|Fighting Style||The Three Swords Secret|
|Manga Debut||Act 54|
|Anime Debut||Episode 33|
|Voice Actor||Steve Blum (TV series)|
David Wald (New Kyoto Arc)
Shishio Makoto is a former Ishin Shishi hitokiri known within the ranks as the Battōsai's successor. But after his "comrades" in the government attempted and failed to assassinate him, Shishio Makoto spent the next decade slowly amassing power and developing an anti-government militia headed by his own private group of elite warriors - the Juppongatana. Shishio is the main antagonist of the Kyoto arc.
Shishio has red eyes. Before his attempted execution, Shishio had black eyebrows, black slicked back hair ending in a high ponytail, and a fair complexion. After being burned, Shishio's skin is brown and cracked, sometimes appearing red. He wears wrappings around his entire body to ease the pain and hide his deformity. The remains of his hair stick out of his head bandages in tufts. Over his bandages, he wears a robe, which varies from indigo to purple depending on lighting.
Shishio is extremely ruthless and coldblooded. He strongly believes in the concept of social Darwinism, where the weak exist for the benefit of the strong, and generally appears devoid of compassion or mercy throughout the series.
However, he is not completely heartless. In spite of his sinister nature, he seems genuinely in love with Yumi whom he professed understood him as thoroughly as he understood her. He also possesses a dark and twisted sense of humor, claiming initially to Kenshin that he had enslaved an entire town so he could bathe in the hot springs with privacy. He was also able to form bonds to a degree with Sōjirō and Hōji.
Shishio displays an extraordinary level of intelligence and insight, leaving the impression of an evil mastermind. He is extremely crafty, being able to hide from the Meiji government despite their efforts to find him, and his plans nearly succeed in bringing them down. He is also quite manipulative and is skilled in exploiting a person's psychology to facilitate his own devices, such as he does with Usui and Aoshi. He also learns from his mistakes; after his brush with death from being knocked out with a bullet to the head, he takes to wearing a hachigane (iron headband) to keep that weakness from being exploited.
- Sadojima Hōji - Apprentice
- Hoji was his faithful Apprentice who is disillusioned by the Meiji Government. After comitting suicide, as a result of Shishio's demise, he joins Shishio and Yumi in the hell and the trio plan to take over hell from Lord Enma (aka Yemma).
- Seta Sōjirō - Right hand man
- Shishio met Sojiro when he was an abused child. While still suffering burns, Sorjio provided him with food and bandages. Shishio gave him a Wakizashi in return for nursing him, which he used to kill his oppressive family. He then trained Shishio to be his top henchman in the Juppongatana.
- Komagata Yumi - Lover
- A former prostitute, Yumi was drawn towards Shishio's ideals and hatred for the Meiji government, soon falling in love after meeting him.
- Himura Kenshin - Adversary and rival
- Only two years older than Kenshin, Shishio became the successor to Kenshin and also a rival to him.
Shishio's sword, like Kenshin's, is a work by master swordsmith Arai Shakku: a blade called Mugenjin' '(無限刃, "Infinity Blade"); its self-sharpening serrated edge flaked away in a regular pattern as it was used, and it had become soaked in the flesh and body fat of the victims he had killed over the years. As a result he is able to execute fire-oriented techniques using the oils as fuel.
Shishio's monstrous strength, stamina, resistance to injury, and ability to read his opponent place him in at least the same league as Kenshin. Shishio demonstrates the ability to stop Kenshin's Ryush ōsen using his fingers, dodge and counter Saito's Gatotsu Zeroshiki at point-blank, see through Aoshi's Jisen-Kenbu technique, and take Sanosuke's Futae no Kiwami without injuries. He took a five-hit combo from Kenshin and did not fall. He was also able to stand back up within seconds of getting hit with the Kuzuryūsen. Even Kenshin's strongest Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki didn't put out him completely.
Shishio also appears to be quite skilled with Battōjutsu. In the manga, he was able to cut one of his soldiers in half by quickly unseathing and sheathing his blade without it being seen leaving the scabbard. He also matched Kenshin in a powerful Battōjutsu struggle in the beginning of their battle.
