She is sixteen years old and the lone survivor of the massacre of every student enrolled in her father's sword school, the Mutenichi-ryū, which ended with her father murdered and her mother raped and kidnapped.
Rin often wears a red kimono with a bright blue flame design on the sleeves and skirt section. However, in some of the art from the series, the flame design is depicted as pale yellow instead of blue.
Prior to the events of the story, she wears a kimono with a flowery pattern, and, on one occasion, a child's kimono. While preparing to travel to Kaga, she changes her clothes and hairstyle in order to pass as someone else. The first instance of this occurred in Volume 8, The Gathering; she borrows the kimono of the Meshimori-onna of the inn that she, Manji, and the Mugai-ryu stay at in Naito Shinjuku while pursuing Anotsu.
In volume 8, The Gathering, she wears her hair in a "youthful fashion" while pretending to be the innkeeper's wife's sister, Sawa.
She again changes her clothes and hairstyle in volume 19, Badger Hole, where she and Dōa dress in rags in order to pass as beggars. This continues on and off throughout her and Dōa's infiltration of Edo castle, with both Rin and Dōa changing back and forth from their beggar disguises to their usual clothing and vice versa.
Though Rin has changes her clothes a few times and has quite a striking design on her civillian kimono, perhaps the most peculiar thing about her physically is her hairstyle. She often wears her hair in two plaits secured with gold rings. In these rings, she conceals both poison and medicine. She sometimes ties her hair back into a bun with a plain rag, but this is at leisure.
At the start of the series, though immediately showing unwavering determination for revenge, Rin is quite naive and at times immature. She also has a tendency to cry a lot. Eventually, she matures and becomes stronger, more intelligent, and more independent. When concerning Manji's safety, she can be very tough and even violent. Although many of her other personality traits may be subject to change, one thing she has always shown is compassion, even for an enemy.
In Edo, two years prior to the events of Blade of the Immortal, on Rin's fourteenth birthday, her father is murdered and her mother kidnapped along with the students of her father's sword school, the Mutenichi-ryū. The perpetrators of this event were the Ittō-ryū, and their leader, Anotsu Kagehisa.
Arc 1: Introduction
Rin meets Yaobikuni, the 800-year-old nun, while at her father's gravestone. Yaobikuni asks her whose grave she is sitting at, and Rin tells her it's her father and then says her mother was taken away. She has been training for the past two years to take revenge on Anotsu Kagehisa and his Ittou-ryu, who were responsible for the massacre of her parents and their sword school, the Mutenichi-ryu. Yaobikuni expresses doubt that one young lady will be able to defeat thirty hardened swordsmen and convinces Rin to buy "the strongest, toughest yojimbo of all," the now-immortal Manji, to help her on her quest.
Yaobikuni gives her a drawing and description of Manji so Rin can track him down. After walking seemingly all day, Rin finds a small hut out of town and sleeps there. She is troubled by violent nightmares of what happened to her family, but the next morning she finds Manji cutting wood with his sword outside.
Manji cooks her a frog to eat and she notices an unmarked gravestone nearby, then asks him why he sleeps outside. He tells her he only does it when girls steal his bed. Rin tells him of her quest, but he is unimpressed and tells her to get lost.
Rin begs him to accompany her, but he tells her he has already had five other people come up to him asking him to kill for them, and he can't be sure who the real victims are - the ones who want revenge or the ones who have been slighted. Rin first offers him money, and then her body. The latter angers him so much that he smacks her because she reminds him of his little sister. Just as Rin gets up to leave, Manji offers to walk her back into town, saying there are bad men out there who look for lone young women like her.
Later that same night, Rin meets with Kuroi Sabato, an Itto-ryu member who participated in the killing of her parents and Mutenichi-ryu students. He has been sending her creepy love notes every night for the past two years, but she had never answered any until now. She lures him out after sending him a written reply, and Manji shows up to protect Rin, though Kuroi is not at all interested in fighting him, but focused solely on her.
Manji's legs are cut off and he calls Kuroi a pervert in disgust, but is too disabled to fight. Rin unleashes her "Golden Wasps" technique on Kuroi, causing his cloak to tear away. She is horrified to see the heads of her own mother and Kuroi's wife sewn onto each of his shoulders. She uses her "Golden Wasps" on him again, but he blocks them and he sticks his fingers in her mouth, telling her he's in love with her. He explains that after he kills her, he will stuff her head and put it on his shoulder where his wife's head is, so she can be with her mother. Afterward, he will kill himself and have his friends stuff him, so all three will be together in nirvana. She almost goes through with it, but Manji runs him through, telling him not to take someone else's woman with him, as he's already paid for her.
