Rurouni Kenshin’s Shinsengumi

Saitou Hajime – See our fan page tribute to the wolf here . He exists in the series both in flashbacks to the old days and in the current era of the main storyline. Although he plays a secondary role, he is an important catalyst that drives the Kyoto arc and ties the past to Kenshin’s present.

Okita Souji – The other featured member of the Shinsengumi. One of his fights with Kenshin is interrupted by Saitou, who points out Souji’s illness. He is depicted as a short, cheerful man with a very youthful look, which is exaggerated by how he addresses Saitou (Saitou-sensei). In the OAV Trust/Reflection we see more of him at Ikedaya and with the rest of the Shinsengumi, but his personality is very much the same. Such is Okita’s popularity that even though he only appeared briefly, he rated high in character polls throughout the end of the manga series.

Kondou Isami – Seen only briefly in the manga and not at all in the TV series, he does get some screentime in the Trust/Reflection but he’s still not a major character.

Hijikata Toshizo – Like Kondou only really seen in the OAV, he is seen addressing the Shinsengumi prior to the Ikedaya raid and in making plans beforehand.

Harada Sanosuke, Takeda Kanryusai, Yamasaki Susumu, Inoue Genzaburou , Shimada Kai and another member identified as “Eikura” are also in a “group” shot in the 7th volume of the manga when Kenshin talks about the Shinsengumi. The same image was done for the artbook by the anime staff with Shimada left out.
It can also be speculated that two of the Shinsengumi seen in volume 20, chapter 170 leaving the Ikedaya raid could be Nagakura Shinpachi and Toudou Heisuke. The man on the far left side has a bandaged hand, which matches up to the injury Nagakura received at that battle, just as a character on the right has a head injury, again, matching with what is known about what happened to Toudou that night. A wink to Shinsengumi fans in the know? *grins*

Nagakura Shinpachi – Other than a possible cameo in volume 20, the captain of the 2nd unit is mostly notable for his absence, especially as Kenshin says in volume 7 that Nagakura, along with Okita and Saitou, was “astonishing”. Historically, he lived to through to the Meiji era and lived in Hokkaido, working as a prison guard. It is known that at one time that Watsuki did not intend to end RK at volume 28 at the end of the Jinchuu arc, but to continue on with the “Hokkaido arc”, which would have been a rich setting for further adventures. Seta Soujirou was said to be wandering north, Fuji was there working on railroads and Anji was in a prison… in Hokkaido! Was the stage being set at the end of the Kyoto arc with putting some of the characters there? Was there a connection to the prison where Anji was and the one where Nagakura worked? Is this why in the “Kaiden” story Saitou was said to be in Hokkaido? It’s only fangirl speculation… but one can always wonder what Watsuki had in mind…

Udou Jin’e aka Kurogasa – Original Character – A former Hitokiri for the Shinsengumi, Jin’eh was so bloodthirsty that he turned on his own comrades in the Shinsengumi. He lived to the Meiji era, killing politicians and those in power, until he was stopped by Kenshin. Watsuki’s notes talk of a similarity to a version of Serizawa Kamo from an unnamed, older Shinsengumi manga. ” If you by chance happen to already have known this, then you have passed beyond the realm of mere Shinsengumi otakudom. You, my friend, are a Shinsengumi master.” Yet the true meaning of Jin’e was to be someone who was at one time similar to Kenshin but was now his total opposite.