List of Rurouni Kenshin characters
This is a list of characters of the Rurouni Kenshin manga and anime series by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Names of the characters in the manga are in Japanese order, with the family name before the given name. The Viz manga uses the Japanese order while the English anime uses the Western order.
Within the series Myōjin Yahiko refers to Kenshin and the individuals allied with him as Team Kenshin (剣心組 Kenshin-gumi , literally "Group of Kenshin," the editors of the English-languages volumes stated that they translated the phrase as "Team Kenshin" "rather playfully" for their purposes).
Himura Kenshin is the titular "Rurouni" (wanderer) and main character of the series. He is twenty-eight years old and is formerly known as the Hitokiri Battōsai[note 2], a deadly man-slayer who slaughtered many men in the war before the Meiji era. Kenshin's fighting style is Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū, now an ancient study. With this dangerous sword style, he uses his Sakabatō (A sword with a reversed edge) to restrain himself from killing anyone ever again, and renounces the title Hitokiri. He meets Kaoru and develops feelings for her.
Himura Kenshin accidentally killed the girl he was married to (Yukishiro Tomoe) when she suddenly stepped in between Kenshin and his opponent, hoping to save Kenshin's life. In the manga, the knife that Tomoe was wielding falls from her grasp when she is wounded and it cuts Kenshin's left cheek, finishing the familiar cross-shaped scar. In the OVA, as Tomoe lay dying in Kenshin's arms, she purposefully makes the cut across the initial one. Either way, this is seen as poetic since the first cut Kenshin received on his cheek was from Tomoe's first fiance when he died as Kenshin was carrying out one of his assassination assignments. Kenshin only found out much later that Tomoe was engaged to another and that he was the one who killed him.
Kamiya Kaoru is a seventeen-year-old dojo instructor and the first main character Kenshin meets. Kaoru is a teacher of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū style, a swords style used to protect people, and not harm others. Since her father was killed in the war, responsibility for running the family dojo fell to young Kaoru. After defending Kaoru from the fake Battōsai and his allies, Kenshin is invited to live at the dojo. Kaoru quickly develops a crush on Kenshin, soon falling in love with him, although she tends to violently deny it. She recognizes that Kenshin, despite his violent past, is a gentle soul who only wants peace by atoning for the lives he stole during the revolution. Although, personality-wise, she is very different than Yukishiro Tomoe, Kenshin's first love, (i.e. Kaoru is loud, brash, insecure, and cannot cook anything tasty), Kenshin sees that she is also selfless, compassionate, and caring of others almost to a fault. Her understanding of his nature and wanting to help him find the peace he so desires also draws him to her. In the manga, he is able to find atonement (and Tomoe's smile) by protecting Kaoru's happiness as well as his new friends. At the end of the series, she and Kenshin marry and have a son together.
Sagara Sanosuke is nineteen years old and a street fighter who befriends Kenshin early in the series. As a youth, Sanosuke ran away from home to join the Sekiho Army, a group of farmers and merchants who fought for the Ishin Shishi during the Meiji Revolution. When the Sekiho were betrayed and executed by the other revolutionaries, Sanosuke escaped and becomes a fighter-for-hire to vent his anger. He is hired to attack Kenshin, a former Ishin Shishi, but when Sanosuke is defeated he becomes Kenshin's best friend and fighting partner. Sanosuke enjoys gambling and fighting and has a running tab at the Akobeko, the beef-pot restaurant where he first met Kenshin, Kaoru, and Yahiko. His love interest is Takani Megumi.
Myōjin Yahiko is a young boy at ten years old and the son of a samurai. When he was younger, both of his parents died, and he was taken in by the Yakuza, who forced him to live as a pickpocket. Once he meets up with Kenshin and Kaoru, he decides to stand up to the Yakuza, and escapes with Kenshin's help. He joins Kaoru's dojo to become a stronger swordsman, becoming the first graduate of Kamiya Kasshin-ryū. Over the course of the series, he becomes a strong warrior. He hates being treated like a child.
Takani Megumi was originally forced to make opium for an industrialist. With Kenshin and Sanosuke's support and encouragement, she becomes a doctor to atone for her past misdeeds. She enjoys flirting with Kenshin (much to his chagrin) to make Kaoru jealous, but helps Kaoru come to terms with her feelings towards Kenshin. She is nicknamed "fox lady" by Sanosuke, whom she appears to develop feelings for over the course of the series. She is loyal to her friends and is always there to patch them up, especially Sanosuke, whom she often cautions about fighting. She is from the Aizu region, now Fukushima Prefecture.
Makimachi Misao is a kunoichi (female ninja) who was raised by the Oniwabanshū. She idolizes Shinomori Aoshi.
Saitō Hajime, based on the real-life personage of the same name, was the leader of the 3rd Squad of the Shinsengumi during the Revolution. He has a long-standing rivalry with Kenshin and firmly believes in "Swift Death to Evil."
Shinomori Aoshi, the leader of the Oniwabanshū, is a skilled swordsman who is highly respected by his comrades. His goal for much of the series is to claim the title of "the strongest" for the pride of the Oniwabanshū.
Hiruma Kihei and Gohei
In the manga 45 year-old Hiruma Kihei (比留間 喜兵衛 Hiruma Kihee ) and 37 year-old Hiruma Gohei (比留間 伍兵衛 Hiruma Gohee ), also known as the Hiruma Brothers (比留間 兄弟 Hiruma Kyōdai ), scheme to take Kaoru's dojo. After Kaoru's father died, Kihei collapsed in front of the dojo and Kaoru took him in; Kihei became a kind of a live-in apprentice and gained Kaoru's trust, but kept trying to persuade her to sell the dojo due to him not believing in women with swords. Gohei, a former samurai who is 6 shaku and 5 sun tall (1.95 meters, over 6 feet), became a murderer and falsely used the name "Hitokiri Battōsai" while Kihei did housework for Kaoru to gain her trust. They used the Kiheikan (鬼兵館), a former dojo in a neighboring town that became a gathering spot for gamblers and rogues, as their base of operations. When Kaoru begins to discover the truth, Kihei moves to seize the dojo and reveal himself and his brother as accomplices. When Kaoru struggles, they attempt to kill Kaoru, but Kenshin saves her life by defeating Gohei and scaring Kihei into unconsciousness. The brothers later ask Sanosuke to fight Kenshin and promise to pay him. Kenshin defeats Sanosuke; when Kihei tries to use his gun to attack Kenshin, Kenshin stops the bullet dead on the crossguard of his sakabatō. When the brothers try to attack Kaoru and Yahiko, Sanosuke defeats Gohei and Kenshin injures Kihei into submission. Later in the series, they are employed as bodyguards by Fudōsawa, a yakuza in Sanosuke's hometown, and then by Tani, Fudōsawa's uncle. Sanosuke beats them up on both occasions.
In the anime, Gohei exists while Kihei does not. Gohei was a student at the Kamiya dojo, but when Gohei insisted using swords for killing and then unsuccessfully attacked the master of the dojo, Kaoru's father, he received a broken thumb and an expulsion. In the story Gohei tries to take over the Kamiya dojo, but Kenshin prevents him from doing so. Gohei hires Sanosuke to defeat Kenshin, but this fails. Later, he hires the Kisaki brothers to defeat Kenshin. Though they almost succeed, Yahiko returns Kenshin's Sakabatō, the brothers are defeated, and Yahiko sends Gohei limping away after kicking him in the genitals.
Watsuki described the creation of the brothers as a "direct function of the story." Watsuki wanted "interesting villains to start things off with a bang." He wanted one as "brainy" and one as "wild." He decided that the story involving the two coming together was taking "too many" pages, so he made the duo as brothers instead of being "circumstantially-related." He used a manager and director of Takeshi Obata's Chikarabito Densetsu ("Legends of the Strong") as a model for Kihei. Watsuki used a character he found in a magazine that he thought "Ooh, impact!" for Gohei. Watsuki states that, unlike the faces of Kenshin and other characters, the faces of Kihei and Gohei are of basic shapes. In Watsuki's view, drawing the Hiruma brothers was "easy" as a result; Watsuki says that he drew the brothers in two minutes. He says that he became fonder of the brothers as his deadlines approached.
Kurogasa (黒笠, Black Hat), otherwise known as Udō Jin-e (鵜堂 刃衛 Udō Jin'e ) (in Western order, Jinei Udoh), was a hitokiri during the Revolution, and there is evidence he continued killing people well after the end of the Revolution. A master of the Nikaidō Heihō technique (the forced character "Hei" is formed with the kanji for one, two, and eight), attacked high-ranking Imperialist officials of the Meiji government (leading some to believe he fought for the Tokugawa shogunate during the war, since he did state that he was a member of the Shinsengumi, though his thirst for blood led him to killing members of his own squad), killing anyone who stood in his way. He appears as a man dressed in a long scarf, straw hat, and long kimono, and has a unique isukumi (paralyzing terror) technique to project chi toward people, hypnotizing them with his eyes (known as the Shin no Ippō or "One Side of the Soul"). It can also be used to strengthen himself. Kurogasa is obsessed with defeating the famous Hitokiri Battōsai (Himura Kenshin) when he meets him during Kurogasa's attempted assassination of Tani Jūsanrō, a government official. He leaves, stating that if Kenshin cannot fight him to his fullest potential, he does not want to fight him at all. Kurogasa kidnaps Kamiya Kaoru the next day, in an effort to force Kenshin to once again become a hitokiri. Kenshin follows Kurogasa's trail to the forest, where the two duel once again. Despite Kaoru's life being in danger, Kenshin still does not fight with the intent to kill, and Kurogasa overwhelms him. Not wanting to settle for Kenshin holding back Kurogasa paralyzes Kaoru's lungs using his Shin no Ippō, therefore making her unable to breathe. The two resume the battle, and Kenshin becomes angry enough to turn into Hitokiri Battōsai as Kurogasa looks on gleefully. Kenshin hits Kurogasa's right arm with the sheath of his sword, crushing Kurogasa's elbow and severing Kurogasa's ligaments; therefore Kurogasa can no longer wield a sword with his right arm. Kenshin is about to kill Kurogasa when Kaoru breaks Kurogasa's spell with her will; she yells "No!," releasing Kenshin from the Battōsai spell. Kenshin then frees Kaoru, while Kurogasa picks up his wakizashi with his left hand, and stabs himself in the heart. Jin-e mortally wounded himself so the police would not discover the fact that Shibumi employed him.
Watsuki intended for the motif of Jin-e to be Okada Izō, the top hitokiri of the Bakumatsu. Watsuki felt that the design looks less like his counterpart than Kenshin looks like his counterpart. Jin-e's outfit originates from that of Serizawa Kamo, the main character from a Shinsengumi comic released around 14–15 years before the release of Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2 in Japan. Jin-e's laugh, the "uhu-hu-hu," is from the character Ukon in the series "Kenka-ya Ukon." (Fight Merchant Ukon, JA). Watsuki says that he designed Jin-e, a satsujin-ki ("murderous ogre"), to be the "polar opposite of Kenshin." Watsuki describes Jin-e as a "complicated fellow" who is "crazy-crazy" and not merely "crazy-acting." Watsuki struggled with the concepts for ending the Jin-e storyline before committing to the "tearful" suicide ending. Watsuki summarizes Jin-e as, in a sense, the only character to defeat Kenshin even though he did not defeat the Battōsai.
The third volume of the drama CDs adapted the stories with Jin-e. In Volume 5 of the manga Watsuki stated that for Jin-e he wanted a voice actor with a "mature and cool voice" and therefore he did not want an actor who had a "high voice."
A cunning money-minded industrialist, Takeda Kanryū (武田 観柳) starts an opium dealing business in Tokyo and forces Takani Megumi to make the drug after the death of his previous opium maker. The opium is a stronger, faster-working recipe called "Spider's Web." The purpose of his opium business is to generate enough profits to bring in modern Westernized weapons such as the Gatling gun and become an arms dealer. He hires his own private army in Tokyo, as well as the infamous Oniwabanshū. He thinks he has the Oniwabanshū under his thumb but when Himura Kenshin shows up at his mansion to save Megumi, he finds that he is mistaken. He resorts to using his Gatling gun to kill all his enemies in the mansion. He manages to kill the four Oniwabanshū as they protect their leader Shinomori Aoshi with a suicide charge. In the manga Kanryū uses all of his bullets killing the four members, and Kenshin defeats him. As Kanryū is arrested, he tries to get the police to arrest Megumi, but Kenshin tells the police that Kanryū had forced Megumi, so the police leave her alone as Kanryū is taken away. In the anime, the feeding ramp of his gun is jammed with a dart, after which Kenshin renders him unconscious to be arrested by the police.
Watsuki modeled Takeda Kanryū after Takeda Kanryūsai, the captain of the Shinsengumi's Fifth Unit. Watsuki says that there is no model in terms of design; he describes Takeda Kanryū as a "carryover" of Nishiwaki, a character in the second standalone Rurouni Kenshin story. Kanryū wears white since Watsuki felt that "between Kenshin and Aoshi, there was too much black already." Watsuki felt that, since he put so much emphasis on Megumi and the Oniwabanshū, Kanryū never "became the character" Watsuki intended, which for Watsuki "was a bit of a letdown." The historical Takeda Kanryūsai was known as a homosexual; Watsuki considered making Kanryū a homosexual, but dropped the idea as Watsuki felt it would "unnecessarily complicate things." He wondered how the story would have proceeded if Kanryū was a homosexual.
Isurugi Raijūta (石動 雷十太)'s personality and motives differ in the manga and anime. In the manga he is dissatisfied with the current state of swordsmanship in Japan and plans to revive the old style of swordsmanship (satsujin-ken, "swords that bring death" or "murderous sword technique") with the Shinko-ryū (真古流) by traveling around Japan and shutting down shinai dojos by force, gathering the strongest swordsmen he has met along the way. His Shinko-ryū is not a formal sword school but a league of swordsmen. He uses the Tsukayama family's money to fund his campaign. In the anime he aspires to form a "kingdom" of Japanese swordsmen with a rebel group of samurai, starting at the Tsukayama home in Izu Province by using his apprentice's admiration of the swordsman to his own advantage.
