Name: Saitou Hajime / Fujita Goro
Nicknames: Ookami, Wolf of Mibu, Shinsengumi Sanbantai Kumichou
Born: January 1, 1844
Birthplace: Edo (old name for Tokyo)
Height: Around 6 feet
Weight: 71 kilograms
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Chinese Zodiac: Dragon
Bloodtype: Type O
Sword Style: Mugai Ryu
Sword: Unsigned - Japanese nippontou (Katana)
According to Watsuki-sensei
"There was no model; Saitou Hajime was a real person.
But unlike Sagara Souzou and Yamagata Aritomo, he has a deep influence on
the story, so I adapted him quite a bit. I adapted him so much that I
received protesting letters from fans of the Shinsengumi. (Iíve received
protest letters before but now most of them are about Saitou.) But Saitou
justs seems to get more and more popular, so Iím really happy. The
character Saitou is still in progress, so Iíll keep quiet about the
historical facts and the details about the plot, but I like the way heís
drawn as an aloof "dirty hero" who carries out his ideal of "Kill. Evil.
Instantly," never a simple good guy and always antagonistic to Kenshin and
Other than the above I had no design. Since he was
introduced in the beginning as a bad guy, I gave him a villainís face, but
I got protest letters about this too. It seems the fans of the Shinsengumi
think of him as a gentle handsome man, even though there isnít a single
photograph left of him, so . . . (There is a portrait, though. Itís there,
but those who want to think of Saitou as handsome probably shouldnít look
at it.) I also got letters saying, "Whatís Saitou doing selling the
Hijikata familyís Ishida Sanyaku?!" To put it simply, that was just a
joke. And to those who protested that Akamatsu seemed like a practical
joke, I am very repentant. But getting so many letters about such little
things actually makes me very sad. Iím a manga artist and only human.
Shinsengumi fans, canít you read this manga a little more forgivingly . .
What's important to note here is that Watsuki-sensei
was a fan of the Shinsengumi and a lot of the characters were based on his
own personal vision of them. Indeed quite a few of the stars in Rurouni
Kenshin like Aoshi and Shishio were based off on the Shinsengumi which he
was a big fan of. One book that got him hooked on the Shinsengumi was "Moeyo
Ken" (Burn Sword), which was a historical fiction. In a way, he followed
the footsteps of those people and incorporated his own personal vision on
Saitou. He was not aiming for historical accuracy for Saitou and
eventually Saitou took a life of his own apart from his historical
counterpart. I would go so far as to say he was a unique creation inspired
partly by history and all the fictional renditions that Watsuki-sensei
immersed himself in. There are many authors who sacrifice historical
accuracy for the sake of reaching more audience and helping them to relate
to a particular work. Watsuki-sensei was no different in this regard, he
had a story to tell and considering this was manga I believe he made the
right choice. Just look at how popular Rurouni Kenshin got and after ten
years here I am with a Saitou Shrine. More information can be found at
Mary-Ann's website. Her translation of this passage can be found
To the left is the character sketch
for Saitou Hajime. These are given out to animators so that they have an
idea of how to generally draw a character. Click the thumbnail for a
bigger picture of Saitou's Character Sketch.
Although the gatotsu isn't real... It
was one of the things that made RK Saitou very special ne? So let's take a
moment to review it's different forms...
Gatotsu Ishiki - Saitou's normal gatotsu
(first form) that you see a lot in RK. It is a parallel thrust that
targets the upper body of the enemy. He uses this attack all the time
especially against Kenshin, where Kenshin even calls him on it. However
perhaps he was lulling Kenshin into a false sense of security... *snicker*
Gatotsu Nishiki - Second form of the gatotsu that is an air
attack. It is performed while on air to opponents on the ground. I've not
seen him do this much except for when he fought Shishio Makoto. It looks
pretty cool though.
Gatotsu Sanshiki - Third form of gatotsu that is an
anti-air attack. It is a thrust from the ground to air on opponents who
are up in the air. Again this was used against the final fight with
Shishio where the spectators Hoji, Yumi and Sano dropped their jaws
wondering who won the fight while suspended on air.
Gatotsu Zeroshiki - The ultimate form of
gatotsu which is Saitou's secret attack. It requires upper body strength
as the legs are not much used aside from support. It is a point blank
attack that usually surprises opponents as all the other gatotsu forms
require some distance to provide strength and speed to the forward thrust.
He was forced to use this against Usui where he won the fight but
unfortunately failed in stopping Shishio. Well of coure he's not the
"hero" but I still love him nonetheless.
