The series is set in the Bakumatsu era, with the Shogunate being in its final years, and war fast approaching. When Akizuki Yōjirō, a dark and mysterious mercenary, nears something supernatural with some kind of importance to him, the ornament on the end of his sword hilt waves in its direction, his eyes glow mysteriously, and he is driven to go after it. He comes across a traveling theater group who is out for revenge for the killing of the parents of the group's leader, and whose mysterious playwright likes to secretly help along events of history. Yōjirō joins them to lend them his skill against their enemies, while dark conspiracy continues to follow behind him.Akizuki Yōjirō (秋月耀次郎, Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa (Japanese), Houston Hayes (English))
The seventeen-year-old legendary Eien no Shikaku (永遠の刺客, lit. Eternal Assassin)
, Akizuki Yōjirō is the bearer of the legendary sword, Getsuruitō (月涙刀, lit. Moon Tear Sword)
, tasked with the quest of utilizing its blade to destroy the Hasha no Kubi (覇者の首, lit. Head of the Conqueror)
, a supernatural object said to appear during times of unrest and revolution. Akizuki was once a close confidante, friend and bodyguard of the late Sakamoto Ryōma, whose assassination he failed to prevent and which continues to haunt him to the current day. During the midst of his quest to destroy the Hasha no Kubi, he visits Yokohama and happens to meet the Yuyama troupe, an adventuring kabuki group, and its leader Yuyama Kakunojō. While in the city, Akizuki senses the aura of the Hasha no Kubi within an auction held in the Shanghai Club, soon breaking through its confines in attempting to cut it in half; however, even if its head appeared to have been cut, the spirit of the elusive Hasha no Kubi was not destroyed and still remains, with Akizuki continuing in his quest to find and destroy it. Occasionally, Akizuki acts as the personal bodyguard to the Yuyama troupe. He is shown to have some feelings of love for Yuyama Kakunojō.
Yuyama Kakunojō (遊山赫乃丈, Voiced by: Rina Satō (Japanese), Emily Neves (English))
A young woman and leader of the Yuyama troupe, Kakunojō's parents, shipping and wholesale merchants, were murdered by Hario Genba, as part of the Ansei Purges for being a staunch supporter for the Emperor, when she was still a young child, and was saved from death in the same incident by the brave actions of her late father's acquaintance, Zagashira, and apprentice, Ebisu. With her home destroyed in the same fire, Kakunojō, along with Zagashira and Ebisu, formed the Yuyama troupe and visit various regions around the country, to seek Hario, those who murdered her parents and exact revenge upon them. Their group was soon joined by Ibaragi Sōtetsu, an intelligent playwright, and later by Shiranui Kozo and Kakashi no Keishin, both of whom were attracted to the group's ideals. Her real past is that she was also in the same orphanage as Akizuki but was adopted. Later during the series she develops strong feelings of love for Akizuki, noting that their destinies are intertwined. Koma no Shōten-sama says that the sword that "calls" to her is the "yang to Akizuki's Getsuruito yin".
Ibaragi Sōtetsu (茨木蒼鉄, Voiced by: Kazuhiko Inoue (Japanese), Illich Guardiola (English))
The extremely intelligent and mysterious playwright of the Yuyama troupe, Ibaragi Sōtetsu is respected by each member of the group, who call him Sensei
. He works secretly to attain the Lord's Head, manipulating events behind the scenes, and is in business with the infamous Nakaiya early on in the story.
Kanna Sakyōnosuke (神無左京之介, Voiced by: Kousuke Toriumi (Japanese), Clint Bickham (English)
Born in London to a British royal navy vice admiral father and a Japanese mother, formerly a tayū in Yoshiwara, Kanna Sakyōnosuke is tasked with being the bodyguard of Katsu Kaishu, as part of a request from H.S. Parkes, the head of British mission in Yokohama, and is an extremely talented fighter, armed with two guns, each of the Remington New Model Army Conversion type. He seems to harbor passionate and confused feelings for Yuyama Kakunojō, who reminds him of his beautiful Japanese mother, whose desertion haunts him.
Shiranui Kozo (不知火小僧, Voiced by: Junichi Suwabe (Japanese), David Matranga English))
An actor of the Yuyama troupe under the stage name Yuyama Seijūrō, Shiranui joined the group after one of Sōtetsu's plays saved him from being executed. He slept with a policeman's wife. The police killed his wife and framed him for murder. He enjoys visiting the red-light district and has feelings for Kotoha.
