Yagyuu Kyuubei (柳生 九兵衛, Yagyuu Kyuubei) is the successor to the Yagyuu family name, the daughter of Yagyuu Koshinori and granddaughter of Yagyuu Binbokusai. She was brought up as a male, following the code of the Yagyuu clan, but in later years decided to follow neither femininity or masculinity, but live as only "Yagyuu Kyuubei". She was the main antagonist of the Yagyuu Arc.
When Yagyuu Koshinori's wife died right after giving birth to Kyuubei, he never remarried and raised Kyuubei as a strong samurai along with his father Yagyuu Binbokusai. As the head of the Yagyuu family was traditionally always male and Koshinori was afraid Kyuubei could not properly back the family name as a woman, he decided to raise her as a man.
This caused children to bully Kyuubei during her childhood. At the same time she met Shimura Tae, who beat up the ones who made fun of her and became an important part of her life. She admired Tae's strong yet feminine personality and wanted to be just like her. When debt collectors physically abused Tae and her brother, Kyuubei attacked them to protect her. Kyuubei lost her left eye in the process, which filled Tae with guilt. She swore to Kyuubei that she'd become her new left eye.
Kyuubei later left with the ambition to become stronger than a man or a woman and even stronger than Tae. She underwent a rigorous training to achieve her goal, and later returned with the intention of marrying Tae.
Kyuubei dresses in masculine attire, wearing a white coat with a red trim and gray sides, with a blue kimono beneath that. She has black hair in a ponytail and dark-brown eyes, with an eyepatch covering her left eyesocket due to losing an eye during her childhood. When dressing femininely, she is shown to be very attractive, wearing hair in twin ponytails and an orange flower covers her left eye, a pink kimono short skirt and black thigh-length socks to go along with it.
Yagyuu Kyuubei's Gallery
When Kyuubei was first introduced, she displayed a cold personality; this was likely due to a desire to become stronger, after losing her left eye as a result of saving the young Shimura Tae and her brother Shinpachi,from debt collectors.
Due to her father not remarrying again after Kyuubei's mother died, he decided to raise Kyuubei as a man, and, as such, she usually acts in a rather masculine way. She is shown to dislike when men try to touch her, and tend to reflexively throw them over her shoulder. However, when she caught Gintoki's hand when she was about to fall off the spaceship during the Goukon episode, she didn't throw him possibly due to the respect gained for him after the Yagyuu arc. After Kyuubei and her group were defeated by Shinpachi's group in the same arc, Kyuubei is shown to have become softer, and at times, shown to have a feminine side.
Kyuubei is in love with Tae. She tried to marry her, but gave up the thought after the Yagyuu arc. Despite this, however, she still holds a special interest in her, and is very protective of her.
The Dekoboko Arc shows that Kyuubei was not sure whether she should live as a man or as a woman, due to having grown up as a man and struggling with her gender. In the end, they decide to live as "Kyuubei", regardless of being manly or womanly.
Strength & Abilities
She is a genius swords-woman; surpassing average swordsmen in skills, and is able to hold herself against veteran swordsmen, like Hijikata Toushirou and Sakata Gintoki. She is famous for lightning-fast sword strikes, and has mastered the Yagyuu Ryu sword school after going on a training journey.
- Yagyuu Binbokusai: Her grandfather.
- Yagyuu Koshinori: Her father, he insists Kyuubei to call him daddy or papa due to the family's status as celebrities.
Friends & Allies
- Toujou Ayumu: She is always being guarded by Ayumu, to the point of him being overprotective towards her. He also tried to convince her to wear gothic lolita outfits, which irritated and discomforted her, due to being mostly uncomfortable in feminine clothing.
- Shimura Shinpachi: She treats Shinpachi as a friend since he is Tae's younger brother
- Kondou Isao: Kyuubei hated him when they first met during the Yagyuu Arc, but in time came to accept him. She sees Kondou as a rival fighting for Tae's attention, but the two don't argue about it.
- Sarutobi Ayame: The two have a friendly interaction during the Kintama arc.
- Tokugawa Shige Shige: As a member of a fellow noble family, Kyuubei respected Shige Shige when he was alive prior to his death at the end of the Shogun Assasination arc.
- Katsura Kotarou: In recent Gintama chapters, Kyuubei became the target of jealousy of Katsura Kotarou, as he felt that they were becoming more active in the manga spotlight than him, even though despite this, Katsura was the more popular character. However, they did get along during Kyuubei's birthday, as well as when they got lost on an unknown island with others during the Ryuuguujou arc.
- Shimura Tae: Despite having to realize that Tae doesn't love her back the same way, Kyuubei still holds feelings for Tae. In any case, the two continue to hold friendly ties after the Yagyuu arc. She goes wherever Tae goes and might try anything Tae does. Kyuubei takes every word Tae says to heart and would give her life to make Tae happy. She also protects Tae from Kondou Isao's stalking and from anyone else who bothers her. In the Dekoboko Arc, Jyuubei seemed to become even more interested in becoming Otae's 'boyfriend'.
