Manji (卍, Manji) is one of two main protagonists of Blade of the Immortal, the other being Rin Asano. In addition to appearing in the manga, Manji has appeared in the two series' animated adaptation where he is voiced by Tomokazu Seki and Kenjirō Tsuda in Japanese. Keith Silverstein has been Manji's English actor.
In the story, he's known infamously both as the "Hundred Man Killer," for the number of men he's killed by the beginning of the series, and "Mister Twelve Blades" for the number of weapons he carries. He is most easily identified by the manji symbol he wears from which he derives his name and the scars across his face, and as the title of the manga implies, he's been given immortality by the means of the Kessen-chu, which prevent him (for the most part) from dying.
He has a variety of scars on his body, most noticeably two horizontal scars across his face and a vertical scar going through his right eye. His hair is always tied in a ponytail. Though he is unkempt and marred from battle, he is physically only around twenty-six years old.
Manji is laid-back and shrewd with jaded and nihilistic tendencies. Samura, the manga author, created Manji as an ideal hero who would show always his strong form rather than a weakness. A swordsman who was cursed by worms that give him immortality, Manji goes on a journey to get rid of his immortality and bodyguards the orphan Rin Asano due to how similar he finds her to his late sister Machi. He is crude and often rude to everyone, but develops a deep attachment to Rin.
The protagonist Manji, the author was drawn a totally straight, unvarnished version of his Samura's ideal hero: "a person who never reveals his or her own weaknesses to others, but who at the same time is not as unassailable powerful as he or she may seem". The character's immortality curse is meant to give a contrast to escapist heroes. This was influenced by 1960s's manga protagonists "possessing supernatural power as well as and "the loss and sorrow of having to live with that power" as an element of two sides of the same coin. As a result, Samura conceived the idea an immortal protagonist whom the readers would not like to become.
- Rin Asano: Manji is Rin's bodyguard. They at first have a sibling-like relationship but there are hints that suggest a romance between the two, although this dynamic rarely appears. He is possessive of her, but thinks she is too young and innocent for him to mess with. Initially, he sees her as quite childish and idealistic, but she proves herself and her convictions with her actions and he learns to respect her and take her seriously.
- He worries over her safety, carries her when she can't walk, and protects her as if she were part of his own family. He not only wants to protect her physically, but also emotionally, hoping she will keep her compassionate and youthful nature instead of turning into a bitter, hard-hearted person like everyone else.
- He takes his job of protecting her very seriously and at times is so angry with her trying to help him instead that he threatens to leave her. Rin often does her finest work when she is trying to save him. Their emotional attachment and love for each other is by far their strongest bond and greatest strength.
- What he wants most of all, aside her physical well-being, is for her to one day entirely forget about Anotsu and this period of her life, so she can be happy.
- Magatsu Taito: Manji's equal from the aspects of physical strength and fighting skills. Although Magatsu was a former member of Itto-Ryu, he joined forces with Manji to seek revenge on his lover's killer. Later, they become enemies again when he rejoins the Ittou-ryu.
- Shira: In an incident where Rin and Shira teamed up in an attempt to defeat Anotsu in an ambush, Shira revealed his true colors when he killed three members of Itto-Ryu (which Anotsu prepared to protect a prostitute that served as a distraction so he can travel to another dojo freely) and sliced up the prostitute. Rin, horrified by the scene, tried to stop him from killing the prostitute but it only angered Shira more. When Shira was about to kill Rin, Manji appeared and saved Rin by cutting off Shira's hand.
- When Shira kidnaps Rin, Manji shows up for a fight, ready to settle the score and put an end to him once and for all. When Manji sees what Shira has done to Rin, he runs immediately from the fight (much to Shira's dismay) to try and save her life. Upon returning to their battleground, Manji is livid. When Shira alludes to having raped Rin, as he had O-Ren, Manji starts a fight to the death, which is just what Shira was hoping for all along.
- Anotsu Kagehisa: Manji doesn't seem to have any strong feelings about Anotsu, save knowing what he has done to Rin's family and that he is the leader of the Ittou-ryu. Manji knows how important it is to Rin that she kill Anotsu and not him, and Anotsu knows it, too. When Anotsu comments that Rin must have a very pure heart to be so set on revenge for so long, Manji tells him it's quite the opposite, and that she is constantly filled with doubt.
- Souri: Manji does not feel amiable towards Sori upon their first meeting, as Sori insulted him and then refused to help Rin on her quest. He could not believe Sori would be so caught-up about the blood on his sword that he would leave Rin to fight on her own. Later, when Sori saves Rin's life and buys corpses from her and Manji, Manji feels some respect toward him and the two are civil to each other from then on.
- After Manji's home burns down, he moves in with Rin at Sori's, and Sori has no reservations about it.
