Shishio Makoto (voiced by Steven Blum) is a former assassin/serial killer that seeks to overthrow the Meiji government and also main villain from Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X series.
Character history and biography
During the Bakumatsu, Shishio became known as Kenshin Himura's successor as a serial killer. His first assassination was Iizuka, a traitor to the Choshu party, and the Meiji government was even more secretive of Shishio then they were Kenshin. In fact, the politicians of the Meiji knew very little about him, but those that did eventually decided they had to eliminate/destroy Shishio once and for all. They had found that he was a glory hungry and ambitious sociopath and would use the secrets he knew of the government to take control of Japan by plunging it into mayhem/chaos. As such Shishio was knocked out with a shotgun, then doused in gasoline and burned alive during the Boshin War. However he survived and faked his death, though with his skin heavily scarred and took to covering himself in bandages, hoping to conceal his burned face.
Aided by Hoji Sadojima, Shishio gathered together a group of warmongers and weapons merchants, including the Juppongatana (Ten Swords) the ten best warriors/fighters in Japan, hoping to help him bring down the Meiji government. Shishio sought to rule Japan under social Darwinism since he felt the government was too weak to lead the country effectively, planning to strengthen the economy using petroleum when he took control. Soon after being burned, Shishio came across a young boy named Seta Sojiro, who watched him killing, murdering, and slaughtering a policeman who sent after him. Though he prepared to kill/assassinate the boy, Shishio stopped himself when he saw that Sojiro was smiling happily.
Second alternate biography
He told the boy to bring food and bandages in exchange for his life and took shelter in the storehouse of Sojiro's abusive adoptive family. When the boy referred to Shishio as old man, the former serial killer/assassin corrected him, but said Sojiro couldn’t tell given his appearance. The boy asked him if he was a bad guy, but Shishio responded by saying that the bad guys were the ones who used him and burned him. He said that he was a villain and decided to take up residence in the storehouse for awhile. After Sojiro came back/return (having been beaten by his abusive foster father), Shishio again asked why he was smiling happily. Sojiro said that he did it because he hoped they'd beat him less and the former assassin/serial killer noted now he did it without being aware of it. The boy said they made him that way, but Shishio said no one or nobody could make him anything and it was his own fault/mistake. He went on to say the weak were nourishment for the strong and no smile would spare Sojiro's life from that. Shishio then gave the boy a sword as thanks and later listened as Sojiro took his revenge on his cruel foster family, slaughtering, killing and murdering them all in cold blood. He left the storehouse to find the boy standing over them and asked Sojiro to join him, which he readily agreed too. Shishio went on to mold into Sojiro in order to become his disciple and he would eventually become his right-hand man and the strongest of the Juppongatana (Ten Swords). At one point, Shishio met Komagata Yumi, who became his lover/girlfriend.
Preparing to take over Japan
After finding out that Shishio was still alive by faking his death and planning to take them down, the government needed to take action. They approached Kenshin Himura, the only one they thought could defeat/destroy Shishio once and for all, and asked him to take Shishio out. He agreed to help and went with Saito Hajime in order to track down the former assassin/serial killer. At one point, Shishio sent Sojiro, along with some of his men, to offer Shinomori Aoshi a place in his forces. However the men he sent were just a test, who ended up getting slain with ease and after Sojjro returned, Shishio said he liked Aoshi. His disciple said that the Oniwanbanshu didn't seem ready to join them yet, but Shishio said he'd come around. In the meantime, the former hitokiri decided it was time to meet his predecessor. Sojiro asked if Shishio was enjoying this and he said he was about to write history, so of course he was.
Soon afterwards, Kenshin and Saito found some of Shishio's forces located in Shingetsu Village. At the time, Shishio was visiting and they went to confront him. As they talked, he revealed that he didn’t want revenge against the Meiji government and he actually thanked them for what they’d done to him. It had taught him many lessons and Shishio went on to say he couldn’t leave Japan in the hands of the Meiji government. He explained he would make the country stronger and powerful and he believed that only the strongest survived. Shishio then told Kenshin that he wanted to save their fight until he got to Kyoto; instead of having his henchman, Senkaku to fight him, Shishio then watched/witnessed the two of them fight to the death until Kenshin managed to make Senkaku's leg break like a tree branch.
