Takasugi Shinsuke (高杉 晋助 Takasugi Shinsuke ) is the leader of the Kiheitai, an extremist group which he resurrected from the Joui Wars. The Kiheitai is a Joui faction bent on causing world destruction. He is the main antagonist of the series.
According to the moderate Joui faction led by Katsura, the Kiheitai accumulates military firearms through shady arms dealing so that they can become a powerful military organisation. Contrary to Katsura, who wants to find a better solution and a way to save the world, Takasugi only wants to destroy. He will go to any lengths to see his world destruction through, even conspiring with the Harusame. He fought alongside Sakata Gintoki, Katsura Kotarou and Sakamoto Tatsuma in the Joui wars.
In his childhood Takasugi, Gintoki and Katsura were classmate 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. He would create Kiheitai group during the war. He injured his eye in a battle against powerful Amanto.
Takasugi has short, black hair with dark-purple highlights. His left eye is bandaged, and he is usually seen wearing a purple yukata with yellow butterflies. He likes to smoke a thin pipe called kiseru (キセル). Other Gintama characters who smoke such a pipe is Yoshiwara's Tsukuyo. He has also been seen playing the shamisen and wearing a sedge hat. He wields a sword.
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He is ruthless, and does not hesitate to punish insubordination with death, as Nizou experienced first-hand when he realized that Takasugi was seriously aiming to kill him during the Benizakura chapter.
Takasugi has a burning hatred for the new world that came to be after the Amanto settled down. This hatred seems to have originated from the loss of his mentor Yoshida Shouyou, as Takasugi wants to destroy the world that took away his teacher. According to Imai Nobume, Takasugi seeks to destroy what Yoshida Shouyou left behind.
Takasugi is also treacherous, as he offered up Katsura and Gintoki's heads to the Harusame Space Pirates in exchange for their co-operation in his world-destruction plans.He is often seen with his ruthless eyes or insane smile.
Strength & Abilities
Master Swordsmanship Specialist: Not much is known about Takasugi's fighting abilities, but he is a samurai by training, as seen in minor flashbacks in during the Benizakura chapter, where he's in a classroom as a child, alongside Gintoki and Katsura being lectured by Yoshida Shouyou 吉田 松陽.
Takasugi uses a shirasaya.
- Yoshida Shouyou: Takasugi alongside with Katsura and Gintoki studied under Shouyou until their beloved teacher was executed during Kansei Purge. The three students would later see the decapitated head of their teacher at riverbank. According to Nobume, Takasugi seeks to destroy what Shouyou has left.
Friends & Allies
- Kawakami Bansai: Due to his true identity being safe from the police, Takasugi would use Bansai as a negotiator for the Kiheitai, forging alliances with Harusame and the Shinsengumi rebels.
- Kamui: At first Kamui wanted to kill Takasugi because he has a similiar smell to Gintoki but Kamui was betrayed by his superior before the fight. Takasugi saved Kamui and killed the opposing members of Harusame. Kamui delays his fight with Takasugi and they wait for the day when they both attack Earth.
- Sasaki Isaburo: Not much is known between the two but there is no hostility between them and they're conspiring with each other.
- Sakata Gintoki: Once studied together in his childhood and fought together in the Joui War but now Takasugi simply wants to kill Gintoki and hates being called his former comrade.
- Katsura Kotarou: In his childhood, Takasugi and Katsura are always at odds but even then Katsura thought of him as a comrade. He was willing to offer his head to Harusame, along with Gintoki's. Like Gintoki, he also calls Katsura Kotarou by his nickname 'Zura'.
- Tokugawa Sada Sada: Takasugi hates Sada Sada the most of all compare his hate to the Amantos, the government and his comrades Gintoki and Katsura. He hates him for what he did to Shoyo, he decided to have the oportunity to kill him, when he finds out that he was lock in prison and kill him by wearing the prison guard's uniform. Before he killed him, Takasugi told Sada Sada to send greetings to Shoyo.
According to Katsura, Takasugi had escaped from the Bakufu's pursuit and was laying low in Kyoto before reaching Edo. The reason he came to Edo was to assassinate the Shogun, who would be attending a festival there. Takasugi managed to create quite the stir with the help of mechanic Hiraga Gengai 平賀 源外, but the Yorozuya and the Shinsengumi quickly put a stop to their plans, and the Shogun escaped unharmed.