Little is known about Manji's background except that he once served under a local daimyo, unknowingly enforcing his brutal rule on the locals until he found out his lord was corrupt and killed him. For that, he was hunted as an outlaw. He was later nicknamed "Killer of 100" after the number of police officers he killed.
Year 1780. The immortal samurai, Manji, is introduced when he confesses his sins of killing a hundred men to a priest in a church. The priest is actually Gyobutsu "Johnny", a bounty hunter in disguise, who shoots Manji in the head; Manji revives and cuts off Johnny's head instead.
Manji returns to an inn where he is staying with his younger sister, Machi, and where an 800-year-old nun, Yaobikuni, is waiting for him. Yaobikuni puts kessen-chu (sacred bloodworms that allow anyone to survive nearly any injury and reattaches severed limbs) in Manji's body.
Though Machi is a grown woman, she acts like a child. In a flashback, Manji is chased down by law enforcement after killing his lord and a hundred of his pursuers. He crosses paths with Saito Tatsumasa and kills him in self-defense, without knowing that he is Machi's husband. After witnessing her husband's murder at the hands of her brother, Machi has a mental breakdown and becomes child-like. Yaobikuni suggest Manji give up his sword and travel with her as a monk, but Manji refuses to do that because he must take care of his sister.
Machi is kidnapped by a gang of men that night, and when Manji rushes to rescue her, the gang's leader, Shido Hishiyasu, wants both his gang and himself to fight Manji one-on-one in exchange for freeing Machi. He is trying to avenge the slaying of his brother, Gyoubutso "Johnny". Manji, however, offers to fight them all bare-handed, but Shido refuses, thinking he's insane. He releases Machi, but then cuts her up in front of Manji.
Manji protects her from being further sliced up by Shido, but in the process, is stabbed in the back. He kills Shido and his gang members to avenge Machi's death. He returns to the inn at dawn while still covered with blood and tells Yaobikuni that he will not give up his sword and that he will kill one thousand evil men to atone for killing one hundred good men. Yaobikuni agrees and says that the kessen-chu will leave his body after he kills one thousand evil men. Manji later collapses in front of the inn, exhausted.
Year 1782. Roughly two years later, Manji meets Rin Asano, a 16-year-old girl who is the sole survivor of a massacre two years prior. Rin has been searching for Manji at the recommendation of Yaobikuni. The nun had advised her to hire an immortal bodyguard to aid in her quest for vengeance on the man who led the massacre that killed her parents, Anotsu Kagehisa.
At first, Manji refuses to help her but eventually agrees because she reminds him of his deceased sister, Machi. Later that same night, Rin meets with Kuroi Sabato, a member of Itto-ryu who participated in the killing of her parents. He has been sending her creepy love notes every night for the past two years, but she had never answered any until now. Manji shows up to protect Rin, but during their battle she unleashes her "Golden Wasps" technique on Kuroi, causing his cloak to tear away. Rin is horrified to see the heads of her own mother and Kuroi's wife sewn onto each of his shoulders. Manji is able to finish the fight, and Kuroi is killed.
Manji and Rin visit Rin's father's friend, the painter Master Sori. Rin knows he is formerly a master swordsman, but Manji can't believe it. Sori has doubts about Rin's quest for revenge, especially with a "so-called" bodyguard whom he calls a mountain-monkey, and when Rin agrees with him, Manji is rather insulted. After hearing Sori dismiss helping Rin's plan of revenge due to his own sword reeking of too much blood, Manji defends her by asking the swordsman if it's better to defend the daughter of his best friend with that sword or abandon her when she doesn't have a chance of succeeding. He proposes that because there's nothing for Sori to gain by helping Rin, it's too much hassle for him. Manji is so disgusted he sleeps elsewhere for the night, though is close enough to keep an eye on Sori's house for Rin's sake.
The next morning, Ittou-ryu members attack Rin, but Manji shows up to help fight. He is tricked into getting close to a tree with hooks in it, catching in his clothes and skin so deeply he cannot escape. When Rin is about to be killed, Sori runs his sword through the man's neck, killing him. Sori buys the corpses from Manji and Rin for thirty ryo, giving them enough money to start their journey.
Sometime later, Rin returns from dropping off Manji's swords to be sharpened and confesses that she found her father's sword in the shop, but that it is now under the ownership of Ittou-ryu member Magatsu Taito. Though she says she will put it behind her, Manji sees her crying in the night and leaves to get her sword back. He and Magatsu battle it out and wound each other badly; Magatsu stumbles away, dropping the sword. Rin wakes up to find her father's sword back in her possession. She is angry with Manji as she had told him she was putting it behind her and he could have been killed, so Manji nonchalantly says he'll toss it. Rin balks and Manji asks her what will happen to her if she forgets how to cry for her parents.
