Sasaki Isaburo (佐々木異三郎, Sasaki Isaburo) was the commander of the Mimawarigumi, an elite police force from Kyoto. He was the main antagonist of the Baragaki Arc Although he appeared to hate the Shinsengumi, he actually maintained its existence when it was established in exchange of his family's life as a punishment from the Tendoshu. After his family's death under Mukuro's hand, Sasaki had her as his assistant and served the Tendoshuu and the Hitotsubashi Faction while planning to ignite a revolution against the corrupted Bakufu and Tendoshu to restore Edo.
Nothing is known about Sasaki's childhood, except that he was born into the elite samurai family Sasaki as the main heir. He is also the half-brother of Sasaki Tetsunosuke, who he treated with contempt.
Establishment of the Shinsengumi
Several years after the Joui War, Sasaki and Matsudaira Katakuriko witnessed the creation of the Roshigumi, which later evolved to Shinsengumi. Upon meeting Kondou Isao and his allies and watching the force's growing influence, Sasaki started to think that their nature was that more true to a samurai than of the elite classes like himself.
At this time, he also mailed to his wife about their unborn child. Sasaki tried to think of a name for his daughter, yet he could not choose a name that summed up his ideas. He then reduced his ideas and came up with the name "Nobume," believing that as long as his child grew up healthy, he could trust her for the rest. He quickly mailed the name to his wife.
In a discussion with Matsudaira, he learned that the Shinsengumi's first mission was to escort the Hitotsubashi family, let the Naraku assassins kill the family and commit seppuku for the crime. Later, he received several children from the Tendoshuu, who were actually assassins, with Imai Nobume, then known as Mukuro, being the best of them. There, Mukuro noted to a shocked Sasaki that, while she was a child, she could kill people, and while he could kill people, he was worrying about the name of his unborn child.
Afterwards, Sasaki came up with a plan to foil the assassination, thus saving the Shinsengumi, even though he denied helping them. Because of this, Oboro sent out Mukuro to kill both him and his family as a punishment for disobedience. At the same time, Sasaki realised that she had just stopped mailing him back, he rushed to his wife's side in panic, only to find Mukuro on the top of his murdered family.
However, he noticed the footprints from the scene and learned that Mukuro had killed the Naraku assassins and tried to protect his family. Knowing that, he intended to kill Mukuro and considered her his enemy, yet once he noticed tears from her, he hesitated. Seeing her ready to be killed, Sasaki changed his mind and gave Mukuro a duty as his revenge on himself: Kill him when his goal is in reach.
By the time the Mimawarigumi was established, Sasaki was appointed as the Commander of the police force. It is claimed later by himself that he modeled the uniform after the Shinsengumi's, having only changed the color to white (rather than black.) Sasaki also appointed Mukuro as the Vice-Commander and gave her the name "Imai Nobume," which he claimed to have just made up.
At some point in the present, he sent his half-brother Sasaki Tetsunosuke to infiltrate the Shinsengumi. While arresting Gintoki, he took Hijikata's phone without permission and called Tetsunosuke "bastard child," which angered Hijikata.
Upon releasing Gintoki, Sasaki convinced him to find the whereabouts of the Check It Out gang, using Tetsunosuke as the bait in the process. While Gintoki was spying on the extremists, Sasaki repeatedly sent irrelevant mails to him, to a point of faking his death when having to replies and sending a new phone to Gintoki when he crushed it.
When Tetsunosuke was captured by the gang, Sasaki had Nobume killed off the rebels and squared off against Hijikata after learning of the other's intention to save his half-brother. Initially overpowered Hijikata, Sasaki got a call from Gintoki, who ended the deal and chose to do things his way. Despite having a helicopter and an advanced squad proceed to attack the rebels, he was eventually forced to halt his advance and closed the case with persuasion from Kondou, Yamazaki and Hijikata.
The next day, while fishing up Nobume from the rubbles with a donut, Sasaki was seen talking to Takasugi about fishing in dirty water, implying on seeing the Bakufu crumbling and luring out Gintoki, as well as other samurai.