The former serial killer/assassin told his minion that if he lost without making Kenshin use a single move, he’d kill him all by himself. This prompted Senkaku to make one last desperate attack, only to be struck down by Kenshin. Shishio said that he found it disappointing that Kenshin really had stopped being a serial killer in order to become a rurouni (wanderer). He then said he’d die if he tried to fight him like that, telling Kenshin he’d wait for him in Kyoto and come back when he became a serial killer once again. Shishio threw his katana to Sojiro and told him to take care of Kenshin and the others. He left with Yumi, explaining to her about Sojiro's strength. After Sojiro caught up with both Shishio and Yumi, he came his master back his sword, only heavily cracked due to his clash with Kenshin. Shishio stated that he’d underestimated the former Battosai and ordered Sojiro to gather the rest of the Juppongatana (Ten Swords). He went on to say that he was going to pry the man slayer out of Himura Kenshin even by force. Both Shishio and Yumi went to Kyoto to be greeted by his men and Hoji and the former hitokiri noted it was an extravagant welcome. Shishio then asked if the firearms he wanted had been obtained and Hoji confirmed they were. The former assassin/serial killer said that once the Juppongatana arrived, they’d begin their takeover, much to the men’s excitement, especially once Hoji declared that they should prepare themselves. Shishio noted he’d been a bit dramatic, but Hoji said it had seemed fitting and the former assassin/serial killer told him that in order to work themselves up for their conquest, he and the Juppongatana (Ten Swords) would take out Kenshin. Hoji voiced his disagreement, saying they were for killing government officials and it was idiotic to use them against the man slayer. Yumi said the Juppongatana (Ten Swords) weren't so fragile when Sawagejo Cho arrived, agreeing with her. Shishio noted he'd gotten there quick and then told him to wait a few hours before doing anything, before asking Hoji about Kenshin's movements. He told his master that the former man slayer was contacting Arai Shakku's son and Shishio concluded Kenshin must have been looking for a spare weapon (which Sojiro had broken when they fought). Hearing this, Cho started to walk off and Shishio told him not to cause too much trouble, before Yumi left as well, saying she would wait for him in the bedroom.
Hoji still voiced his disapproval at the Juppongatana (Ten Swords) facing Kenshin, which could be disastrous for their greater goals. Shishio just said if that was the case, he could at least have fun killing the true man slayer, not that it would happen with the Juppongatana on his side. Later, Sojiro went to Shishio to tell him Yukyuzan Anji, Kariwa Henya, and Iwanbo had arrived and that Shinomori Aoshi had come to speak with him. Shishio said he had no problem with Aoshi having no interest in wanting to join him and just wanting information. He explained that a lone wolf like Aoshi himself could lead to the destruction of an organization and offered to tell the ninja all they knew of Kenshin. Thus, he would help Shishio by killing the former man slayer and the former assassin/serial killer then proposed torturing the people at the Aoi-Ya (who were Oniwabanshu like Aoshi) since they had had contact with Kenshin. Aoshi agreed to this and later, Hoji questioned trusting the ninja, since his betrayal of his comrades seemed quite twisted. Shishio pointed out that all of them were a little twisted, which Hoji said was fair enough. Later, Hoji reported to his master that the attack on the Aoi-Ya failed, offering to make up for it personally. Shishio said there was no need, since Aoshi had been called out and told Hoji not to interfere if he wanted to stay alive. The former man slayer went on to ask his subordinate if he believed in hell and when Hoji said no, Shishio replied that was just like him. He went on to say that he did believe in hell, saying a world where devils swarmed, washing blood with blood deserved to be called hell. Shishio proceeded to remove one of his gloves and advanced on Hoji, backing him up to a wall and placing his hand on his head, much to his horror. He was shocked by how hot Shishio was and his master explained that his sweat glands had been destroyed when he was burned. The former serial killer/assassin said he couldn’t relieve his body heat by sweating and in his life, there was the heat of eternal hell. Shishio went on to say that those flames became voices that began to tell him the truth: that it was not right for the weak to survive. He finished by saying a nation where only devils deserved to live was truly hell. Hoji began to tremble with delight at those words and declared he was honored to serve Shishio. Later an intruder infiltrated Shishio’s base, slaughtering his men and Hoji said he would send out the Juppongatana (Ten Swords). However Shishio said he couldn’t have the Ten Swords fighting one another when suddenly the intruder appeared above the former assassin/serial killer. He blocked the intruder’s strike, who was revealed to be Uonuma Usui and Hoji was angered that it was one of the Juppongatana (Ten Swords). Usui pointed out he could attack Shishio at his discretion and the former assassin/serial killer confirmed that was true. When the blind sword revealed that he’d killed a group of policemen, Shishio asked if Kenshin or Saito were there and said they were the Juppongatana’s greatest enemies.
