The Ittō-ryū(Jpn. - 一刀流 - "Ittō-ryū") are one of the main sword schools featured in Blade of the Immortal. They are the main antagonists for most of the series.
Origin and Creed[edit | edit source]
Timeline:[edit | edit source]
1732 - Saburo Anotsu, the grandfather of Kagehisa Anotsu, is expelled from the Mutenichi-Ryu for breaking rules relating to sword technique and fighting style.
Basic Principles of the Itto-ryu[edit | edit source]
- No charges are demanded.
- No sword lessons are given until demanded.
- Strict forms and Secret techniques are not acknowledged.
Members[edit | edit source]
Kagehisa Anotsu (天津 影久 Anotsu Kagehisa?) Voiced by: Hirofumi Nojima (Japanese), Ethan Murray (English) Leader of the Ittō-ryū and equal of Manji. While painted as the "villain" of the series at the start, he has had many scenes devoted to making the reader sympathetic to his views and goals. An emotionally cold young man has prodigious skill with the sword and leads the Ittō-ryū in order to form a dōjō dedicated not to form and rules but to the simple test of superior lethality. Brought up by an abusive grandfather (a swordsman disgraced by the Asano dōjō), Anotsu is as pragmatic and shrewd as he is deadly. He isn't as inhuman as originally believed, as he even allows Rin to live after she attacks him; even letting her follow him everywhere. He is currently at "war" with Habaki Kagimura, the leader of the Banshu. At the end of volume 28, he started on a fight, alongside Manji and Makie Otono-Tachibana, against Habaki Kagimura and his Rokki-Dan. He has two weapons. The first, his main weapon, is a Nepalese-based axe named Kabutsuchi (Head Hammer). The other is his rarely used sword of the same name. First appears in Conquest part 1.
Among the Ittō-ryū's finest swordsmen. Of peasant origin, he became a swordsman to avenge his sister, who was killed as a child by a samurai. Taito is one of the few swordsmen who has fought Manji and survived. He has also fought by Manji's side as well. He can be considered a Kenshi, a swordsman who is not from the samurai class. He despises the government by extension to his hatred of samurai and quits the Itto-Ryu when Anotsu allies the group with Kagimura and the shogunate, though he remains on friendly terms with Anotsu. When his lover of sorts, a prostitute named O-Ren, is killed by Shira, Magatsu ends up following Manji around due to the fact that he knows Shira is after Manji. Although they argue a lot, Manji and Taito have a relatively friendly relationship. In the end, Manji allows Taito to find Shira, and despite how much Shira wants to kill Manji, he lets Taito get him. Eventually, Shira loses the one hand he had left to Taito and presumably falls to his death. Concerned by something Shira said, Taito decides to meet up with Anotsu and he eventually rejoins the Ittō-ryū. Magatsu later joins Manji and Meguro to finally finish off Shira. Taito's weapon is a gladius-like triple-sectioned sword named Grand Turk. The main blade is a gladius, the second is a smaller, shorter sword hidden in the handle, the last is a spear-head like dagger hidden within the pommel of the second blade. The sword is curiously missing a sword guard. First appears in Conquest part 1, first named in the ‘'Fanatic Part 1.