Courtesan of a Nation Arc
The Mimawarigumi was guarding the Edo castle when Yorozuya and Tsukuyo visited it. There, Sasaki encountered Gintoki again and threatened to capture him. Later, when asked by Kagura and Shimura Shinpachi about Suzuran's connection to Tokugawa Sada Sada, he revealed that Sada Sada had used Suzuran merely as a tool to assassinate high-ranked officials who opposed him. Instantly, he was stabbed by a Naraku member to a point of being hospitalised, whereas the Mimawarigumi was relieved from guarding duty in castle moments later.
Later on, having partly recovered from his injury, Sasaki came to the castle with the Mimawarigumi gave Gintoki a cure for his poisoned state in the form of a bullet. He then held off the Naraku assassins with the Mimawarigumi as Gintoki, Tsukuyo and Nobume proceeded to catch up to Sada Sada.
In the aftermath of the fierce battle, Sasaki was returned to the hospital. There, he was visited by a retainer of the Hitotsubashi Faction, who informed him of Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu's potential rise and offered him a higher position when Nobu Nobu became the new Shogun. When Kondou and Hijikata visited him, he denied planning to overthrow the current Shogun for the Hitotsubashi Faction and expressed his belief, as well as his surprise at how Gintoki could change Tokugawa Shige Shige and the Shinsengumi.
Afterwards, as the security of the castle was tightened, the Mimawarigumi was back into guarding the place. As a part of the duty, Sasaki did not allow Rotten Maizou to meet Suzuran, despite his pleas. Nevertheless, his attempt was ruined by the Yorozuya and Nobume, who let Maizou go to Yoshiwara.
Farewell, Shinsengumi Arc
After Tokugawa Shige Shige's death, Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu became the next Shogun and, as a result, Sasaki was promoted to the position of Director of Police. With the Mimawarigumi investigating the former Shogun's death, Matsurdaira and Kondou were sentenced to execution because of their failure to protect Shige Shige.
Some time later, Sasaki escorted Nobu Nobu to Snack Smile (in similarity to what the previous Shogun did.) However, with Gintoki punching the new Shogun to a point of unconsciousness, Sasaki intended to arrest Gintoki. Though, a disguised Katsura Kotarou used a smoke bomb to free Gintoki and other people in the bar. It is assumed that he quickly arrested Katsura and put him in jail with Matsudaira and Kondou on Kokujou Island.
Nevertheless, by putting Matsudaira, Kondou and Katsura together, Sasaki had triggered them to escape and successfully ignited a revolution from the Alliance of the Shinsengumi and the Katsura's Jouishishi faction. With the Alliance fighting against the Naraku and the Mimawarigumi guards, he intended to destroy both sides. While so, he maintained on acting against the Shinsengumi by opening fire on their ships and engaging in a fight with Hijikata.
Though, the Tendoshuu had seen through his plan and sent more assassins to kill both police forces. Sasaki then ordered all forces of the Mimawarigumi to battle with the Tendoshuu on air, which revealed his true intention to Hijikata. Matsudaira then stated that Sasaki had no allies, and his enemy was himself. Nevertheless, Sasaki sarcastically denied it and cited the signal being too weak to send mails as the reason.
During the chaotic battle between the Shinsengumi and the Naraku, Sasaki went on himself to look for Nobume, only to be surrounded by Naraku assassins and then saved by Kondou. Having learned of Katsura's pill after the prison break, he used it to fake Kondou's death and acted as the one who defeated Kondou to the assassins, thus protecting him in the process.
While retreating to Matsudaira's ship, Sasaki was assisted by Nobume on the way as he told her what he really knew about his family's murder and admitted having used her as a tool, believing that he was not worth risking her life. Tetsunosuke then joined Nobume in assisting him back.
Death & LegacyUpon reaching the ship's entrance, Sasaki sacrificed his life to protect Nobume and Tetsu and defeat the still-alive assassins. With Utsuro shooting the entrance, Isaburo fell to his death while giving the two his last smile, ultimately believing that Nobume possessed all the traits he had hoped for his daughter.