Kuroi is killed and Manji officially becomes Rin's bodyguard. He rips into Rin about almost getting talked into a stupid love suicide, telling her she doesn't have the right to risk her life to kill one measly underling. He cups her bottom and reminds her that he's already paid for her scrawny body, and that in four or five years he can sell her. Rin is not impressed and stabs him with her dagger.
Manji and Rin visit Rin's father's friend, the painter Master Sori. Rin happily reunites with Sori's daughter and her old friend, Tatsubo. Rin knows Sori 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.
While dreaming of her mother the next morning, Rin awakens just before she is stabbed by a man from the Ittou-ryu. He throws his spear at her as she tries to run, and it goes through her kimono, pinning her to the wall. Manji shows up and knocks him down, then chastises Rin for sleeping so late. He and Rin fight more Ittou-ryu members, and 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 off to use the bathroom, Manji meets a man dressed as a monk, Eiku Shizuma. Rin returns just as Eiku is struck down, but he and Manji are stunned to see him stand up again. Eiku tells them an old tattooed nun (Yaobikuni) gave him his kessen-chu, but Rin can't imagine Yaobikuni helping someone like him. Eiku leaves, and as Rin is supporting Manji, she feels blood pouring from his wounds.
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.
After Eiku tells Rin there's no cure for the poison he used, the old woman who had been forced to dress up as Yaobikuni expresses her sorrow and tells Rin she will get help. EIku follows her, despite Rin begging him not to, and returns a short time later. Rin angrily asks him why he killed someone without a sword; Eiku doesn't understand her distress because the woman was a total stranger. To further "explain" his reasoning, he cuts Rin's tongue and tells her about how became immortal. He cuts his hand tells her when their wounds meet, the kessen-chu will pass to her and she will know immortality. Manji, now healed, breaks down the door. Rin cries out for him and he asks Eiku what could have happened to her to make her cry that way.
Manji and Eiku fight, and 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.
Back at home, Rin tells Manji part of the reason she hired him as her bodyguard was because she hoped her sword skills would improve. Manji disses her "two years of training" as all but useless in the face of real foes, and tells her sword fighting has little to nothing to do with natural talent. Rin wonders if his gruff remarks are him trying to cheer her up.
As she is washing her hair at a creek, Rin finds Anotsu practicing his own sword work nearby. He senses someone is watching him and she reveals herself via her "Golden Wasps" technique, but none of them seem to hit him and he is insulted by her weak attack. She rushes at his dropped axe, but it is too heavy for her to lift, and Anotsu catches her. When he looks closely at her face, he recognizes her as Takayoshi Asano's daughter from two years earlier. He tells her the weakness of her technique and leaves her pinned to the side of a building.
When she cries, Anotsu doesn't understand why, and she angrily tells him she's frustrated because the man she wants to kill is right in front of her, and she can't do anything about it. He is angry when she says she will kill herself if he touches her, not understanding the "samurai" desire to want to die. He lets Rin go, telling her she's halfway to becoming a member of his Ittou-ryu, what with her "wasps" being heretical to the Mutenichi-ryu style. Rin is devastated and returns to Manji, who is sleeping, and falls asleep with her head resting on his belly.
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. A young teenaged boy named Renzo cuts in front of Rin at a food stand, and though she tries to deal with it maturely, she accidentally buys two pinwheels and says she'll stuff them down his throat. A short while later, she sees a man walk away from Manji and freaks out. She tells him the mask-maker is Araya Kawakami, and that he was the man who raped and tortured her mother.
Rin is very troubled that night, and Manji asks her about it, but she doesn't answer. The next day, as the festival is being taken down, she asks around about how to find Araya. The men are helpful and gather around her so she'll spend time with them. She obligingly pours them some sake, still trying to get away, then hears a commotion. Renzo is being impudent to a man, and when the man draws his sword, Rin tells him to stop and that Renzo is under her care. She sits on Renzo's hands to keep him from getting into more trouble, but while she is fixing the man's broken sandal, the man rests his foot on her lap and slowly moves it beneath her kimono and between her legs.
The man leaves, and Renzo is livid that Rin did not fight back. He is so touched by her helpfulness, he invites her to his home. Rin knows he is Araya's son, but is astonished that when she mentions the Ittou-ryu, he has never heard of it before. She leaves a note for Manji at home and goes with Renzo.