While traveling, they take a break at a roadside shop, and while Rin is gone, a man dressed as a monk sits beside Manji. He lets slip he knows Manji is not traveling alone and introduces himself as Ittou-ryu swordsman Eiku Shizuma. He proposes he and Manji fight together as they are both immortal and should understand each other. When Manji remains disinterested, Eiku draws his sword and they fight. He says a strange nun (Yaobukuni) gave him his kessen-chu two-hundred years ago. He cuts Manji and vice-versa, but leaves after Rin appears. While Rin is holding onto Manji to support him, she realizes his wound is pouring out blood.
That night, Manji writhes on the floor as all of his old scars open up. Rin is terrified and he tells her to get out of there, but she won't leave him. His leg falls off and he says Eiku must have poisoned his blade. Rin gives him an antidote she keeps in her hair rings, though Manji is sure it won't work. She runs to get a doctor, but he is out of town, and on her way back to Manji, she runs into an old woman who pretends to be Yaobikuni. Eiku abducts Rin and nails her kimono to a wall in Manji's place, along with a note to meet him later.
Manji breaks down the door where Rin and Eiku are and the men fight; Rin's antidote has worked and his wounds are healing again. Eiku ends up with his head and shoulders pinned to a tree, severed from the rest of his body. Manji asks why he didn't block his last blow, and Eiku says he got tired of living like a worm. Rin insists on burying him.
While Rin runs off to get change for their money, a prostitute meets Manji and puts the moves on him. As he is touching her, he feels a dagger hidden in her kimono and tastes busu poison on the blade. She sheds her shawl and reveals herself as Makie Otono-Tachibana, swordswoman of the Ittou-ryu. Manji gains the upper hand when they fight, but leaves her and returns to Rin, who is jealous he left her behind to be with a woman. Manji considers sleeping with Rin, as it would solve both the problem of Rin's payment and his leaving her side again, but figures she is too young and scrawny for him, and laughs at her when she lets her hair down.
The next day, Makie returns to speak with Manji and they fight again, but this time Makie all but slaughters him, chopping off one of his arms and one of his legs. She is about to swing the killing blow when Rin rushes to his side. Makie stays her blade and tells Rin that Anotsu has mentioned her. She then tells Manji to protect Rin forever and leaves. Rin helps put Manji's body back together while Manji laments having been both beaten and saved by women.
Manji and Rin hang around at a festival, but Manji can't get into the festive atmosphere and leaves Rin to wander while he relaxes with some sake. Afterward, he comes upon a mask-maker who asks to borrow Manji's sword to cut one of his masks in half for a child. The man, Kawakami Araya, senses from his sword that Manji has killed a lot of people and Manji knows he is Ittou-ryu. As Araya draws Manji's sword to fight Manji, his son, Renzo, appears and brings him home. When Manji turns around, he sees Rin freaking out. She tells him Araya was the man who raped and tortured her mother.
That night, Manji gives Rin a pep talk as she is doubting her journey and losing her confidence. While on her own the next day, Rin helps Renzo out of a bad situation and he invites her home. She leaves a message for Manji not to follow her to Araya's but he shows up just as Araya is about to kill her. Araya rearranges the room and the men begin to fight. When Araya is about to cut Manji's throat, Rin rams herself onto a cabinet, toppling it onto them. As she is looking over the edge, Araya grabs her hair rings and throws her to the floor, but lets her go once Manji is back up. When Manji has the upper hand, Rin has a change of heart and asks Manji not to kill him, but Araya asks Manji to finish him. Renzo walks in just as Manji kills his father.
Renzo runs Manji through and runs off. Three days later, he meets Rin again at his father's grave. He is ready to begin his own road to revenge, but Rin brings him to another grave and shows him part of Manji's arm, saying he is dead as well. She holds Renzo as he cries, then returns to Manji to reattach his arm.
Manji and Rin reluctantly team up with the Mugai-ryu in order to track down Anotsu Kagehisa. The Mugai-ryu has a mole within the Ittou-ryu who feeds them information about Anotsu's plans and whereabouts. Hyakurin, the deputy leader, refuses to allay Manji's apprehensions about teaming up with them and does not disclose who their boss is. After an attempt to find Anotsu goes awry, Manji cuts off Mugai-ryu member Shira's hand off and Shira runs away to make Manji and Rin take the fall for the murders he just committed and the prostitute he cut up.
Rin is injured from her fight with Shira and recovers in the Mugai-ryu bathhouse. She tells Manji she has a feeling Anotsu won't kill her if she meets him again, and he thinks she's crazy. To deter his thoughts about her leaving, she tells him she was only joking, then thanks him for being so nice to her. Manji looks at her, appalled and rather embarrassed by her sudden compliment, and asks her how hard Shira hit her head.
