Hijitaka Toshizou (土方歳三, Hijikata Toshizō) is the vice-commander of the Shinsengumi and leader of his group.
In his youth, Hijikata had no wrinkles or a beard on his face and his eyebrows were dark and smaller. His dark hair was swept to the back off his head similar to his current hairstyle but shorter. He also somewhat resembles Saichi Sugimoto. During the Bakumatsu period, Hijkata sported long dark hair that he kept tied in a ponytail and wore a kimono with the Shinsengumi haori over it.
Now, he is a rather frail old man but looks energetic. He has long white hair and a chin tuft. His upper body is covered in the tatttooed map.
Hijikata wears a black suit to blend in with a green coat to protect himself from the cold. He is usually seen with his sword Izumi-no-Kami Kanesada and a Winchester rifle.
Despite being an old man emprisoned for decades, Hijikata is energetic and optimistic.
Hijikata is very ambitious despite his old age and plans to take over Hokkaido and create his own country in defiance of Japan. To do so, he takes swift and decisive action to search for the gold. As a former Shinsengumi, Hijikata is ruthless and doesn't hesitate to kill his opponents.
Always smiling, Hijikata is flamboyant and regularly boasts about his ambitions and prowess despite his age. He is civil toward people but merciless against his enemies, always shouting to his men to kill every opponent.
Hijikata considers that in battle, the best soldiers are those ready to die fighting.
During his youth, Hijikata made a living selling medicine. As a young man, Hijikata enrolled into the Shieikan dojo around the same time as Shinpachi Nagakura whom he got along well with and acted like fools together. In the dojo, Hijikata received a nickname "Baragaki" due to his youth and wild nature. Sometime later, Hijikata joined the Shinsengumi along with Nagakura and Isami Kondou. He helped defended Nagakura numerous times from Kondou's ire due to his playboy attitude. During the Bakumatsu period, Hijikata met an assassin known as Youichirou the Manslayer in Kyoto.
In the 4th year of the Keiou era (1st year of Meiji), the Shinsengumi participated in the Batlle of Toba-Fushimi and were scattered. The remnants went to Edo to regroup where Hijikata once again joined Kondou to become his personal retainer. It was at this time, that they had a falling out with Nagakura and parted ways.
Decades later, as Hijikata was being led into Kabato Prison as a prisoner, he spotted Nagakura who had finished teaching the guards swordsmanship and was about to leave for the New Year's. He spoke out Nagakura's old nickname "Gamushin" which caught the attention of his friend. Nagakura was surprised to see him as he looked back at him with a smile on his face.
Hijikata was able to speak with Nagakura once more due to the help of the chief guard and the both of them began to reminisce about their past. When Nagakura asked if he was looking out for him to prevent him from dying an early death, Hijikata just replied that he thought he was an idiot whom he couldn't stand with a smile on his face. Sometime later, Hijikata was transferred to Abashiri Prison when Shirosuke Inudou became the warden there due to his hatred of him for his brother's death.
(From chapter 70 onwards)
In a cabin that Hijikata and his group are resting at, he is reading a newspaper as Ogata mocks him and talks about Noppera-Bou and his reasons. After Ogata questions what Noppera-Bou's purpose is, Hijikata speaks up and says that most likely, Noppera-Bou must be a partisan from the Russian Far East. He talks about the economical and political effects of that area, and believes that Noppera-Bou may have partisan allies within the Ainu that are assisting him with the war affairs. (70)
Hijikata and his group made their way to Yubari where they split up, with Ushiyama and Ogata in one party. After finding their objective in the town, he was summoned by Ushiyama to the Edogai store and informed of the situation. He picks up a cat and a tattooed skin and says that they'll have to find a way to discern whether or not the skin is real.
As Hijikata enters the room, Sugimoto comments that he's seen him before and asks if they've met before. When Shiraishi tells his name to Sugimoto, Hijikata says that it has been a while since they met and asks him to introduce him to his friend. The two then begin to talk about Noppera-Bou, but when Asirpa is about to speak up, he cuts her off and threatens Sugimoto to either join forces or fight to the death. Nagakura enters the room as well and with Asirpa's stomach loudly rumbling due to hunger, Ienaga pops in and suggests that they eat and continue the conversation over dinner.
As he is holding his drink, Hijikata shows concern on how they can distinguish the fake skins from the real ones, to which Ienaga says that she may know someone who could help, a counterfeit artist named Chouan Kumagishi. Some time later, as the other people head to the Yubari mines to confirm Sergeant Tsukishima's status, Hijikata stays at the store with Ogata and Ienaga to find some clues on the skins. Just then, a Molotov cocktail is thrown into the store, lighting it on fire. When Ogata confirms that some military soldiers have arrived, Hijikata comments they must be here to destroy the evidences in the store.