At first, Araya does not recognize Rin, but after she tells him about what happened to her parents, he remembers. He sends Renzo away, expecting a fight, but Rin tells him she only wants a formal apology for what he did to her mother. He begins his apology, but attacks her before she finishes, knocking her out. He paints her face and body with blood, as he had done to her mother, and begins strangling her when he is distracted, leaving the room. When he returns, Manji is there, holding Rin, and the two men fight.
Rin wakes up a while later and uses her bodyweight to shove a cabinet on top of them. When she leans over the edge, Araya grabs her hair rings and throws her onto the floor. He holds her up by her kimono, ready to end her again, when Manji stands up and they resume fighting. When Araya is near death, Rin asks Manji to let him live, but Araya asks Manji to kill him as he couldn't handle Renzo seeing him this way. Manji kills him just as Renzo walks in.
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.
Arc 2: Kaga
Rin decides to begin training with Manji to improve her swordsmanship. Manji spars with her and she is quickly covered in bruises and lying dazed on the ground. Manji helps her up and tells her not to be too discouraged; no one becomes a master in a day. He leaves to buy their dinner, and as Rin is gathering wood to make a fire, a man shows up asking for Manji. When Rin tells him she doesn't know when he'll be back, he throws her down with a warning not to be a smart-ass.
Manji returns in time to keep Rin from being harmed, and he and Rin eat while listening to the man's proposition. He says his name is Shira and he works for the Mugai-ryu, a group who is also hunting down Anotsu. He proposes they all work together toward their common goal, but Manji and Rin are hesitant; Rin says his eyes aren't normal. The next day, as Manji is in town to retrieve his sword, Rin practices her sword skills until Shira grabs her arm and makes a sexually suggestive comment, appropriately making her nervous. He then laughs at her physical weakness, telling her she'll never get stronger only eating corn and frogs. He gives her her first taste of red meat, which he later reveals as a dog she had just befriended. Rin throws up and Shira angrily says he hates women.
Manji and Rin reluctantly team up with the Mugai-ryu. Rin is uncomfortable during their first meeting until a blonde woman, Hyakurin, shows up. She is the deputy leader of the Mugai-ryu and takes Rin under her wing. Rin shares a room with her, and they have a heart-to-heart after Hyakurin teases her for being so good and innocent. Rin admires her for being so young yet having such a presence, and Hyakurin laughs, telling her she's at least ten years older than her. She asks Rin how Manji is in bed and Rin, very embarrassed, says as excuse that he's ten years older than she is. Hyakurin doesn't understand what his age has to do with anything, and tells Rin she'll suffer for years if she ever falls for a man like that. Rin defends Manji, saying he's not a bad man, even though he may look it. Hyakurin then tells Rin if she's always relying on someone else, she'll never get strong herself. In the night, Rin wakes up to Hyakurin's bloodcurdling screams, but Hyakurin only tells her to never fall for a samurai.
The next day, Rin starts cleaning Manji's ears while he's asleep, but he wakes up, irritated. She asks him if they can talk and he settles his head in her lap. She tells him she's afraid of meeting Anotsu again, though not necessarily because she's afraid of him, but that she thinks she knows how to conquer her weaknesses, even if her skill with a sword still leaves a lot to be desired. Manji thinks the Mugai-ryu have put those thoughts into her head, but she tells him she made her own decision. Manji and Rin are both embarrassed when Shira walks in on them.
The Mugai-ryu has a mole within the Ittou-ryu who feeds them information about Anotsu's plans and whereabouts. Hyakurin refuses to allay Manji's apprehensions about teaming up with them and does not disclose who their boss is. They hear a tip that Anotsu is going to dress as a woman to get out of Edo and travel to Kaga, and keep an eye out.
While staying with the Mugai-ryu in their rented bathhouse, Rin goes to the kitchen to bring up food, and the meshimori-onna there asks her about what's going on with everyone upstairs, thinking they are probably up to no good. She assumes Rin is a prostitute and talks to her as a kindred spirit. She is surprised to learn Rin has not been sleeping with Manji or Shira, as she had assumed all this time. Embarrassed, Rin asks about the plausibility of a man dressing as a woman to get through the Kobotoke sekisho (checkpoint). The woman thinks she is talking about Manji or Shira and is disturbed at the thought of either in drag, but tells her there is a way anyone can get through the sekisho.
By chance, Rin and Shira spot a woman carrying a wrapped axe like the one Anotsu uses, and follow her, expecting it to be Anotsu. They realize it is just a prostitute, however, who has been paid to pose as Anotsu.
