning Bruiser.
  • Tragic Keepsake: A small prayer tablet with the names of his adoptive kids. It's the only thing that remains from his destroyed temple.
  • Tranquil Fury: Of a negative variety. Much of his personal air strongly feels like this, and it's not just from the muscle and the eye liner. It's very rare of to see current day Anji flash a smile, as a lot of the time though calm has a somewhat stern, strict, and smooth gruff temperament to show that he is not a no nonsense person.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He only gets hit with Sannosuke's Futae No Kiwami because he stops after landing his Signature Move to pray for Sannosuke's soul. To be fair, he couldn't have expected Sannosuke to learn one of his advanced techniques after seeing it only once.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Anji's plan is to completely destroy the current world of Japan in order to start a society of moral righteousness.
  • Warrior Monk: Of a Disgraced Heretical Renegade Thug Dojo kind.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In contrast to Shishio, a Knight Templar, Anji's goals are more noble; having come from a place of genuine heartbreak and wanting to create a world where the strong won't hurt the weak.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Downplayed example, he still calls Sanosuke a hypocrite when he sees him fighting for the sake of the Meiji government after he told him he hates it.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Again, if you haven't already noticed, Anji would have still been a humble, happy monk if he'd just been left alone.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: With his temple burnt down, all he has left going for him is his hatred and vengeance.

    Sadojima Hōji
Voiced by: Hiroshi Takahashi (JP), Dave Mallow (EN, TV series), Ian Sinclair (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Kenichi Takito (live action)

Shishio's second in command. He used to be an official in the Meiji Government but lost faith in it when he saw no one in the government was worthy of controlling the country. He abandoned his position in the government and eventually met Shishio. Hōji, too, envisions Japan as a mighty power led by Shishio, ruling with the principles of basic animal survival. Hōji is indeed unique; although he is not proficient in any fighting style, he is a cunning organizer and possesses formidable leadership qualities. His skills as a staff officer figure are quite amazing; he even manages to purchase Rengoku on the black market. Hōji's plan with the Rengoku fails when Sanosuke blows up the Purgatory with bombs provided by his friend Katsu. Hōji was "baptized" by Shishio's intense body heat to kindle in him a belief in hell.

  • Adaptational Badass: His live-action film counterpart is an Action Survivor.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Not as bad as Anji and some of the others, but Hōji in the live-action films is a lot more vicious. When Kenshin confronts Shishio in the 2nd film Hōji holds Kaoru hostage and threatens to burn her face with a torch; later he kicks her off the boat into the raging storm hoping she'd drown. When they find an innocent fisherman in the 3rd film who saw Kenshin, Hōji remorselessly beats the man when the information he gives them is inadequate.
  • Adapted Out: The most notable member of the group to be removed from the line up for Shin Kyoto Hen. His role is divided up amongst the other members with advising duties given to Yumi, the baptismal scene given to Usui, and several unnamed mooks taking over his commanding duties.
  • Ascended Extra: He's a central character in the novel portion of the manga canon prequel release To Rule Flame.
  • Chessmaster Sidekick: Is smarter and more pragmatic than Shishio, but is nonetheless completely loyal to him.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: He presumably died at the fall of the Rengoku in the live action films, instead of committing suicide at the prison.
  • Driven to Suicide: And he did that in quite a showy way.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: His loyalty to Shishio is absolute, but even he's shocked at his killing of Yumi. Though upon finding out her reasons for it, he gives a moment of silence and a small eulogy.