Although Raijūta appears to be a tough fighter, proficient in the Shinko-ryū style, the Izuna techniques (a vacuum cut of unparalleled sharpness) are all show and no true power. Although the Izuna severed the nerves in Yutarō's right arm, it only managed to scratch Kenshin's, causing Raijūta to celebrate with glee as he thought he had the upper hand. In the manga, Kenshin figures out that despite all his talk of the killing sword, Raijūta has never killed anyone himself and is in fact a total fraud. Kenshin later defeats him with a battōjutsu technique from outside Raijūta's zone (shortly after he stated he could not be struck). Shortly after, Raijūta picks up Yahiko and threatens to kill him. Yahiko tells Raijūta to kill him, and when Raijūta is finally confronted with the choice of killing Yahiko, he cannot because Kenshin explains what the killing sword truly entails. This, in effect, destroys his confidence as a swordsman, and as a result he is never able to pick up a sword again. In the anime, Raijūta had been shown to have murdered the people that he hired to fake a kidnapping of Yutaro.
Raijūta was originally based on a character in an American comic book. As the story progressed, Watsuki said that Raijūta's appearance and personality "deteriorated." Watsuki intended for Raijūta to be "intelligently macho and a believer of satsujin-ken." Instead Raijūta became "a total fake" who became "a smaller and smaller man" as the story progressed, until he was "defeated by a single blow—ending almost as a villain." Watsuki wondered how Raijūta "sunk so low." Watsuki concluded that designing and developing Raijūta taught him "quite a bit." Watsuki wanted to give Raijūta "peace" in future stories, but added "then again...this guy—! Sigh." Watsuki experienced difficulty in trying to manage "the complicated details" of the Oniwabanshū story arc, so he gave Raijūta a relatively simple design. Watsuki used one design flourish and black feathers. Watsuki then experienced difficulty in drawing the feathers. Watsuki concluded that the development of Raijūta taught him about character design and that he feels enjoyment in drawing "macho" characters.
Akamatsu Arundo (赤末 有人) is a mercenary of Shibumi, a corrupt politician. Arundo feels jealous that Shibumi told Saitō Hajime to kill Kenshin, but Saitō tells Arundo that Arundo could kill Kenshin and take credit for Kenshin's death. Arundo ambushes Kenshin and tries to use a chain to immobilize Kenshin. Kenshin ultimately defeats Arundo. Arundo discovers that Saitō is actually allied with Ōkubo Toshimichi. When Arundo, fearing for his safety, decides to cut ties with Shibumi and go out of the country, Saitō appears and decapitates Arundo with a strike from his sword; he kills Shibumi shortly afterward.
Watsuki stated "this character's only here to get beat up." As Arundo appears to aid story development, Watsuki made Arundo arrogant (Watsuki's favorite personality trait for villains) and added no other personality traits. Watsuki believes that he was unable to make Arundo's chain-scythe to appear like real chains. His design originates from a superhuman soldier in an American comic book who has a name similar to Arundo's, that being X-Men's Russian supervillain Omega Red (赤 aka relating to "red", and 末 matsu corresponding to "end", equivalent to "Omega", which is the last letter of the Greek alphabet - also related to the Christian concept of Alpha and Omega); Arundo's use of chains also parallels Omega Red's carbonadium tentacles.
Shishio Makoto is the primary antagonist of the "Kyoto arc" in the manga (volumes 7-17) and the second season of the anime. Like Kenshin, Shishio was an assassin during the Revolution. He aspires to conquer all Japan by re-creating the chaos of the Revolution. In the anime he was known as the successor of the legendary Battōsai.
Voiced by: Kanako Irie (Japanese), Wendee Lee (English)
Komagata Yumi (駒形 由美) is 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.
Yumi dies trying to protect Shishio when his body becomes overheated in his fight with Kenshin. After she hurls herself in between Kenshin and Shishio and convinces the former to spare the latter, Shishio runs her through with his sword, mortally injuring her in the process and wounding Kenshin as well. Knowing that she has finally been of use to Shishio in his most important battle, she dies happy and released of her former frustration for not being able to fight next to him. She appears with Shishio and Hōji in hell.
Watsuki originally designed Yumi to be a "sexy" accessory for Shishio, as the Rurouni Kenshin author figured that a villain should have a "temptress" around him; Watsuki had not intended to develop Yumi into a character motivated by love. Watsuki had no particular personality model for Yumi. Yumi is a version of Ogin, a character played by the actress Kaoru Yumi in Mitokōmon Gaiden: Kagerō Ninpō-Chō, a spinoff series of Mitokōmon. Watsuki had no specific design model; he designed Yumi "on the spot" with the intention of her to "be sexy." Halfway through the development of Yumi throughout the story, Watsuki became a fan of Morrigan Aensland from Darkstalkers (Vampire Hunter) and as a result Watsuki began to expose more of Yumi's cleavage and shoulders, "eventually increasing the sexiness by about 120%."
In the end Watsuki intended for Yumi to find happiness in following Shishio everywhere; Yumi's motivation for sacrificing herself is not receiving death, but being with Shishio. Watsuki said that the concept of Yumi going with Shishio to hell "struck" him. Watsuki reported that he received response letters for Yumi's sacrifice, including some praising the development and others criticizing it. Watsuki stated that some people who tried to cosplay as Yumi found difficulty in "keeping the top up."
Watsuki stated that drawing Yumi taught him that he could have fun with drawing female characters not just by making them appear "cute," but also making them "seductive, or even evil." Watsuki added that, since Yumi had a "sexed-up body," botching "even one line" could make the character appear "downright indecent." Watsuki stated that Yumi taught him the importance of "skillful sketching."
The Abukuma Priests (阿武隈四入道 Abukuma Yonnyūdō , "Four Abukuma Priests") are followers of Shishio. When they see Shinomori Aoshi, they ask Aoshi to come with them to see Shishio. Aoshi refuses and the Abukuma priests attack Aoshi since they believe Aoshi had disrespected Shishio. Aoshi kills all four priests; Seta Sōjirō approaches Aoshi and tells him that Shishio created the setup to test Aoshi's strength.
Senkaku (尖角) is a minion of Shishio Makoto who oppresses Shingetsu Village. Senkaku killed Mishima Ei'ichirō and Ei'ichirō's parents after he discovered that Ei'ichirō was spying for the Meiji Government. He claims to have killed 99 people. Senkaku fights with a pair of knuckle blades and has high speed, contrary to his size. However, this proves to be his undoing, as Kenshin defeats Senkaku in a battle by using the gigantic size as a way to stress out Senkaku's limits, causing his leg to break. In the manga the police take Senkaku away, in which Saitō notes he would most likely be executed. In the anime he manages to escape and is killed by Seta Sōjirō.
Originally Senkaku was one of the "Ten Swords" and so Watsuki put a lot of effort into his creation. Since Shishio and Sōjirō were present and Kenshin needed to go to Kyoto, Watsuki decided to make Senkaku a "violent village despot." Originally Watsuki had Senkaku as an experimental character who could only say "Gaaaah" or "Guaaah" and not form any words. An editor commented that Senkaku "is not a wild animal" during a meeting, so Watsuki scrapped this idea. Senkaku had no model for his personality, and after the scrapping of the inarticulation trait Senkaku became "pretty much just muscle-head small fry." The origin of Senkaku's design stems from the design of the four Abukuma priests, a group of minor antagonists. Watsuki felt no attachment towards the priest characters, but he had some interest in discovering how well he could draw the different bald heads, and one of those was cone-shaped. He felt the cone-shape design was "a waste for an unimportant character," so he instead used that design for Senkaku, who to Watsuki turned out to be "unimportant" anyways. In retrospect Watsuki felt that he may have been influenced by the Coneheads, characters in a Sega Saturn commercial, and the Giant Soldier in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. When Watsuki wrote the creation profile of Senkaku in Volume 8 of Rurouni Kenshin, he still felt regret about the development of Senkaku; what he regretted most was how he was unable to use Senkaku's hissatsu-wata special technique "Piercing Head-Butt" in the storyline. In Watsuki's group of friends, Senkaku was referred to as "Sexy Dynamite," and Watsuki added that they said "especially in the groin area."
The Ten Swords (Juppongatana (十本刀)) is an elite group of swordsmen (mostly) that acts as a special attack force. They fight under Shishio Makoto against the Meiji government. Watsuki said that several of his assistants suggested ideas for the Ten Swords and that many of the characters grew out of those ideas. In Watsuki's original concept, with the exception of Sōjirō none of the Ten Swords were intended to be "lookers." Watsuki added Kamatari and Fuji at a later point. When Watsuki believed that one member of the Ten Swords, Saizuchi, had not been used to his full potential, in retrospect Watsuki wondered if having six or seven members of the organization would have been sufficient instead of ten.
Seta Sōjirō is 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 kills his relatives and goes of with Shishio to become his protege.
Voiced by: Shō Ryūzanji (Japanese), Jamieson Price (English)
Uonuma Usui (魚沼 宇水), 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 (心眼 mind's eye), 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. Usui speculates that it was coming close to death and returning to life that is the origin of this ability. Usui and Shishio made a deal upon Usui joining the Ten Swords (Juppongatana): That Usui could try to kill Shishio anytime he gets the chance. Saitō points out that deep down Usui knows he will not be able to kill Shishio (because Shishio came closer to death than Usui and developed an even greater power than the Shingan) and just boasts about killing him to hide that fact from everyone else. Saitō also points out that Shishio knows this too and is just playing along to use Usui. Since Usui cannot kill Shishio, he kills people weaker than himself to boost his ego. According to Chō, he is the second strongest of the Ten Swords.
Usui, a native of the Ryukyu Islands, fights using a short spear with a weighted end - the rochin - to attack, and a tortoise shell - the tinbei - as a shield to deflect attacks and block the enemy's vision. He dies during a fight with Saitō.
In the anime, he dies when Saitō uses the Gatotsu Zeroshiki (which Saitō originally reserved for Kenshin) and gets impaled above the door behind him. In the manga, he dies in a similar manner but instead, the force of the blow severs his upper body which is impaled above the door.
Usui originated from a chat Watsuki had with one of his assistants. The assistant proposed that Watsuki include a blind swordsman. Originally Watsuki was not interested in the idea, but after Watsuki and the assistant discussed "Shingan," the ability to read emotions of people by listening to their heartbeats and pulses, Watsuki decided to go forward with the idea. Watsuki originally planned to have Usui fight Kenshin while chasing him in the city in a similar manner to the Terminator; the plot went in a different direction, so instead Usui faced against and died at the hands of Saitō at Shishio's place. Watsuki said that he regretted creating Usui, like he regretted creating Raijūta, but Usui became more popular than Raijūta was, so Watsuki concluded "that must also mean" Usui is "stronger." The model for Usui's design is Tao Pai Pai from Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama; Watsuki said that Tao Pai Pai made "a strong impression" as he was the first villain to defeat Son Goku, the main character of Dragon Ball. Watsuki said that many readers incorrectly guessed that Lau Chan from Virtua Fighter was Usui's design model. Watsuki originally planned to give Usui a "tribal" outfit, but after Watsuki saw the "spider-like angel" in Neon Genesis Evangelion, he decided to give Usui an "eyeball-covered costume." Watsuki originally planned to make Usui a "handsome, long-haired type," but when he saw a sketch of the concept, Watsuki believed that it looked too much like Ukyo Tachibana from Samurai Shodown (Samurai Spirits), so Watsuki created the final Usui; the author of Rurouni Kenshin decided that while the final Usui originated from several sources, he believed "it came out pretty well."
Voiced by: Yasuyoshi Hara (Japanese), Michael McConnohie (English)
Yūkyūzan Anji (悠久山 安慈) is a warrior fallen-monk who fights alongside Shishio to destroy the Meiji government who did nothing to stop the anti-Buddhist purge which resulted 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. Though he is a "fallen" monk he still maintains many of the Buddhist beliefs and now wishes to cleanse the world of those who are evil, driven by the goal of salvation, and is willing to side with evil to achieve this. Anji's title, "The Bright King" (Myō-ō), comes from Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings, who shatters delusion and is a protector of the faith; Anji believes this to be his purpose. In the English dub, his title was changed to "Anji the destroyer."
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.
Upon meeting Sagara Sanosuke in a forest, he teaches him his secret technique, without realizing Sanosuke is allied with Kenshin. Before teaching Sanosuke, Anji asks Sanosuke about his opinion on the Meiji government, to which Sanosuke answers that he hates the Meiji government. In Shishio's lair, Sanosuke battles Anji to a standstill, and then, despite Anji attacking with his final technique (using his secret move in combination with a short sword) gains the advantage by upgrading the power of the Double Layer Limit into a Triple Layer Limit (Sanjū no Kiwami). (He strikes with his knuckles and then his fist, in the usual way, but then with the tips of the fingers.) After hitting Anji with the Sanjū no Kiwami, Sanosuke convinces him that the life he has been living is not the one that the deceased children want for him like he believed. Anji stops in mid-attack and sees the spirits of children he used to take care of, sinking to his knees instead. After Shishio's death, he chooses to serve 25 years in prison in Hokkaidō.
Watsuki developed Anji before publication of Rurouni Kenshin; Anji appears as an extra in the "Rurouni" short story. Watsuki experienced difficulty in determining what Anji's backstory would be and whether Anji would be a protagonist or an antagonist, so he did not use Anji until the stories published in Volume 9. When Watsuki determined that Sanosuke needed to become more powerful, he introduced Anji as being a counterpart to Sanosuke's fighting style, so Watsuki would give Sanosuke a strong opponent and increase Sanosuke's power. Watsuki used no model for Anji's personality; Watsuki pictures Anji as being similar to Shinsengumi lieutenant Shimada Kai (JA) due to the "manly air." Watsuki said that Anji is his second attempt at "manly intelligence," as the first, Isurugi Raijūta, "failed." Anji's visual model originates from the lead vocalist of a band called "Angie," which had disbanded by the time of the publication of Volume 9 in Japan; the name "Anji" originates from "Angie." Watsuki believes that the band's bandannas on shaved heads and the black makeup under the eyes gave an impression suggesting intelligence and appeared "cool," therefore Anji received these traits. Watsuki intended to give Anji a "power-fighter" design but instead used a "macho" design.