Seiyuu - The Voice Behind the Wolf of Mibu
Hometown: Nagoya, Aichi Japan
Ken Production - Hirotaka Suzuoki
Notes: Hirotaka-san has been in the voice industry since the 70s. He
is a diverse Seiyuu not only doing anime but also dabbling in other
genres as well like "La Femme Nikita".
Previous Anime Projects:
Millenium Actress - trivia: Shinsengumi cameo...
Dragon Ball as Tenshin-han
Legend of the Galactic Heroes as Konev
Mobile Suit Gundam as Bright Noah
Naruto the Movie as Nadare Rouga
Pokemon as Sakaki
Ranma 1/2 as Tatewaki Kuno
Rurouni Kenshin / Samurai X as Saitou Hajime
Transformers as Starscream (OMG!)
Trigun as Chapel
Volume 7 through Volume 18 -
Saitou's appearance start the beginning of the Kyoto arc, where the wolf
now known as Fujita Goro an undercover agent for the Police, confronts
Kenshin Himura (Battousai) about the past to help the Meiji government
deal with Battousai's successor, Shishio Makoto.
Volume 19 through Volume 21
- The remembrance arc or "Tsuikohen" focuses on the Bakumatsu and the
relationship that grew between Battousai and Tomoe Yukishiro. Saitou
appears as a Shinsengumi in volumes 20-21, patrolling the streets and
suppressing the supporters of Sonnoi-joi which was spearheaded by the
Choshuu clan to which Kenshin was an assassin for. We also see briefly the
other Shinsengumi members like Okita Souji, Kondou Isami and Hijikata
Volume 22 through Volume 28
- After a long disappearance from the manga Saitou
returns in volume 23 to help the Kenshingumi retrieve Kaoru (Kenshin's
love interest) and fight off Enishi's allies. This is known as the Jinchuu
arc, and it is the final storyline in the Rurouni Kenshin manga. I
absolutely love what Watsuki-sensei did with Saitou's ending here. Upon
receiving a letter from Himura, he refrains from seeing Himura in a duel
that would finally settle their old score. He is able to shrug it off and
walk away. Speaks a lot about Saitou I think.
Anime Appearance *warning spoilers*
Tsuikohen - This OVA also
known as "Remembrance" follows what happened in Vol 19-21 of the manga. We
see more of the Shinsengumi and Saitou for the first half of the OVA. It
shows us Choshuu's plan to burn the city of Kyoto and the Ikedaya raid.
Towards the end of the OVA, the Boshin war is introduced and Kenshin and
Saitou meet on opposite ends. This starts their feud that will carry on
ten years later.
Episodes 28 through 62 (Season 2)
- The anime follows the Kyoto arc of the manga closely with Saitou
disappearing, thought of as dead by the Kenshingumi in Mt. Hiei. He
however survives, as is shown in the last episode of the Kyoto arc.
Unfortunately the Jinchuu arc was never animated (Sony who bought the
license will probably not animate this considering it's been ten years!)
and we will never see the wolf again on the small tube. Why? Because
Rurouni Kenshin continues on with it's "Christian Arc" without Saitou.
Note that the Christian Arc was full of filler episodes and did not at all
follow the manga.
Kenshin the Movie - The last animation of Saitou Hajime is found in
the only RK movie that was not part of the manga. It is considered to be
an original creation and was inspired by the original Rurouni Kenshin by
Watsuki-sensei. Hard core RK fans typically do not consider this on par as
the others as it was not Watsuki's work per se. However what's interesting
in the movie is that it deals with the Aizu people who wanted to restore
their position in society. It is important to note that the historical
Saitou had close ties with the Aizu han and it's people, but since this is
RK we are talking about, RK Saitou is shown as dutifully doing his job
regardless of the plight of former Aizu samurai.
Seishouhen - This was the last
OVA made for Rurouni Kenshin that according to the animators was the final
conclusion of the RK universe. We are treated to a five second shot of
Saitou in a flashback. I'm not very happy with that, but most people
aren't that impressed with Seishouhen as it seems contrary to what is
considered IC and reasonable in the fandom, for one thing Kenshin dies and
it was like a hurried version of Jinchuu without much screen appearance by
other characters. They did release a "Director's Cut" version which
included extra scenes. In this version Saitou gets a whopping 5 or so
minutes, telling Kaoru that in their life-long feud, he won over Kenshin
because he was alive. I was aghast. The ending in Jinchuu, Watsuki's own
creation showed the wolf did learn and grow, that he is able to pass his
own shortcomings and prejudice against Kenshin Himura. 'Nuff said.