  • Evil Genius: Shishio's logistician, organiser, and administrator. And capable enough to smuggle a battleship into the country.
  • Expy: Sort of, but not really. According to the author, Hōji's overall concept originates from Forge from the X-Men, but you'd be hard pressed to find two characters who are more different.
  • Fingore: In the manga, Usui rips off one of his fingernails to determine if he's telling the truth about not being a traitor. Hōji then bites off six more as punishment for "betraying" seven members of the Juppongatana. In the anime, Usui breaks a finger, then Hōji stabs it. Still quite nasty.
  • Hell Has New Management: Joins Shishio in his plan in Hell.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Shown in the To Rule Flame prequel, where he proves to be quite a crack-shot with a rifle. How good is he? He can aim his rifle at the spot on an enemy's vest where a button is missing and shoot at that exact spot. From several meters away. In the middle of a crowd. While wielding the rifle in one hand like a revolver. When Shishio compliments his skills he just says that since arming the organization is part of his duties he's learned to use the guns he bought perfectly.
  • Large Ham: The more incensed he is, the louder he screams and acts
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: His suit. It is supposed to evoke the fancy European style popular with Meiji-era officials, but Watsuki was unsatisfied with the result.
  • Non-Action Guy: Compared to the others; his skillset within the Ten Swords involves his incredible organizational and logistical skills rather than his combat prowess. Averted in the To Rule Flame prequel, where he actively fights alongside the other Juppongatana members, wielding a rifle - although it's a special case since he's there to avenge a girl he grew fond of during their stay in Yoshihara. He seeks out the one to blame and kills him with one shot.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: When Shishio inquires about his religious beliefs, Hōji initially states that he is a materialist who doesn't believe in heaven or hell, something that Shishio says fits his rationalist nature. After Shishio's "baptism," however, he eventually ends up agreeing with his master's views on the subject, and dies assured that he will follow his master to hell.
  • Psycho Supporter: After his "baptism" washes away some of his former rationalist characterization, his devotion to Shishio borders on the patently insane, to the extent that he has a total mental breakdown when Shishio is defeated.
  • The Strategist: He's in charge of gathering all of the equipment and recruits for Shishio's army. His nickname translates as "Hōji the All-Knowing", a role he takes so seriously that he openly defies Shishio over the latter's plan to forgo an attack on Kenshin's allies in favor of a straightforward duel.
  • Smug Snake: His confidence in Shishio's power and his Honor Before Reason philosophy make him haughtier than he really ought to be. His repeated underestimation of Kenshin bites him in the ass several times, but he never learns his lesson.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shishio. He plays this trope so straight, it delves right into dying loyalty - as in, he kills himself rather than be used by the government his master despised. And he follows him straight to hell.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Shishio is defeated, Hōji destroys the lair in a sort of improvised Self-Destruct Mechanism to kill everyone. The reason?
    Hōji: "If you all die, there is no victor! If you all die, Shishio-sama remains undefeated! SHISHIO-SAMA ALONE TAKES THE DAY!!"
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Played for drama. During Shishio's final duel with Kenshin, he initially hides a rifle under his coat, ready to take out the heroes if his master starts to lose. He does this without Shishio's knowledge and is fully aware that Shishio will never forgive him for doing so and will almost certainly kill him if he goes through with it. Halfway through the battle, however, Hōji reveals the weapon to both Yumi and Shishio, and throws it away, to express his faith in his master's abilities. Whoops.
  • Wicked Cultured: His dandy-fied fashion sense and his frequent sipping of fancy wine is a dead giveaway.