Two mornings later, when Manji awakens to find Rin has run after Anotsu without him (due in part to a conversation she had with Hyakurin) he is furious and ready to pound Hyakurin into the ground if she doesn't tell him where in Kaga Anotsu is staying. He plans to cut through the sekisho checkpoint out of Edo to get to Kaga, but Hyakurin convinces him to steal a tegata (an official travel pass allowing one passage in and out of Edo). Their attempt to get a tegata ends badly; Manji is in pieces and Hyakurin can barely speak. Manji realizes all the Mugai-ryu members work for the Shogunate, and Master Sori tells him they are all from death row. Sori also tells Manji he should have asked him first for a tegata, as he would have been able to give him plenty without any bloodshed.
While at Sori's, Magatsu Taito arrives to board and the two men almost fight until Tatsubo enters the room and tells them if there's any sword-swinging she'll kick them both out. The men settle down and Magatsu tells Manji he left the Ittou-ryu a long time ago and is tracking down Shira. They agree to work together to find Shira and put an end to him.
As they travel, Magatsu tells Manji how he first met Master Sori, and Manji understands that Sori kicked his ass and laughs so hard Magatsu wants to strangle him. Magatsu then remarks how pissed off he is seeing Manji so worked up over a girl and that he feels like he's looking a mirror. Manji angrily tells him he talks too much. Shira finds Manji first and initiates a battle with him, but once Magatsu confirms Shira is the one who killed Ren, Manji leaves the fight to Magatsu. After the battle, recovering at a doctor's, Magatsu tells Manji he is now headed for Kaga as well, and says if they meet up again and Anotsu's there, he will probably side with Anotsu.
Having heard he might find Anotsu (and therefore Rin) at the Shingyoto-ryu, Manji makes it to Kaga but finds no one at the dojo. Sometime later, he comes across Rin, who has been beaten and is being restrained by the group of Shingyoto-ryu men who are after Anotsu; Anotsu is hiding in a boat as he has been gravely ill and too weak to fight anyone. Manji has no idea what has transpired, but Rin cries and tells Manji that if he doesn't kill all of those men now, then they absolutely will kill her. Manji, who had been hesitant to enter such a bizarre fight when he was not certain who the enemy was, drops his weapon at Rin's words and promises death to all of the men there for hurting his woman.
During battle, the men reveal Anotsu Kagehisa's presence, stunning Manji. Magatsu shows up, as well as Makie. After the battle, Rin promises Anotsu she will kill him and he leaves with Makie and Magatsu. Manji asks Rin if she's sure she's okay with letting Anotsu leave and then offers to carry her piggyback because one of her toenails is torn off. Rin is a bit shy about it, but accepts and then expresses her relief to Manji in the form of a tight hug, which Manji rejects as it's around his neck. They return to Manji's home in Edo.
Giichi arrives and tells Manji he is now officially a Mugai-ryu member (orders from the bakufu) as they want to fight the currently-broken Ittou-ryu before they can rebuild their forces. As Manji is known to have killed over one hundred people, the government feels his inclusion is his payment for not being arrested (and if they all kill each other, they won't care). If Manji refuses, Giichi will kill him.
Manji is more thrilled about fighting Giichi than in becoming a pawn for the Bakufu, and the two go to a remote place to fight. When Giichi tells him he has killed fifty-nine Ittou-ryu, Manji's confidence falters a bit. The fight is difficult, but once Manji breaks Giichi's weapon, Giichi concedes. Manji is ready to fight some more, but Giichi is tired, and Manji tells him that although he is not saying he will join the Mugai-ryu, he is willing to speak to Giichi's boss.
Elucidation of Immortality Arc
Upon returning home, Manji and Giichi find Rin has been abducted by the Ittou-ryu as a way to get Manji's attention; a note, nailed to the wall with one of Rin's hair rings, tells Manji to go to Ishioshigun quarry. Giichi accompanies Manji to the quarry. When the Ittou-ryu member recognize Giichi, a potentially straightforward battle becomes complicated.
When Manji is cut with a blade bearing kessen-satsu poison, his wounds begin to open, newest first. He struggles as he fights, while Giichi faces his own foes, including Magatsu. Manji had given Giichi one of his daggers, to help his fight against the Ittou-ryu. Meanwhile, because of the kessen-satsu's effects, Manji is losing his battle. He realizes he has become too sloppy, but manages to kill his opponent.
He and Giichi return home to begin searching for Rin, but she soon appears, having made her own way out of her binds to try and give him her kessen-satsu medicine. Manji is surprised and touched by her devotion, but reminds her that he is her bodyguard and not the other way around. He tells her that she is still a kid and shouldn't be in a hurry to grow up hard-hearted.
