Katsura Kotarou ( 桂 小太郎 ) is the leader of the moderate Joui (攘夷) faction and a fugitive wanted by the authorities. He is also an expert in using bombs and escaping from Shinsengumi and penitentiaries.
In his childhood Katsura, Gintoki and Takasugi were classmates under the same tutelage of Yoshida Shouyou. After the Kansei Purge event Katsura, Gintoki and Takasugi would rise up as the last warriors of the Joui Patriots because the government killed Yoshida Shouyou.
He would later become comrades with Sakamoto Tatsuma in the Joui War.
When Katsura and Gintoki were out numbered and injured by the Amanto, Katsura suggested that they should commit seppuku and die with honour but Gintoki refuses as he said that they should live out the fullest with honour. Katsura agrees with Gintoki and charges towards the enemies together.
After the Joui War, the three classmates went different paths as Katsura continued his activities fighting against the government.
- Height = 175 (5' 9") cm
- Weight = 56 kg
He has long black hair (Okada Nizou asked whether Katsura is really a man, for having such silky hair in Episode 59), dark brown eyes and has an attractive demeanor. He typically wears a blue kimono with a yellow sash. The fact that he typically wears a pale blue haori on top of his kimono and white socks with slippers suggests that he is particular about how he dresses and carries himself. He is never seen lying around or sitting in a unrefined manner, and he typically keeps his arms in his sleeves when not carrying anything.
He is usually seen with his sidekick Elizabeth.
Since he is a wanted man, Katsura usually uses disguises to hide from Shinsengumi or to wander freely in public.
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He is, at times, downright moronic, frequently getting roughed up by Gintoki as a result. He's well known to say moronic things with a straight face. He is also very persistent and kept pestering Gintoki to join him in his Jouishishi rebellion. He is a charismatic leader and commands great respect from his followers. In fact he was able to rally a big group of followers in a very short time during his prison stint in Episode 110.
Thrifty in habit, he eats simple meals like soba, and once chastised Elizabeth against eating 'strawberry milk and parfait' so as not to weaken the body and the spirit (see Episode 58), though he has a soft-spot for んまい棒 Nmaibo, a corn snack modelled after うまい棒 umaibo.
Katsura also takes an interest in outdated things. Such is the case when he walked into the Bentendo Owee convention expecting to buy a Famicom when everybody else was looking for the Owee. This could be satire of how outdated the Joui ideals have become in a modern day world.
Katsura loves animals especially the paw pads of dogs and cats.
He has an extreme imagination and improvisation:
- He sometimes does the voice of some inanimate objects.
- He is prone to imagine long (drama) story out of short words.
He has some soft spot for housewives (or fetish, just choose) as shown in the Owee chapter when he was playing the dating simulation and the bond with Ikumatsu.
In the beginning of the series, Katsura hated the world for taking away Yoshida Shouyou life and was willing to cause destruction against the government and Shinsengumi. But after meeting Gintoki, he decided to find more peaceful solutions .
Strength & Abilities
In his childhood, he was under the tutelage of Yoshida Shouyou together with Sakata Gintoki and Takasugi Shinsuke. He learnt swordsmanship from Yoshida Shouyou, Katsura uses a Katana and he is a highly skilled samurai.
When Katsura was trained by Sarutobi Ayame as ninja to save Elizabeth, according to Sa-chan his speed doesn't fall behind a true ninja. He was ranked B as his speed was good but his awareness was moderate.
Not only is he the leader of a fairly large terrorist group he is also a bomb specialist and is extremely good at gathering information on a variety of people.
He is crafty, creative and intelligent person:
- His stunts to escape Shinsengumi's sight.
- By using a Nmaibo as a smoke bomb.
- He carries a parachute pack under his haori.
- Whenever he incorporates food (curry or fried rice) into his fighting style, enemies become quickly incapacitated from indigestion and severe diarrhea from consuming the food.
- Use Takeshi's Famicom "Super Monkey Adventure" cartidge against the Shinsengumi.
He is a master of diguises:
- He dressed up as a pirate, Katsura would call himself "Captain Katsura".
- He dressed as a soccer player and called himself as Captain Katsura.
- He diguises as a travelling Buddhist Monk.
- While having an interview, Katsura just wore a Groucho glasses disguise
- In Episode 60 it was shown that he managed to escape from Nizo and hide himself and disguise himself as Elizabeth. This shows he is quite intellectual to be able to come up with such a plan.
- He also has his own custom Renho disguise which also a space suit.
- He also go by the name "DJ Ozura" as his rapper identity but Kondou Isao saw through it.