Hijikata notes that since Tsurumi's men have come to destroy the house, Tsukishima must've been able to escape the mines and begins preparation for battle. When Ogata heads to the upper floor to drive the 7th Division soldiers up against the walls, Hijikata shoots at them with his rifle, forcing them to retreat back into Ogata's sight. However, Ogata is distracted by a soldier at some distance and Hijikata needed to reload, giving the 7th Division enough time to charge into the store. Hijikata then pulls out his katana to strike down Kouhei Nikaidou, but is tackled by him.
He struggles with Nikaidou who has overpowered him, but Nikaidou is distracted by Sugimoto who had entered the store. Taking advantage of this moment, Hijikata slashes at Nikaidou, cutting his right leg off. He attempts to cut him down once more, but Nikaidou rolls away to hide from him. Hijikata tries looking for the soldier but Sugimoto tells him that they should leave the store. Outside, they agree to split up in order to remain inconspicuous as he and Ienaga heads out to meet Nagakura and Shiraishi.
They were able to regroup with Nagakura, Shiraishi, and Kiroranke and began making their way to Tsukigata. When Ienaga and Kiroranke question how they would be able to meet Kumagishi privately due to the strict security at Kabato Prison, Hijikata says that Nagakura has some connections there and he would be able to arrange a private meeting. Shiraishi then begins to tell them about his past in Kabato Prison and how he met Kumagishi. They find a spot to make campfire and eat some food as Shiraishi continues to talk about his time in Kabato Prison.
When Shiraishi had finished telling his story, Hijikata comments that it would be easier and quicker to have Shiraishi sneak into Abashiri Prison. Nagakura says that since they were talking about Kabato Prison, he recounts the day that he reunited with Hijikata there. Later, they reached Tsukigata where Nagakura and Ienaga went to meet Kumagishi. However, they came back with the news that Kumagishi had died, and after some discussion, made the decision to head to Abashiri Prison, with Hijikata saying that it would not be a bad idea to pay his his respect to Inudou who had taken good care of him in Kabato Prison.
They settle at an inn in Tsukgata and Kiroranke says that it's such a big deal that they were able to find out about the existence of the fake skins and that Tsurumi wouldn't have expected his plans to be exposed so quickly. However, Hijikata says that so long as they have no means of distinguishing the skins, Tsurumi hasn't suffered much of a setback. He then says that if they were to find any information, that they would have to trace it all the way back to its source. Nagakura and Ienaga laments over Kumagishi's death and that they have no means of distinguishing the skins with no other choice but to depend on Shiraishi.
The next morning, Hijikata is observing Shiraishi's situation as a man who just woke up groggily asks what the commotion is. He reports to the others that Shiraishi has been captured by the 7th Division and they ponder about what to do. Hijikata then tells Nagakura and Ienaga to wait in Tsukigata for Sugimoto and head to Asahikawa together as he and Kiroranke will rescue Shiraishi as he is their only means of meeting Noppera-Bou.
Hijikata and Kiroranke rides horseback in order to get ahead of the 7th Division so that they can lay their trap to distract the 7th Division. When Kiroranke's trap fails, Hijikata cuts down a tree and pretends to be a frail old man whose wagon has been blocked from continuing on the path. However, Shiraishi does not notice this opportunity, as well as all of their further attempts to get him to flee. Kiroranke is infuriated and wonders if Shiraishi wants to escape and Hijikata notes that they will have to use a more extreme method.
In the village of Fukagawa, Hijikata disguised as a merchant is selling snacks to the locals and is able to get Shiraishi's attention long enough to pass a paper with the message "kamuy kotan" and "rope bridge" and makes his way out to execute his plan. As he and Kiroranke prepares to carry out their operation, Kiroranke tells him about the "kamuy kotan" as well as the legend of the man-eating blade Ipetam. Kiroranke also described how the Ainu made canoes, with which he will use to rescue Shiraishi. When Hijikata asked if he made canoes to cross the Amur River, Kiroranke fell silent as he continued to prod into his past and asked what Noppera-Bou's true name is.
When rainfall came and the 7th Division prepares to cross the bridge, Hijikata, wearing a hood to cover his face, stops them in their path and draws out his blade, pointing it at them. Hijikata then cuts the ropes of the bridge, sending them all falling into the Ishikari River. When Kiroranke failed to rescue Shiraishi, the two men returns to Fukugawa and reports the results to the other members of their group. They decide to leave Shiraishi to his fate since they already have a copy of his tattoo, but Sugimoto refuses, saying that he wants to save him and that they should make use of Suzukawa's skills.
In the hidden room, Hijikata found a certain object that belonged to a tattooed convict named Shinzou Doi as well as information that Doi had been captured in Kushiro. With this revelation, Hijikata, Nagakura, and Ushiyama set out for Kushiro to find information about Doi's whereabouts. Upon arriving, Hijikata asked the women that had surrounded Ushiyama, marvelling over his strength, if they knew what the item was but none of them were able to answer. As Hijikata was about to give up, Ushiyama called to a nearby Ainu man if he knew of any place to stay at.