    Uonuma Usui
Voiced by: Shou Ryuzanji (JP), Jamieson Price (EN, TV series), David Matranga (EN, New Kyoto Arc), Bill Jenkins (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Mitsu Murata (live action)

The "Blind Sword", used to be a swordsman working for the shogunate government. However, in a fight against Shishio Makoto, he was blinded and eventually left to die.

He possesses the Shingan, which actually is superhuman hearing that lets him hear another's heartbeat thus enabling him to sense people around him and detect the emotions of others. This ability is so advanced that it appears to be similar to the sonar of a dolphin or bat.

  • Adaptational Wimp: He manages to easily kill several police officers in the third live-action film, but once Saito sees that he's trying to sneak up on him, their fight is settled by a Single-Stroke Battle.
  • Alliterative Name: His first and last name both begin with a "U".
  • Ax-Crazy: When he goes killing, he overdoes it, no matter if his victims are enemies or allies.
  • Becoming the Mask: Has more or less given up on killing Shishio, despite his protestations otherwise. A major source of his self-loathing.
  • Blade on a Stick: His weapon of choice is a Rocin, a short spear with a blade on one end and a large iron sphere on the other. Said weapon is used with the Tanbei as part of the typical Okinawan fighting style.
  • Ceiling Cling: Makes his entrance in Shishio's room from the ceiling, where he was hiding using his spear to cling.
  • Dashing Hispanic: David Matranga gives him a suave Spanish accent in the Shin Kyoto Hen dub.
  • Demoted to Extra: His history with Shishio in the live action films is Adapted Out.
  • Disability Superpower: His hearing more or less functions as a sonar, allowing him to read people's emotions and movements. He is convinced that received this power due to his near-death experience at Shishio's hands.
  • Double Weapon: His standard techinque uses both the sword end and the mace end of his unique Rocin to deliver a barrage of attacks from both ends, in a technique called "Hokenpogyoku: Hyakkaryuran". He can also detatch the weapon in the middle to use only one head with the shield.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Saitou; both fighters cling to their past rivals to some extent; Saitou doubting Kenshin's Atoner status, and Usui constantly challenging Shishio. Yet Saitou stays true to his beliefs of justice, while Usui continues to simply maintain the facade for looks.
  • Eye Scream: When he fought Shishio, the latter took his eyes in one single horizontal slash, whose scar can still be seen under his bandana.
  • Expy: According to Watsuki, Usui's looks and role as a powerful assassin are based on Taopaipai, the character who impressed him as the first villain to actually defeat Goku.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Before the story. He was a government assassin sent to kill Shishio. Now he works for him. (Though he was never good to begin with.)
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While the Ten Swords are most certainly not True Companions, most tend to get along well enough. Chō and Yumi are friends, Saizuchi never really offends anybody and while nobody seems to care about him, nobody hates Iwanbō either. Usui, however, is a kept around for his skill with the blade. Hōji and Yumi think he's a loose cannon, Anji detests him, and Shishio simply uses him for his swordsmanship.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Yes, to recap, Saito's thrust was so otherwordly powerful that broke his shield, tore him in half, and sent his impaled torso flying against a wall and pinned him there. A point-blank thrust.
  • Handicapped Badass: A previous battle with Shishio left him completely blind.
  • Hell Has New Management: Possibly. Yumi suggests finding and recruting him as she, Shishio, and Hōji plot to take over Hell (not that it would need much taking over).
  • Informed Ability: We're told he is the strongest of Shishio's men after Sōjirō, yet his battle with Saito is one of the shortest in the series, especially when compared to any of Kenshin or Sano's fights.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By Saito. He ends up looking like a pinned butterfly.
  • Kick the Dog: Frequently. He breaks Hōji's finger, attempts to stab Misao from behind, and constantly belittles the other members of his team. Saito implies that this is the result of Usui needing an outlet for his own self-hatred.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Uses a tortoise shell that is tough enough to withstand katanas until Saito uses Gatotsu Zeroshiki. Unlike many other shield-users, Usui takes advantage of the shield's curved shape to deflect attacks and to block his opponent's field of vision - which doesn't correspondingly inconvenience Usui himself, since he's blind.
  • Manly Facial Hair: Has a small stylish mustache which helps to call to mind the character he was based on. He's also one of the most dangerous Juppongatana.
  • Non-Indicative Name: After becoming blind, he changed his weapon from a sword to a Tanbei Rocin.
  • Professional Killer: Was a government assassin before his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Red Baron: "The Blind Sword".
  • Revenge: His reason for joining Shishio.
  • The Starscream: Joined Shishio's group under the condition that he be allowed to try and assasinate Shishio, whenever and as often as he wished. Subverted in that he has completely given up on taking revenge; he just keeps up his Starscream facade to save face.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Pulls this twice, first on Shishio (ambushing him in a seemingly closed room by appearing from the ceiling) and later he appears behind Yumi and Sōjirō without the former noticing until he talks.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: In Shin Kyoto Hen, he goes down like a punk in fighting Shishio when the latter was bored (though he seemingly lasted longer than his original battle with Saito).
  • Super Senses: His ears are sharp enough to compensate for his eyes, and allow him to easily read people's emotions and movements.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: While in Hell, Yumi suggest to Shishio to find Usui as well and treat him like a true companion this time, and Shishio agrees.
  • The Voiceless: In the movies, he never once speaks: the only time he vocalizes in his battle against Saito he lets out an almost feral growl.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Totally loses his cool when Saito reveals that he has given up on killing Shishio.
  • Villainous Fashion Sense: A yellow kimono completely covered in eyes. Unlike most examples, this is pointed out In-Universe by both Yahiko and later Saito.
  • Wrecked Weapon: The first sign that Saito's a lot more than he can chew is that the iron ball of his Rocin suddenly shatters after he used it to attack.

    Sawagejo Chō 

    Kariwa Henya
Voiced by: Eiji Takemoto (JP), Dan Lorge (EN, TV series), Tyler Walker (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Yûya Hara (live-action)

Known as Henya the Flighted, aids the attack on Aoi-Ya, the Kyoto secret headquarters of the Oniwabanshu, with four other Juppongatana members. His battle technique is called Hiku Happa, in which he uses dynamite to lift himself into flight and attack with from above. He can descend to attack the opponent with a blade on his arm and then blow himself back into the air. The power of flight is harnessed because Henya starves himself and is very emaciated; he is so light that the constant uplift from the explosions can easily keep him in the air, and a cape allows him to control his movement.