Makie Otono-Tachibana (乙橘 槇絵 Otono-Tachibana Makie?) Voiced by: Mamiko Noto (Japanese), Elle Deets (English) Master swordswoman and in love with Anotsu. Possibly the most skilled swordfighter in the manga, she is said to be Anotsu's match and saved his life with her deadly abilities when they were children. Born into a samurai family, Makie and her mother Fuki (乙橘吹 Otono-Tachibana Fuki?) were disowned and cast away from the family by her father, Harukawa (春川義明 Harukawa Yoshiaki?), when Makie's older brother committed seppuku after Makie was revealed to have inherited the family's famed talent and he was unable to defeat her in combat. She initially chooses the path of the sword to avenge her mother's disgrace. She ended up becoming a geisha after Anotsu bought her freedom because she neither had the nerve to become a prostitute, like her mother nor commit to becoming a swordfighter, lacking the nerve to kill when her concentration in battle is broken. She defeats but does not kill Manji, apparently turning her back on Anotsu. Later found living alone, having bound her hand in an attempt to destroy her own skill in combat after her father's humiliating death. She reappears in Last Blood, having followed Anotsu since he left Shirakawa when she realized his body was weakening, and destroys the nearly all men under Iriya who were pursuing Anotsu. After Iriya's death, she leaves with Anotsu and Magatsu. She is later striken with the same lung sickness her father died from while quietly residing with Anotsu and acting as his bodyguard. When he departs from Edo during Habaki's last effort to destroy the Itto-ryu, Anotsu leaves her behind in order to spare her from fighting again. However, she pursues him in spite of how her sickness is advancing until she encounters Habaki and the Rokki-dan, where upon she is reunited with Anotsu and Manji and fights alongside them. As said by Anotsu, she is the only one that can beat him other than Manji, and even Habaki immediately recognizes and fears her skill. Her weapon, a double bladed three-section-staff, is named Haru-no-Okina (Old Man of Spring). She conceals her weapon in a hollowed-out shamisen, a mandolin-like instrument. She first appears in Dreamsong Part 1.
Sosuke Abayama (阿葉山 宗介 Abayama Sōsuke?) Second-in-command of the Ittō-ryū. An aged swordsman who nevertheless remains one of the Ittō-ryū's most skilled fighters. A skilled political operative, well suited to handling the dōjō's administrative tasks. He is missing his right arm, and uses a concealed dagger/machete-like weapon with a strange hilt. His missing right arm is actually replaced by three chains with weights which he uses as a weapon against Giichi. He is killed by Giichi after an intense battle during the Rokki-Dan pursuit.
Sabato Kuroi (黒衣 鯖人 Kuroi Sabato?) Voiced by: Masashi Ebara (Japanese), Artt Butler (English) Skilled pupil of Anotsu Saburō (Anotsu Kagehisa's grandfather) and master Ittō-ryū swordsman. Along with his skills with a sword, Kuroi has several quirks, which includes poetry referencing Black Sabbath appearing whenever he does. In addition, Kuroi is so obsessed with ageless beauty that he used taxidermy to preserve the heads of his former wife and Rin's mother, and mounted them on his shoulders. Along with his sword skills, Kuroi uses two shuriken referred to as Karasu, or "The Crow." He first appears in Conquest part 1 and is later killed by Manji in Conquest part 3. Kuroi Sabato's is inspired by the band Black Sabbath; Kuroi Sabato roughly translates into Black Sabbath from Japanese. Kuroi is a direct translation to the color black. Sabato when romanized, can be taken as "Sabbath." Black Sabbath is one of Hiroaki Samura's favorite bands.
Araya Kawakimi (川上 新夜 Kawakami Araya?) Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa (Japanese), Liam O'Brien (English) An Ittō-ryū swordsman living as a mask-maker. Determined to conceal his past from his son, Renzo, he is also the man who led the rape of Rin's mother. He first appears in On Silent Wings part 1, and is later killed by Manji in On Silent Wings part 6. Renzo then attacks Manji in rage, Manji feigning death. Renzo then makes an assumption his father had a sordid past with Rin at his father's burial, when Rin says, hypothetically, that there are some reasons past incidents shouldn't be brought up, as the blissful ignorance is better than the lifetime of shame. He appears in On Silent Wings (I-VI).
Eiku Shizuma (閑馬 永空 Shizuma Eiku?) Voiced by: Katsuyuki Konishi (Japanese), James Hoover (English) Immortal swordsman. Gifted with the same blood-worms as Manji, he seeks to gain Manji as an ally to overthrow Anotsu. He said in Cry of the Worm that the kessen-chu were given to him by Yaobikuni during the Muromachi period, which means he is two hundred years old. His weapons are a poisoned pair of a dagger and a saber both named Inoue Shinkai Kosatsu ("Wormkiller"). He first appears in Conquest part 1, is named in Cry of the Worm part 1 and is later killed by Manji in Cry of the Worm part 3. The poison he uses (Kessen Satsu) is later used in Trickster in an attempt to kill Manji.