Takasugi again resurfaced in Edo during the Benizakura chapter. This time, he didn't come alone, but had brought Kawakami Bansai 河上 万斉, Kijima Matako 来島 また子, Takechi Henpeita 武市 变平太, Okada Nizou 岡田 似蔵 and the rest of the Kiheitai with him in order to stage a military coup and forcibly overthrow the Bakufu.
He was also working together with Murata Tetsuya 村田 鉄矢, who made the Benizakura bio-mechanical sword, and was planning to use this sword as an asset in his plans. He implanted Nizou with the sword as Nizou's wish was to become a sword in order to protect Takasugi's will.
Takasugi threatened to cut through both Nizou and the sword if Nizou ever called Gintoki and Katsura his "comrades" again as he claims that their relationship wasn't nothing that sweet.
Matako and Henpeita blamed Nizou for having to fight Katsura and Gintoki before attacking the Bakufu, they claimed that it was insubordination and demanded him to commit Harakiri. Subject was quickly dropped by frustrated Nizou who almost strangled Matako with Benizakura.
Due to Katsura sabotaging the Benizakuras, Katsura's faction's assault and Yorozuya's infiltration, this seemed to be Takasugi's and his Kiheitai's defeat, but Bansai brought Harusame for backup.
It turned out Takasugi struck a deal with the Harusame Space Pirates, offering Gintoki's and Katsura's heads to the Space Pirates. While everybody retreated, Katsura and Gintoki went in an all-out battle against the Harusame on Takasugi's ship which ended when Gintoki and Katsura fled using a parachute after delaying the pirates long enough.
The Shinsengumi were fairly left out during all of this, but in Episode 62, Yamazaki gives a full report about the battle to Vice-Commander Hijikata, saying both sides (Katsura's Joui faction and Takasugi's Kiheitai) suffered huge losses.
Shinsengumi Crisis Arc
Takasugi's plan was to create a dispute within the Shinsengumi, and make them destroy themselves from the inside. He used the Shinsengumi advisor Itou Kamotarou as a pawn to be able to do such damage, in addition to the Kiheitai's assassin and negotiator, Kawakami Bansai 河上 万斉. With Itou, he was fairly successful in making a chaos in ranks. After Yorozuya and Okita Sougo interfered with the assassination of Kondou Isao, Kawakami revealed to Gintoki that Kiheitai wouldn't never allow someone as treacherous as Itou to join in their ranks. Kawakami and Kiheitai forces were ultimately repelled and Shinsengumi arranged a duel between Itou and Hijikata so that he would not die as a traitor. Kawakami returned to Shinsuke after receiving some injuries. Shinsuke scolded Bansai for being weak. Bansai responded that he fell in love with everyone's music and rhythm, which led to his defeat. He questioned Takasugi if he would ever understand what Gintoki protects.
Kabukicho Four Devas Arc
Takasugi's latest appearance was after the Kabukichou War arc. Kamui was sent by Admiral Abo to eliminate leader of the Kiheitai, Takasugi Shinsuke. This was proven as a ruse, as Kamui was the target of elimination all the time because he was far more liked than the admiral himself. Takasugi would side with Kamui during his public execution. They killed the admiral and assumedly took control of Harusame Space Pirates. They headed towards the Earth after they made temporary truce.
Takasugi appeared near the conclusion of Baragaki arc and it would seems that he's conspiring with Sasaki Isaburo for future plans.
He and his fellow Kiheitai also appeared briefly in episode 252 where they were asked to apology. Only one apologizing was Takechi Henpeita, although only about wanting to destroy Greater Edo Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths while disguising himelf as Takasugi. Henpeita received rough treatment from Bansai and Kijima for that.
Courtesan of a Nation Arc
He appeared disguising as a Naraku agent and kills off Tokugawa Sada Sada for revenge and asked him to send his regards to Yoshida Shouyou.
- Takasugi Shinsuke is based on the real Kiheitai leader Takasugi Shinsaku 高杉晋作, a samurai who founded and commanded the Kiheitai in an effort to fight against the Bakufu. His actions eventually lead to the Meiji Restoration.
- In all versions of Episode 150 he appears as the final enemy, in a battle against Gintoki while Edo is burning, but this is proven false because he joins forces with Kamui.
- In the manga, Takasugi's yukata has flower patterns, however in the anime he wears a butterflies pattern yukata.