He possesses a very unique ability of being able to neutralize any technique he has seen before. He was able to stop Kenshin's Ryushōsen in their battle; he saw the technique when Kenshin used it against Senkaku in the Shingetsu village. Also, he neutralized Saitou's Gatotsu easily after Saitou's first attack failed. Even his Gatotsu Zeroshiki didn't work due to Shishio's precaution of head attacks (he planned in advance to wear a helmet underneath). Plus, Aoshi's Kaiten Kenbu Rokuren failed too. (He saw this technique in Aoshi's place to exercise and his comrades' graves)
Shishio uses Mugenjin to execute techniques referred to by Hōji as "The Three Secret Swords":
- Ichi no Hiken: Homura Dama (壱の秘剣 焔霊 lit. "First Secret Sword: Blazing Soul"): This is the technique Shishio has used the most. Using friction, or using sparks created from the blade and scabbard touching, to ignite the human fats that have soaked into his sword over time, this serves to distract the opponent from his swings. The result is being simultaneously burned and slashed; even if the opponent likely dodges the blade, the flame likely extends the range and effect of the swing.
- Ni no Hiken: Guren Kaina (弐の秘剣 紅蓮腕 lit. "Second Secret Sword: Crimson Lotus Arm"): Shishio fills his gauntlets with gunpowder, and ignites them with the sparks caused by the Mugenjin. Thus it results in an explosion. Guren Kaina yields a lot of force and is usually performed while his opponent (such as Kenshin or Saitō Hajime) is at close range, preferably in his grip. Realistically, this technique would most likely result in Shishio's hand being blown apart.
- Tsui no Hiken: Kaguzuchi (終の秘剣 火産霊神 lit. "Final Secret Sword: Fire Bearing Spirit God"): The Kaguzuchi is the ultimate technique in Shishio's arsenal. He activates it by scraping his blade from the base to the tip on the end of the scabbard, creating a miniature fire cyclone around the blade. The technique is not fully revealed, but it's believed that Shishio starts the fire and then slashes at the enemy, thus he can incinerate them entirely while still cutting them. Before Shishio could utilize the Kaguzuchi, he was countered by Kenshin's ultimate attack. The Kaguzuchi (actually Kagutsuchi) is the name of the Shinto god of fire.
- Note: In the Rurouni Kenshin: Enjou! Kyoto Rinne video game for the Playstation 2, when Shishio makes contact with his Kaguzuchi, the flames rise upward and form a giant pillar or wall of flames, sending the opponent upward while severely burning him at the same time. Shishio then emerges from the flames as it dissipates. The opponent is seen falling behind him. In the game Jump Ultimate Stars, Shishio can perform the Kaguzuchi and it is listed as one of his support attacks. J-Stars Victory Vs. has Shishio simiply slam the blade engulfed in said flame in front of him for a few hits, shattering the ground in front of himself.
Unique Weakness - Extreme HyperthermiaEdit
For all of his power and skill, Shishio had a fatal weakness: Because he was set on fire, most of his sweat glands were burned. As a result of this, his body temperature is at a higher level than that of a normal human being's, both to his blessings and curses; he alludes to this being the "fires of hell" raging within him. Therefore, once he engaged in battle or extreme physical activity, his body heat rose far above normal levels, and is strictly limited to 15 minutes.
To counter this, Shishio devised his underworld army to be organized where he saw little activity at all and to where his underlings did the majority of the dirty work. This also included the organization of the Juppongatana, his special unit comprised of the strongest warriors in his ranks.
Symptoms of pushing his bodily limits:
- Before 15 minutes: Normal, healthy state
- After 15 minutes: Normal, healthy state, however, reached limits of high body temperature
- After 20 minutes: Extreme, searing insatiable pain from within the body, nausea, delirium, psychotic episodes, heatstroke
- After 22-23 minutes: Evaporation of bodily fluids, cognitive disequilibrium due to high body temperature
- After 25 minutes: Ignition of fats and oils of the body into flame, death
Though Hōji believed Shishio's body heat contributed to his power in battle, it became his downfall, as he spontaneously combusted after 25 minutes in battle.
Betrayal and rise to powerEdit
After the death of Yukishiro Tomoe, Himura Kenshin became a free wielding swordsman to protect members of the Ishin Shishi. Shishio Makoto became his successor as hitokiri (assassin) and was responsible for the assassination of I'izuka, the man who had betrayed the Choshu party. The future Meiji government was more secretive about Shishio than Kenshin; many members of the Chōshū and Satsuma clans (the members of the future Meiji government) had very little information on him.
Later, the new Meiji government believed it would be in their best interests to eliminate Shishio. While they had found Himura to be an idealistic servant of the Imperialist cause, Okubo and other Meiji officials correctly concluded that Shishio was an opportunistic sociopath, who would undoubtedly use his vast knowledge of government secrets to plunge the country into turmoil for his own personal gain. Thus, during the Boshin War, Shishio was knocked out from a blow to the head, then doused in oil and burned alive by the Ishin Shishi. He survived, sustaining severe damage to his entire body to the point that he must wear bandages day and night to cover his disfigured skin, giving him an appearance similar to a mummy. It also limited the time he could fight. Any battle that surpassed fifteen minutes placed him in jeopardy of undergoing spontaneous combustion due to his lack of sweat glands and abnormal rising body temperatures (although it is unlikely that a human would survive long enough, in that condition, to spontaneously combust).