Manji visits Habaki Kagimura, the Mugai-ryu's leader. Habaki asks Manji about his immortality, and Manji is vague about the details; he tells Habaki that if he really wants to know how "perfect" his immortality is, he may as well draw his sword and find out. Habaki stabs him, but ceases their fight to see how Manji's body heals itself. Manji is then ambushed, knocked out, and taken to a prison underneath Edo Castle.
In his cell, he is chained up and subjected to painful and torturous experiments in order to discover a process for making others immortal; particularly Habaki Kagimura, who implemented the plan. The lead doctor in charge of these experiments is Mozen, but is soon replaced by Ayame Burando. Manji and his cellmate, the felon Dewanosuke, hatch a plan to take Burando hostage and escape; Manji is able to retrieve a scalpel that had accidentally been left in him when Mozen had stuck his hand in one of Manji's wounds. Their plan works at first, and Habaki arrives, but Habaki attacks and Manji loses his hand and releases Burando. Burando uses the pully to raise Manji's good arm up the wall by its chain to render him unable to fight.
Dewanosuke makes a run for it, but his hand is also chopped off. Habaki tells Burando to attach Manji's severed hand onto Dewanosuke's wrist, and tells Toraemon to attach Dewanosuke's hand onto Manji's wrist. The experiment proves successful, even upon transferring the men's original hands back to their original bodies. Habaki kills Dewanosuke to test if his body is truly immortal, though Manji tries to talk him out of it as Dewanosuke's general health has not fared well over the weeks of experimentation. Dewanosuke does not survive, and Manji is furious over his friend's demise.
Habaki brings in another felon (Kurifu) and reminds Manji that if he reveals where Yaobikuni is, they can stop the experiments, but Manji has no answers. When Manji learns Kurifu is not on death row and that he volunteered to be experimented on, Manji punches his face in disgust. Kurifu becomes another failed experiment and dies, followed by a multitude of others. Burando has a sudden change of heart and refuses to experiment further, because he knows each of his subjects will die. Habaki sentences him to life in prison.
Over a month has passed since Manji has been taken prisoner. Burando returns to head the immortality experiments after otter masks are made for all the inmates. Manji, heavily drugged, hears a commotion outside his cell and then sees a woman beating the crap out of Burando just as she reaches him. He realizes it is Rin, but didn't recognize her at first as he felt she looked much more grown-up than he remembered. She embraces him and they fall over together before she undoes one of his wrists from his chains. He chides her for not having an escape plan and for losing all of her weapons by coming there, but Rin tells him that when they're together they're invincible, and he laughs before agreeing.
Habaki shows up before Manji is completely freed, and he and Rin face formidable opponents including Habaki, Benki, and Asaemon. Manji takes out one of Habaki's eyes, Benki dislocates Rin's shoulders and elbows, and Manji is strung up by his chains and immobilized. They are out of luck until Isaku and Doa appear to join the fray. Manji and Rin hang back, as Manji's arm is still chained, and Doa, Isaku, and Ozuhan fight.
As they battle, water begins to flood the prison, allowing other felons to get out of their cells. Rin helps Doa, Isaku, and Manji fight off a deformed inmate. Manji then tells Burando to let the inmate live, reminding him of Dewanosuke. Isaku breaks Manji's chain so he can get out of his cell. Asaemon reappears and he and Manji fight. Asaemon cuts off Manji's arm, but is still attached to the chain with it and Rin cranks the chain up to strangle him.
Manji's arm washes away in the flood as Rin supports him and they make their way out of the cell. Just as Rin is about to pick up Manji's severed arm, Renzo appears and picks it up instead. Rin is shocked and asks for Manji's arm, and Renzo is about to give it to her until he sees Manji. Shira arrives before Renzo can make a decision, and as they leave together, Rin begs Renzo not to go with him, but he ignores her. Rin helps Manji out from underneath Edo Castle and kisses him when they collapse. They lie hand-in-hand on the fallen leaves and rest happily.
Final Chapter Arc
Winter is arriving and Manji and Rin have returned to normal life. Rin is living with Master Sori and Manji sleeps in a shack nearby. Waiting for Rin to bring his lunch, Manji is ambushed by masked fighters who set his place on fire, but they have mistaken him for Baro Sukezane of the Ittou-ryu. Manji fights back but they are not equipped to fight someone like him. Several new men show up and fight Manji instead, still thinking he is Sukezane, but when they find out who he is they warn him they may not let him go next time. Manji runs into his flaming home to gather his sword, Tatsumasa, and then moves in with Rin at Master Sori's.