Watsuki reported that some people told him that Anji looks like Colossus in the "Fatal Attraction" story of X-Men. Watsuki said that this was not an influence in Anji's design, since Anji was created one year before the Japanese publication of Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13, and that he read the Japanese version of "Fatal Attraction" afterwards. Watsuki reported that reader response to Anji's story was mostly positive. Watsuki planned to give Anji more of a backstory, but he had to cut it down so it would not interrupt the flow of the fighting; Watsuki originally planned to have Anji's heart momentarily stop due to the "Mastery of Three Layers." Watsuki's assessment is that if one reads into the story deeply enough, one can see that Anji's "rampage" to the dark side was stopped, but by the end of Volume 13, after his defeat at the hands of Sanosuke, Anji's soul had not yet been "saved."
Voiced by: Hiroshi Takahashi (Japanese), David Mallow (English)
Sadojima Hōji (佐渡島 方治) is 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 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 (煉獄, Purgatory)—the gigantic ship—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.
Hōji strongly believes in Shishio's strength as he throws away a gun he had hidden after learning of Shishio's fifteen minute limit. He is in utter disbelief when Shishio is finally defeated by Kenshin and then attempts to destroy the complex in which the fight took place so that if Kenshin died, there would be no victor; thus Shishio would never have been beaten. As the complex collapses, Hōji was saved by Anji and Sōjirō. Anji convinces Hōji to surrender himself to the police, and Hōji agreed with the intent of using the criminal courts to project Shishio's ideals and plans. At the end of the Shishio arc, it was revealed that Hōji committed suicide in prison after government officials decided that his voice was too dangerous and refused to grant him a trial. After slitting his throat, he wrote a message on the wall with his own blood: "This world is dead to me now. I go to follow my master to hell." The message was directed at the Meiji government to convey Hōji's disgust with the regime and his loyalty to Shishio. He is last shown in Hell with Shishio and Yumi, vowing to follow Shishio when he declares that he will conquer Hell.
Watsuki stated that much of the overall concept for Hōji originates from a character from X-Men whose name sounds similar to Hōji's name (likely Forge); Watsuki said that the X-Men character gave him a "hint" for the story and that Hōji's personality does "not so much" originate from the X-Men character. The X-Men character did not directly fight but instead invents machines to help his team members, so Watsuki wanted a character who held a support role in the Ten Swords. At first Hōji was an individual who was often surprised, but Watsuki decided that was would "get awfully dull." Watsuki that when he decided to make Hōji Shishio's second in command, then the character concept "struck chords in my heart." Watsuki stated that Hōji's character design is "100% original" to him and that the design is one which Watsuki is the most confident in; Watsuki reported that several people believed that the design originated from Giant Robo. Watsuki added that the one aspect he did not like about Hōji is the costume; Watsuki wanted to make it more "European style authentic" to the time period, but he could not find sufficient resources to make the costume in this manner. Watsuki said that Hōji becomes "a pretty cool guy" at the end of the Shishio arc.
Voiced by: Shinichi Fukumoto (Japanese), Derek Stephen Prince (English)
Also known as "Sword Hunter," Sawagejō Chō (沢下条 張, IT) possesses quite a collection of rare and unusual swords, including, his favorite, a long flexible sword he keeps hidden around his waist named urumi, and double bladed sword known as a renbatō. He is only a mediocre opponent when not using the former (despite using a master sheathing technique), but he will still begin battles with regular swords, preferring to toy with his opponents. Only if they prove a true challenge will he reveal his full ability. A native of Osaka, Chō has a very calm and cool exterior, and normally keeps one eye closed when talking, and only opens both eyes when excited in the heat of battle. He speaks with a Kansai-ben accent.
His fighting style is determined by the sword he uses, but he mainly uses the style Garyuorochi. The first is Orochi (Eight-Headed Hydra), in which Chō bounces his sword, an Urumi type blade, the Hakujin no Tachi (The Thin blade) on the ground in waves. He uses "Reverse Mid-Air Sheathing" (Sakasa Kuchu Nōtō) on Arai Seikū's son Iori, threatening to kill Iori to intimidate Seikū and Azusa, Seikū's wife, into revealing the location of the final sword of Shakkū; Azusa reveals that the sword was placed in a temple as a godsword. Chō took Iori with him and threatened Iori's life. Kenshin fought Chō with the broken sakabatō; after Seikū gives Kenshin the sword, Kenshin defeats Chō. After Shishio Makoto's death, Chō pays Kenshin and his friends a visit to inform them of what happened to members of the Ten Swords after Shishio's demise, then he goes on to work under Saitō Hajime as a spy and informant.
Chō later appears in the anime when he tries to attack Amakusa but is soundly defeated. In the manga, he later appears in the Jinchū Arc to help uncover information about Enishi.
Watsuki used no particular model for his personality; Watsuki said that if he had to say one, it would be the stereotyped depictions of people from the Kansai region. Watsuki stressed that Chō is not intended to represent the people from the Kansai region. An assistant from Kansai checked Chō's accent. Watsuki then had the accent "broken down" so that everyone from Japan can understand it, so therefore Chō's Kansai accent differs from the actual accent. Watsuki said that he created Chō's design when he was 20 years old; originally the design was to be used for a space alien. While Watsuki did not use the alien aspect, for him the "horse-headed monkey-face" was "hard to throw out completely," so he used it for Chō. Originally the character design had swept back black, "messy" hair. To give the character more impact as the first Ten Swords member chronicled, Watsuki added a "punk rock" quality to Chō. Watsuki reported that his assistants incorrectly guessed that Galford D. Weller of Samurai Shodown was the model for Chō's design, while readers incorrectly guessed that Benimaru Nikaido of King of Fighters was the model for Chō; Watsuki added "I guess that due to the punk rock hair it was understandable that readers thought of Benimaru".
Despite being a villain, Chō was a popular character with Rurouni Kenshin readers; Watsuki said that characters with Kansai dialects are "always pretty popular." Watsuki said that he enjoyed drawing Chō and that it would be "a waste" to "finish off" Chō after the conclusion of the Iori story. Therefore Watsuki made Chō appear at later points, though he would be in "a bit more of a neutral position" since he felt it would be strange for Chō to "become friendly with Kenshin and the others." Watsuki added that most of the sketches sent by fans to him with Chō also had Iori in the pictures; Watsuki found this humorous and reported having "quite a laugh."
A crossdresser, Honjō Kamatari (本条 鎌足) appears like a woman to the degree that he throws Makimachi Misao off completely when Kamatari reveals that he is a man; in the manga, he lifts his kimono to reveal his penis, showing that he is biologically a man. He is homosexual and 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.
Kamatari uses a very heavy scythe-like weapon, a reaper, with a chain ball on the end of the weapon; this is called Ogama. Kaoru estimated that the weapon weighs at least 50 kan (30 kilograms or 78 pounds). He practices Honjō-ryū, his own style of martial arts with his scythe, and three of his special techniques are seen in the series, two of which are named after Benten, the only female of the Buddhist Seven Lucky Gods: Midare Benten (Disheveled Benten) is when the scythe is whipped over his head, and the chain forms a sphere, therefore creating both an offensive and defensive attack. Benten Mawashi (Unwrapping Benten) makes use of his broken scythe by twirling the blade and chain rapidly like the blade of a helicopter. Kaoru and Misao defeat Kamatari. Kamatari tries to commit suicide with a pin, but Misao hits him, preventing him from driving it into his neck. As Kamatari recovers from his injuries, Sawagejo Chō convinces Kamatari that Shishio wanted for Kamatari to live so that the world will know of the work done by Shishio's faction; Chō in fact made up the story so that Kamatari would not kill himself. Kamatari becomes a spy.
The concept for Kamatari originated from a play on words from Eiichiro Oda, who was one of Watsuki's assistants at the time. In Japanese okama (お釜, おかま) is a slang word for a homosexual, while the word for a scythe is a kama (鎌). Watsuki used ideas from assistants to create the Ten Swords, and the word play lead to the creation of Kamatari. Watsuki said that at first the concept "just wasn't coming together." In the beginning some of his ideas were "male-appearing on the surface, but personality-wise, will be feminine," "A very erotic and seductive, womanly appearance from the outside, but a manly man on the inside," and "a big macho gay guy." The conflicting ideas for Watsuki became "a big tangle." A friend of Watsuki asked if Kamatari could be "just a 'pretty girl' type," leading to the solidification of the character. Watsuki planned for Kamatari to have a "light-hearted and cheerful" personality, but Watsuki found complications when "the more serious side" began to emerge, leading him to feel some regret with the outcome. Watsuki added that when he writes with the character in the future he would have to "keep his outlook sunny" while not compromising the "essential self." Watsuki used Yui Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion as the visual model for Kamatari's face; the author colored the hair black, exposed more of the forehead, and had the back of Kamatari's hair "flip out as I've seen so many high-schoolers do these days." Watsuki added that he then made "Watsuki-style adjustments" to make the design origins less obvious. Watsuki found that the triangular silhouette has influences from Hsien-Ko (Lei-Lei) in Darkstalkers (Vampire Hunter). The type blade that Kamatari uses exists in real life; Watsuki made Kamatari's blade larger to give it "a real super-impact look." In real life the type of blade is not intended to be used in the way that Kamatari uses it in Rurouni Kenshin.
Watsuki originally believed that Kamatari would be a "garden-variety character," but Kamatari took tenth place in a character popularity poll.
Voiced by: Eiji Takemoto (Japanese), Jake Martin (English)
Kariwa Henya (刈羽 蝙也 Kariwa Hen'ya ), known as Henya the Flighted, aids the attack on Aoi-Ya, the Kyoto secret headquarters of the Oniwabanshū, 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. Yahiko defeats Henya by using a shōji door blown up by Henya's dynamite and then attacks from above. Later on, Henya is used as a government spy because of his aviation abilities.
Henya's personality was modeled after Matsubayashi Hen'yasai, a swordsman in the Edo period, who possessed "avoidance techniques," which would be called acrobatics in the modern era. Watsuki originally planned to introduce Henya as a tengu during the Megumi arc; Watsuki said the arc was "not as well-planned as it otherwise might have been," so Watsuki could not introduce Henya at that point and instead made Henya into one of the Ten Swords. Originally Watsuki planned for Henya to engage in a mid-air battle with Kenshin, but Watsuki felt that Kenshin would be too strong since Kenshin had gained the secret Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū technique, so Kenshin made Yahiko the opponent of Henya; Watsuki reported that some readers believed that Yahiko was too strong of an opponent for Henya. For Henya's design Watsuki used the bat as a model; he added a streamline head and "a little bit" from Jet Link (Cyborg 002) of Cyborg 009. Watsuki intended for Henya to be "monster-like" since, originally none of the Ten Swords aside from Sōjirō were supposed to be "lookers." Watsuki reported that some people around him felt that Henya was "still too good-looking," so Watsuki made his body "super-emaciated." Watsuki said Freak of Spawn was also a reference for Henya.
Iwanbō (夷腕坊) is 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 was last seen on a cliff outside of Kyoto. Iwanbō's only weapons were the metal nails on the end of each of his fingers that could cause damage. It is also noted that Iwanbō's skin was thick enough to withstand attacks.
As revealed in the Jinchū, or "Revenge" arc of the manga, Iwanbō is in reality a mechanical puppet, a primitive mech, controlled by Gein, the puppetmaster. Gein reappears in this arc as one of the six comrades in a more dangerous form of Iwanbō and plays a major role in Enishi's revenge.
Saizuchi (才槌) is 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 his proficient use of words: during the Ten Swords attack of Aoi-Ya, Saizuchi attempted to destroy the morale of the Oniwabanshū by giving a speech as to why it is impossible for them to defeat Fuji and himself. Saizuchi was knocked unconscious when Fuji's left arm fell on him, after Fuji was defeated by Hiko Seijūrō. Saizuchi later works for the Diplomacy Department in the government for sticky situations after Shishio's death.
The overall model for Saizuchi is the evil elf who tricks the Jötunn (Frost Giant) in Norse mythology; Watsuki combined the concept with the "image of a giant-robot pilot." In addition Watsuki compared Saizuchi to Kushana in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, using Fuji and the Gold-Soldier in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as a comparison. Originally Watsuki planned for Okina to fight Saizuchi, but he cut the concept because he wanted to maintain the balance of the story and because his "inner story-editor" asked him if anyone would really like to see "two old codgers" fight each other. The design model is "Director-General Luchi of the Akuda Republic" from Purin Purin Monogatari ("Purin Purin Story"), an NHK puppet show. Watsuki said that the large size of Director-General Luchi's head would "freak me out." Watsuki commented that Luchi's design was "efficient" since one could tell that he was very intelligent at one glance.
Watsuki added that, of the Ten Swords, Saizuchi got the "short end of the stick" since the character did not have a chance to fully display his intelligence. He described this as the "Senkaku Effect," where the characters with the "best noggins" are not used to their "full potential."
Fuji (不二) is 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. He was easily defeated by Hiko Seijūrō, though he spared his life, who unlocked his true martial artist's soul and was the first to look at Fuji as someone other than a monster. Upon capture, the Meiji government assigned him to northern Hokkaidō to develop land and act as a defending fighter during times of war.
The idea originated from the God-Soldier in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind; Watsuki saw the film and decided that he wanted to create a giant character. Around the same time he wondered if it would "even be interesting" for Kenshin to fight a giant. Watsuki decided to have Fuji fight against Hiko. Watsuki also received inspiration from Jötunn (Frost Giant), a Norse folktale in which a giant is revealed to have a compassionate heart; Watsuki used this idea with Fuji. The design had inspiration from the first Neon Genesis Evangelion. Originally the face originated from Eva #2. The assistants believed the design looked too similar. One then-assistant of Rurouni Kenshin, Hiroyuki Takei, suggested a 'skull-like riff on "Eva#1."' Watsuki added the skull biting the helmet anchor rope feature, finishing Fuji's helmet face. Watsuki tried "very hard" to keep the face from being too similar to the designs of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fuji's actual face originates from Dogura Magura of Arabian Lamp-Lamp by Takeshi Obata; Watsuki wanted to work with the concept of a "monstrous character who's somehow still good looking," which Watsuki says Dogura Magura is "the epitome of" the concept. Due to the "tight" schedule of the Fuji chapters Watsuki said that he had insufficient time to revise the design, resulting in "an essentially unoriginal face." Watsuki reported that people correctly guessed the influence of Fuji's real face upon seeing it.