Shishio, with the aid from a man named Sadojima Hōji, assembled a group of the best fighters in Japan, called the Juppongatana (Ten Swords), to overthrow the Meiji government. He envisioned a Japan ruled by him, enforcing the principles of Social Darwinism. Using this belief, Shishio ran a campaign against the Meiji government, as he felt it was too weak to effectively lead the country. Using his motto, "The weak are food for the strong", he molded an ideological disciple out of Seta Sōjirō, who served as his right-hand man and the strongest of the Juppongatana. He planned to strengthen the economy with petroleum once he took over the country. At some point, he met Komagata Yumi, whom he shared a romantic relationship with.
Kyoto ArcEditKenshin and Saito Hajime both spend a considerable amount of time looking for Shishio, meeting him once in Shingetsu Village. However, Shishio left soon after they found him. After the ordeal in Shingetsu village, Kenshin ventured onward to Kyoto where they would have their duel. Upon arriving in Kyoto, Kenshin searched for the swordsmith Arai Shakku to forge a superior sakabatō. Shakkū died during the ten years that Kenshin had last seen him, and found his son Arai Seiku as head blacksmith instead. Kenshin instead sought after his former mentor Hiko Seijuro XIII, but discovered Seikū's predicament which involved one of the members of the Juppongatana (Ten Swords): Sawagejo Cho.
After defeating and arresting Chō, he revealed that Shishio had planned to have the Ten Swords burn down Kyoto. However, Kenshin and Saitō find that the plan to burn down Kyoto was just a diversion, and the Shishio's real plan was to use a steel plated battleship, Rengoku ("Purgatory") that Hōji had purchased for him to attack Tokyo. Kenshin, Saitō, and Sagara Sanosuke pursue and intercept Shishio in a harbor not far from his target; And using a set of explosives Sanosuke obtained from his long-time friend, Tsukioka Tsunan, destroys the Rengoku. However Shishio, Sōjirō, Hōji and Yumi, escape.
Although his plan was foiled, Shishio was still not beaten, and instead arranged a duel to the death at Mount Hiei. Knowing that, Kenshin, Saitō, and Sanosuke travel there the next morning. While they were doing so, however, Shishio sent most of the Juppongantana out to kill Kenshin's friends at the Aoi-Ya, keeping only his strongest subordinates with him, and Shinomori Aoshi who had allied himself to Shishio in order to get to Kenshin. The members of the Ten Swords sent to the Aoi-Ya, however, were all defeated.
After defeating Aoshi and Sōjirō, Kenshin faced Shishio himself. Kenshin had been worn out and injured from his consecutive fights with Aoshi and Sōjirō, and Shishio knocked him out fairly easily. Saitō entered and ambushed Shishio, attempting kill with a blow to the head. However, Shishio's hachigane (a headband containing a metal plate to cover the temple) stopped the attack, after which he easily blocked every move Saitō used against him and defeated him. Sanosuke also entered to fight Shishio, but lost and could not even injure Shishio, despite landing a direct Futae no Kiwami to the face. Finally, Aoshi entered, and managed to stall Shishio long enough for Kenshin to regain consciousness.The two continued their fight to its climax, and to the point that Kenshin unleashed his most powerful attacks. After the overwhelming blow that was the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki, Shishio's body started to overheat to dangerous levels, convulsing and becoming physically ravaged internally. At that point, Yumi intervened, standing in the way of a blow from Kenshin. Taking advantage of his moment of vulnerability, Shishio ran his sword through Yumi in an attempt to hit Kenshin. Kenshin, critically wounded on the floor by the stab, became appalled at Shishio for betraying his love, but Shishio remarked that he understood that he did what Yumi wanted of him, which was in fact the case. As he held his love in her final moments, Shishio barked back that he has no right to judge them, and that even though the two are seriously hurt, the first who would stand back up and dealt the next attack would be the day's victor.
While Kenshin laid on the floor, bleeding heavily and weakly, Shishio sat in delirium and in intense heat, unaware that his blood was literally boiling into fine vapor. As Shishio got back up and was to kill Kenshin, they clashed in a final standoff, as Kenshin refused to let go of the will to live. Retorting back that all are for himself to feast upon and appearing to have the upper hand, eventually, Shishio's body heat rose to the point where his blood evaporated and the fat and oils in his body ignited. Screaming out in pain and surprise in his death throes, Shishio laughed in hysteria and defeated madness at how time chose Kenshin as the victor. The end result was Shishio combusting into flame, and continued to burn until all that became of him, Yumi, and his Mugenjin, was ash.