- Sakata Gintoki: Gintoki is the only guy that has made Kyuubei behave comedically like a girl and makes her nervous or blush whenever he touches her. She even cried for Gintoki during the Kintama Arc, when they lost their memories of him. This causes Toujou to plot to use Gintoki to bring an end to Kyuubei's supposed boyhood and help her develop romantic feelings for men and forget the romantic feelings they have toward Tae. It's inferred that she has possibly developed a few feelings towards him at the end of the Yagyuu arc, but she developed most of them at the group date, when he touched her on the hand and said that it felt nice to touch the hand of a beautiful woman. In the Kintama arc, Gintoki touching her hand caused her to blush and throw him out of embarrassment.
- Daishikyou: Daishikyou is an Archbishop of the cult that attempts (and succeeds) to switch the genders of the residents of Edo. Kyuubei and the gangs fight Daishikyou and destroy the cult's gender switching weapon, restoring everyone's genders along the way.
- Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu: After he tried to kill innocent people (including Tae).
- Jugem Jugem: A pet she is assigned to take care of; the two become deeply attached after spending time together.
During Kyuubei's introduction, she had just come back after years of training. She tried to take Shimura Tae's hand in marriage as her fianceé, though Shimura Shinpachi and the rest opposed to it. But after losing against Shinpachi (and the gang) in a dojo challenge, Kyuubei gave up her plan, conceding perhaps prematurely that Tae does not love her back.
She saved a turtle’s daughter from some punks, so the turtle wanted to take her to the Ryūgū-jō. They saw the Yorozuya in the sea, and later got lost. Once in a deserted island, she drew an SOS and an ice cream, but the waves erased half of it and made it look like poop, and she used her body as a wall to protect it from the waves. After she saw everyone who'd arrived, she became embarrassed and Otae tried make her feel better. The group found Kagura, stating that Laputa must definitely be on that huge cloud. As Kagura also felt very bad when she saw them, Otae tried to make her feel better with Kyubei. At last, they met Katsura. He was drawing an SOS with his piss and was singing Taiyo no Komachi Angel. He saw a giant cloud and stated that Takizawa Crystal must be there and ran out of piss. He also protected the SOS from the waves with his body, making Gintoki and Shinpachi furious.
They all talked about their situation and split into three groups. Kyubei and Shinpachi were in charge of finding shelter. The two went to the cave that he found earlier. In there, they found Kamenashi there and Shinpachi started to beat him. He caught Kamenashi from his hair and blamed him for being stuck on this deserted island, but Kamenashi stated that this is the Ryugu Palace. Hasegawa and Otae came and they entered into the cave. The skeleton was Kamenashi’s wife. Through tv, they saw the people in Edo getting old and Kamenashi explained that this is the work of Otohime and stated that they are the only ones that can stop her. Turtles appeared on the shore and attacked them. They tried to hold on until Gintoki and Katsura comes back, however, they returned as old men and the turtles caught them. Everyone got into the prison and started to talk about their strategies. Kagura thought Gintoki was eating something and attacked him. Katsura got disturbed by the noise and stated that kids must stop playing with the mega drive and go outside. They all got annoyed by Katsura and Gintoki’s behaviours and some turtles appeared, taking Otae and leaving. Then Kamenashi came and pushed the guard to the bars to make them take the keys, but Kagura kicked the bars down. The turtles attacked, but Kyubei and Kagura defeated them. After they all went into the palace, Kamenashi told them to act like turtles, resulting in Kagura acting like she were laying eggs. Kamenashi told everyone that Otohime is doing this to make everyone look ugly, so she could be the most beautiful creature. Before they went to take Otae back, Kamenashi used spouzer to divide their power equally, and she was as strong as 7930 boobs. But the spouzer got destroyed as Gintoki and Katsura were too much of a burden. The soldiers found them and started to attack. Kagura and Kyubei hurriedly escaped, not wanting to be team up with Katsura or Gintoki.
Kyuubei and Kagura then came to save Tae and freed her from the rope, teaming up to kill the sharks as well as Otohime's subordinates. After that, Tae beat up the last guards protecting Otohime and finally continued beating Otohime up until she stopped her project. Their fight was interrupted by more subordinates surrounding Tae with their guns, buying Otohime enough time to let the poison spread inside her palace, letting everyone, including her own subordinates, age extremely fast.
Kyubei and Kagura thought that Otohime was their son’s wife, Michuko, and tried to stop Otohime with lots of questions. They won and everyone in Edo got back to their old selves. Otohime lost and got stuck under the parts of the cannon that was destroyed. Kyubei and the others saved her.