When Watsuki told his editor about the giant character idea, the editor asked "Are you sure?" as the editor was concerned that the character was too large. Watsuki's assistants and friends told the author of Rurouni Kenshin that the idea "sound(ed) fun—do it, do it!" Watsuki decided to create the character; in retrospect he said that the "gamble" "seems to have paid off, so, I'm pleased."
Yukishiro Enishi is the brother of Yukishiro Tomoe and the primary antagonist of the Jinchū arc, the last major story arc of the manga. Enishi wants revenge against Kenshin since Kenshin killed Tomoe; he desires to bring Jinchū[note 3] upon Kenshin.
The Six Comrades
The Six Comrades (Rokunin Nakama in Japanese), founded by Enishi, are from the manga only Jinchū arc. Most of them have connections to Kenshin's past as Hitokiri Battōsai; however, only three of them truly want revenge on Kenshin for the wrongs he did to them through their Jinchū (Man's Justice) campaign. The other three are only participating for fighting, enjoyment, or testing their skills.
Gein (外印) is the last remaining descendant of a small group of people who mastered the art of mechanics in the Middle Ages. He creates puppet like suits out of corpses, most notably the Iwanbō series. He is actually an old man yet he is very strong due to controlling his heavy puppets for so long. The diamond edged steel wires he uses (Zankosen) to control his puppets can also be used as a weapon as they are sharp enough to cut flesh and break bone. Gein just wants to test out his creations and needs to be around men of battle to do it since according to him, the forefront of technology is always in battle. This is also the reason why Gein joined Shishio.
Gein first joined Shishio's Ten Swords (Juppongatana) disguised as Iwanbō and later, Enishi's Six Comrades. Once Shishio was dealt with, Enishi met Gein and had him organize the first meeting between the Six Comrades and acquire a mansion for them to stay at. For Enishi's Jinchū he creates a corpse doll of Kaoru to fool Kenshin into thinking she had been killed by Enishi, he considers this his masterpiece. When Gein gets to Tokyo he goes to the graveyard to get his Kaoru doll where he runs into a trap set by Aoshi, who had figured out that the corpse was a fake. Aoshi kills Gein after discovering where Kaoru was.
In Gein's Character Notes Nobuhiro Watsuki said that he based Gein from the notorious murderer Edward Gein.
Kujiranami Hyōgo (鯨波 兵庫) is a large one-armed man. Sano points out that he is bigger than Anji. While shown to be a relatively selfless and understanding person when first introduced, his nature is later distorted until he reaches the point of insanity. His height also gradually expands, going from a large-but-still-believable height when first seen, to a towering behemoth with a hand the size of normal people on his rampage.
During the battle of Toba Fushimi in the Bakumatsu, Kujiranami fought Kenshin, who cut off his right arm. Kujiranami requested that Kenshin kill him since he did not want to live to see an era where wars are fought with guns instead of the swords, absent of skill and soul. However, Kenshin refused to kill Kujiranami, saying that he did not want to kill anymore than he needed to and that Kujiranami should live in the new era. Already feeling that he had been robbed of a warrior's pride and era, being robbed of a warrior's death was the last straw for Kujiranami. Since then he vowed to kill Kenshin for dishonoring him and joined Enishi's Jinchū to get his revenge.
Enishi gives Kujiranami an Armstrong canon to replace his missing arm which Kujiranami uses to blow up the Akabeko and the police chief's home. He is taken down by Saitō, arrested, and put in jail, but later goes berserk in his cell and escapes. He gets his upgraded weapon from Enishi, a grenade launcher and goes on a rampage in Tokyo searching for Kenshin.
Yahiko is the only one around to fight Kujiranami at the time and manages to hold him off until Kenshin arrives and cuts off his grenade launcher, which returns his sanity. Afterwards Yahiko manages to convince Kujiranami that his hatred for a fellow samurai is wrong and has done nothing for him except lead him down the wrong path. Moved to tears by Yahiko's words, Kujiranami accepts that he was wrong, apologizes to Kenshin for his crimes and turns himself back into the police.
The idea for a one-handed fighter originates from Iba Hachirō, a swordsman from the bakumatsu. Watsuki originally considered making Enishi one-handed, but after considering the problems involving a one-handed swordsman facing the skilled Kenshin and deciding that "boss fights" should simply involve a sword versus a sword, Watsuki made Kujiranami one-handed instead. Watsuki planned to make Kujiranami a Terminator-like character, as he was unable to make Usui Terminator-like. When it became time for the story to be drawn, Watsuki and his assistants felt tired from the work. Since drawing the destruction of buildings and people fleeing would be tiring, Watsuki and his assistants decided to remove the Terminator-like aspects. The design model of Kujiranami is Apocalypse of X-Men, one of Watsuki's favorite villains. Watsuki felt that Apocalypse's lips are "quite interesting," so he gave Kujiranami similar lips. The author of Rurouni Kenshin believed that Apocalypse's belief in survival of the fittest is "true manliness" and Watsuki wanted to have the "manliness" and portray characters like Apocalypse. Watsuki Another theme used for Kujiranami is "macho middle age fatness," which Watsuki enjoyed depicting in the series. According to Watsuki some people mistakenly believed that Kujiranami's design originated from Hanma Yagyu of Samurai Shodown (Samurai Spirits, "Samu-Supi") or Barret Wallace from Final Fantasy VII; Watsuki had not played Final Fantasy VII at the time he wrote Kujiranami's profile.
Inui Banjin (戌亥 番神) is a camouflage-wearing, hand-to-hand fighter who mirrors Sanosuke in intelligence (lacking-in). He is the student of Tatsumi, the leader of the ninja group that tried to kill Hitokiri Battōsai. As Tatsumi was killed by Battōsai, Inui claims to join Enishi's Jinchū campaign for that reason, but he is actually using his master's death as an excuse to fight and prove how powerful he is and cares nothing for his master, of whom he thinks is a mere loser.
Inui wears gauntlets on his wrists called tekkō that, according to him, can deflect any attack, even bullets, due to the angling design of the gauntlets, despite their thinness. He wears them to compensate for the fact that he cannot take damage well. Later, Enishi gave Inui a new pair of gauntlets, even more powerful than the previous, when Sano broke a fragment of the first one. Inui is skilled in Jutsushiki Muteki-ryū, which is an amalgamation of various styles of martial arts. He likes to boast about being invincible and undefeated, but Sano figures out that Banjin is full of himself from wearing the tekkō and that he only fights people weaker than him.
Inui attacks Maekawa dojo as part of the Jinchū campaign where he fights Sano for the first time. During the battle, Sano ends up wrecking one of his tekkō with the Futae No Kiwami. He later gets a pair of upgraded Tekkō from Enishi and fights Sano again in the attack on Kamiya dojo. In the end Inui provokes Sano into attacking him with the Futae No Kiwami again and is defeated as a result with both of his Tekkō destroyed. After being taken down, Inui vows to kill Sano next time and Sano welcomes him to try but warns him that he will not win as long as he wears the tekkō to cover his weakness. Banjin is arrested by the police afterwards.
Otowa Hyōko (乙和 瓢湖) is a drag queen-looking user of assassin's weapons that he has hidden all over his body. He says he has thirteen total and used four during his manga existence. The first is Baika-Chusen, a small six-barreled arrow-launcher worn on his left wrist. The second is the Kasui Busuen, a paralysing mist generated by dropping two small cubes into water. The third is a jar of iron powder (Bishamonpun, 'Bishamon's Powder'), used in conjunction with his "enchanted" Bishamonken ('Bishamon's Sword'). The last is the Rikudouko, six long piercing tentacle-like appendages worn on his torso. His battle tactic is to outwit the opponent and catch them off guard with his hidden weapons as opposed to simply overpowering them. He also gave his friend Nakajō a Chusen, a scaled down version of the Baika-Chusen.
Otowa is a sadistic individual as he loves to kill people for exhilaration and is not above killing women and children. Otowa was the friend of the shadow ninja Nakajō, who he had nightly competitive killing sprees with. He said that he joined Yukishiro Enishi's Jinchū campaign because of Nakajō's death fighting Hitokiri Battōsai; in reality Otowa joined the fight just for pleasure.
Otowa later fights Myōjin Yahiko in the attack on Kamiya dojo. He comes close to killing Yahiko with a few of his weapons, but Yahiko eventually defeats him. As Otowa goes down he has a crazed smile on his face as he could not believe his defeat at the hands of someone not even half his age. Though Kenshin silences Sanosuke from revealing Otowa was starting to become fearful of Kenshin's abilities and thinking of fleeing from him after the duel with Yahiko, he was arrested by the police afterwards.
Yatsume Mumyōi (八ツ目 無名異, note: the "Mumyōi" means "nameless", meaning he has no known given name) is a member of an old gold mining clan. Family tradition led them to elongate the limbs of the family members using iron rings to help them mine better. As a result, Yatsume's limbs are about 1.5 times as long as normal, with the notable exception of his left arm, which is twice as long and equipped with metal claws. His teeth have also been sharpened into fangs from a young age.
Yatsume took up fighting and joined the Yaminobu Shadow Warriors that tried to kill Kenshin in order to support his clan, who had fallen under hard times. When Kenshin sees and defeats him, he vows revenge and returns in the Jinchū arc under Enishi to exact vengeance. Though he states that wants revenge on Kenshin to uphold the laws of his clan (which state that anyone that sees a member of their clan must be killed), it's later revealed that his desire for revenge also stems from the misfortunes of his clan, which he blames the Meiji government, and by extension, Kenshin for. Before he can fight Kenshin however, he ends up fighting Saitō instead and is defeated, despite managing to once overpower the man's trademark move. After Yatsume is defeated by Saitō, Kenshin offers to let Yatsume fight him if he still wants to but suggests that he go up north and use his abilities to help his clan. He is arrested by the police afterwards. Of all those involved in the Jinchū, he appears to show the most respect to his fellow comrades, formally greeting them (albeit from a hole in the ceiling). He also accepts Kenshin's generosity to go on with his life. He is also one of only three of the "6 Comrades" who was actually obsessed with taking revenge on Kenshin.
Yatsume's appearance is very similar to Venom, the Spider-Man villain. Nobuhiro Watsuki admits in Yatsume's character notes that his design was partially based on Venom. Additionally, Yatsume's long limbs could possibly have also been inspired from Venom, as Venom usually uses tendrils to extend his reach.
Woo Heishin (呉 黒星 Ū Heishin , Hanyu Pinyin: Wú Hēixīng) is Enishi's second in command of the Shanghai Mafia Organization. Heishin possesses no true fighting skills, although he is later seen wielding a pair of revolvers.
Watsuki created Heishin after the editor told Watsuki that he needed to put more depth into the "Black Market Weapons Organization." Since the organization was made simply to explain Enishi's finances, Watsuki believed that the addition of Heishin "didn't seem to change anything." Watsuki felt that he had been unable to set Heishin's personality, so he became "this pathetic creature." Even though Heishin was Watsuki's favorite "#2," Heishin became "an unattractive character." Watsuki stated that he regretted how Heishin developed. Watsuki created Heishin without a specific character model; around the time of the Tomoe chapters he designed Heishin so he does not obviously look like any character from any particular work. Heishin was designed to be "heavy" on black to contrast with the "whiteness" of Enishi.
The Sū-shin (四星, Hanyu Pinyin: Sì xīng, "Four stars", and 四神, Hanyu Pinyin: Sì shén, "Four gods") are Woo Heishin's four bodyguards who surround him at all times. They are named after the four gods of Japan: Seiryū (青龍, "Azure Dragon"), Suzaku (朱雀, "Vermilion Bird"), Byakko (白虎, "White Tiger"), and Genbu (玄武, "Black Tortoise"). All four look exactly the same aside from their weapons and the tattoos on their heads; Seiryū wields a long bladed spear, Suzaku wields twin Chinese swords, Byakko wields spiked wrist gauntlets, and Genbu wields a wooden stave that can detach into a mace. The four travel around Heishin as the "Four Stars," while their most powerful form is the "Four Gods." All four, as the "Four Gods," provide counterparts for Kenshin's friends in the assault on Enishi's Island, and all four are defeated; Saitō defeats Seiryū, Aoshi defeats Suzaku, Sanosuke defeats Byakko, and Yahiko defeats Genbu.
Watsuki created the Sū-shin without any personalities and with no personality models, as the characters were there to "fill in the numbers." Watsuki created the Sū-shin "on the spot" since otherwise Sanosuke and the other characters would not have "glamour." Watsuki said that he switched from "Four Stars" to "Four Gods," after the four godly beasts, since the Sū-shin were "so irresponsibly made." Watsuki noticed what occurred and wrote some dialog to try to explain the change; Watsuki felt that the explanation "got weird." In addition he felt that the battles between the Sū-shin and Kenshin's allies were "not as glamorous" as he hoped they would be. He used no particular model for the design of the Sū-shin; he placed four "easy to draw" quadruplets into Chinese costumes. Makimachi Misao's dialog about the Sū-shin being "mass-produced," in Watsuki's words, "hits the bulls-eye."
The Yaminobu (闇乃武) are a group of assassins/ninja on the side of shogunate supporters. They were to kill Hitokiri Battōsai, using Yukishiro Tomoe to become his weakness (unbeknownst to her) and using Yukishiro Enishi as the contact. Most fought Battōsai in 'the Binding Forest', and died there. They include Murakami, Nakajō, Sumita, Yatsume Mumyōi, and Tatsumi. Yatsume is the only one of the five who survived, and he returns in the Jinchū arc to exact his revenge.
- Murakami (村上) is the first of the Yaminobu Kenshin encounters; his weapon consists of two katanas chained together at the handles. He fights Battosai shortly after he leaves a restaurant, and meets his demise at the blade of his own katana.
- Nakajō (中条) is the best friend of Otowa Hyōko (who gave him his "Chusen"), and the first to fight Battōsai upon his entrance of the Binding Forest. In the manga, Battōsai cuts off his arms and, as Nakajō runs into a cave, follows him inside. There Nakajō enacts the second barrier (the first being the forest itself) by setting off a bomb, killing himself and causing Battōsai to temporarily lose his hearing. In the OVA Kenshin impales him on his katana, and he sets off the bomb as he dies. His death is later used by Otowa as an excuse to join Enishi's Jinchū campaign.