Shira is so enraged, he cuts off the woman's leg, cuts through her breast, and attempts to rape her. Rin, tormented by the memory of what happened to her mother, attempts to stop Shira, but he punches her in the face. When she draws her sword and faces him, he swings his own sword at her, but his hand is cut off before the blade can touch her; Manji has arrived and mockingly apologizes for cutting his hand off. Shira runs away to make sure Manji and Rin take the fall for the murders he just committed and the prostitute he cut up.
As Rin recovers in the Mugai-ryu bathhouse, she tells Manji of her resolve to follow Anotsu to Kaga. Manji tells her he won't be able to leave Edo without a tegata (a travel pass allowing one passage in and out of Edo). Though she insists on going anyway, Manji tells her she's crazy for wanting to go alone, and she tells him she wasn't being serious. She asks him if he was the one who brought up the musubi she is eating, and when he doesn't deny it, she thanks him for being so nice. Manji looks at her, aghast by her sweet words and smile, and asks how hard Shira hit her in the head.
In the middle of the night, Rin leaves some money and a note for Manji, saying she is going after Anotsu and not to follow her. While traveling, Rin sees herself and Manji on wanted posters and knows she has to disguise herself. She covers her hair and goes to the meshimori-onna again and begs for her help. The woman gives Rin one of her kimono and they change her hairstyle, and Rin continues on to a town just before the sekisho. After a harrowing ordeal to get through the sekisho, where she posed as the daughter of a couple there and received a knife wound to fake a cesarean scar, Rin makes it out of Edo.
While traveling to Kaga, she slowly burns out from lack of food and meets Anotsu by chance. She tells him she's joining the Ittou-ryu and that he therefore cannot leave her behind, but he refuses. She follows him anyway, and eventually they rest in a cave. Rin again expresses her frustration with him and admits she could understand where he's coming from if he hadn't killed her parents. When Anotsu says he hurt her badly, Rin is enraged and beats him up. When she stops, Anotsu tells her that if she has that out of her system, they should sleep.
Anotsu and Rin make it to Shirakawa, where Anotsu meets Makie again. He leaves Rin with some money and one of his swords so she won't feel so vulnerable (and to help ease her worry he might run away), and Rin waits for him. When he is ready to go, he asks Rin if she bought any sweet potato, as he had suggested, and she tells him she did and ate it all. She assumes he was sleeping with Makie and tells him he should act more like a wanted man, then gives him half of her sweet potato, surprising him.
Though she is committed to her plan to tail Anotsu wherever he goes, to seize a chance to kill him, she notices he is not his usual self, and when he trips on a bridge and falls he tells her he has contracted tetanus. He offers her his musubi because he is too sick to eat them, and Rin begrudgingly accepts. When he asks her to help with his bandages, she starts to refuse, but then looks at her musubi and helps him. Soon afterward he is unable to even stand and, out of some compassion, Rin offers him busu poison from her hair rings so he can kill himself, but he crushes it between his fingers.
They run into more Shingyoto-ryu men, and Rin helps distract them so Anotsu has a chance of beating them. Their partnership proves successful, and Anotsu asks her why she agreed so easily. She tells him it's odd, but that it would piss her off if he died and it didn't have anything to do with her revenge. Anotsu says she is some piece of work, and Rin thanks him.
Later, Anotsu hides in a boat while Rin buys them some food from a farmer, but she is caught by the last few remaining members of the Shingyoto-ryu and ordered to lead them to Anotsu. They beat on her until she agrees and, overcome with emotion, Rin cries out in defense of Anotsu's illness when the men see him. Manji arrives and Rin screams for him to kill all of the men there right away. Manji hesitates because he can't just cut down random people he doesn't like, and he asks Rin to tell him if they are good or evil men. Rin doesn't know the answer, but tells him that if he doesn't kill them, then they will absolutely kill her.
Manji, furious that they hurt Rin, starts to fight. The men make Anotsu's presence known, and though Manji is confused and shocked, Rin hands Anotsu his axe so he can fight back. She watches Manji take on a few more of them before Magatsu and Makie also arrive to fight the Shingyoto-ryu. When they are all dead, and as Anotsu is ill and Makie is present, Rin chooses to simply go home rather than have Manji face either of them. She promises Anotsu that she will kill him someday, so he must not ever forget it.
Earlier, Rin realizes her toenails are splitting, something Manji notices after the fighting is done. She is shy about taking up his offer to ride piggyback, but he's too tired and grumpy to wait for her to walk in her state. While carrying her, he mentions how much lighter she is, and she says she lost her money and most of her "Golden Wasps". She hugs Manji tightly around his neck and sniffles while he tells her to cut it out because she's squeezing too hard.