Launching his plans
When the Juppongatana (Ten Swords) were finally all gathered, except for Cho who'd been defeated, imprisoned, and arrested, Shishio appeared. Sojiro offered him some local treats he'd bought with writing on the inside of the box, telling him that the ship was ready. It also said Usui may suspect something, but he shouldn't a problem. Shishio told the Juppongatana (Ten Swords) that it was time for them to stand together and make their plan to burn all of Kyoto a reality. Later he went with Yumi to the ship he planned to use in his real plan and she asked why they had to use such a broken down vessel. However Shishio responded by asking her if it was his looks she fell in love with or was it what was inside him. He then revealed the ironclad gunship that was hidden in the rundown ship and asked if it was worthy of her love. Yumi said it was and became excited, but Shishio told her not to be hasty. Later on as their plan was set into motion, Hoji noticed that the fires weren't starting. Shishio noted that a little delay should be expected and said there was no need for impatience. Yumi, having become drunk, asked if her beloved was going soft and wanted to see the end of Kyoto. Shishio asked why he would feel nostalgic for this rotten age, but said that he did feel some regret at putting off his fight with Kenshin. However Kenshin, Sanosuke, and Saito suddenly arrived and Shishio said Kenshin had read his intention. He observed the new arrivals, noting he didn't know who Sanosuke was, but Hoji and Sojiro said who he was, only for Shishio to call him a tag along. Sojiro asked what they should do and Shishio said he couldn't waste his time, but also couldn’t look like he was retreating. He decided to show them what they were up against and they'd leave once they saw how futile their efforts were. Shishio revealed the ironclad gunship, Rengoku, and began attacking Kenshin, Sanosuke, and Saito with the ship's arsenal. However Kenshin managed to get on the deck, but Shishio said that though he had read his intentions, it worked the other way too.
He ordered his crew to fire the Gatling gun at Sanosuke, who Kenshin had been a distraction for, but the former fight merchant managed to use small explosives to blow up the ship. Shishio said that it was his carelessness that caused this defeat and though the Rengoku was a heavy price, he’d realized he needed to kill/destroy Kenshin, Saito, and Sanosuke in order to take over Japan. Shishio then told Saito and Kenshin to come to his lair on Mt. Hiei where they would face him and his Juppongatana (Ten Swords). Before leaving, Shishio told Kenshin he was still just a diversion to his takeover, but he'd become a diversion worth risking his life for.
Taking on Kenshin Himura
After going back to his lair, Shishio was informed by Hoji that Saito and Kenshin had left Aoi-Ya and he told his subordinate to gather the Juppongatana (Ten Swords). However Hoji proposed a plan to Shishio that would secure "absolute victory", keep only Anji, Usui, and Sōjiro to fight Kenshin, Saito, and Sanosuke. Meanwhile the other Juppongatana (Ten Swords) could go to Aoi-Ya and wipe out Kenshin's allies there who'd caused their plans to fail. However Shishio said he didn't care if the plan was brilliant, the code of swordsmanship did not allow him to do such a thing. Hoji said he would do whatever he could to ensure Shishio's victory, even if it displeased him, but the former serial killer/assassin just told Sojiro to gather the Juppongatana.