- Sumita (角田) is the next member to fight Battōsai, along with Mumyōi, in the Binding Forest. His weapon is an ax, and seemingly the trees around him. Battōsai slices off his legs, and before he can continue to Tomoe's location, Sumita activates a second bomb and becomes the third barrier, taking away Battōsai's sight temporarily, and killing himself in the process.
- A hulk of a man, Tatsumi (辰巳) is the leader of the ninja clan Kenshin fights when looking for Tomoe. In the OVA, he is represented as a physically fit old man with a ninja outfit who gives Kenshin the beating of his life before Kenshin kills him. His character cares a lot about the Tokugawa values. In the OVA, he talks a lot, while all other members of his gang are never shown speaking. In the manga, he is depicted as someone (literally) twice his size. He lacks pupils. He was the master of Inui Banjin and his death at the hands of Kenshin is used as an excuse by his student to join Enishi's Jinchū campaign. In the manga Tatsumi said that his group will kill Tomoe after Kenshin's defeat. In the Japanese OVA he is voiced by Minoru Uchida and in the English Dub by ADV Films he is voiced by John Paul Shepard.
Fudōsawa (不動沢), a yakuza in a small town in Shinano Province (Shinshū), is a nephew of Tani Jūsanrō who tries to intimidate the Higashidani family. He hires Sagara Sanosuke to fight against Higashidani Kamishimoemon, but Sanosuke discovers that Kamishimoemon is his father and realizes that his family is being forced into poverty by Fudōsawa. Sanosuke defeats Fudōsawa's forces and injures Fudōsawa, causing him to receive six broken ribs. Fudōsawa has a forehead shaped like the letter "M."
Hiko Seijūrō was Kenshin's swordsmanship instructor, and passed down his signature style to Kenshin, the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū. His imposing looks, unbelievable fighting prowess and ego are parts of his character.
Yukishiro Tomoe was Kenshin's first love and Enishi's sister. She died by Kenshin's sword during the Revolution.
Sekihara Tae (関原 妙) is the 20-something manager of the beef hot pot (gyūnabe, or sukiyaki) restaurant, the Akabeko (赤べこ). She has a twin sister named Sae managing in a similar restaurant called the Shirobeko in Kyoto. Sagara Sanosuke also owes her a seemingly large sum of money in which interest is accounted for. In the anime, and a bit in the manga, she has also tried to push the relationship between Himura Kenshin and Kamiya Kaoru since it seemed it to her that it was not working.
Watsuki originally created Tae as a plot convenience in the Zanza story arc and he intended for Kaoru to patronize a restaurant operated by "a good friend"; the author said he used "no thought" while creating Tae, including a lack of planning in her character design. Tae's personality originates from Kamiya Megumi in Watsuki's first "Rurouni" story. As the story progressed Watsuki found himself adding additional details about Tae, such as her family name, her status as the daughter of the owner of Akabeko, and her collecting of Nishiki paintings. Watsuki said that Tae was his first character to evolve in the manner that she did. Watsuki did not give Tae lipstick so she would be easily distinguished against Megumi. Her character design originates from a rejected model for Kenshin with a prototype Kenshin hairstyle colored black and a "softer, female" face. Watsuki originally intended for Tae to have a Kansai dialect and had an assistant from the Kansai region to vet the dialog, but Watsuki ultimately rejected the idea after he felt the concept was becoming too strange.
A waitress at Tae's restaurant, Sanjō Tsubame (三条 燕) becomes Myōjin Yahiko's sweetheart. She was saved by him from the ronin her family worked for as Yahiko stopped them from robbing the Akabeko. She is very shy and soft spoken. When Himura Kenshin enters a deep depression after the supposed death of Kamiya Kaoru at the hands of Yukishiro Enishi, Tsubame pleads for Kenshin to help Yahiko fight back against one of Enishi's abandoned allies and brings Kenshin back into the world of the living. Tsubame and Yahiko become a couple in the manga storyline, and Watsuki mentioned in his notes that they had a son, Myōjin Shinya (明神 心弥 Myōjin Shin'ya ), who he considered using in a story idea, though he was never featured in the manga or anime. In Samurai X: Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin: Seisōhen), Tsubame and Yahiko had become a couple.
Watsuki said that he did not use a specific model for Tsubame's personality. When the author thought of the concept "a young girl being a young man's motivation to act" he introduced her as the heroine of the Yahiko storyline printed in Volume 5. The author used Tsubame as a "testament" of "wrong thinking of a previous age" and gave her a manner that contrasts with Yahiko's "acts-before-he-thinks" manner. According to Watsuki the model originated from a popular "planet-themed" anime series. As Tsubame is "an average girl" the author decided that her hair should either be in a bowl cut or in pigtails. After watching the "planet-themed" series he decided to use a bowl cut. In the final chapter and Yahiko no Sakabatō Watsuki designed Tsubame to look "as cute as possible" since he wanted a story where she was the heroine." Originally he intended for the new waitress outfit, which looks similar to a maid outfit, to be exclusively for Yahiko no Sakabatō since the maid style was in fashion at the time. Watsuki feared that the fashion could be outdated by the time he wrote Yahiko no Sakabatō, so he used the new waitress outfit in the final chapter of Rurouni Kenshin. Tsubame's name originates from places where Watsuki lived in Niigata.
A local police chief, Uramura (浦村) or Chief Uramura (浦村署長 Uramura-shochō ) is a good friend of Kenshin's and often informs him of local disturbances. During the Jinchū arc, Uramura's residence is attacked along with the Maekawa dojo and the Akabeko as part of Yukishiro Enishi's plan to strike at the places in Tokyo most important to Kenshin; fortunately Uramura and his family are saved by Kenshin. As a favor to Kenshin, he deliberately points the police in the wrong direction when they attempt to arrest Sanosuke toward the end of the manga. He was not given a name until the Jinchū arc in the manga. In the Rurouni Kenshin anime he is Chief Muraki.
The Oniwabanshū were the protectors of Edo Castle during the Edo period. In Rurouni Kenshin, they are Shinomori Aoshi, Han'nya, Shikijō, Hyottoko, Beshimi, Okina, Misao, and the others at the Aoi-Ya. Aoshi's group is referred as the Tokyo Group, while Misao and Okina's squad are known as the Kyoto Group. After the Bakumatsu, of all of the Oniwabanshū members, only Aoshi received job offers from government agencies, such as the intelligence services of the Army of Japan and protection services of political leaders; Aoshi instead chose to be a hired guard as his comrades would be able to work with him.
After Watsuki first discussed the "Megumi arc" with the editor, the editor replied with the opinion that, in Watsuki's words, "having a swordsman of Kenshin's caliber fighting a group of punk-thugs still coming into their first facial hair mi-i-ight not make for the most epic of manga." To solve this, Watsuki modified the Tokyo Oniwabanshū to make them onmitsu (ninja; Watsuki does not like using the word "ninja" as he feels that using it "like that" is "cheesy" ), and added details as publication progressed. Watsuki created various shapes and temperaments for the various Tokyo Oniwabanshū characters. Watsuki describes the addition of the Oniwabanshū as a "last minute" choice.
Han'nya (般若 Hannya ) is a pupil of Aoshi. The village he was born in was poor, so he was abandoned at birth to reduce the number of people to feed. Han'nya survived, but he could not return to the village so he wandered around like an animal until Aoshi found him and gave him a position in the Oniwabanshū. After the Bakumatsu Han'nya received no prosperous government job offers because of his appearance.
Han'nya is the master of disguise within the group; he gained his ability by removing all his prominent facial features, which is why he wears the demonic mask on his face. Han'nya burned his lips, cut off his ears and nose, and crushed his cheekbones so he could disguise himself as any individual. The anime mentions nothing of his reason for the mask, although his face is still disfigured. Since Aoshi gave him something to live for in the Oniwabanshū, he is very loyal to him. Han'nya gives his life to allow Kenshin enough time to retrieve his sakabatō to defeat Kanryū and save Aoshi. Although working as a spy is more his specialty, Han'nya is still one of Aoshi's most powerful men (even mildly difficult for Kenshin to defeat). His style of combat evolves primarily from his discipline from Aoshi. However, he adds his own bit to it by having painted, possibly tattooed, his arms in horizontal stripes. Giving them the appearance of being shorter than they actually are, thus luring opponents into a false sense of security regarding distance of attacks. He also wears steel gauntlets beneath his gloves, which help him to block attacks from other weapons. These gauntlets contain retractable steel claws, which he will resort to as a sort of trump card.
Han'nya's personality is derived from Yamazaki Susumu, a member of the Shinsengumi. Some readers proposed that Han'nya had a handsome face under his mask, was Aoshi's kagemusha (such as Aoshi's twin brother), or was a kunoichi (a female ninja). The design model for Han'nya was a human skeleton. Originally Watsuki based Han'nya off of Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man." Watsuki initially intended for Han'nya's face to be deformed since a person stepped on it while Han'nya was still in his mother's womb. In Watsuki's original concept, other people treated Han'nya like a monster, and therefore he would live alone in the mountains. Aoshi discovers Han'nya and Han'nya becomes a member of the Oniwabanshū. Therefore Han'nya, who finds his raison d'être in fighting, says "Only in the Oniwabanshū am I able to live as a human being." Watsuki and his editor discussed how this could mean "the shape of one's destiny is determined by how one is born." Watsuki decided that this message would be inappropriate for a shōnen series. Watsuki said that for him Han'nya was a difficult character since it made Watsuki aware of the responsibilities of writing for children. The fact that Han'nya's left and right eyes have different shapes and sizes originates from the Merrick concept. Watsuki said that since Han'nya's design became "more and more blocky" in development his assistants referred to Han'nya as "mobile suit," "robot," and other names. Watsuki said that Han'nya is not a character one would describe as "evil." Han'nya was not based on Masked Ninja Akakage.
The smallest of the Oniwabanshū, Beshimi (癋見) uses his speed to compensate for his lack of strength. Beshimi received no prosperous government job offers because he had competency in one skill. He is a bottom-ranked onmitsu. His favorite weapons are darts, with which he poisons Yahiko, and later on in the anime jams Kanryū's gatling gun. He was gunned down by Kanryū shortly afterward to help Kenshin defeat him.
Watsuki stated that Beshimi was "largely created on-the-spot" and does not have a motif. Watsuki described the sketched out character sans an already-created personality as being "kind of timid." Not originally intended to be a standalone character, Beshimi became shorter than Kenshin. Watsuki said that Beshimi's shortness and timidness gave him a group of fans who write to Watsuki saying "Beshimi KAWAI'I" ("Beshimi is cute!"). Watsuki said "not too sure how to feel about that one..."
Hyottoko (火男, meaning "Fire Man" or "Flame Man") is one of the Oniwabanshū members that decided to go with Aoshi when he left Okina caring for Misao. His massive belly makes him nearly impervious to direct physical attacks. Hyottoko mainly breathes fire at his opponents, by means of a large oil bag he keeps stored in his stomach and a nozzle he keeps in his mouth. He lights the flames by using his front teeth, which he replaced with flint. Hyottoko received no prosperous government job offers because he had competency in one skill. He is a mid-ranked onmitsu. Hyottoko dies while charging for Kanryū.
Watsuki said he used no particular motif while designing Hyottoko. Using his rudimentary kanji knowledge (Hyottoko is formed by "Fire" (火) and "Man" (男)), he created a "fire-breather." The creator of Rurouni Kenshin made Hyottoko fat since Watsuki wanted the Oniwabanshū to represent several shapes and sizes and that Hyottoko would have a bag of oil in his stomach. Watsuki said that since he had never drawn a figure like that before, he experienced initial difficulties while drawing Hyottoko. According to Watsuki he adjusted to the design and could draw it comfortably and repeatedly. Watsuki described Hyottoko as "the guy who makes a big entrance and then gets just as spectacularly beaten." The creator of Rurouni Kenshin said that Hyottoko is "ridiculously confident" and "a bit of an idiot" and that the development was "natural evolution of the character, I guess."
Watsuki decided to make Hyottoko "flashy" by giving him the ability to breathe fire, since he felt it would be natural for an "onmitsu" to be "flashy." By the publication of Volume 4, Watsuki saw the character as somewhat out of place and "not really organic" to his world. According to Watsuki the fire breathing and Kenshin's sword spinning method to defeat Hyottoko received criticism from fans, authors of dōjinshi fanzines, and personal friends.
Voiced by: Kazuhiro Nakata (Japanese), Dean Elliot (English)
One of the Oniwabanshū members, Shikijō (式尉) is a muscle-laden hand-to-hand fighter. Prior to joining the Oniwabanshū, Shikijō was an onmitsu for the Satsuma faction of the Ishin Shishi. In the second year of Keiō (1866) Shikijō infiltrated Edo Castle so he could get information about an upcoming battle. 13-year-old Shinomori Aoshi appeared, created scars all over Shikijō's body, and defeated Shikijō. Aoshi gave Shikijō a chance to join the Oniwabanshū and gain strength using Oniwabanshū training methods and "medicines." Shikijō received no prosperous government job offers because he was a traitor. Shikijō is mainly a hand to hand fighter but he also swings around a large ball and chain. He fights Sagara Sanosuke at Takeda Kanryū's mansion and is (barely) defeated. He is the first to die at Kanryū's hand, protecting Aoshi from the gatling gun.
Watsuki said that he modeled Shikijō after Sanosuke by giving Shikijō the same philosophy, strength, and personality. By putting them on opposite sides Watsuki inteded to illustrate the differences between the two factions. Watsuki created Shikijō as a villain, but according to the Rurouni Kenshin author the "noble manner" of Shikijō's death made the character "a pretty cool guy." Watsuki used no specific model for Shikijō's design. Watsuki gave Shikijō many muscles as the character is a "power fighter." Since Watsuki felt that Shikijō was not sufficiently "strange-enough looking" Watsuki added scars and "superhero-like exaggerated musculature."