Arc 3: Elucidation of Immortality
Back in Edo, Rin kisses Manji as he is sleeping and later sees Giichi walking to the house to speak with Manji. He tells Manji he must join the Mugai-ryu, orders from Habaki, or be killed. Manji refuses and the two men fight. Rin finds them as they are about to leave, relieved Manji's all right, but she is then kidnapped by the Ittou-ryu, who leave a note for Manji.
Magatsu Taito, who has overseen Rin's kidnapping, tells her they're after Manji; not her. Magatsu tells her Manji has killed twenty of their men as her bodyguard and they need to get square (or so he says his comrades claim). One of the men says he dug up kessen-satsu from Eiku Shizuma's belongings and plans on using it on Manji. Magatsu tells Rin not to resent them because they're not playing dirty.
Rin makes it out of her binds in effort to get her antidote to Manji in time, but luckily the fight is over and Manji is safe. He and Giichi have returned to look for Rin, and when she sees Manji she runs to him, crying. She tells him she's always protected, but that she can protect him, too; if Manji's life is at stake, she'd easily sacrifice an arm. Manji reminds her he's her bodyguard and asks why she thinks she has to protect him. He says crying and screaming proves she's still a kid, and that's a good thing; he doesn't want her to be in a hurry to turn into a bitter person.
When Manji, after his fight with Giichi, agrees to speak with Habaki Kagimura, Rin waits for him outside until Hyakurin comes along and invites her to eat sweets together instead of sitting in the rain. Afterward, Rin returns but is told Manji has already gone home. She checks his place, but doesn't find him. Worried, she returns to her dojo. In the night, she hears voices in her home and gets up to find a young man and girl entering.
They are Isaku Yasonokami and Doa Yoshino and Doa is ready to fight Rin when she sees her, but Isaku stops her. Rin is flabbergasted, but they bow to her and ask to stay there as they are homeless. Rin unhappily accepts, telling them she is planning to leave the next day for a long time, anyway, and her place could use people in it to keep it up. The next morning, Rin finds Doa sitting in a hole in the wall to the outside, smoking. Doa says she made a window and when Rin cries there are already windows everywhere, Doa explains they were too small and that she made this "window" so the good gods could get in.
Rin figures out this all started with Giichi showing up and figures Manji's disappearance must have something to do with the Mugai-ryu. She wanders all day but still cannot find Manji, nor Hyakurin. Upon returning home, she sees Isaku and Doa have turned the hole in her wall into a door in an apparent effort to fix their damage.
Rin tracks Hyakurin down just as the latter has been "fired" from the Mugai-ryu (as it has just been dissolved). Rin tells Isaku about the murder of her parents, and when he asks who killed them, she tells him it was Anotsu Kagehisa.
A month has passed since Manji has gone missing, and Hyakurin visits Rin to tell her she hasn't found anything and that, as Rin is out of money, she should just give up by now. Rin fervently says she'll continue searching, and that eventually, if two people are searching for each other, they're bound to run into each other again. Hyakurin jokes that perhaps Manji chose to leave her, and when Rin doesn't react, she says she'll go with Rin to beg for more help from Master Sori.
Rin and Hyakurin track down Giichi and find him, hungover and living in a beggar's slum. He and Hyakurin have a verbal argument about Giichi's lack of will to fight anymore or help, and Rin eventually tells him if he ignores what is going on now, she may just have to hate him, and that if he truly wants to vanish he should do so without earning more hate.
Slowly, the men of Edo begin disappearing, catching the attention of the city-dwellers left behind. After Isaku disappears, Rin and Doa eventually figure out he and Manji are being held underneath Edo Castle, and they team up to infiltrate it. Rin wears ragged clothing to disguise herself, and she and Doa meet a no-name (low caste) man to help them sneak underneath the castle unnoticed. Rin and Doa fight their way through or otherwise lie their way toward the prison. They find gunpowder, and Rin uses it and oil to light her Golden Wasps on fire and turn them into a firebomb.