Kyuubei, Otae, Sarutobi and Tsukuyo team up, sharing rank 6, the highest rank among their group's members at its inception. Their group is Diamond Perfume, and they plot to take the number one position, regardless of who gets in their way. This leads their group, the girls, to engage in a war of the sexes with several of the high ranking male cast members.
Kyuubei dressed as Santa in Shinpachi and Otae's house in their small Christmas party.
Devastated over the loss of Otae to Kondou, Kyuubei underwent a sex reassignment surgery; she then tried to join the okama club. It was proven that she hadn't gone through a procedure when Shinpachi hit everyone with a paper fan to destroy the parasitic alien "Kyusainetol", an alien boil-like parasite that attaches to an organism, and takes over the body. While the host becomes gradually smaller, the boil becomes bigger. After two days, the parasite takes a human shape and size, and the host is concealed within it. The Kyusainetol gathers information from the host body and roughly in three days, becomes its replica. With enough time, the parasite interprets "the host's ambitions" and becomes what the host has themselves inspired to be.
People infected usually claim that two years have passed; they also take the appearance they would have within 2 years. In order to stop the Kyusainetol, the afflicted must be stroke with a paper fan-like object. Kyuubei returns to normal by the end of the arc.
Kyuubei along with Tsukuyo and Sarutobi tried to kill Gintoki for supposedly destroying Tama and trying to attack Kintoki but later changed sides to aid Gintoki.
Kyuubei came into conflict after being given the opportunity to become a man, as in several previous instances they'd favored the idea, secretly wanting surgery. Their wish makes a strange woman to call the "Lord Dekoboko" to turn everyone in the Kabuki District into their opposite sexes. Kyuubei, along with the Yorozuya, Shinsengumi, Otae, Sachan and Tsukuyo try to find the archbishop and her army and solve the situation.
During the finale, they state nobly that after much thought they had concluded that they would live neither "manly or womanly", that they are simply "Kyuubei"; Gintoki later supports them saying: "Manly, womanly, are those random values that someone else made up really what you were striving towards?", he continues and states all people live their own lives with their pains, but live them all the same, and while he may not understand "the complicated stuff," none of them will take the Dekoboko's stringent enforcement of gender roles lying down.
Kyuubei later meets Lord Dekoboko with certainty, saying "I'm not Juubei! Neither a man or a woman, I am... 10 minus 1 is (juu hiku ichi wa)... Yagyuu Kyuubei!"
This arc is widely considered Kyuubei's main story arc, and considers the ongoing gender confusion that plagues them with grace.
- Yagyuu Kyuubei is based on the feudal era samurai Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi who was later regarded as the best swordsman of the Yagyu Clan. There is a legend in which Jubei had only one eye and wore an eyepatch.
- Also on Date Masamune who was an outstanding tactician, he was made all the more iconic for his missing eye, and Date was often called (独眼竜) or the "one-eyed dragon" and his helmet was famous for having a crescent-moon, an allusion was made for both on the Group Date Arc.
- The "kyuu" in Kyubei is the word for "nine", and the "juu" in Jubei is the word for "ten". Along with the name of the samurai who Kyuubei is based of, it makes a pun at Dekoboko Arc referring at the fact that Kyuubei turned into Juubei, 9 plus 1 making 10.
- During the Scandal Arc, Kyuubei is the only one who actually felt that they went too far in punishing Gintoki. She was convinced however by Otose that the punishment was perfect.
- Kyuubei has the same voice actress as Rukia Kuchiki from Bleach, Satsuki Momoi from Kuroko no Basket, and Miss Valentine and Wanda from One Piece.
- (To Sarutobi Ayame) "If Tae is the heroine... then I shall be her hero!"
- (To Shimura Tae) "Tae, no matter how hard I try... I'll never be a man. But if I become stronger than a man... or a woman... even stronger than you, Tae... then I'll definitely protect you."
- (To Hijikata Toushirou and Shimura Shinpachi) "All of you, who have been blinded by the labels of male and female, can't defeat me."
- (To Shimura Shinpachi) "This is laughable, isn't it, Shinpachi? To think you were the weakest of all. I'm sure you already knew, didn't you? That in the end, someone would come and save you. That's why you engaged me in battle despite knowing you couldn't win. You are always like that. Always hiding in someone's shadow and being protected... You don't even try to see the feelings and anguish of your protector! Do you now understand why Tae always puts on that fake smile? It's because you're weak. If I was at Tae's side... then such a thing would never have happened!"
- (To Lord Dekoboko) "I'm not Juubei! Neither a man or a woman, I am... 10 minus 1 is... Yagyuu Kyuubei!"
Gintama The Final Chapter: Be Forever Yorozuya
- (To Shimura Tae) "You look exactly the same. You're the same as you've always been, Tae-chan. Beautiful and dignified, but sincere."
- (To Gintoki) "Gintoki, if you ever put Tae-chan through that again... I will never forgive you. And if you ever abandon us again... We will never forgive you."