Kashiwazaki Nenji (柏崎 念至), also known as Okina (翁), is a strong fighter and a talented strategist. He is said to be the only one who can equal the former Oniwabanshū leader in a fight, wielding steel tonfa to block sword blows. Okina was to become the next leader but refused the position, saying that it was the time for the young, not the old and recommended Aoshi to be the next leader. He was then made an agent in Kyoto for gathering information. Upon retiring, he gave up his fighting ways (although he was seen fighting Aoshi) and now lives peacefully in Kyoto at the Aoi-Ya (House of Malva), the headquarters of the Oniwabanshū (which is now a hotel), where he raised Misao. Although old, Okina still possesses a quick mind and knows all of the outer and inner workings of Kyoto since the old intelligence network of the Oniwabanshū is still active. He uses this network to help Kenshin find Arai Seikū and Hiko Seijūrō. Okina tends to like drinking games and pretty girls.
Watsuki had no particular model for Okina's personality; Okina is Watsuki's image of an "old soldier." Okina, a "gentle, run-down-at-the-seams" elderly man, summons his powers and corrects the younger generation when it is confused or does something wrong; Watsuki supposes that a bit of the character Kohei from Shōtarō Ikenami's Kenkyaku Shōbai ("The Sword Trade") in Okina. Watsuki said that he likes Okina since as a character he can "tie up loose ends." Okina's design model is Tokijirō Kaizō from Takeshi Obata's Cyborg Jii-chan G ("Cyborg Grandpa 'G'"). Watsuki said that while he is careful to not make his characters look too similar to their influences, his assistants guessed the design model "right away"; Watsuki added that his assistants are "too clever for their own good." Watsuki expressed disappointment with Okina's hair; he intended for the hair to stand up when Okina is very angry, making Okina resemble "Sally's dad from the anime." Because of a lack of available pages Watsuki concluded "this hasn't ended up coming across too well."
The four members of the Kyoto group, Kurojō (黒尉) (Chafurin, Paul St. Peter), Shirojō (白尉) (Hidenobu Kiuchi, Dan Lorge), Masukami (増髪) (Yuki Nakao, Tara Sands) and Ōmime (近江女) (Shizuka Okohira, Bridget Hoffman (Season 2), Stevie Bloch (Episode 42) and Mona Marshall (Season 3)) help run the Aoi-Ya, assist Okina, and look after Misao. They are nicknamed Kuro (黒), Shiro (白), Omasu (お増), and Okon (お近), respectively.
"Geezer" (オイボレ Oibore ) is a kindly and friendly old man who wanders from place to place and resides within the fallen villages when he chooses to stay in one place for a while. When Kenshin falls into a deep depression after he believed that he had failed to protect Kamiya Kaoru from being killed, Geezer gently persuades Kenshin (partly through the use of hakubaikō perfume) to find his purpose to stand again rather than listen to his friends telling him to avenge Kaoru, who mean well but lack the insight to realize what Kenshin's inner conflict is.
He is later revealed to be the father of Yukishiro Tomoe and Enishi. He is aware that Tomoe has died and also of Kenshin's relationship to her. He is last seen with the broken Enishi in the fallen village in Tokyo; father and son remark that their company seems familiar, though Enishi fails to recognize the identity of the old man while Geezer's knowledge of the young man's relation to him is left more ambiguous.
Geezer appears to have a keen understanding of other people's natures. He correctly surmises Kenshin's inner conflict and its outcome, and later predicts that Enishi will also some day find a new purpose in his life.
Watsuki based Geezer off of an empty milk can who is a character in "Now go, Robot!," a story by Makoto Ōishi. The motif of the entire plotline involving Kenshin in the fallen village is based on the story "Now go, Robot!" The plotline also takes influences from the comic Silver Surfer. Some readers mistakenly believed that Geezer was influenced by Cagliostro, a character in Spawn who gives advices to Spawn. Watsuki used no visual model for Geezer; Watsuki used the attributes that Geezer is homeless, has "an unusual personality," and does not easily show his true thoughts. In restrospect Watsuki felt that Geezer was similar to "Grandpa Bob" in Bøy by Haruto Umezawa.
Tsukayama Yutarō (塚山 由太郎) is a young boy who wishes to become a better swordsman. In the manga version Yutarō lives with his father, Tsukayama Yuzaemon, a former samurai who became rich by selling swords to Europeans. Yutarō feels that his father's actions degraded him. Therefore Yutarō wants to become better than his father. The Tsukayama family was deceived by Isurugi Raijūta, who faked a robbery so the Tsukayama family would pay him to teach Yutarō how to use swords. Yutarō becomes the rival to Myōjin Yahiko and the two gain a mutual desire to become better than one another. After Raijūta initiates a failed sneak attack on Kenshin's group, Raijūta slices Yutarō's right arm so that the nerves are severed, therefore making Yutarō unable to hold a sword with that hand. Yuzaemon takes Yutarō to Germany to get medical treatment. Before he leaves, however, Yahiko confronts him, scorns his sulking, and tells him that he can overcome his sorrow by working to be better than he imagined Raijuta to be. Yutaro responds that he will never stop practicing swordsmanship and his left arm is still enough to become great. At the end of the series, Yutarō (though never making an appearance) is identified as one of the instructors of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū dojo, along with Yahiko.
In the anime Yutaro's father, a well-known swordsman, is dead. Yutaro, who had inherited a lot of money after his parents died, wishes to learn swordsmanship to become as skilled as his father. When he sees Kenshin, he demands lessons on how to use a sword, but Kenshin refuses. Yutaro finds Raijuta, who plans to overthrow the Meiji government, instead. During a scuffle one of Raijuta's men accidentally hits Yutaro, causing him to fall into the ocean. After Kenshin rescues him Yutaro gets to know Kenshin's group. In a similar manner Raijuta injures Yutaro's right arm, and Yutaro goes to Germany for medical treatment. Yutaro appears in the Black Knights arc.
Watsuki developed Yutarō as Yahiko's rival; Watsuki said there was no "real model" for Yutarō's character. Watsuki gave Yutarō the traits of admiring Kamiya Kaoru, an older woman, and admiring Kenshin's strength while Yutarō could not "be honest" about this as Kenshin and Kaoru were Raijūta's enemies. Watsuki felt that Yutarō was a "good guy" who was "brought down a bit" by the "most disgraceful" Raijūta and that Yutarō may not have been developed "to his full extent." Watsuki drew Yutarō to be the opposite of Yahiko. Watsuki initially found difficulty in drawing Yutarō's hair but it became easy to him once he adjusted to it, and Watsuki enjoyed drawing Yutarō's hair. Watsuki found difficulty in compensating for the all-white Yutarō in the page design, which would need more black.
In history, Ōkubo Toshimichi (大久保 利通) (1830-1878) was one of the five Ishin Shishi - Men of Spirit and the last of the three to have the highest honors in the government. He outlived Katsura Kogorō and Saigō Takamori. He was a leader of the Satsuma clan, who supported the restoration of imperial power. He was responsible for the suppression of the Satsuma rebellion in 1877, led by Ōkubo's university friend, Saigō Takamori. In Rurouni Kenshin, Ōkubo appears to Kenshin for help in the Shishio Makoto crisis. In real life, Ōkubo was murdered by six discontented clansmen on his way to Tokyo on May 14, 1878. In the Rurouni Kenshin series, Seta Sōjirō murders him and the clansmen take responsibility.
Watsuki feels that many Japanese people have bias towards Saigō and that Ōkubo was "sly" and "cunning." Watsuki expressed disappointment in this and instead stated that while Ōkubo was a strategist during the Bakumatsu, Ōkubo was ethical during the Meiji era and did not try to enrich himself while other politicians conspired with the wealthy to make money. To support his point, after Ōkubo died he had few assets and many debts; many of his debts were due to his covering government shortfalls. Watsuki felt that Ōkubo, who had been demonized during his time period, needed more appreciation from the population. In the design Watsuki tried to use portrait photographs, but he could not find any. He tried using a statue as a model, but Watsuki believes that the final character does not look at all similar to the statue. In retrospect he believed that the character resembles President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, another historical figure that Watsuki had respect for. He commented "that must have found its way in there, somehow..."
Himura Kenji (緋村 剣路) is the son of Kamiya Kaoru and Himura Kenshin that first appears in the last chapter of the manga as a young child. Although he bears an uncanny resemblance to Kenshin, he is more fond of his mother and less caring towards his father (he has a habit of pulling Kenshin's hair). His last manga appearance is in Yahiko no Sakabatō, where he is about four years old and is seen training with a shinai, presumably in his mother's Kamiya Kasshin-ryū, as Yahiko calls him "the future heir of Kamiya Kasshin-ryū".
Nobuhiro Watsuki, author of Rurouni Kenshin, used "stupid" as Kenji's personality model; Watsuki described Kenji as "equivalent to Iori." Kenji's role is to be the son of Kenshin and Kaoru; even though the character was "cliché" Watsuki felt that Kenji had to appear. The author said that he is not "twisted enough" to place "negative elements in the ideal family." Kenji's character design is "a small Kenshin."
Born Katsuhiro (克浩), Tsukioka Tsunan (月岡 津南) is a survivor of the Sekihō Army after it was disbanded by the government. Called Katsu by Sanosuke, Tsunan became a printmaker after the Meiji Restoration. He is an expert at explosive weapons and gunpowder, and intends to use them against the Meiji government. When he and Sano try to embark on a terrorist campaign against the Meiji government later in the series, they are stopped by Kenshin. Since then, Kenshin buried his bombs and Katsu became a journalist for his own newspaper (in the anime Katsu buried his own bombs). Later on in the anime series, he becomes a valuable source of information for Kenshin and Sanosuke, serving as their intelligence source during the Feng Shui arc. However, he still makes bombs solely as a hobby - he has several to give Sanosuke just before following Kenshin to Kyoto.
Watsuki says that Tsunan originated from a false advertisement, labeled "Mysterious Artist Appears," within the series. When Watsuki created the extra Sanosuke chapters he created a "comrade from the Sekihō Army — lone explosive expert plotting overthrow of the government." Watsuki believed that this alone did not give Tsunan "interesting" qualities, so he added the "fake artist" trait. In Volume 6 Watsuki expressed a desire to use Tsunan at a later point since, at that point, he is the sole character with a "mass media" connection and therefore could have further use at a later point. Despite the fact that Tsunan is "a little depressing," Watsuki likes Tsunan's "straightforward personality." Tsunan had no design model. Due to a lack of time Watsuki used an earlier concept of a man with dreadlocks; Watsuki believed that the concept "to my surprise, turned out to be just right." The author added that the character could be "a good villain." After making some "tweaks" the design assembled "quickly." Watsuki added the bandanna and the "oddly-patterned" jacket as he wanted "artist-y" clothing.
Voiced by: Naomi Matamura (Japanese), Joshua Seth (English)
Mishima Eiji (三島 栄次) is a young boy from Shingetsu Village who wants to take revenge against Shishio's forces, who killed Eiji's parents and brother, Mishima Ei'ichirō (三島 栄一郎 Mishima Eiichirō ). Saitō Hajime sent Ei'ichirō to Shingetsu to investigate the incidents there, hoping that he would not raise suspicion; Ei'ichirō's cover was blown, and he failed to save his parents. Kenshin defeats Senkaku, who killed Ei'ichirō and Eiji's parents, and Shishio and his forces leave. At that point Eiji tries to kill Senkaku with a sword; Saitō appears and stops Eiji. When Eiji insists that Senkaku needs to be killed in his family's honor, Kenshin tells Eiji that his dead family wants him to be happy, not for him to kill someone. Saitō arranges for his wife, Tokio (時尾), to care for Eiji in the near future.
Watsuki created Eiji as the process of the tragedy in Shingetsu Village and the concept of a new beginning. Eiji's main theme is revenge. In retrospect Watsuki wishes that Eiji developed as a character since he felt the plot pulled Eiji in its own direction. Watsuki used no model in Eiji's design, as he had a lack of time. Watsuki at first created a "slightly long-haired" boy, but Watsuki whited out the design when he believed that it did not appear to be a village boy. Then Watsuki drew the final version. The first design appears in a panel in the initial weekly magazine version of the story; it was corrected for the graphic novel version. Since Watsuki had a lack of time, he asked his assistants to put a pattern on Eiji's shirt and a tone on Eiji's trousers. Watsuki felt the design looked too similar to Myōjin Yahiko's design.
- Japanese Seiyū: Hidehiro Kikuchi
- English Voice Actor: Steve Staley (who also voices Kazuki Muto, protagonist of Watsuki's later work, Buso Renkin)
Based on the actual captain, Sagara Sōzō (相楽 総三, 1839 - 1868) was the leader of the Sekihō Army's (Sekihō-tai) 1st Unit. Sanosuke looked up to him greatly; he was, to Sanosuke, the ideal role model. He was killed when the Meiji government purged the Sekihō Army, leading to Sanosuke's embitterment towards the Meiji government. In the manga, Sagara's head was placed on a platform and in a cage for all to see, haunting Sanosuke for many years. In the anime Sagara died of fatal gunshot wounds while protecting Sanosuke. In a flashback late in the Kyoto arc of the anime, it is also shown that Sanosuke remembers seeing Sagara's head in the cage in a crowd. Sometime after his death, Sano took Sagara Sōzō's family name his name and became Sagara Sanosuke.
Watsuki said that since Sagara Sōzō is an actual historical figure, "talking about his "motif" as a character seems beside the point." The author's mental image of Sagara Sōzō became important in the character development. According to Watsuki, the framework of Sanosuke's memories glorifies Sagara Sōzō in the story. Since, according to Watsuki, Sagara Sōzō genuinely wanted equality for Japan's people, Watsuki wonders about the fate of Japan if Sagara Sōzō survived. Watsuki debated whether to include the Sekihō Army Incident due to its obscurity. Since he believed that the movement exposed the truths and lies of the Meiji Restoration, he decided to include the movement. One of Watsuki's friends told the Rurouni Kenshin author that another one of his friends feared that Watsuki may be "getting in too deep." In addition, as Watsuki wrote the storyline, the popularity of the series fell to the lowest point since the debut of the series. Watsuki reasoned that he wished to explore the "true story of the Meiji Revolution" and therefore could not leave out the story of the Sekihō Army. Watsuki did not base the appearance of Sagara Sōzō on actual historic photographs; he wondered about the appearance of the real Sagara Sōzō. Watsuki instead formed his version of the character based on his mental image of the real person. He says that the character is popular "in the eyes (and hearts) of female readers." 