Dōa Yoshino (吉乃 瞳阿 Yoshino Dōa?) A fiery tempered Ittō-ryū swordswoman who is quite small. Her primary weapon is an odd knife which is fashioned from a spearhead. She appears in the later chapters as one of Ittō-ryū's new recruits and greatly admires Anotsu. Doa always travels with her friend Isaku and the two have developed complementary fighting styles. This usually consists of Doa providing the offense with her speed and dagger, while Isaku provides the defense with his armored arms. Her tendency to jump right into battle with little to no provocation often lands her and Isaku in trouble. She ends up befriending Asano Rin. She and Isaku are both originally from Hokkaido, where Doa was adopted and raised by Ainu, but was treated as an outsider by her contemporaries despite her devotion to the Ainu. She previously went by the names "Kuichiru" and "Towa"; her current name, Yoshino, comes from a novel that Anotsu lent her so she would improve her literacy.
Isaku Yasonokami (八苑狼 夷作 Yasonōkami Isaku?) An Ittō-ryū member of great height (over 1.90 meters/6'2" tall) and strength. Unlike most members of the Ittō-ryū, Isaku has no weapons to speak of, instead he wears various piece of armor and tends to act defensively. He is also Doa's best friend and the two always travel together. Isaku often finds himself rescuing Doa, apologizing for her and keeping her from killing others (usually by picking her up and running away). He and Doa have also developed complementary fighting styles, with Isaku acting as the defense and Doa as the offense. He ends up befriending Asano Rin. In reality, he is a Portuguese Christian and the son of a priest. He is not incredibly intelligent, but is kindhearted. Is cut in two as a result of the experiments in Habaki's compound, only to be reassembled by Doa - he briefly has similar regenerative abilities to Manji, which gradually wear off.
Koji Kashin (果心居士 Kashin Koji?) A spy and doctor for the Ittō-ryū, one of the ten core members of the group; he operates in Edo under the alias of Mizushina-sensei (水科 先生?). He is an elderly man with a long white beard and unknown to Habaki, Kashin has been making highly detailed maps of his castle as he performs medical services in Habaki's strong hold. These maps are later used to aid Rin and Doa as they infiltrate Habaki's castle to find and rescue Manji and Isaku. He is killed in battle by Ryo of Rokki-Dan.
Ozuhan (怖畔?) A masked member of the Ittō-ryū who appears to be deaf and communicates through the use of sign language and simple sounds. He is one of the ten core members of the group. He is known as "the guy no one wants to fight beside" because of his use of a hypnotic flute to fight. Ozuhan, himself, is immune to the effects of his instrument. He is extremely agile and highly aware of his surroundings, allowing him to escape most traps; originally sent to Habaki's stronghold to aid Rin and Doa, he escapes from the same castle during Anotsu's raid and is separated from the group afterward.
Sukezane Baro (馬絽 祐実 Baro Sukezane?) A powerful and skilled swordsman of the Ittō-ryū, he conducts espionage related activities and is one of the ten core members of the group. He carries two katana that he wields effectively, but his trademark weapon is a third sword, a nodachi with holes along the entire blade that allow him to retain his remarkable speed. Among his distinguishing features is a scar that runs across his nose, which results in Manji being mistaken for Sukezane during Habaki's final attempt to wipe out the Ittō-ryū. He sacrifices himself against shogunate guards so Anotsu and Magatsu can escape after their raid on Edo castle.
Hanada (花田 Hanada?) Cocky Ittō-ryū swordsman who detests the sun. Killed by Manji. He wields a pair of very narrow swords, one with a small hooked blade and the other with a straight small blade at the ends of the pommels, called Enchū-maru (Swallows of Death), which Samura notes would not allow Hanada to kill anyone unless he precisely strikes a lethal point. Samura stated he originally was supposed to resemble John Lennon but he ended up as "just another otaku dude". His glasses have a similar shape to those of Spider Jerusalem, one being round and the other quadratic. He appears in Comrades (I-IV).
Uruma (宇留間 Uruma?) Composed Ittō-ryū swordsman whose trademark is a chain ending in a barded spike, used for immobilizing his enemy, as well as his large machete-like weapon, Ondeko-bachi (Devil's Drumstick). Killed by Manji. He appears in Comrades (I-IV).