The three are caught in a trap, strung up against a wall. One of the guards looks forward to doling out punishment on all of them, but Rin quickly tells him she will take all of Doa's strikes as well as her own. He forces Rin onto the ground, pulls down her clothing, and ties a strap of bamboo in her mouth so she won't bite her tongue. Other guards hold her down while he strikes her back with his sword. He relishes hitting Rin's young, pale skin and loses it, hitting her with all of his strength and laughing. Doa screams Rin's name in desperation, but Rin nears unconsciousness. Suddenly, a strange music reverberates in the hall, and the men stop to look around. A masked man, Ozuhan of the Ittou-ryu, appears and cuts down the others. They fight off the guards while Doa tends to Rin, whose shoulders have been dislocated. When Doa asks her why she took all of her punishment, Rin tells her that it doesn't matter much if she herself can't fight, but if Doa were unable to fight, they'd all be screwed.
Eventually, as they continue through the catacombs, Doa and Rin come cross Isaku's body. Heartbroken, Doa tells Rin her journey is over; she isn't leaving Isaku and has no reason to go on. Rin continues on her own and threatens to kill a man she comes across, asking if he and his comrades know about the experiments being done on prisoners. She demands to know about Manji and is told he is still alive. She asks him to take her to Manji, but before that, she tells them to release all of the other prisoners. Toraemon admits he has had doubts about the brutal experiments practiced on the men and thanks Rin for showing him the way to help fix this mess.
Toraemon devises a plan with Rin to get her further into the castle to find Manji. She disguises herself as a beggar to be allowed to search the dungeon for money she has lost. She asks a guard for light and lures him into the cell she has been allowed to enter, then steals his key ring and locks him inside. She runs from him and soon finds Manji, slumped over in another cell.
As Rin touches the cell bars, a disheveled Burando arrives, telling her not to touch Manji. She unlocks the cell and runs inside to kneel before Manji, but Burando takes hold of her shawl and begins strangling her. She breaks free and attempts to unlock one of Manji's wrist cuffs, but Burando returns, wrapping his arms around her neck to stop her. He asks her if she realizes what crime she is about to commit by touching Manji, then tells her Manji is a terrible person because of all the people he has killed, and that by experimenting on him, they will instead be able to save thousands of innocent lives.
In the middle of Burando's tirade, Rin violently elbows him in the face, knocking him down. She continues to beat him mercilessly, yelling that she doesn't care about the futures of anyone such as the emperor or shogunate. She tells him that what he has done to Manji and all the other men of Edo is reprehensible. Again, Burando attempts to defend his position, but Rin doesn't buy it at all. She finishes her work on him with a kick to the face, and he is left a bloody pulp on the cell floor.
Kneeling before Manji again, she hears him speak and realizes he is still alive. As tears run down her cheeks, she wraps her arms around him and they fall over together. When she asks him why he didn't say anything when she first arrived, he tells her at first he did not recognize her, as she looked so grown-up now. He asks her if she got so far on her own, and she says she had a friend helping her. Manji admonishes her for her poor foresight, but Rin tells him that when they're together they're invincible, and she isn't afraid.
Rin cuts off one of Manji's wrists so they can get his shackles off. After his arm is freed, Rin holds his severed hand to his arm, waiting for it to reattach. Manji notices Rin's back is covered in violent bruises and asks how she received them, but she is vague on the details, only saying she ran into some trouble getting there from Fukiage, and Manji realizes he is under Edo Castle. Rin is surprised he hadn't known, and tells him she hoped he would know a way out, because she has no clue where to go from there.
Before Rin can unshackle Manji's other arm, Habaki Kagimura appears, having recognized Rin as the girl who had been spying on him several days earlier. Manji quietly tells Rin he has a secret weapon he can use to hurt Habaki, and Rin, much to Manji's shock, decides to become a diversion for Habaki, giving Manji the element of surprise. She throws gunpowder at Habaki, then lights her Golden Wasps and throws them, as she had done earlier. Habaki's clothes burn and he is disconcerted, but asks her if she really thinks such a trick can stop a samurai's sword.
Manji takes this moment to throw a hairpin at Habaki, which lodges itself in his eye. Habaki rips it out along with his eyeball and then attacks Manji. Rin tries to help, but Manji tells her not to move and stay out of the way or she'll only make things worse. Habaki collapses and Manji explains he had hidden the hairpin in his neck for weeks, and it has absorbed some of the anesthesia he was forced with, which is now affecting Habaki. Manji and Rin agree to leave as soon as his other arm is free, but guards run in and stop them.
Asaemon arrives with Benki, who effortlessly breaks the cell bars apart to allow Asaemon to enter. As one of Manji's arms is still chained, he cannot easily fight Asaemon. Rin seizes the opportunity to jump onto Benki's shoulders to try and get him to release the lever that is pulling Manji's chain up. She nearly stabs out one of his eyes, and he lets go of the lever trying to stop her. Manji's chain becomes slack and he is able to fight again, but Asaemon wounds him badly. Benki grabs Rin's arms and pops her elbows out of place. She falls onto the ground, dislocating her shoulders as well.