The Arai Family consists of Arai Seikū (新井 青空), the father, Arai Azusa (新井 梓), the mother, and Arai Iori (新井 伊織), the baby boy. In the English version of the manga, Iori says "shake, shake" when referring to Himura Kenshin. In the Japanese version, when referring to Kenshin, Iori says Gojaru! (ごじゃる!), his own version of the word de gozaru (でござる), a polite, humble verb used by Kenshin. Iori, therefore, is trying to say "Kenshin."
When Kenshin goes to Kyoto he asks Okina about Arai Shakkū (新井 赤空), the swordsmith who made Kenshin's sword, since Kenshin hopes to get a replacement for his broken sakabatō. Okina tells Kenshin that Shakkū is dead but that his son Seikū is still alive. When Kenshin asks Seikū to make a new sword, Seikū refuses because he wants to live a peaceful life and does not want to make any more instruments of war. Sawagejō Chō, a member of the Ten Swords, wants to take Shakkū's final sword, so he kidnaps Iori and uses him as a hostage until Azusa reveals where Shakkū's final sword is. Chō keeps Iori and goes to the Hakusan Shrine, where the sword is located. Kenshin appears and struggles to fight Chō with a broken sakabatō. Seikū realizes the importance of Kenshin's struggle and hands his father's sword to Kenshin, who uses the sword to defeat Chō; the opponent is still alive as, to Seikū's surprise, the sword is also a sakabatō.
Watsuki said that he had "lots of different things in my mind" when he created the family, but that he forgot many of them. Watsuki designed them so that Iori symbolizes peace, Seikū demonstrates selfishness demonstrated by fathers, and Azusa "uh... holds it all together?" Iori's design originated from "a fairly famous women's manga involving babies." Watsuki said that he created the father and mother "on the spot." Watsuki felt that Seikū's design in the end "kind of" looked similar to the design of Takeda Kanryū, so Watsuki concluded that the design "didn't turn out quite right." With Azusa he originally thought "she's not quite right," but in the end he felt "she's a really good character." Watsuki added that he found "refreshing" the fact that Azusa is the first female character he designed who shows her entire forehead.
Watsuki reported that many female readers loved Iori since "he's so cute," especially when Chō hung him on the tree. Watsuki planned to have Seikū's family appear later in the Kyoto arc with Yahiko as the lead character in the story.
Sanosuke's father and younger siblings live together in Shinano Province (Shinshū). Higashidani Kamishimoemon (東谷 上下ェ門), a farmer is his father, Higashidani Uki (東谷 右喜) is his younger sister, and Higashidani Ōta (東谷 央太) is his younger brother. The mother, Naname (菜々芽), died years after the birth of Ōta due to a cold. Uki became protective of Ōta because Sanosuke left the house and because her mother died, so she was afraid of losing other family members. As a result Ōta, nicknamed "Apple Cheeks" by Sanosuke, was sheltered. After learning about Sanosuke's deeds Ōta becomes willing to fight. At the end of Rurouni Kenshin Ōta becomes a student at Kaoru's dojo.
Watsuki said that he always had some idea of what Sanosuke's family would be like, and therefore formed the Higashidani family along those concepts. Therefore Kamishimoemon is what Sanosuke would be like as an older person, Uki is "lively" and protective of others, and Ōta is a weak, small child. In retrospect Watsuki felt that the development of the family was "unsatisfactory"; he felt that he should have made the family consist of three persons instead of four and concentrated on either Ōta or Uki. Watsuki felt that illustrating the family was fun and that he liked challenging his illustration skills by drawing a whole family. Watsuki had no models for the visual design of the characters. Kamishimoemon originates from a concept of an aged Sanosuke that was considered for a final Rurouni Kenshin chapter. Watsuki describes Uki as a "modern, easy to draw type." Ōta is a "typical Watsuki image" of a weak child from a rural area who has cheeks with circle marks. Watsuki intended for a design that would be drawn quickly, but he found difficulty while trying this. As the designs evolved Watsuki decided that he needed to study images of real people. He concluded that the concept of building designs from images and pictures "has its limits."
Tsubaki and the children
Yūkyūzan Anji raised five children, including Tsubaki (椿) (Akiko Hiramatsu, Julie Ann Taylor), Tasuke (太助) (Mayumi Akado, Lynn Fischer), Mikan (みかん) (Kimiko Nishihara, Bridget Hoffman), Yohei (与平) (Satoshi Hamamoto, Jim Taggert), and Gorō (吾郎) (Taeko Kawata, Wendee Lee), at Jūgaku Temple in Ezo, now Hokkaidō. Collectively they are known as "The children of Anji's temple" (安慈の寺の子供達 Anji no Tera no Kodomotachi ). The children lost their parents in the Boshin War. Tsubaki, the oldest of the children, looked after the others with Anji. The younger children kept asking Anji when he was going to marry their "sister", Tsubaki. The village chief asked Anji and the children to leave; he feared that there would be retaliation from the Meiji government since Tsubaki's father, the previous village chief, had sided with the shogun. Anji agreed to leave the following day. However the chief ordered Anji's residence to be burnt to the ground before he had a chance to leave with the children. As a result all five died. In revenge, Anji killed the village chief five years later. Later, after his battle with Sanosuke, the children's spirits appear before Anji, forgiving him for the sins he committed since they died.
Watsuki developed Tsubaki and the children after creating Anji's past. Originally Watsuki planned to have Anji oversee an entire orphanage as opposed to five children, but he scaled back the number since he felt drawing an entire orphanage would be "a hassle." In restrospect he said that drawing the five was still "a lot of work." He gave Tsubaki a headband to distinguish her from Kamiya Kaoru and Takani Megumi; no other meaning was in the headband. Watsuki saw a headband in a fashion magazine, so he said that one could say the magazine was a model for Tsubaki's design. The other characters had no models for their designs. Watsuki said that he got letters from readers who believed that Tsubaki "liked" Anji. In response he said that he does not disagree with the assessment. Watsuki also received letters from readers saying that Tsubaki looks like Kyo Kusanagi from The King of Fighters. Watsuki responded by saying "that's a wrong way to look at it. Let's both try and be more literal about this, huh? (Heh.)"
Katsura Kogorō and Takasugi Shinsaku
Katsura Kogorō (桂 小五郎) (Tomokazu Seki, Corey M. Gagne) and Takasugi Shinsaku (高杉 晋作) (Wataru Takagi, Jason Phelps) were important figures in the Ishin Shishi faction during the Bakumatsu. In Rurouni Kenshin they were allied with Kenshin during the Bakumatsu.
Oguni Gensai (小国 玄斎) (Yoku Shioya, Steve Kramer) is the doctor who takes Megumi as his apprentice. In the anime he has two grandchildren. In the Sony Rurouni Kenshin English dub the "g" in Gensai is pronounced as a "soft" g.
Tani Jūsanrō (谷 十三郎) (Koichi Kitamura, Tony Pope) is a politician in the War Ministry and a former member of the Ishin Shishi. Tani is very wealthy, pompous and self-centered. Kurogasa marks him as an assassination target, but Kenshin and Sanosuke successfully defend Tani.
Later in the manga Tani and Sanosuke get into an altercation; Tani, the uncle of the yakuza Fudōsawa, supports the tyranny in Fudōsawa's town. After Sanosuke defeats Fudōsawa, Sanosuke goes to Tani's residence, defeating the Hiruma brothers, who act as Tani's bodyguards, before injuring Tani. At the hospital Tani, described by villagers as being "wrapped like a mummy," mutters "evil scary, evil scary." As a result, after the battle between Kenshin and Enishi, Sanosuke is forced to flee the Kamiya dojo due to legal troubles.
- Nishiwaki (西脇) (Taiki Matsuno, Derek Stephen Prince) is a member of the Kiheikan, a house of rogues headed by Hiruma Gohei. When Kenshin confronts Kiheikan, Nishiwaki calls on various rogues to attack Kenshin. Minutes later, as the Hiruma brothers are attacking Kamiya Kaoru at the Kamiya dojo, a frightened Nishiwaki appears and then collapses, revealing Himura Kenshin.
- Ujiki (宇治木) (Mitsuru Miyamoto, Tony Pope) is the header of the Sword Corps, a unit created to deal with Hiruma Gohei. After the unit's creation it became very tyrannical. Ujiki, a veteran of the Satsuma Rebellion, tries to force Kenshin into a fight by having his men intimidate Kaoru and surrounding citizens. A provoked Kenshin defeats Ujiki and the entire Sword Corps. Ujiki practices the Jigen-ryū, an aggressive swordsmanship style characterized by the use of turning and one-handed draws and cuts.
- Yamagata Aritomo (山縣 有朋) (Seiji Mizutani and Hari Kaneko, Simon Prescott, Crispin Freeman (Media Blasters) and Bill Harwell (Samurai X: The Motion Picture)) was one of Kenshin's comrades. Yagamata grew a mustache since taking position of power in the Meiji government. Yamagata tries to convince Kenshin to stop carrying a sword, but Yamagata realizes that Kenshin's openly-displayed sword and his actions as a rurouni ensure safety for others. Though Yamagata only has one appearance in the manga, in the anime, he appears again as the assassination target of a corrupt politician, Takuma Hashizume, but thanks to Kenshin, he was saved and Hashizume was arrested. Much later, he alerts Kenshin about an assassination attempt led by Ukyo Inagi. Yamagata also plays an important role in the Feng Shui arc assisting Kawaji and Tsunan with stopping the plot to destroy the Circle of Eternity. Watsuki said that he could not get his version of Yamagata to resemble surviving photographs of the real Yamagata.
- Gasuke (我介) (Nobuo Tobita, Dave Mallow) and Tanishi (多西) (Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Tony Pope) are two members of a group of thugs who force Myōjin Yahiko to be a pickpocket. When Yahiko announces that he will no longer pickpocket, Gasuke beats him. Then when Yahiko angrily retaliates after the gangsters insult his deceased parents, Gasuke brandishes a sword to kill Yahiko, only to be hit by Kenshin in time. The gangsters give up Yahiko to Kenshin.
- Hira (平) (Ryo Naito, Terrence Stone) and Satō (佐藤) (Eiji Takemoto, Derek Stephen Prince) were former students of Kamiya Kasshin-ryū who flee back to the dojo after they engage in a drunken fight with members of the Hishimanji Guren Gang (菱卍愚連隊 Hishimanji Guren-tai ). Kaoru and Yahiko defend the dojo until Kenshin appears. The gang members leave after Kenshin cuts a cannonball fired by the gang in half. Kenshin tells the two boys to "forget" they were Kamiya Kasshin-ryū students and to never hold swords again. In the anime, they are renamed Sosuke Ohtsuka and Saburo Kazusaki respectively and are depicted as average students, along with another anime-exclusive character Genta Koshino (Akihisa Murayama, Derek Stephen Prince). All three quit after being ridiculed by their families and friends for practicing the kenjutsu known from the fake Battosai, Hiruma Gohei.
- Hachisuka (蜂須賀) (Hiroshi Takemura, Dan Woren) is the leader of the Hishimanji Guren Gang (菱卍愚連隊 Hishimanji Guren-tai ). He feels lust when Kaoru tells him that she is going to fight him. He leaves with the other members after Kenshin destroys the cannonball. In the anime version, the Hishimanji gang appears a group of gangsters who spread rumors about Megumi Takani being a "quack-doctor" and rely on Raiko (雷光) (Shinpachi Tsuji, Joe Romersa), a fake shaman, to "cure" people with his "holy water" and live off the profits. Eventually, Megumi and the others catch on and defeat the gang, in the process make Raiko admit the truth. Regardless, Megumi healed all of the injured gang members due to her teachings of a doctor.
- Maekawa Miyauchi (前川 宮内), a character only in the manga, is the owner of a martial arts dojo where Kaoru trains. He is the master of the Chūetsu-ryū style. Isurugi Raijūta appears at Maekawa's dojo and defeats him in a match; Kenshin prevents Raijūta from mortally wounding Maekawa. After the attack Inui Banjin made against his dojo, Maekawa does not blame Kenshin, but decided to retire and choose a young successor.
- Nagaoka Mikio (長岡 幹雄) (Keiji Fujiwara, Dan Woren) is a thug who bullies Sanjō Tsubame. In previous eras her family served Mikio's family, so Mikio forces Tsubame to give the mold for the key of the owners of the Akabeko. Yahiko tries to interfere, but Mikio's group defeats Yahiko. As Mikio and his cohorts are about to rob the owner's house, Yahiko appears a second time and, with the help of Kenshin and Sanosuke, defeat Mikio and his group, and they stopped bothering Tsubame again. Mikio fought with a sword style known as Kogen Ittō-ryū.
- Tsukayama Yuzaemon (塚山 由左衛門) is Tsukayama Yutarō's father. In the manga Yuzaemon feels dishonored by his act of selling swords to the West, so he wishes for Yutarō to become strong as a swordsman. In the anime, he was a famous swordsman who died and left his vast fortune to his son, and his son aspired to be like him.
- Shinko-ryū members (真古流同志 Shinko-ryū Dōshi ) - Four followers of Shinko-ryū attack the Kamiya dojo as Kaoru teaches swordsmanship to Yutarō in the manga; Kenshin defeats three of the swordsmen, while one tries to run away. Even though Sanosuke catches the fourth one, Kenshin asks Sanosuke to let him go. In the anime, they are given names: Sakuramaru (虎丸) (Shigeru Ushiyama, Kirk Thornton) (the one with double swords), Tsukio (Minoru Inaba, Paul St. Peter) (the bald one with the unusual eyes), Tsuruzaemon (Ikuya Sawaki, Peter Spellos) (the largest member who wields a spear, later killed by gunfire from the police in the anime), and Toji (Norihisa Mori, John Snyder) (the shortest member who tried to flee in the manga); they attacked Kenshin when he refused to join them in their rebellion, and then fought against the police - Tsuruzaemon was killed, while Sakuramaru and Tsukio came to realize that their dream was impossible when Raijuta was defeated.
