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 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. He would create Kiheitai group during the war.
Despite for been comrades with gintoki, he and gintoki became rivals for some unknown reason even before they recruited sakamoto as part of the war.
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, sometimes topped with a black haori with yellow linings. 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 Katana (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. Takasugi deeply admires Shouyou and said he is unable to stand the world that took Shouyou away and act like nothing had happened, including Gintoki himself when he was forced to execute their own master by Tendoshu, under orders of Sada Sada. However, Shouyou sacrificed himself to save his students' lives. 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. Shinsuke and Bansai both share their hobby of playing shamisen. Shinsuke and Bansai are seen playing shamisen together during the Shinsengumi Crisis Arc.
- 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.
- Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu: Takasugi and Nobu Nobu are working with each other. Takasugi says that he will keep standing alongside Nobu Nobu as long as he keeps opposing the bafuku and that no matter which path Nobu Nobu takes, the one to kill him the end will be either Gintoki or Takasugi.
- 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. Gintoki often mocks him about his family position and army during the war. Gintoki would also make remarks about his height, which would probably be the reason for their rivalry.  In a present, this might be the fact during his former allies' captures by Tendoshu (under order of Sada Sada) that he hates Gintoki alot for choosing a regrettable choice into killing Shouyou by Tendoshu's forces on him, but it was in fact for the sake of his and his former allies' lives as Shouyou sacrificed his life to saved his students.
- 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: Upon finding out that Sada Sada was the one whom ordered Tendoshu of having forced Gintoki into killing Shouyou for the sake of his and his former allies' life, Takasugi begans to hates him most of all compared to his hatred of the Amantos, the government and his former comrades Gintoki and Katsura. He hates him for what he did to Shoyo, so he decided to kill him when he found out that he was locked in prison and went in disguised as a member of the Tendoshu. Before he killed him, Takasugi told Sada Sada to send greetings to Shoyo.
- Oboro: During the Joui war where he went to stop Gintoki from beheading Shoyo, Oboro stops him by throwing a katana at his left eye.
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 made an appearance in the aftermath of the Kabukichou Four Devas arc. Kamui was sent by Admiral Abo to eliminate the leader of the Kiheitai, Takasugi Shinsuke. This was proven as a ruse, as Kamui was the target of the elimination all along, because he was far more liked than the admiral himself. Takasugi would side with Kamui during his public execution. They killed the admiral and took control of the Harusame Space Pirates. They headed towards Earth after they made a temporary truce.
Takasugi appeared near the conclusion of Baragaki arc and it would seems that he's conspiring with Sasaki Isaburo for future plans.
Courtesan of a Nation Arc
He appeared disguising himself as a Naraku agent and kills off Tokugawa Sada Sada for revenge and asked him to send his regards to Yoshida Shouyou.
The Ikeda Clan Arc
Takasugi appeared near the conclusion of the Ikeda Clan Arc, Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu spoke to Takasugi, who was around but not seen until the end. Nobu Nobu express his interest at how Takasugi seeks to abolish the old and establishing the new and sees it as a great power, while Takasugi answers that Nobu Nobu won't be able to have neither his nor Gintoki's head. And that whichever side Nobu Nobu turns to, he would be killed either by him or Gintoki.
Patriot Reunion Arc
Takasugi appeared in a the flashback of the patriot reunion arc. He was proven to have a rivalry with Gintoki as depicted in the flashback. Takasugi had once gone to a red light district with Gintoki and they both ended up choosing the same girl. The girl liked Takasugi better and ended up with him. Takasugi however, spent the time drinking till his eyes turned bloodshot and the girl lost interest Takasugi, saying that he was a total bore of a man. He was also proven to be associated with the yogurt-like beverage Yakult in this arc.
Shogun Assassination Arc
- 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 butterfly pattern yukata.
- In the popularity poll, Takasugi is placed 4th in the first and second popularity poll and in 5th during the third popularity poll which makes him one of the most popluar characters even though he barely comes out.
- He was the cover for lesson 466
- (To Sakata Gintoki) "I know his suffering, after all the black beast of vengeance lies within me as well."
- (To Katsura Kotarou) "I'm fine with being a beast, I neither want nor need anything to protect. I just want to destroy everything, until the beast stops whining."
- (To Admiral Abou) "It's better to be the head of the cat than the tail of a lion. I'd rather be a bandit chief than a pirate or bigwig."
- (To Kamui) "It's more fun to dance with a batshit crazy idiot, than a plain old idiot."
- (To Katsura Kotarou) "Zura...The sword in your hand...who taught us how to use it ? Our samurai code, our way of living. Who taught us these ? The one who gave us a world to live in, was without a doubt...Shoyou-sensei. Yet, this world... took him from us. In that case, we have no other choice, but to fight this world. We have to completely destroy...this world that took him from us. Hey Zura...how do you feel living in this world? In this world that took our teacher away from us. How could you live in it, in such a carefree manner? It pisses me off!"
- (To Kawakami Bansai) "Bansai. Can't you get into the groove of my song?"
- (To Admiral Abou) "You're the one who's no longer needed. Didn't you hear me? I'm the executioner here, the only executioner needed in this place. Off with your heads."
- (To Sakamoto Tatsuma) "I bought you some damn yakult. So shut the hell up and drink it!"
- (To Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu) "I'm touched by your having such a high estimation of me. As long as you are opposing the bakufu, I'll keep standing here. But the moment you gave up on that it might be that the ones bitting at that neck may be him (Gintoki) or me."
- (To Kamui) "I'm like you...searching for a place to use my sharpened fangs,but this leaky boat won't take me anywhere."
- Have a nice nap in hell...leaky boat crew!
- (To Okada Nizou) "Don't label us as comrades,our relationship isn't that simple."
- (To Tokugawa Sada Sada) "That's right.You won't be judged by the shogun or the heavens.You will be judged...by me.Don't bother trying to remember me, cause I'll bring the Tendoshu and those worthless crowns,no...I'll bring the heads of every person on this planet down to hell with me....Say hello, to sensei for me.
- (To a ninja) " We never had all that much interest in that from the start. What we've been really seeking is not his head. It's you guys. The Shogun's limbs. Hit or miss, if we pull up all the roots, the head will fall on its own. "
- (To a ninja who asked him about his ringleader) " He's in Hell. Where you're about to go. "
- ↑ Gintama Manga: Lesson 477, page 8