Rin won't let him sleep and reminisces about reuniting with him in Kaga. Manji admits she was pretty amazing when she saved him from prison, but that if she ever does anything like that again he'll step out of her life without a word, for good. He tells her about losing his sister, who was very precious to him, and that he cannot ever experience a loss like that again. He tells her she doesn't look like his sister anymore; in fact, when he tries to picture Machi's face, he can only see Rin's.
Rin asks Manji where and what he does with his "build-up"; Manji, aggravated, asks her who has the energy for that sort of thing right now, but Rin apologizes, saying Hyakurin told her to ask him that the next time they were sharing a bedroom. She reminds him he bought her body when they first met, and he invites her to sleep with him. She leans over him and lifts his blanket to get under, but then chickens out, and he tells her he was only kidding. She leaves two very red handprints on his face and gives him a bloody nose, but they move to each other's futons and fall asleep holding hands.
After Rin and Anotsu run into each other again, Rin tells Manji that Anotsu asked him to join her in Mito, where Anotsu is heading next. The Ittou-ryu are planning to leave Edo as they have been banished from the city (mostly a result of the incident where Rin and Doa broke into Edo Castle). Anotsu and the Ittou-ryu are heading to Hitachi to set sail for a secret location abroad, though they told the bakufu they were going to sail to Satsuma, on Kyushu Island. Manji is willing to accept Anotsu's "offer to a bloodbath" but warns Rin he can't protect her very well anymore as he only has one arm.
Burando has shaved his head and tells Manji he is on a pilgrimage to atone for all the terrible things he did to Manji and the other inmates. Burando questions Manji's killing for the atonement of killing and suggests Yaobikuni is an evil person and not some savior.
Manji and Rin each take a palanquin to start their journey to Hitachi, but they are soon stopped; when Manji looks out of the palanquin's window, he sees Rin's palanquin knocked over with her nowhere in sight and all of their bearers cut dead. He follows bloody footprints until he finds Shira and asks where he's hidden Rin. Shira says he killed her, but Manji is unfazed, saying that it's against his MO; he knows Shira would rather wait until he's killed Manji so that he can savor giving her a slow and torturous death. Shira laughs and agrees, though says he really doesn't care about her and only desires to fight him.
They fight and Manji realizes Shira now has an immortal body. Manji, still only having one arm, does the best he can but is creeped out by a change he senses in Shira. Shira laughs and tells him that though he said Rin was still alive, that doesn't mean she's safe. Manji then sees Rin, half-naked and tied to a dock by her wrists in a freezing pond across from him.
Manji immediately runs from the fight and attempts to save her, but when he cuts her ropes he realizes Shira has tied her to a heavy rock with iron-enforced rope, and she sinks straight to the bottom. He cannot save her with only one arm, and when he drops his dagger he and Rin both pass out. Tanpopo leaps in to save them both and Manji returns, enraged, to fight Shira who, in the meantime, has fought Magatsu and is now attacking Meguro. When Shira asks what happened to Rin, Manji says he couldn't save her and Shira is ecstatic.
Manji realizes Shira has lost the ability to feel any pain. Shira asks Manji and Magatsu why they should be allowed to live after letting him rape and kill their women for fun. Manji and Magatsu both lose it and Manji attacks Shira with a vengeance (Magatsu knows a mortal cannot get in the middle of those two fighting and, frustrated, stays out of it). It is a grueling battle and Manji is on the verge of death, but at the last moment takes out one of Shira's eyes which mysteriously does not heal itself. Manji tells him he noticed his healing ability has been slowing down. Shira tries to get away long enough to allow his wounds to heal, but Magatsu reappears on a horse and cuts his leg off. He pulls Manji up on the horse and they cut Shira down for good.
After seeing Shira in his last moments, Renzo shows up to kill Manji, as he and Rin are recovering with Meguro, Tanpopo, and Magatsu in a small hut. Rin, disabled from frostbite, blocks Manji's body with her own and tells Renzo that she is responsible for his father's death. She tells Renzo he can cut off her arms if he wants to, and that no matter what happens to her, Manji will still take her to where she needs to go. Renzo is conflicted and stabs Tanpopo's hand as he is aiming for Manji, but then drops his sword. Magatsu tells him the truth about his father.
Manji reattaches his arm (Magatsu took it off of Shira) and piggybacks Rin as she can no longer walk and adds that it may be his last chance to do anything like this for her again. They make their way on to Hitachi and Manji enters a battle between Habaki's Rokki-dan and the Ittou-ryu. He passes some medicine he retrieved from Asaemon to Makie as she is suffering from tuberculosis and is struggling in the fight; he tells her it was Rin who asked him to save her.