Sasaki is a tall man with grey hair and dead-looking eyes (much like Sakata Gintoki's eyes). He constantly wears the Mimawarigumi uniform as well as a monocle. Though, unlike the other members, he wears a long trenchcoat outside the shirt.
In the past, before the Mimawarigumi was founded, he wore typical samurai clothes with a haori outside. He also worn a sedge hat.
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Sasaki Isaburo is a very calm and serious person. Regardless of the situation, he tends to remain indifferent, even if his life is in danger. For instance, when he was stabbed by a Naraku assassin, he casually told Shimura Shinpachi and Kagura to stay away from Suzuran while commenting how his uniform got stained again after he recently got a curry stain off it from the other day.
He is also shown to be somewhat arrogant in some aspects. As the Commander of the Mimawarigumi, he considers "elite" people, like himself and all members of the force, to be far better than other people, and regularly insults people whom he considers not "elite", notably Sasaki Tetsunosuke and, to a lesser extent, Sakata Gintoki. Moreover, Isaburo is extremely ruthless. It has been shown that he will not hesitate to kill anybody in his path.
In addition, Sasaki is frequently shown to be sarcastic. In his meeting with Hijikata Toushirou, he claimed to be a fan of the Shinsengumi and have modelled the Mimawarigumi uniform after theirs, while he also suggested them to be "poor and talentless people." In another occasion, Sasaki stated that the reason for his action against the era was the signal being too weak to send mails, implying of his family's death.
Aside from his "elite" manners, Sasaki also has an obsession with mailing, and his personality changes immensely when sending mails. In his mails, he goes by "Sabu-chan" and repeatedly sends pointless texts to his recipients, using of very childish language and emoticons. To get Nobume to reply him, he will threaten to sulk while admitting it is not behaviour very becoming of an elite. He claims to have very few friends and often asks people to share their phone number, and even gives them a phone for free when they claim not to have one, or when they break the last one he gave them. The obsession seems to be his way of remembering his deceased wife, as that was their preferred mode of communication.
Strength & Abilities
- Shooting: Sasaki was shown to use his gun very well, having shot down the iron weight Gintoki had been using. Moreover, this is known as a "Heaven" in his "Monster of Three Heavens" title.
- Swordsmanship: It is presumed that his swordsmanship is as good as shooting, given that he used both gun and sword during fighting. Similar to shooting, this is also known as a "Heaven" in his "Monster of Three Heavens" title.
- Combating: He was shown to be extremely skillful in fighting. Using gun and sword with both hands, his fighting style was shown to be extremely difficult to dodge, since the opponent can be injured by either the gunshot or the slashes.
- Writing: Being known as "Monster of Three Heavens," writing has been noted as another skill of Sasaki, along with shooting and swordsmanship. However, this was not explicitly proved throughout the manga.
- Sasaki Tetsunosuke: Despite being his half-brother, Sasaki sees him as the Sasaki family's failure. He wouldn't hesitate to kill Tetsunosuke if the situation calls it. However, after Tetsunosuke helped him to escape from the Naraku, Isaburo repaid his brother's debt, sacrificing his life when the Naraku soldiers are about to kill Nobume and his half-brother, suggesting he did care for him.
Friends & Allies
- Imai Nobume: Sasaki first met Nobume when the latter was still an assassin of the Naraku. Later, she was sent to kill his family, yet she tried to protect them from the assassins. Seeing her regret, he spared her life and requested her to kill him when his goal is in reach. Since then, Sasaki used her as a tool in his plan against the country. He trusts Nobume abilities as a assassin to a point of appointing her as the Vice-Commander of the Mimawarigumi, giving her the name of his deceased daughter: "Imai Nobume." He seems to know very well about her love for donuts, using it as a reward to her for good work. Later, it was pointed out that he did care for Nobume as his daughter, yet he consistently denied it over the time until his death.