Kotoha (琴波, Voiced by: Mie Sonozaki (Japanese), Carli Mosier (English))
A tayū, highest rank of the oiran, who is the most famed and influential of the Sekkakurō, a pleasure house located in the Yukaku, Yokohama's pleasure quarters. She rivals the famous Yokohama oiran of the time, Kiyu from Gankurō. Her influential clientele include Katsu Kaishu and H.S. Parkes. Kotoha is also a staunch supporter of the Yuyama troupe, and during a discussion with Sōtetsu, arranged for the group to perform during a night at the Sekkakurō.
Ebisu no Zukin (恵比須の頭巾, Voiced by: Masashi Yabe (Japanese), Greg Ayres (English))
One of the actors of a troupe, Ebisu was an apprentice of Kakunojō's household, who had treated him very well. When the household was being burnt and Kakunojō's parents were murdered before his very eyes by Hario Genba as part of the Ansei Purges, Ebisu attempted to protect Kakunojō, and while doing so, he was burnt by the resulting fire, forced to live the rest of his life with bandages covering his face and body.
Kakashi no Keishin (案山子の恵信, Voiced by: Kenji Nomura (Japanese), Steve Fenley (English))
The strongman of the Yuyama troupe, Kakashi is a good-hearted person who joined the group for a similar reason to Shiranui.
Zagashira (座頭, Voiced by: Takashi Nagasako (Japanese), Carl Masterson (English))
Zagashira simply means the head of the troop. His real name remains unknown. The manager of the Yuyama troupe, Zagashira looks after the group's accounts. He used to work for Kakunojō's father. Zagashira saved Kakunojō from the fire that destroyed her household.
Benimaru (紅丸, Voiced by: Etsuko Kozakura (Japanese), Kalin Coates (English))
One of the child actors of the Yuyama troupe, Benimaru, along with Kobako, was saved by Akizuki from a near fatal incident, and are both grateful to him for saving their lives.
Kobako (こばこ, Voiced by: Yuki Matsuoka (Japanese), Brittney Karbowski (English))
One of the child actors of the Yuyama troupe, Kobako, along with Benimaru, was saved by Akizuki from a near fatal incident, and are both grateful to him for saving their lives.
Saigō Takamori (西郷隆盛, Voiced by: Hiromi Sugino (Japanese), Rob Mungle (English))
The chief of staff of the newly formed fully modernized Imperial Army (or the new government army) and a samurai from Satsuma. Under the authority of Prince Arisugawa, he was in charge of capturing Edo where the 15th Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu resides. Saigo Takamori is a firm believer in the privileges of the samurai class.
Katsu Kaishū (勝海舟, Voiced by: Shouto Kashii (Japanese), David Wald (English))
The chief of staff of the Shogun's Edo army and a native of Edo city. He was working desperately to avoid bloodshed in Edo. With support from the British and French representatives, he arranged a meeting with Saigō Takamori in Edo to negotiate for peace on behalf of the Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu. He was formerly the Navy Magistrate of the Shogun's Navy. Kaishu was mentor to Sakamoto Ryōma (who initially attempted to kill him, however, instead became his bodyguard).
Sakamoto Ryōma (坂本龍馬, Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese), Andrew Love (English))
A famous liberal and progressive samurai from Tosa, Sakamoto Ryōma was greatly respected by Akizuki, who was his bodyguard and close confidant. Sakamoto negotiated an alliance between Chōshū-han and Satsuma-han, two Imperialist clans who had traditionally been bitter rivals towards each other; However, he was later assassinated in a Kyoto inn in 1867.
Nakaiya Jūbē (中居屋重兵衛, Voiced by: Tetsuo Komura (Japanese), John Swasey (English))
A mysterious Yokohama merchant formerly known as Kuroiwa Sennosuke, Nakaiya Jūbē was presumed to be dead after the fire at his company headquarters the Bronze Palace in 1861. Nakaiya Jūbē mysteriously reappeared in 1868 in a secret auction inside the Shanghai Club trying to sell the Head of the Conqueror. He sent Hario Genba to protect Kawai Tsuginosuke and the Gatling guns the latter bought during the same auction. Nakaiya seems to know about the Ansei Purges, and is well acquainted with British merchant T.B. Glover, from whom he acquires his weapons.