Benki uses the lever to raise Manji's arm back up and he and Rin are out of luck until Isaku returns, breaking apart the cell bars as Benki had done. Doa is with him and immediately goes to Rin to push her shoulders and elbows back into place. Ozuhan arrives just after. and he, Doa, and Isaku, fight as Rin stays by Manji's side.
As they battle, water begins to flood the prison, allowing other felons to escape 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.
Arc 4: Final Chapter
Rin says goodbye to Isaku and Doa. Doa gives her a dagger as a parting gift. She has already carved part of the hilt with a symbol she made up meaning "we part, to meet again". She tells Rin that in her village, girls carve it and ask the man they love to always carry it. Rin is seventeen now and Doa thinks she is getting too old to marry, but Rin, rather embarrassed, tells Doa she doesn't need advice from children.
Winter is arriving and Manji and Rin have returned to normal life. Rin returns to Master Sori's house, along with new characters Meguro and Tanpopo, while 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. The men have mistaken him for someone else, but leave him with a warning. 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 one his face and gives him a bloody nose, but they move to each other's futons and fall asleep holding hands.
Rin runs into Anotsu Kagehisa again and they converse for a while. She animatedly tells him the story of what went down in the Edo Castle incident, and Anotsu seems to enjoy the tale. He tells her he and his fighters are leaving Edo for Satsuma, and that they will board a ship in Hitachi. He requests Rin ask Manji to go with her when she follows them. Manji agrees to accompany her, but warns her that because of his missing arm he may not be able to protect her very well anymore.
Rin suggests they take palanquins to save their energy, but she is kidnapped by Shira who learned of their whereabouts via Meguro and Tanpopo. Shira submerges most of her body in a freezing pond, tying her wrists to dock posts. Rin is watched over by Renzo, who is conflicted between letting her die or saving her life. Rin watches Manji and Shira's fighting from across the water until Manji realizes where she is and comes for her. While attempting to save her, Rin, having been tied with iron-enforced rope to a large rock, sinks to the bottom of the pond. Manji passes out from the cold, but he and Rin are saved by Tanpopo.
Rin eventually recovers to an extent, but has trouble with her legs due to frostbite and uses a walking stick to walk. When she and Manji continue their journey after Anotsu, Manji piggybacks Rin one more time, as he had done before. They arrive at the coast where Anotsu and Makie are fighting. Manji, at Rin's request, joins Makie's side and helps her fight. They eventually part and Manji takes on a very formidable foe, shortly after Rin joins his side. Manji is nearly permanently killed, and Rin saves his life by cutting her wrist over his body to give the illusion he is bleeding out, giving his body time to heal. She explains that Manji died in her place, so she doesn't mind being sacrificed.
This extra time gives Manji's body enough time to heal, and he finishes the battle after tying a tourniquet around Rin's wrist. Hyakurin watches over Rin as Manji continues to fight. During these final battles, Anotsu Kagehisa is seriously wounded but manages to board one of his ships. When he turns, he sees Rin running toward him and she runs him through, killing him.
Summer arrives once again and Rin talks to Hyakurin about her pilgrimage. The two observe Manji walking away; he is leaving because he is a wanted man. Rin seems calm but eventually breaks down before Hyakurin and sobs late into the night. Manji is next seen during the Meiji era (90 years later) and runs into Yaobikuni who has a young girl with her. The girl is Rin's great-great-granddaughter, and she hands Manji the dagger and hilt that Doua had given Rin. The dagger was to be carved (along with Doua's initial carving for Rin, the hilt is carved with the "manji" symbol surrounded by flames) and given to a lover.
Based on Yaobikuni's explanation, Rin began a new sword school and married, starting her own family.
Relationships to other characters
Manji: At first, Manji views Rin as a younger sister, perhaps somewhat replacing his own dead sister, Machi. However, as the story progresses, he sees Rin as her own person who is independent from his sister in every way.
Rin feels strongly about Manji, but the extent is difficult to understand. She does think of him as a male figure, though it is never certain which kind; lover, brother, or father, or perhaps all three. A part of her may be interested in something more substantial with their relationship, but Manji doesn't often respond. She kisses him twice; the first he is unaware of and the second he doesn't seem to mind.
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 without a word. 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.