- Matsudaira Katakuriko: Four years before the storyline, Sasaki and Matsudaira were shown to be close acquaintances. In the Shinsengumi's first mission, he decided to help Matsudaira maintaining the new organization by foiling the Tendoshu s plan, even though he denied that. At present, their relationship got more strained, as Sasaki became the new Director of Police and imprisoned Matsudaira. Nevertheless, it had been hinted that Matsudaira had known his motives behind these actions.
- Kondou Isao: Ever since the establishment of the Shinsengumi, Sasaki was impressed with Kondou's leadership ability of the organization, as well as his belief about being a samurai. At present, Sasaki still refused to believe Kondou's view and maintained on being his enemy, yet he ended up protecting Kondou by faking his death when they were surrounded by the Naraku assassins. Moments before his death, he claimed that one of his goal was to defeat Kondou, even if it was only for a short time.
- Sakata Gintoki: Personally, Sasaki viewed Gintoki as his favourite email buddy. After the skirmish with the Shinsengumi, he learned that Gintoki was the Shiroyasha and used this to threaten him once. He couldn't understand how Gintoki had emotionally moved the Shogun to resign his position, helped the Shinsengumi to find a reason to take up their swords, as well as his influence on Nobume, which Sasaki considered negative.
- Hijikata Toushirou: Initially standing against the Shinsengumi, Sasaki was an opponent of Hijikata, intending to kill him without any hesistance. Nevertheless, once Tendoshu made their moves to kill those who oppose their rules, he and Hijikata becomes full-fledge allies.
- Takasugi Shinsuke: Currently, not much is known about their relationship. Though, before Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu's reign, there was no hostility between them and they seem to plot together to destroy the Bakufu. According to Nobume, Isaburo intends to see through Takasugi's lie.
- Katsura Kotarou: So far, nothing is known about their relationship before Hitotsubashi's reign. It is presumed that after Katsura smokebombed Snack Smile, Sasaki arrested him and put him in jail with Matsudaira and Kondou to trigger a prison break from them. When the Tendoshu made their moves to kill those who oppose their rules, they finally become allies.
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- Tendoshu: Initially working under the Tendoshu, they are responsible for his family's death after Sasaki foiled their assassination. Having witnessed children like Nobume being turned into emotionless assassins earlier, Sasaki chose to secretly stand against them. Unfortunately, his plan was seen through and the Tendoshuu had decided to kill him.
|Fight||Outcome||Time it Occurred|
|Sasaki Isaburo vs. Hijikata Toushiro||Loss||Episode 246|
|Sasaki Isaburo vs. Hijikata Toushiro||Interrupted||Episode 313|
- Sasaki Isaburo: If there's something for you to cut your way to, then by all means, cut away. I tend to toss about in my sleep quite a bit.
- Sasaki Isaburo: (Last word) I'm glad I believed. You've lots of friends, you get along so well with everyone, and you're kind and stubborn, Nobume-san. My email has finally been delivered.
- He is based on the leader of the real Mimawarigumi commander, Sasaki Tadasaburo (佐々木只三郎).
- In the history, Sasaki Tadasaburo had admitted assassinating Sakamoto Ryoma with Imai Noburo. Beforehand, Kondou Isami had taken responsibility and was executed for the killing. Similarly, in Gintama, the Mimawarigumi blamed the Shinsengumi for Tokugawa Shige Shige's death, resulting Kondou Isao being sentenced to execution. However, Kondou and Isaburo's fate to death has been reversed, with Isaburo dying instead of Kondou.
- Coincidentally, Sasaki shares the same birthday with fellow Gintama character, Sakata Gintoki.
- Sasaki Isaburo has the same voice actor as Isshin Kurosaki, Kaname Tousen and Tsubaki from Bleach, along with Dante from Devil May Cry and Katakura Kojuro from Sengoku Basara. He also voiced Kira Yoshikage in JoJos Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
- Sasaki Isaburo has the same hair style as Katakura Kojuro