The Ainu man, Kirawus brought them to a hut and prepared some shishamo smelt for them to eat. Hijikata once again brought out the object and gave it to Kirawus to examine. Kirawus was able to identify it as belonging to the beak of a tufted puffin and that they could only be found in Nemuro. Hijikata states that they may be getting closer to Doi. When Ushiyama expresses doubt about Doi's might, Hijikata states that Shinzou Doi is a fake name and that he had met him a long time ago in Kyoto back when he operated as a hired killer known as Youchirou the Manslayer.
Kirawus takes Hijikata's group to an Ainu kotan where Youichirou had once lived and learns about Youichirou's past prior to being imprisoned in Abashiri Prison from Kirawus who translates for the village chief. Later he heads to the town of Nemuro where he finds Youichirou being confronted by a group of hitmen and shoots one of them in the head. In regards to Youichirou's statement that there are plenty of people who wishes to kill him, Hijikata says that he is at the front of the line as Youichirou identifies him.
Reacting to Hijikata's gunfire, several hitmen comes into the restaurant but Hijikata is able to shoot and counter them with Ushiyama's assistance. He chases after Youichirou who had fled out of town and finds him leaning over, suffering from his dementia. Youichirou sees him and Hijikata gives a lecture about his idealogy as well as Japan's state of affairs, saying that he is going to keep fighting for Japan. He then drops his rifle, taking out his sword which he cuts Youichirou with.
Suffering from his wound, Youichirou falls to the ground as Hijikata stood before him with katana in hand. Hijikata then gave Youichirou the item that he got from Inudou, which Youichirou says that he received from his wife so that he would always remember Nemuro. Hijikata offers to end Youichirou's suffering but Youichirou declines, saying that he cannot forgive himself for such an easy death.
Youichirou laments on his life as an assassin and what it meant to be "human" before passing away. As Nagakura, Ushiyama, and Kirawus arrived, Hijikata states that though he may not have died at Hakodate, it does not fill him with feelings of guilt and that he only survived because he has a duty left to fulfill. He then calls out to Nagakura that they can still keep on running.
Afterwards, Hijikata and Ushiyama heads out to find Waichirou Sekiya in the Lake Akan area. They are separated from each other and Hijikata eventually confronts Sekiya who had poisoned and kidnapped Ushiyama. Sekiya gives Hijikata an ultimatum to consume one of the cocoons lying around the area in exchange for letting Ushiyama go. Hijikata responds that he will not play along with Sekiya's games and come after him.
Sekiya says that he should focus on saving Ushiyama but Hijikata tells him that he has already made a copy of Ushiyama's tattoo. However, after finding out that Ushiyama willingly drank poison to save him, he relents and consume one of the cocoons as well. The cocoon turned out to be a poisonous one however, Hijikata was able to secretly take some aconite to reduce the effect of the poison below a fatal dose.
As Sekiya drags his unconscious body away, he notes that every pellet of poison was a fatal dose and that it is incredible that Hijikata is still alive, unaware of what Hijikata had done. Hijikata is then buried in a bottomless casket with a cocoon next to his hand. While Hijikata lay dormant in the casket, his sword is taken and sent to Kadokura along with a note saying to bring the tattooed skins in exchange for his location.
When Sekiya begins to dig up Hijikata's casket after beating Kadokura in a test, Hijikata springs out from the casket, grabbing Sekiya's neck as well as a knife, which he uses to cut down Sekiya, noting that his days selling medicine had helped him and that relying on luck simply isn't enough to survive in the current day and age.
Hijikata follows Sekiya who stumbles out of the farm and as he falls to the ground, tells him that he had no choice but to gamble, otherwise the other option would mean certain death. Sekiya does not believe it, calling it a miracle and that god finally came to punish him before succumbing to his wounds.
Kadokura approaches Hijikata saying that Sekiya must've been trying to reconcile his faith with his daughter's death but Hijikata says that he while he does not know much about god, the only world that he is interested in is the current world they are living in. He says that being able to do whatever he desires with the life that he is given in this world is enough for him.
Abilities and Equipments Edit
- Hijikata is a very talented swordsman.
- He has a sword, but he also uses a Winchester.
- The Winchester has a range of 90 meters.
- Medical knowledge
- Hijikata, is based on the real life figure of Hijikata Toshizo, the vice commander of the Shinsengumi who lived during the Bakumatsu period and opposed the Meiji Restoration.
- Hijikata likes ochazuke.
- Hijikata's nickname as a young man was Baragaki (バラガキ) which came from (茨のように, Ibara no yō ni) meaning "like a thorns" and (乱暴なガキで, Ranbōna gaki de) meaning "with a rough brat".