Giichi and Hyakurin are keeping an eye on Rin, who can barely walk, but Rin tells them she is going down the hill to help Manji, as she has done in the past. Giichi tells Hyakurin they have misinterpreted their bodyguard-employer relationship, but Hyakurin says they have forgotten it and that they believe there is no substitute for each other. When Manji sees Rin, he calls her a fool, but there's no turning back now as Anotsu has arrived with her.
Habaki tells his henchman, Arashino, to kill both Manji and Rin and directs others to deal with the Ittou-ryu; he will kill Anotsu himself. As Manji, Rin, Makie, and Anotsu are all slated for death against the Rokki-dan, Anotsu mockingly tells Manji to stay alive, as there is more he wants to say to him. Manji fights Arashino, but cannot seem to hurt him; Rin realizes he must aim for Arashino's head and uses her "Golden Wasps" technique to distract him. Manji is horrified at her involvement (which did nothing but turn Arashino's murderous intention to her) but Arashino cuts his arm off and crushes it.
As Manji is further destroyed by Arashino, Rin hobbles away to find gunpowder to try and help him. She returns, empty-handed, in time to see him cut in half. She takes off her kimono to cover him with it just before Arashino is about to stab him to ensure his death. She tells Arashino that they are both enemies of Anotsu Kagehisa and therefore asks for mercy. Arashino accuses her of stalling, and she explains that Manji died in her place, so she doesn't mind dying; his death has nothing to do with Arashino, but is her fault alone.
Arashino sees blood seeping from beneath Rin's kimono and believes Manji is truly dead. He walks away, but Manji appears again to fight him soon after, having regenerated enough to fight again. Arashino realizes Rin had cut her own wrist to give the illusion Manji was bleeding out. Manji has attached Arashino's giant, severed arm to his body and can now fight properly. He tells Arashino it's Rin who is about to end him, not himself.
Manji rips off Arashino's other arm and then kills him. He returns to Rin, who is lying in the road, passed out from blood loss. He covers her and carries her back toward the fighting, swearing she won't die on his watch. Habaki and Anotsu fight each other, but Anotsu kills Habaki in the end. Manji, carrying Rin, finds Anotsu, who tells him they are both still wanted men even if Habaki is dead. Anotsu is still planning to run away, but says it's best to kill Manji now so that those close to him won't keep his memory alive and bring any further personal vendettas against him.
Anotsu says Rin must have a very pure revenge and should be put out of her misery, but Manji tells him that she is quite the opposite and filled with constant doubt. He also says he is not keen on letting Anotsu walk away again, and the two are drawn into battle. Manji cuts Anotsu's arm off and Anotsu is lying defenseless in the snow, but Manji allows him to board his ship. He tells Anotsu he doesn't care at all what happens to him or what he thinks will happen in the future, but only wants Rin to forget about his existence entirely and live an untroubled life.
Rin, who had been resting with Hyakurin, rushes past Manji and runs Anotsu through. Manji catches her as she collapses and watches Anotsu fall into the ocean. At some point, Manji attaches Anotsu's severed arm to his own body. There is a later flashback showing Anotsu's body retrieved by men from the ship he was boarding who tell each other Anotsu's probably still alive, but Manji does not tell Rin.
Summer once again returns to Japan, and Manji and Rin privately say their goodbyes. Having been officially exiled from Edo, Manji leaves without a plan to return. Rin tells Hyakurin that people who cry because they're helpless and who spend sleepless nights awake, in remorse over lost loved ones should be at his side.
Ninety years later (1873), Manji has finally returned to Edo, but is burying all of his weapons as they are no longer allowed. Yaobikuni finds him, bringing a young girl with her, and asks him to be her bodyguard for a while. Her father and uncle are fighting about their inherited dojo's future and the girl's uncle has threatened to kidnap her. Yaobikuni says the girl is a descendant of an old friend.
The girl, Fuyu, unrolls an old paper with the original drawing of Manji that Yaobikuni had given Rin. She also gives him the dagger that Rin had received from Doa, saying her mother, and going back generationally, had told her to give it to Manji if any of them ever saw him. Rin had carved the hilt with the "manji" symbol surrounded by flames, signifying herself and Manji; the dagger, so Doa had said, was to be carved and given to the man she's in love with. Though he does not say her name, it is obvious he knows who Fuyu is talking about.
Begrudgingly, Manji agrees to protect Fuyu, but he soon smiles at her and she takes his hand as they depart the city.