Hario Genba (針尾玄藩, Voiced by: Hiromi Sugino (Japanese), George Manley (English))
A swordsman who murdered Kakunojō's parents and attempted to kill her, whose face was forever to be remembered by Ebisu. Hario is a bearer of the ancient Jiwari-ken technique of swordsmanship, which attempts to create a continuous fissure within the earth's surface as a result of the vertical movement of one's sword, but which is stopped with the application of water within its path. He later serves in Yokohama as Kawai Tsuginosuke's bodyguard, as ordered by Nakaiya Jūbē, and is instantly recognized by Ebisu, who moves to inform the rest of the troupe and later traces him to an underground auction held in the Shanghai Club, where Hario had been accompanying Kawai. After witnessing Akidzuki's attempt to destroy the Hasha no Kubi, Hario becomes very intrigued with Akizuki and attempts to find and kill him the next day, to the extent of even ignoring his job to protect Kawai and his Gatling guns. Later, Hario is cornered by Akizuki and the Yuyama troupe in the midst of a sun-brazen wheat field, and when they attempt to kill him, a sniper, Saiga Magozō, sent by Nakaiya, attempts to shoot him, and Hario soon dies.
Kawai Tsuginosuke (河井継之助, Voiced by: Takeharu Onishi (Japanese), Mark X. Laskowski (English))
A retainer of the Nagaoka clan in North East Japan, Kawai Tsuginosuke arrives in Yokohama to purchase two Gatling guns in order to ensure the armed neutrality between the Shogunate and Imperial forces that had maintained by the Nagaoka clan.
Saiga Magozō (雑賀孫蔵)
A sniper working for Nakaiya Jūbē, Saiga Magozō is first seen firing a critical shot at Hario Genba, as per Nakaiya's orders. He is a descendent of the Saiga Ikki warrior clan, who once rebelled against Oda Nobunaga during the Sengoku period.
Koma no Shōten-sama (高麗の聖天様, Voiced by: Kousei Yagi (Japanese), John Kaiser (English))
A well-respected high priest of the village of Koma-no-Sato in modern day Saitama Prefecture. He is a direct descendent of the 3000 men and women mission led by Xu Fu, the immortal mage to seal and dispose the Head of the Conqueror in Japan. He enjoys good food and simple village life.
H.S. Parkes (H･S･パークス, Voiced by: Tomomichi Nishimura (Japanese), Brett Weaver (English))
The head of the British mission in Yokohama. He arranges for Kanna Sakyōnosuke to be the bodyguard of Katsu Kaishū.
T.B. Glover (T･B・グラバー, Voiced by: Tōru Ōkawa (Japanese), Scotty Fulks (English))
A Scottish arms merchant and industrialist based in Nagasaki. He works closely with Nakaiya Jūbē and often supplies him weapons, including Saiga's sniping rifle.
Planning: Kenji Uchida, Kazumi Kawashiro
Original creator: Hajime Yatate, Ryōsuke Takahashi
Series composition and script: Junichi Miyashita
Character designs: Yuusuke Kozaki
Art director: Jirou Kouno, Emi Suzuki
Color design: Takako Suzuki
Cultural advisor: Hidehiko Maki
Design works: Etsonobu Iwanaga, Takayuki Yanase
Calligraphy design: Masumi Narita (Fudejiya)
CGI works: Saori Kibe
Photography director: Tatsuya Nomura
CGI planning and 3DCG: Kentaro Sasaki
Editor: Yukiko Nojiri (Winds)
Music: Hideyuki Fukasawa
Sound director: Sadoyoshi Fujino
Sound effects: Mitsuru Kagayama (Fizz Sound Creation)
Recording adjustments: Norio Nishizawa
Recording assistant: Yoshie Somazawa
Sound effects production: Clues
Music producers: Keiichi Nozaki, Noboru Mano
Music production: Victor Entertainment, Sunrise Music
Producers: Keiichi Matsamura, Koji Morimoto
Series director: Ryōsuke Takahashi
Chief director: Yoshimitsu Ohashi
Production: Sunrise, Bandai Visual
Kōya Ruten (荒野流転, lit. The Vicissitudes of Wilderness)
Performance: FictionJunction Yuuka
Lyrics, composition, arrangement: Yuki Kajiura
Ai no Tsurugi (愛の剣, lit. Swords of Love)
Performance: Takako & The Crazy Boys
Lyrics and composition: Takako Shirai
Arrangement: Takako & The Crazy Boys
Namida (涙, lit. Tear)
Performance: Chiaki Ishikawa
Lyrics and composition: Chiaki Ishikawa
Arrangement: Masaru Nishida