However when they were all gathered, Usui said he'd heard the Kyoto fire was just a diversion meaning the Ten Swords were just a sacrifice. Shishio said that wasn't plan, they were all supposed to be on the Rengoku and claimed Hoji changed the plans. Hoji admitted to this, but Usui did not seem as convinced and told Hoji to tell him the truth. But when Hoji tore out his fingernails, claiming they were his punishment for his betrayal, Shishio, impressed by his devotion, went with Hoji's plan. Later, Yumi questioned sending Anji to fight Sanosuke since Anji had taught him the "Mastery of Two Layers" technique. Thus, he might take it easy on Sanosuke. Shishio said Anji might, but his compassion was outmatched by his anger. The former assassin/serial killer then sent Yumi to guide Kenshin, Saito, and Sanosuke through his labyrinth like lair. Later on Hoji reported that Anji was defeated, Usui was fighting Saito, and Kenshin was fighting Aoshi in his room. Shishio said that Anji and Usui would at least wound their opponents and then he and Sojiro would be able to slay Kenshin. Hoji noted how confident his master was, but the former assassin/serial killer asked if he'd rather see him panicked. Shishio then told Sojiro to prepare himself, though he had plenty of time since Kenshin and Aoshi's fight would go on for awhile. His subordinate asked why that was and Shishio said that was because Kenshin and Aoshi were nearly equal in skill, so they could just chisel away at each other. Sojiro asked his master which of the two did he think would win and then what he would do if Aoshi was the victor. Shishio just said he'd defeat the Okashira personally. After Kenshin defeated Aoshi, Hoji brought his master a telegram Yumi had sent about the secret move Kenshin had learned. However it said she couldn’t see it, much to Hoji's anger and Shishio said that Yumi was wrong, Kenshin's move hit first, despite it being used after Aoshi attacked unlike what she said. Shishio said that made it a "god-speed battojutsu", but thought to himself that couldn't be all there was to the attack. Later on, Hoji reported to Shishio that all of the Juppongatana sent to Aoi-Ya had been defeated. Sojiro just said their opponents were stronger, that was all there was to it and left after saying "the strong live, the weak die". Shishio told Hoji those were the words he taught Sojiro and explained that since Sojiro is an anti-pacifist lacked peace, he couldn't be predicted. The former assassin/serial killer went on to say this was what made his disciple train constantly to become stronger than Kenshin. Shishio said that Sojiro also possessed another virtue, one the former man slayer hadn't seen, and thought to himself if Kenshin could defeat him.
As Sojiro fought Kenshin to the death, Shishio explained that his disciple's other strength was Shukuchi, a speed beyond god-speed. The former assassin/serial killer explained what it was and said that Sojiro's strengths made him unbreakable. Hoji called Shukuchi "speed the eyes couldn't follow", but Shishio corrected him, telling him not confuse it with Kenshin’s Shinsoku, Shukuchi was "speed that could not even be seen". But when Sojiro was defeated, he sent Yumi ahead to Shishio, having figured out the secret of Kenshin's Amakakeru Ryu No Hirameki, Kenshin's left foot. However he also gave back the wakizashi that Shishio gave him so long ago, having decided to find out what was the right path on his own. After Yumi gave Shishio the sword, he said it had all come down to his own strength as he thought, snapping the blade in half as he did so. As he waited for Kenshin to arrive, he wondered how many years it had been since he'd fought. Hoji noted how pleased Shishio was and the former assassin/serial killer said that though Kenshin had not become the man slayer again, he'd gotten to the point where he was stronger than Sojiro.