In the Marvel Comics series Spider-Gwen arc "Predators", written by Jason Latour and illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez, Manji reappears as the Wolverine-equivalent of Earth-65 in 2017, and provided the character's similar adamantium claws and Logan nickname in the present-day, but instead dubbed The Immortal Mr. Murderhands. Following a recap of Manji's origin, and of Yaobikuni putting bloodworms in his body, Manji is shown to have volunteered for the Weapon X programme in under the alias "Logan", only to receive an adamantium skeleton and having a memory block put in place. By modern times, as "Mr. Murderhands", Manji works for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Black Ops with Kitty Pryde, who works with Manji out of guilt, after being forced by William Stryker to subject Manji to the Weapon X experiment, with the pair coming into conflict with Spider-Woman after they are sent to assassinate Harry Osborn, before Manji is enveloped by the Venom symbiote and Spider-Woman and Pryde are forced to subdue him.
- Immortality: Because of the Kessen-chu inhabiting his body, Manji has attained immortality. His body will always return to the state it was when the Kessen-chu were implanted, allowing him to sustain almost any wound. The only weaknesses of this immortality (according to Ayame Burando) are burning to ash, extreme cold, grievous damage to the bodily organs, starved of food or oxygen, being crushed to a pulp and drowning.
- Swordsmanship Expert: Manji is an expert swordsman seeing as he was able to survive a hundred deathmatches before his immortality.
- Weapon Master: Manji is a weapon master owing to the fact that he uses a large variety of weapons easily. It has been hinted that he's a collector.
- Intelligence: Manji is very intelligent and shrewd, despite his appearance.
This is a list of Manji's weapons that appeared in the manga but only those with names that are compiled in this list.
- Shidō (四道; Literally "Four Paths"): Acquired from the samurai who killed his sister, this pair of short blades seem to be Manji's preferred weapon. The blade prongs off near the guard, allowing it to be used to catch other blades.
- Imo-no-Kami Tatsumasa (妹守辰政; Literally Sister Defender Tatsumasa): This was originally the sword of Saitō Tatsumasa, the husband of Machi and Manji's former brother-in-law. It was forged by the famous swordsmith Toratoru Kotetsu. Manji often combines it's with Kotengu by the hilt, just like how Saitō once combined it with another katana.
- Kotengu (少天狗; Literally Little Devil):. A two-bladed dagger. One blade forward, the other bending to the right. Manji seems to like climbing trees with this one. After Shidō and Imo-no-Kami Tatsumasa, this is the weapon Manji uses most.
- Aun (阿吽; Literally Om) A two-headed spear which can be folded up.
- Sickles: Two sickles attached to each other by a chain that extends. Manji lent them to Giichi after Manji had broken his weapon.
- Karasu (烏; Literally Crow): Two shuriken, originally used by Kuroi Sabato. One of them has four blades, while the other only has three, although this does not appear to be significant.
- Okorobi (男転; Literally Man Toppler):
- Merabi (女蝱; Literally Lady Gadfly): Manji calls it an "ugly sword", one which is not meant for a sheath but to cause grievous wounds by ramming it into the flesh of an enemy and pulling it out again.
- (About Machi) "I commit seppuku now, she dies in a ditch somewhere, all alone..."
- "Machi...this isn't a beancake. It's horse shit."
- "I've got something special for you - A taste of pain... such as most people could never even dream of!"
- "Sure, the memories hurt. But if you can hold onto them... sometimes they can make you as strong as steel."
- "There must be some reason of your own that you can't give up the sword! Remember that reason! Fight for it!"
- "Somehow for me... It's like I'm seeing it long ago and far away. I can't get into it. I guess there's no place for me in the normal world anymore."
- (To Rin) "If you want everyone to like you... then you can't even fart when you're out on the street."
- "Heh, heh... Hey, boys... Ya got some nerve, hurtin' my woman. Gonna friggin' kill you all!"
- "Hyakurin, you devious bitch!"
- "I never thought you were this twisted. What do you fuckers think people are?!"
- "Hey, hey... what happened in this little hut... to make you cry like that?"
- "You don't gotta rush to turn into a bitter hard-case, do ya, Rin?"
- "Killing mosquitoes!"
- "Rin... looks like that baby's gonna fall into the water."
- "This is just too damned pathetic. Beaten by a woman, saved by a woman... And if anyone saw me now, God Almighty..."
- "Well, I don't give a shit about their reasons. If anyone raises a hand against the girl Rin Asano... then I'll call them evil."
- Manji has the habit of naming new weapons after their owners.
- Manji likes to collect weapons and can hide them all easily inside his clothes despite their shapes, nature, and size.
- Official artwork implies Manji and Fuyu are together for many years.
- In 2017, Manji was featured in the "Predators" arc of the Marvel Comics series Spider-Gwen, written by Jason Latour and illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez, set in the alternate continuity of Earth-65 (as its Wolverine).
- Blade of the Immortal manga; Chapter 160, page 8
- Blade of the Immortal manga; Chapter 39, page 33
- Blade of the Immortal manga; Chapter 166, page 18