He is later seen in Hell with Yumi and Hōji (who committed suicide in jail), commenting that the spirits of the times and world took away his victory in fear of his ambitions; now in Hell, they would try and take it over now as the next best thing.
He is once again seen in the Jinchuu arc, as one of Kenshin's illusions of hell, where the latter offers him his life, after the supposed death of Kaoru. In response Shishio tells Kenshin that before he kills him, Kenshin must discard everything he believes in and fought for.
Watsuki said that his editor wanted him to do "a big story," leading him to create Shishio. Therefore, according to him, Shishio had no model for his personality. He originally intended for Shishio to be motivated for revenge since it would make it easier for him to express Shishio's grief towards the government. However Watsuki believed that this would make the story "smaller in scale." Therefore he had Shishio motivated for revenge and a desire to conquer and therefore making him destructive in a manner similar to that of Serizawa Kamo of the Shinsengumi. The author of Rurouni Kenshin believes that some influence from Genjuro Kibagami of Samurai Shodown II (ShinSamurai Spirits) appeared in Shishio. The visual model for Shishio is Aonuma Shizuma of Inugami Ke no Ichizoku ("The Inugami Family"); Watsuki saw this film as a child and took influences from it. When it was decided that Shishio would be burned on much of his body, Watsuki thought of a rubber mask similar to the one that Shizuma has. He decided against this idea since he felt it would be difficult to realistically convey rubber in black and white, because he felt he could not portray "the sheer agony" of Shishio's condition, and because it would be more difficult for Watsuki to draw Shishio's expressions. Ultimately he decided to have Shishio wear bandages. Since Watsuki felt having the character simply wrapped in bandages would not "be exciting," the bandages on Shishio's face became crisscrossed, making what Watsuki describes as "weird headgear," and otherwise "fancied" the design. He wanted Shishio to be "cool, like Kibagami," so he added a "sexy companion," a pipe, a folding screen, an umbrella. Shishio's "Homura Dama" technique is original to the series, while the "Guren Kaina" is, in Watsuki's words, "pretty much a rip of "Daibaku Satsu," a move by the "Shura" Kagetsu Kazama character in Samurai Shodown IV (Samurai Spirits: Amakusa's Descent, TenSamu).
In Volume 17 Watsuki stated that he thought, in retrospect, that Shishio was his version of "the appeal of evil." He explained that Shishio will not compromise his beliefs under any circumstances, has no objections to "using others as a means to an end," and seeks "absolute power" "with ruthless abandon." He explained that Shishio "is his own kind of ideal" and that he is an "anti-hero." Watsuki enjoyed drawing Shishio in his final fight with Kenshin. He felt that he could not draw the scene of Shishio's death as it appeared in his mind. He believes, "with some confidence," that the scene of Shishio in hell walking across a pile of skeletons is "as good a dramatization of a villain in RuroKen that we're ever going to get." Watsuki said that he would never write in a character like Shishio in all of the series he writes, but he planned to create a similar character in another series
In history police were forbidden from entering the Mount Hiei temple grounds, so criminals gathered there and claimed that they were there for "religious enlightenment." Because of this Watsuki located Shishio's hideout on Mount Hiei in Rurouni Kenshin. Shishio was very loosely based on the original lead commander of the Shinsengumi, Serizawa Kamo.
In Live Action FilmEdit
In July 2013 it was announced Tatsuya Fujiwara is playing Shishio in the sequels to the Rurouni Kenshin live action film. He previously played Yagami Light in the Death Note films. Yusuke Iseya was rumored to cast as Shishio before he played Shinomori Aoshi.
The trailer shows Shishio battling with Kenshin, Saito and Aoshi.
In a 5 minute preview of the film, it is revealed that during the Boshin war, Shishio was betrayed by his comades, who left him for dead.
- The name of the god used in his final Secret Sword Technique, Kagutsuchi, is known as the Shinto god of fire, and the last god birthed by Izanami-no-Okami, as his birth was so extremely painful, it killed her. Upon his birth, it would come to start the world's cycles of life and death, and establish the Shinto laws of Tsumi and Kegare after Izanagi's descent into Yomi and having sealed away his deceased wife, with her screaming in curse that she would take away 1000 lives a day and himself swearing to replace those lives lost with 1500 born anew. Shishio's symbolical theming resembling that of embodying the cruel empire of Imperialist Showa Japan, turning to the vile and horrendous actions of colonialism and fascist movements perpetrated by western nations of its time, comes to use the mention of this god likely as meaning a fall from grace, honor, and innocence of the nation's former glory.