Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu was the 15th shogun and the head of the Hitotsubashi Faction. He was a major antagonist in the series until the events of the Rakuyou Arc.
He is the son of Hitotsubashi Nari Nari, one of the branches of the Tokugawa Family. The family had fallen from grace at the end of the Joui Wars when a relative of his lost a battle against the Joui. His father and their retainers were forced to climb back into the government while dodging potential assassination attempts from the leader of the Tokugawa Faction, Tokugawa Sada Sada. The shrewd Nari Nari groomed Nobu Nobu from birth to become the next Shogun. And ever since, Nobu Nobu and his faction gathered allies within and without the government to wait for the chance to usurp Sada Sada's groomed successor, Tokugawa Shige Shige, of his position of Shogun.
He has light green eyes and light brown-blond crew cut hair.
Nobu Nobu is shown to be egotistical and sadistic that is implied to be from his upbringing. These are both shown when after he became Shogun, he decided to follow Shige Shige's example to visit the common people. He mocks Shige Shige's tastes (and era) as inferior, takes a delight in belittling a fallen cop by choosing him to be in charge of his superiors' executions, and almost killing two hostesses because they didn't meet his standards.
It is also shown that he is also aware that much of his behavior stemmed from being raised in an hostile political environment to become the next puppet shogun. He himself admits that he became an ambition-less shell that let others use him while he uses them. Which had now lead to a point where the entire country has gone against him. It is thanks to seeing how a leader actually influences his people that he starts to change.
Strength & Abilities
- Ikeda Yaemon: The 18th Yaemon, after feeling betrayed by the 16th, his father, who chose the adopted Ikeda Asaemon as his successor, struck an alliance with Nobu Nobu and his faction to be the new head. It is unknown how Yaemon or the Hitotsubashi gained information on the 16th's transgression (releasing prisoners who were the Hitotsubashi's political enemies). He revealed his father's unethical but moral decision to free prisoners to the clan, forcing the 16th to commit seppuku and Asaemon to take the fall for his death, paving the way for Yaemon to be head of the Ikeda clan. Yaemon was beheaded by Nobu Nobu after the former had a change of heart and protected his adopted sister, making her his successor.
- Sasaki Isaburo: He and Mimawarigumi are all nobleman samurai who had allied themselves to Nobu Nobu and his faction to help them become the main political faction in charge of the government, with Nobu Nobu as Shogun. After the faction succeeds, Nobu Nobu promotes Isaburo as the new police commissioner and his Mimawarigumi as Nobu Nobu's only government police force. But it is revealed that Isaburo was never on Nobu Nobu's side to begin with. Siding with the ill-suited Hitotsubashi was part of his approximately four year long plan to bring down the government from the inside, a suicidal action sparked by the assassination of his wife and newborn child. He is killed during the Kokujo Island Prison Breakout.
- Takasugi Shinsuke: Revealed to have ties to Isaburo but it is unknown when Takasugi allied himself with Nobu Nobu. Nobu Nobu admits that he was fascinated with the power of some of the Jouishishi but Takasugi warns that if Nobu Nobu ever strays from his path to power, he or the other person the nobleman leader was interested in, Sakata Gintoki, will bring him down. Takasugi's Kiheitai and his allies, the Harusame, brought the force needed to overthrow and assassinate the present Shogun, Shige Shige. But while trying to do so, Nobu Nobu betrays them by agreeing with the Tendoshu's offer of being the new Shogun. Heavily weakened fighting against Shige Shige and his allies, the Kiheitai and the purged faction of the Harusame were forced to retreat.
- Sakamoto Tatsuma: The two never met until the start of the Rakuyou Decisive Battle Arc, where he was captured by him, Katsura, and Gintoki. At first, Nobu Nobu feels hostile towards Tatsuma, until the latter's kindness and leadership inspires Nobu Nobu to work to atone for his past.
- Tokugawa Shige Shige:
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Nobu Nobu was first introduced as being the leader of the Hitotsubashi faction. One of the faction's members praises their ally, Isaburo, on helping to bring down Sada Sada and weaken the Tokugawa branch's standing in the government.
Nobu Nobu was revealed to have helped Ikeda Yaemon expose the "crimes" committed by Ikeda's father, 16th Ikeda Yaemon. The "crimes" were freeing prisoners slated for execution though the punishments were in reality revenge executions by the Hitotsubashi faction as the victims were some Old Jouishishi and their family and allies who had defeated a Hitotsubashi general on the Bakufu side during the late Joui Wars. This made the faction lose standing in the government that will later take them years to recover. When the 16th was exposed, he was forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) to restore honor to the Ikeda clan. His second and chosen successor, Asaemon, was forced to pretend that she had killed her predecessor and betrayed the clan to also protect its honor. Neither knew that they were pawns used to make Yaemon become the 18th.
Nobu Nobu had promised the 18th to help and in exchange, the Ikeda clan will gain greater prestige in the "new era" he plans on creating. But thanks to Gintoki and the Yorozuya helping Asaemon, the 18th had a change of heart, realizing his weakness and declares his adopted sister as his successor. Nobu Nobu, whose ship the 18th was in, kills the 18th for this betrayal. It is shown that Nobu Nobu had also teamed up with Takasugi.
Farewell, Shinsengumi Arc
Silver Soul Arc
- Based on Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the 15th and last shogun of Japan.