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: To the point that this is his main personality, for example when he prepares to join the forces in the fire of Kyoto and tells Iwambo to not interfere, or he'll be in the way.
  • Anime Hair: His resembles a blade and is grown to a pointed tip.
  • Animal Motifs: The Bat: the "Hen" in Henya is the first of the two kanji for "Komori" (Bat), his glider cape resembles a pair of bat wings when opened and during the Hokkaido Arc, Byakuya sees him as a giant, smoke-spewing bat.
  • Black Cloak: It opens out into a glider designed to look like bat-wings.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: For close-up work, paired with Creepily Long Arms to great effect. He wields two of them during the Hokkaido Arc.
  • Blow You Away: He blows up his enemies with dynamite, and uses the force of the explosions to propel himself higher.
  • Body Horror: His torso is horribly emaciated, all his ribs are perfectly visible under the skin and his entire abdomen is so skinny he practically has an hourglass figure.
  • Boxed Crook: The government later uses his flying skills to spy for them.
  • Creepily Long Arms: Under his cape, it's revealed that his arms are quite long, as well as all skin and bones like the rest of his body. They allows him to attack better from above while keeping the distance from his enemy.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live action films, he doesn't have any lines and his integral fight scene with Yahiko is Adapted Out.
  • Fragile Speedster: He may be able to fly, but once Yahiko manages to get close enough to whack his emaciated body, he's done for.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Yahiko takes advantage of Henya's blast to use a door like a kite and use the same technique as Henya to catch him offguard.
  • Lean and Mean: Up to Eleven. It's hard to find someone else that thin. He remarks that he's only able to maintain his light weight by keeping himself on the edge of starvation.
  • Meaningful Name: The "Hen" from Henya means Bat. Kariwa means "Reaping Feather".
  • No Mouth: He costantly wears a bandit mask made of black cloth which obstructs his mouth. The only time we see his chin and mouth is when he's defeated.
  • Not Quite Flight: More gliding than true flight, but still.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Implied, by the time of the Hokkaido Arc he seemingly has no objection in working with the very same government Shishio tried to overthrow, as long as he's free to carry out his research on his flying apparatus.
  • Shout-Out: To Spawn character Freak. He's also named after the famous swordsman Henyasai Matsubayashi, known for his acrobatic skills.
  • Tengu: He was originally envisioned as a "Tengu-like member of the Oniwabanshu", and his movie design hints of this, having him wear a beaked mask.
  • We Have Reserves: His attitude towards his subordinates during the great fire. His fighting style can also damage his own allies in battle, but he doesn't seem to care.

Voiced by: Norito Yashima (JP), Lex Lang (EN, TV series), Phil Parsons (EN, live-action)
Portrayed by: Takao Yamada (live action)

A fat oaf who uses his immense size, his strength, and his ability to entrap weapons in his flab. He is armed with small blades worn on his fingertips. He is very stupid, and, apart from taking part in the battle of Aoi-Ya as well as grinning like an utter idiot, he does not say anything, and he does not do anything.

He is in reality a mechanical puppet, a primitive mech, controlled by Gein, the puppetmaster.

  • Acro Fatic: Very fat, very fast. Surprisingly nimble.
  • Adaptational Heroism: His complex backstory is Adapted Out of the Anime and Live-Action films. In the anime he's a fairly harmless idiot and in the films, he's just an Elite Mook, while in the manga he's actually Gein, a graverobber who creates flesh-puppets from corpses, which was what Iwanbō was made of.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Not so much in terms of fighting ability, but his Live Action movie version is of pretty standard height compared to his massive manga self. He can still bodyslam Kenshin with enough strength to send him flying.
  • Artificial Human: It is revealed in the Jinchuu arc that Iwanbō is actually a combat suit made out of corpses.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: True, he's such a harmless idiot that he cannot do anything on his own, but remember, it was Shishio who let him join his elite. Even more so in the manga, considering the truth.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live-action films, he doesn't have any lines and his integral fight scene with Kaoru and the Oniwabanshuu is Adapted Out.
  • The Ditz: To the point that when he escapes Ch&#333 suggest to let him be, as he's not a threat to others.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The 3.0 model can spin his fingers and arms to smash and tear people apart.
  • Expy: Of Blob and Mojo, according to Word of God. His model 0.3 is based on a deformed version of Hulk.
  • Foreshadowing: After Kamatari's defeat, he looks at the Aoiya crew, and then turns his head like an owl, freaking out Kaoru and Misao, hinting at the fact that he's not human.
  • Hulk Speak: In the manga, the only times he says something it's in a rather broken, simple Japanese. Part of the mask, of course.
  • Kevlard: He's so disgustingly obese that shurikens and weapons bounce off him. Almost bordering with Rubber Man.
  • Meaningful Name: His nickname, the "Round Demon" in Japanese is "Mari Oni". As in Marionette.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The one handling the Iwanbō puppet is NOT stupid at all.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Kamatari and Henya are defeated, but before Saizuchi and Fuji show up.
  • Slasher Smile: He's always seen grinning like a moron, except when Hōji rips off his own nails (he had a "share the pain" face).
  • Sumo Wrestler: His design in the live action movie.
  • Too Dumb to Live: To the point that the Mooks decide to run away even when he's left, because "he's too stupid".
  • Wolverine Claws: A variation: he wears small, hatchet-like blades on his fingernails.

Other Members


Ashitaro Hasegawa and Asahi Kubota

Two youngsters that were errand kids for the group, but in Hokkaido arc were taken in by the Kamiya dojo. Their tropes belong to Rurouni Kenshin Manga Only Characters