Shishio said this duel was making his blood boil like a hot water more than the idea of conquering the nation. Hoji noted that all their plans had been set back at least 10 years and begged Shishio to destroy Kenshin and his allies. Yumi finally brought Kenshin and Sanosuke into the arena where Shishio was waiting. Before the fight began, Yumi asked the former assassin/serial killer to take care of himself, however Shishio kissed her and said fifteen minutes was all he would need. Before they began, Shishio noted that Kenshin was injured, but he said the former assassin/serial killer didn't look so good either, to which he responded by saying neither of them had any reason to hold back. The two threw themselves at each other and began fighting. Kenshin was surprised when Shishio actually managed to ignite his sword and was the first to take a hit. Shishio asked if he'd ever felt the pain of being slashed and burned, but Kenshin responded by saying the nature of his technique was clear. He said the friction from Shishio's blade was only for ignition, it wasn't burning, it was the flesh of all the people Shishio had killed/murdered, which coated it due to it being serrated that was the fuel. Shishio complimented him for figuring that out and explained his sword's design made it so it would always remain sharp. Its use of the people it killed as a power source (his first secret blow) was an example of Shishio's motto, "The flesh of the weak was the food of the strong". Shishio said that Kenshin seemed offended and the former man slayer said the truth couldn't be decided with battle. But he said if Shishio was not stopped, all of Japan would be fuel for his fire and the former assassin/serial killer said he couldn't deny that.
Kenshin attacked him, but Shishio caught his sword since the move he used was the one he'd used to bring down Senkaku. Shishio asked if Kenshin would add fuel to his fire, before biting him in the shoulder like a vampire, drawing a good deal of blood. He let the former man slayer fall to the ground and said the philosophy he'd given Sojiro, "The strong live and the weak die", didn't just apply to sword fights. It was a law of nature, the weak's duty was to help the strong live and if they were unworthy of doing so, they had no reason to live. Shishio said that his conquest would be a kind of providence, then pointed out Kenshin had flourished in the bloody Bakumatsu. He said the former man slayer should see that fighting nature's law only resulted in failure. However Kenshin angrily said Shishio was wrong and he wouldn't let him spread chaos no matter what his logic was. Shishio said it was a law, not logic, but the former man slayer declared he would not submit to such a law. The former assassin/serial killer said Kenshin's mind accepted even if his heart did not and said it was a pity that his foolish stubbornness would now make the great man slayer fall. Shishio told Kenshin that he would die in glory as opposed to live in humanity and attacked, saying the former assassin/serial killer name would live on in the history he would make.
However Kenshin blocked Shishio’s fiery blade and said he'd rather have his name in a record of peace, before striking the former assassin/serial killer in the side.
But this did not deter Shishio in the slightest and he countered, then held Kenshin up by the front of his kimono. He demonstrated his second technique, Guren Kaina, which took a heavy toll on the former man slayer. It seemed as if Kenshin were dead, which Shishio found disappointing, especially since he hadn't used his Amakakeru Ryu No Hirameki. But as he turned away, sheathing his sword, Saito burst through the door, declaring he'd come for Shishio's head. The former Shinsengumi's strike landed right in the middle of Shishio's forehead, but this did nothing to him. He took the opportunity to slash Saito's already wounded legs then said he knew the former Shinsengumi would try an ambush. Shishio pulled away the bandages where Saito had hit to reveal a metal band and explained that when he'd been burned, it was because he was knocked out by a blow to the head. Shishio said Saito should've done more research, since his one slim chance for victory was gone. The former assassin/serial killer prepared to finish off Saito, but the former Shinsengumi said he was letting his guard down again. He used his Gatotsu Zero-Shiki to attack Shishio, but the former assassin/serial killer just got a few of his bandages cut, piercing/stabbing Saito's shoulder with only his fingers. After saying he was just taking his time, Shishio struck Saito down, but then Sanosuke joined the fight, hitting the former assassin/serial killer in the face with his Mastery of Two Layers. However this didn't seem to bother Shishio, who punched Sanosuke full force into a wall. He began laughing and Yumi told him to finish the three off and Shishio told her not to rush him, since it'd been so long since he last fought. However Aoshi arrived, saying he hadn't won yet and the former assassin/serial killer asked if he wished to die with the others. He pointed out that when Shishio fought Kenshin, he’d been injured due to his earlier battle with Aoshi. Shishio concluded he'd balance the scales by taking the former man slayer's place and when Hoji argued against this, his master told him to let it be. Shishio said he didn't want to leave any doubt as to who the true victor was and threw himself at Aoshi. However the Oniwabanshu managed to eventually get behind him in a corner. Shishio asked why Aoshi was hesitating, since he had the perfect opportunity to strike, asking if he couldn't attack or simply chose not to. But when the Oniwabanshu did attack, Shishio used his elbow to knock Aoshi's kodachi out of his hand, saying his attack wasn't even close. The former assassin/serial killer landed a final blow on the Oniwabanshu and said not matter how much time he wasted, it was useless since Kenshin couldn't get to his feet. Shishio said he and the former an slayer were the same and Aoshi said he didn't know about that, but he couldn't believe Kenshin would lose to Shishio. At that moment, Kenshin did what Shishio said he couldn't do and the former assassin/serial killer said the second round could now begin.