- When Katsura is crossdressing, he goes by the name "Zurako" (ツラ子).
- On episode 98, Katsura calls himself "Katsuo" (カツオ) when he cosplayed as Mario during the Bentendo Owee event.
- In Episode 120, he goes by the not-so-clever alias of 'Joey (Joui) Katsura' when he was working undercover as an Amanto in an exclusive Amanto-only Restaurant, with the intention to force it to close down by blowing it up, before the extremist factions come and caused trouble.
- He quickly disguise as a waiter when hiding in Ikumatsu Ramen Store.
- He disguised as a maid called "Ichihara Ezurako" in order to spy on Matsudaira Katakuriko.
According to Gintoki, Katsura has never catch a cold because he thinks that his body resisted the cold. It turns out that his body can absorbs viruses to the point of where it strengthens his immune system which turns him into Ill Smith.
- Yoshida Shouyou: Katsura studied under Shouyou and he, Gintoki and Takasuji joined the Joui Patriots to avenge the death of their teacher.
Friends & Allies
- Sakata Gintoki: Katsura and Gintoki knew each other since they were children. They usually fight along side with each other, so they can be considered very close friends. Gintoki always calls Katsura by the nickname "Zura", which literally means "wig", even though Katsura prefers his real name. Katsura always tries to recuit Gintoki to his organization but ulimately fails as Gintoki wasn't interested. After meeting Gintoki more and more he has been found to become more peaceful and tries to find more peaceful solutions instead of just taking to violence.
- Sakamoto Tatsuma: They've fought in the Joui together with Gintoki and Takasugi, although they haven't interact with each other much but they're in good terms shown in the Renho arc. Sakamoto gave Elizabeth to Katsura as a pet.
- Elizabeth: He is always accompanied by Elizabeth from Episode 15 onwards, very attached to it and goes to its rescue when it was 'kidnapped' in Episode 44. Katsura's affection to Elizabeth is so great he refuses to acknowledge that Elizabeth is just a man in sheets despite seeing a picture of the man in sheets in an x-ray in Episode 129. Katsura is over protective of Elizabeth, he'll seek the person who injuried him. When he sees multiple Renho, Katsura would end up unconscious.
- Kagura: He refers to Kagura as "Leader".
- Yagyuu Kyuubei: Since Kyuubei has more frequent appearance than Katsura, Katsura becomes very jealous stating that their character is overlapping each other for the dead-serious/eggheaded character.
- Ikumatsu: Katsura encounters Ikumatsu as he was on the run from the Shinsengumi in Episode 39. He is shown to be sympathetic over the death of Ikumatsu's brother who was killed during a conflict involving the Joui. Katsura would use Ikumatsu ramen store to place an interview with the news reporter. In the Benizakura Arc, Ikumatsu was one of the people that was shown important to him.
- Kondou Isao: Katsura and Kondou are rivals, Kondo is always shown chasing after Katsura and they would always fight over the similiar nicknames such as Fruit Punch/Chinpo Samurai.
- Takasugi Shinsuke: Katsura hated Takasugi now and even when they were still studying under Yoshida Shouyou but Katsura always thought Takasugi as a comrade. In the recent Benizakura arc, he tried to convince Takasugi out of his violence activity but failed as Takasugi desired only destruction. Katsura and Gintoki swore that the next time they meet, they would do everything to take him down.
In Episode 39, he is injured by Okita Sougo's bazooka attack and was forced into hiding in a ramen shop owned by a woman named Ikumatsu. As he works as a waiter for the store, complete with a waiter outfit, he learns of the wrongdoings the Joui have done in the past such as the use of violence which has greatly affected innocent civilians, notably the death of Ikumatsu's husband.
Memory Loss Arc
Infant Strife Arc
Train Samurai Arc
Monkey Hunter Arc
Yorozuya Barbers Arc
Character Poll Arc
He briefly made an appearance as the source of information about joushishi activity. Gintoki and Shinpachi went to the amusement park where Katsura was working and ask Katsura about Soukaitou group.
Kabukicho Stray Cat Arc
According to his new year card he sent to Gintoki, he was standing outside on standby with Elizabeth.
- According to Sorachi, Zura is modeled after Kido Takayoshi who went under the name Katsura Kogoro 桂小五郎, a man known as "Runaway Kogoro 逃げの小五郎" because of his feat of eluding from the sight of Shinsengumi during Bakumatsu.
- In the Japanese drama "Shinsengumi!" that Sorachi-sensei used to get some of his ideas from, he would always be known to elude capture.
- Gintoki calls Katsura by his nickname Zura ( ヅラ). The term ヅラ zura is a shortened form derived from Katsura.