Anotsu Kagehisa: Rin and Anotsu have a complex relationship that is continually both complicated and clarified throughout their interactions in the story. They meet several times and though they never seriously try to harm one another, Rin remains adverse to the idea of anyone but herself killing him, and is especially against the thought he might die by someone else's vendetta that has no connection to her own. Because of this, Rin protects him several times, and they even travel together for a short time. He allows her to beat him up in frustration, lets her follow him, protects her from shared enemies, and listens to her animatedly tell him the entire story of what happened under Edo Castle while on a hill lying side-by-side.
Doa: For a while, Rin sort of looks after Doa as if Doa were a child. Doa's immaturity and social ineptitude often lead her into potentially troubling situations, which Rin has to deflect or help get her out of. Although Doa is Ittou-ryu, she and Rin put aside any differences to help each other work toward a common goal, and in the process become good friends. When they part ways, Doa gives Rin a dagger, partially carved with a symbol meaning "we must part...to meet again".
Renzo: Rin and Renzo have a complicated relationship. Renzo thinks highly of her when they first meet, and they have a fun older sister/younger brother dynamic. However, as the series progresses and his life turns upside-down, he is almost willing to let her die. They do not fully reconcile, but Rin understands a little of what he has been through and does not hold anything against him or feel any ill toward him at all.
Hyakurin: Rin has a supportive, rather easy relationship with Hyakurin, who sometimes takes on a more motherly role for Rin. They are seen together at the end of the series.
Tatsubo: Rin and Tatsu are childhood friends, and though they do not often interact, it is obvious they have retained their friendship and will likely remain friends for life.
Meguro and Tanpopo: Rin has a friendly relationship with both women, as they are friends and students of Master Sori. Meguro sees Rin as a rival for Sori's romantic affections, something Rin is not even aware of, and is sometimes unkind to her.
Weapons and fighting skill
- "Thank you for the kind thought. But you'll just have to pray... ALONE, Kuroi Sabato!"
- "So all you care about is money?! You maggoty monster!!"
- "Dying without achieving your goals... or living on for years without ever realizing them-- which is worse?"
- "If samurai say that killing for their master is a noble cause... then isn't getting your hands bloody for your own parents more... more human?"
- "Damn you, Anotsu Kagehisa! Wash your neck... and wait for my blade!"
- "[Maybe] 'cause it'd piss me off! You getting yourself killed when it didn't have anything to do with my stuff!"
- "Friend or foe, I think anyone who's been pushed this far... at least deserves the choice."
- "MANJI!! LISTEN!! KILL EVERYONE!! DO IT NOW!!"
- "Manji, listen! I... I'm an adult now. If you're gonna die, I... I'd sacrifice my arm! Easy!"
- "I've never thought Manji's life... weighed the same as some stranger's."
- "I guess we'll have to feel our way..."
- "Want to rest a minute? Watch a bit..." (Say yes! Dear God, say yes! I can't take anymore...!)
- "Ironic, isn't it? A girl like that gives up her sword... and I, who was always preaching to her that she should leave the path of killing, am still on it."
- So... Manji, please... until then... would you walk this road with me? Together we share laughter, anger, and pain... I save you when you're in trouble, just like you do for me... and I'm a problem for you, as you are for me. But... I feel our time together from now on will be short. Please... let us savor it.
- "People who cry because they're helpless... people who spend sleepless nights awake, in remorse over lost loved ones... people in those situations... should be at his side, I think..."
List of appearances
- All Volumes except for Beasts, where she appears only on a page signifying the start of a chapter.
All Issues except for;
- 1; Prologue: Criminal
- 30; Dark Shadows part 2
- 48; Comrades part 1
- 49; Comrades part 2
- 50; Comrades part 3
- 51; Comrades part 4
- 52; Comrades part 5
- 53; Comrades part 6
- 58; Secrets part 1
- 59; Secrets part 2
- 60; Secrets part 3
- 63; Husk
- 66; Beasts part 1
- 67; Beasts part 2
- 68; Beasts part 3
- 69; Beasts part 4
- 70; Beasts part 5
- 71; Autumn Frost part 1
- 72; Autumn Frost part 2
- 73; Autumn Frost part 3
- 74; Autumn Frost part 4
- 75; Autumn Frost part 5
- 76; Autumn Frost part 6
- 77; The Wind and the Heron
- 78; Cherry Blossom
- 86; Mirror of the Soul
- 95; Confession
- 101; Trickster part 3
- 103; Pity
- 109; Shortcut part 3
- 110; Shortcut part 4
- 112; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 1
- 113; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 2
- 114; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 3
- 115; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 4