- Shibumi (渋海) (Masaru Ikeda, Steve Kramer) is a corrupt politician who employs assassins to eliminate rivals in order to further his own career. He employs Udō Jin-e, Akamatsu Arundo, and Saitō Hajime. Shibumi orders Saitō to kill Kenshin, not knowing that Saitō is in actuality allied to Ōkubo Toshimichi. After Saitō appears at Shibumi's place and kills Arundo, Shibumi begs for his life and offers money to Saitō; Saitō refuses and kills Shibumi.
- Kawaji Toshiyoshi (川路 利良) (Katsuya Shiga, Joe Ochman, Doug Stone (TV Series) and David R. Jarrott (The Motion Picture)) is a government official who assists Ōkubo.
- Shimada Ichirō (島田 一郎) (Katsuya Shiga, Ezra Weisz) and Chō Tsurahide (長 連豪) (Shigenori Yamazaki, Bob Joles) are former samurai from Ishikawa Prefecture. In real life they killed Ōkubo Toshimichi. In Rurouni Kenshin they found Ōkubo Toshimichi already dead; the two, along with five other samurai, decide to desecrate the corpse and pretend that they had killed the politician.
- Yamayoshi Morisuke (山吉 盛典) (Hiroshi Takahashi, Dave Mallow) in real life was the governor of Fukushima Prefecture. In Rurouni Kenshin he tells Kenshin and Saitō the last thoughts of Ōkubo Toshimichi, as Yamayoshi was the last person to speak with Ōkubo.
- Sekihara Sae (関原 冴) (Sumi Shimamoto, Michelle Ruff) is the owner of the Shirobeko (白べこ) restaurant in Kyoto and the sister of Tae. In the manga Sae forces Yahiko to wear a ribbon in his hair when he works at the restaurant.
- Shinichi Kosaburō (新市 小三郎 Shin'ichi Kosaburō ) is a lower-ranked police officer. Shinichi helps Yahiko fight against Kujiranami Hyōgo. At the end of Rurouni Kenshin he becomes a student at the Kamiya dojo.
- Kiyosato Akira (清里 明良) (Tetsuya Iwanaga, Ray Clayton) was Yukishiro Tomoe's first fiancé. Kiyosato expressed his excitement towards his impending marriage to Shigekura Jūbei (重倉 十兵衛 Shigekura Jūbee ), the man Kiyosato was guarding, and Ishiji (石地), another guard. Kenshin kills Ishiji and Shigekura. Kiyosato attempts to fight him off, even managing to give him a cut on his cheek, but Kenshin still kills him. Just as Kenshin is about to deliver the killing blow, Kiyosato is seen reaching out (in the OVA, he sees a reflection of Tomoe hidden behind flowers), and calls Tomoe's name. Kiyosato, the son of a second class samurai, had postponed his wedding so that he could serve in the Kyoto Mimawarigumi and be a warrior when he married Tomoe. His hope was that by gaining fame as an accomplished warrior, he would be able to make Tomoe happy.
- Iizuka (飯塚) (Ryusei Nakao, Lowell Bartolomee) was an Ishin Shishi member who had befriended Kenshin. When Kenshin was in the mountains with Tomoe, Iizuka served as Kenshin's contact. After Kenshin had defeated the Yaminobu and after Tomoe died, Kenshin returned to see Katsura Kogorō, who told Kenshin that Shishio Makoto killed a mole in the Ishin Shishi who caused the Ikedaya Jiken. Katsura did not tell Kenshin that Iizuka was the mole.
Ayame and Suzume
Ayame (あやめ) (Kaori Yuasa, Stevie Bloch) and Suzume (すずめ) (Noriko Namiki, Mona Marshall) are Dr. Gensai's grandchildren. They appear throughout several episodes in the anime. In the Sony English dub they are known as Yumi and Suzy.
Shura (朱羅) (Kazue Ito, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is the daughter of the former leader of the Kairyu Pirates. After her father's death, she succeeded him in leader, and continued his legacy of robbing only from the corrupted rich people. During one raid, some pirates wanted to kidnap Kaoru but Shura did not accept that because of her belief that the Kairyu do not harm woman or children, so she took Kenshin to free Kaoru. Due to Shura's strictness and honor-bound rules, along with the fact that she is a woman, the rest of the crew did not like her, with the exception of two, Sarujiro and Iwazo. As a result, the rest of them chose Ginjo, one member who allied with an opium dealer they once robbed, as their new leader, and attempted to kill Shura. Shura returned, and with the help of Kenshin, defeated her wayward crew, and with Sarujiro and Iwazo, she left to the sea, as they were still criminals. Shura fought with a three-sectioned staff that can disconnect into a chain-staff, and has great agility and reflexes. She might have developed feelings for Kenshin.
Real name Mutō Shōgo (武藤 翔伍), Amakusa Shōgo (天草 翔伍) (Junichi Inoue, Crispin Freeman) was taught Hiten Mitsurugi by his uncle. Shogo is also a Christian, and sought revenge for Christianity, and to make the Holy Land, after his parents were killed for their beliefs, when Christians were persecuted during the Shogunate. He mastered "God Speed" by the age of 14, and according to Kenshin, had surpassed even God Speed. His followers believe that he is the "Son of God". Some of his "miracles" were really just due to his education in Western Medicine, and other sciences.
Real name Mutō Sayo, Lady Magdalia (Hiroko Kasahara, Lia Sargent) is Shogo Amakusa's younger sister. She serves as a holy mother to their crowd of followers and a teacher to the young children. She has suffered from consumption ever since she was a child (which she perhaps obtained from her mother, who suffered the same illness). She is often seen accompanied by Shozo, a childhood friend whom she and her brother saved from persecution. Magdalia is a devout Christian and believes in everything that her brother says and does, which leads to her and Sanosuke Sagara having clashing personalities. Her most prized possession is her mother's holy medallion which is lost and eventually returned to her by Sanosuke. She comes to respect him and wishes that she had met someone like him earlier in life so that she could have had a more open heart to those outside her faith. She is shot as she protects the Dutch consul, who can save her townspeople, and refuses to be treated in the hope that the people she cares for will be saved. She dies in Sanosuke's arms after telling him her real name. Shogo promises to make her dreams of a land of equality and peace a reality.
Rurouni: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story
In the first issue of Rurouni: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story, Kenshin (not named in the actual story) meets Raikōji Chizuru (来迎寺 千鶴), the granddaughter of Raikōji Muneiwa. During the 10th year of Meiji, Kenshin sees two thugs armed with knives chasing Chizuru. After hearing the thugs demand for Kenshin to hand over "Raikōji's Daughter," Kenshin grabs Chizuru and runs away. Chizuru invites him to her house. Muneiwa asks Kenshin to leave. Chizuru tells him that Muneiwa's son and daughter-in-law, Chizuru's parents, died when caught between government and revolutionary warriors. After Kenshin leaves, thugs kidnap Chizuru and leave a ransom note in Muneiwa's mansion; the note, signed by the Shinshū Konoe-Bushidan Kaiten Party (神州近衛武士団回天党 Shinshū Konoe-Bushidan Kaiten-tō , "Land of the Gods World-Changing Imperial Guardians Party"), demands 1,000 yen to be brought to the abandoned temple on Yūkyū Mountain in exchange for Chizuru's life. Kenshin rescues Chizuru while managing to spare the lives of the thugs.
In the Samurai X: Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin: Seisōhen) OVA, Chizuru Raikoji is the sweetheart lover and girlfriend of Kenji. She appears to be strong willed and energetic, bearing a striking physical and characteristic resemblance and similar personality and attitude to Kenji's mother, Kaoru.
Watsuki based Chizuru on Chizuru of Tsuneo Tomita's Sugata Sanshirō. He described Chizuru and Kaoru as "long-lost sisters" due to the similarities shared by the characters. He said that he used no particular motif with Chizuru's design; he wanted to draw a girl wearing a hakama.
The Kamiya family consists of Kamiya Megumi (神谷 恵) Kamiya Kaoru (神谷 薫), and Kamiya Yahiko (神谷 弥彦). Yahiko and Kaoru are similar to their counterparts from the series, while Megumi has a submissive personality, differing from the final personality of Takani Megumi.
Other characters in Rurouni
- Raikōji Muneiwa (来迎寺 宗巌) is Chizuru's grandfather. Muneiwa initially dislikes Kenshin since Kenshin carries a sword; Muneiwa, who has a grudge against samurai since they killed Muneiwa's child and child in law, orders Kenshin out of the Raikōji residence after Chizuru invites Kenshin to have a meal. After Chizuru is captured, Muneiwa asks to go to Chizuru's captors, but Kenshin appears and announces that he will rescue Chizuru instead.
- Nishiwaki (西脇) is a baron who tries to steal the rights to the Kamiya Dojo and turn it into a gambling house. Kenshin defeats his forces and Nishiwaki himself, despite the fact that Nishiwaki has a gun. After the defeat Kenshin makes Nishiwaki promise to stay away from the Kamiya family. He was drawn visibly similar to what would later be Takeda Kanryū.
- ^ The seal, the final image in the bottom row, reads "Nobuhiro Watsuki" (和月 伸宏 Watsuki Nobuhiro ) in Japanese
- ^ "Hitokiri," which refers to an assassin, means "manslayer." Within the Rurouni Kenshin universe "Battōsai" refers to someone who has mastered battōjutsu. Assassins during the bakumatsu adopted professional names; for instance Kawakami Gensai was known as Hitokiri Gensai.
- ^ Hitokiri believed in tenchū ("judgment from the heavens"), and therefore they were fond of the word. Enishi believes that if the heavens will not judge Kenshin, he will give Kenshin jinchū, his own brand of judgment.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. Viz Media. 190.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro (2003). "Act 13: The Meaning of the Name". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 2. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-249-1.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 3. Viz Media. p. 190.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 19: Daughter of Aizu." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 76.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 1: Kenshin • Himura Battōsai." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 1. Viz Media. 25.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (4) Hiruma Kihei & Gohei," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 1. VIZ Media. 144.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 10: One Side of the Soul." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. Viz Media. 78.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 13: The Meaning of the Name." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. VIZ Media. 146.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (7) Udō Jin-e," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. VIZ Media. 168.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 5. Viz Media. p. 15.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (12) Takeda Kanryū," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 142.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (16) Isurugi Raijūta," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. VIZ Media. 88.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (20) Akamatsu Arundo," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7. Viz Media. 66.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. Ruroni Kenshin, Brazilian Volume 13 (correspondent to the first half of original vol.7). JBC. p.66.
- ^ a b c Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (40) Komagata Yumi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 17. Viz Media. 124.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (25) Senkaku," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. VIZ Media. 66.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (35) Uonuma Usui," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 14. Viz Media. 66.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (36) Hariwa Henya," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 66.
- ^ a b c Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (39) Elder Saizuchi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 146.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 107: The Bright King." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. VIZ Media. 96.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (28) Yūkyūzan Anji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. Viz Media. 146.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (34) Tsubaki and the Children," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 164.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (28) Amendment: Yūkyūzan Anji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 184.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 99: As If tn Flight." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 12. Viz Media. 128.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 148 Kyoto Epilogue: Fate of the Juppongatana (Part II)." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 17. Viz Media. 184.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (33) Sadojima Hōji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 84.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (29) Sawagejō Chō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. Viz Media. 108.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 121: Battle of the Aoi-Ya," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 17.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 124: The Shadow of Despair," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 72.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 123: Put to the Test (Girl)," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 51.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 124: Shadow of Despair," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 77-78.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (37) Honjō Kamatari," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 86.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (38) Fuji (Real Name Unknown)," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 126.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 25. Viz Media. p. 188.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (49) Kujiranami Hyōgo," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 25. VIZ Media. 186.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (52) Woo Heishin," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 27. VIZ Media. 114.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (51) Sū-shin (Four Stars), Sū-shin (Four Gods)," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 27. VIZ Media. 96.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (18) Sekihara Tae," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. VIZ Media. 128.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (15) Sanjō Tsubame," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 5. VIZ Media. 68.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (54) Himura Kenji and the rest of the 15th Year of Meiji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 28. VIZ Media. 154.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro (2005). "Interview with Nobuhiro Watsuki". Rurouni Kenshin Profiles. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0160-4.
- ^ Episode 21 Rurouni Kenshin anime. (Media Blasters version)
- ^ Episode 21 Rurouni Kenshin anime. (Japanese version)
- ^ a b c d e Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 28: Battle's End." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. Viz Media. 113.
- ^ a b c d Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (9) Oniwabanshū ● Hyottoko," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 46.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (8) Oniwabanshū ● Beshimi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 26.
- ^ "The Secret Life of Characters (13) Okashira ● Shinomori Aoshi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 184.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 23: The Martial-Artist and the Spy." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. Viz Media. 29.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (10) Oniwabanshū ● Han'nya," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 66.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (11) Oniwabanshū ● Shikijō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 86.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 17: The Oniwabanshū Strike." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. Viz Media. 44.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 25: Duel of the Masters". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 4. Viz Media. p. 55.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (31) Okina (Kashiwazaki Nenji)," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 11. Viz Media. 126.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (48) Geezer," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 25. VIZ Media. 152.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (17) Tsukayama Yutarō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. VIZ Media. 108.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (22) Ōkubo Toshimichi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7. VIZ Media. 186.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (19) Tsukioka Tsunan," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. Viz Media. 148.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (27) Mishima Eiji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. Viz Media. 106.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (5) Sagara Sōzō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. VIZ Media. 28.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. VIZ Media. 188.
- ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (30) Seikū's Family," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. Viz Media. 128.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (50) Higashidani Family," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 26. VIZ Media. 132.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 110: A World not Worth Saving." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 147.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 110: A World not Worth Saving." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 150.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 110: A World not Worth Saving." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 161.
- ^ a b Episode 5, Samurai X (Sony English dub).
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 234: A Man's Back 7: The Back Tells Tales." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 26. Viz Media. 127.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 82: Where the Strings Meet," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. Viz Media. 141-143.
- ^ "Rurouni Kenshin TV Series Season Three Box." Media Blasters. Retrieved on July 15, 2009.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Rurouni Kenshin Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story: Raikōji Chizuru," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 1. VIZ Media. 168.
- ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 144.
- Rurouni Kenshin Kanzenban page, which includes profiles of the characters (Japanese)
Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki Franchise Characters
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