Higa (火瓦 Higa?) Ittō-ryū fighter fascinated by Manji's immortality and determined to somehow steal it from him. His weapon is a Southeast Asian blade named Kamujin (Godblade). A very determined man, after losing both arms he still tries to kill Hyakurin by biting down on her throat. Beheaded by Shinriji as Higa was attempting to kill Hyakurin. He appears in Comrades (I-VI).
Kurishige Wayan (把山 繰重 Wayan Kurishige?) An Ittō-ryū swordsman, one of the ten core members of the group after several dojo leaders are slaughtered by Giichi and Kagimura Habaki. He has a star burst shaped scar over his left eye as a result of fighting a bear in his youth, an event which also permeates into his fighting style. He, Kasori, and Magatsu kidnap Rin in volume 15, Trickster, as bait to lure Manji in a trap. He fights using a sword which is designed to soak poisons and a dagger used to make his killing stroke. Is killed by Manji in combat.
Fujiaki Kasori (圭反 藤諒 Kasori Fujiaki?) Ittō-ryū swordsman, one of the ten core members of the group. He obtains kessen satsu from the deceased Eiku Shizuma's belongings to use against Manji. Is killed by Giichi in combat.
Sumino Kenei An Ittō-ryū member with an impressive arsenal of six tantō and one katana. Had a strict belief that a man should never hit a woman, which led to his downfall when he was tricked and killed by Hyakurin with the aid of Shinriji.
Morozumi Chōgo A rather fat Ittō-ryū member who uses a pair of katana. Killed by Giichi.
Tsuchimoti Nisaborou The first minor Ittō-ryū character to be introduced. Though he is often referred to by fans as "Hage," the Wikipedia.jp article for Blade of the Immortal names him as "Tsuchimoti Nisaborou." He appears in Genius and wields a foldable spear called Aun. His most distinguishing feature is his aquiline nose. Killed by Master Sōri when he walks over his painting as it was nearing completion.
Monk Boa A member of the Itto-ryu traveling as a blind monk, and taking on entire sword schools. He is the man who inspired Kunimitsu Amon to become a member of the Itto-ryu after defeating the entire Nagajo-ryu school. Killed during the Banquet of Death by Habaki Kagimura, and Giichi.
Kunimitsu Amon One of the new Itto-ryu recruits, and originally from the Nagajo-ryu sword school. Killed by Shozo Murasaki of the Rokki-dan.
Ariusu One of the three strongest of the new Itto-ryu recruits, and originally from jinen-ryu. Killed by Hyakurin
Koda One of the three strongest of the new Itto-ryu recruits, and originally from the Nangai-itto-ryu sword school. Killed by Hyakurin while trying to dodge a third arrow shot.
Katsumata A member of the Itto-ryu originally from the Nangai-itto-ryu sword school. Nearly killed by Ryo Soma after he is defeaten, but later easily decapitated by Tarieshin Hasshu.
Satake A confident member of the Itto-ryu who is originally from the Jinen-ryu sword school. Killed by Shishiya Arashino after barely scratching his armor.
Yatoin Member of the Itto-ryu originally from the Shintoshin-ryu sword school. Became a Samurai in order to kill his father, and brother after being kicked out of his house at the age of fourteen for attempting to rape his step mother. Killed by Mitake, beheaded by Mitake while in the process of raping Hyakurin, and with his dying breath he muttered the word "mother".
Shinada Member of the Itto-ryu originally from the Shintoshin-ryu sword school. Planned the quitting of the Itto-ryu among the ten remaining new recruits, in order to break the rule of one on one figthing. Killed by Shishiya Arashino after he managed to tear into his armor.
Maira Member of the Itto-ryu originally from the Shintoshin-ryu sword school. Easily killed by Shishiya Arashino after quitting the Itto-ryu in order to fight six on three.
Kurehiro A german member of the Itto-ryu who was originally from the Nagajo-ryu sword school. Noted to be much stronger than he acted when he fought training in the Dojo. Decapitated by Tarieshin Hasshu, who was also german, after they conversed backstories.
Yatsushiba Member of the Itto-ryu originally from the Taisute-ryu sword school. Decapitated by Shishiya Arashino while taking a piss.