Finishing the fight
Shishio said Kenshin now rose to burn again, before they resumed fighting. Eventually the former assassin/serial killer had his opponent by the throat and prepared to use his Guren Kaina again. However Kenshin managed to make the explosion go off in Shishio's face, then unleashed five strikes upon his enemy. But the former assassin/serial killer still stood tall, asking if that was all Kenshin had, however the former man slayer managed to grab some of Shishio's bandages. He then used Kuzu Ryusen, sending the former assassin/serial killer crashing into a wall. But even this could not stop Shishio and he prepared to use his final secret move, Kaguzuichi. At the same time, Kenshin prepared to attack with his Amakakeru Ryu No Hirameki. Shishio said he couldn't remember the last time he had so much fun, but Kenshin said that the time of the serial killer/assassin had long since passed. Shishio said as long as he had his sword, it would never end and Kenshin said it ended when he took up his Sakabato. The former Battosai used his Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki, but Shishio successfully deflected it and began to use his Kaguzuichi. However suddenly, he found himself being pulled towards Kenshin and realized the deflection of his first strike had created a vacuum, pulling objects in. The former man slayer struck Shishio in the chest and he was sent flying into the air, before crashing back down to the ground. Suddenly the former assassin/serial killer began convulsing and vomiting and Yumi shielded Shishio from Kenshin, begging him to stop due to the time limit his condition imposed on him.
However Shishio took the opportunity to stab Kenshin to death in the torso by stabbing at him through Yumi. The former man slayer cried how could Shishio betray and kill the one who loved him so much, but Shishio said she knew him like no one or nobody else, as he understood her. Yumi, happy that she could be useful in battle for once, told the former assassin/serial killer he had to win and she'd wait for him in hell. Kenshin asked what joy there could be in death, but Shishio said it was not their role to debate life and death, but to fight.
He went on to say he who delivered the next blow and survived would claim victory. Shishio's body temperature finally got to the point where the blood on his body actually started to evaporate. Shishio attacked and cried the strong live, the weak died and that was why he would live. But before they could strike each other, Shishio bust into flames as his body temperature got too high and he spontaneously consumed by flame, howling with evil laughter as he burned to ashes. However Shishio's ambition was not over yet and after reuniting with Yumi in hell, they awaited Hoji. After he arrived (having committed suicide in jail), Shishio said they'd wasted enough time and they had to be going. Hoji asked where and the former assassin/serial killer said they were off to conquer their new environment. As Shishio walked on with Yumi and Hoji at his side, he told them the world couldn’t stomach his defeat of man slayer, but in hell, everyone was their kind of people.
Shishio is extremely ruthless, heartless, and cruel, seeming to completely lack any sense of mercy or compassion. He believes constantly in the fact that the weak only exist for the benefit of the strong. Shishio is also extremely crafty, able to easily hide his operation from the Meiji government. He was also able to think up an excellent strategy that almost brought down the Meiji government. But Shishio has shown that he is somewhat psychotic, most likely due to his being burned, often laughing evilly and enjoying every second he gets to harm to others. He also has a dark sense of humor, such as when Shishio first met Kenshin and said he took over the village just because he wanted to get the hot springs there for his personal use. However despite his ambition, Shishio is more interested in proving his strength at times and even when his plans are foiled, he isn't too bothered, since he got the chance to fight the legendary man slayer. Despite his cold bloodlessness, Shishio did seem to truly love Yumi and seemed to have a bond with both Sojiro and Hoji.