Makimachi Misao is a teenage kunoichi and the youngest member of the Kyoto-based Oniwabanshū. A great admirer of Shinomori Aoshi, she leaves her home to find her missing hero, but instead encounters Himura Kenshin and tags along in the hopes that he will lead her to him. She soon proves herself a valuable ally and is temporarily named the Oniwabanshū's new Okashira (leader).
Misao’s parents died when she was very young and was raised only by her grandfather, the previous okashira of Oniwabanshū. Hence, she became a member since her childhood where she learnt all the basic of ninja skills. When Misao was only a five-year-old child, her grandfather declared the 15-year-old Aoshi to be the new okashira. Before the death of her grandfather, he assigned Aoshi to protect Misao at all cost.
During the Meiji era, the Emperor wanted Japan to become a modernised country so he abolished the rights of samurais and these events led the ninja group to lose its purpose. Most Oniwabanshu members left to find new jobs. However, Aoshi and his four loyal comrades, Han'nya, Hyottoko, Beshimi and Shikijō still decided to live in the shadows.
She travels around Japan with Aoshi and his men. She learnt most of her skills from Hannya whom Misao looked up as her second father. Nevertheless, as Aoshi and his men took a dangerous job in Tokyo, eight-year-old Misao was handed over to the previous Oniwabanshu investigator named Okina. At first, Aoshi was unsure of his decisions but he and his men still left Misao while she was asleep in the Aoiya without bidding farewell.
As years passed by, she holds on to the faded memories of Aoshi from her childhood. When she was old enough, she ventured out to chance whispers of his whereabouts, only to return home empty handed. She lives at the Aoi-ya with her adoptive grandfather Okina, and four other remaining members of the Oniwabanshuu (Okon, Omasu, Shiro and Kuro).
Kyoto Arc Edit
While resting in a forest on the way to Kyoto to defeat Shishio Makoto, Kenshin notices a teenaged girl who defeated four bandits and took their goods. He interrupts her midway through the altercation, but she views him as a bum. Misao was determined to take his sword but Kenshin easily avoids her attacks. Admitting her defeat, she reveals her name as she tagged along with Kenshin and began traveling to Kyoto together. Kenshin often asked her why she likes to steal goods but Misao only answered that she needs money for her journey because she is finding a certain person.
They stopped near Shingetsu Village, where they met a young boy named Mishima Eiji. He told them that his village is under control of Makoto Shishio. Accompanied by Saitō Hajime, Kenshin and Misao saved the village. As the story progresses, she became rather attached to Kenshin but becomes angry with him for not depending on anyone else. After Kenshin leaves, she met Kamiya Kaoru and Myōjin Yahiko when she recognises a picture of Kenshin posted on the wall of a restaurant called Shirobeko. However, in the anime Misao runs into Yahiko while she is chasing after Kenshin. Misao takes Kaoru and Yahiko to Kenshin at his Hiko Seijūrō's home. On the way back, Yahiko remembered that he forgot to warn Kenshin about Shinomori Aoshi, who he had seen in Kyoto a few days before, and says it aloud. She had heard of this and demanded them to speak about Aoshi. Therefore, Yahiko and Kaoru mistakenly thought of Misao as their enemy.
Misao was shocked at the news of Han'nya's and the others' deaths so she went back to Aoiya for clarification from Okina. She discovered that Okina went to fight Aoshi and leaves immediately. She arrives too late to stop the battle and found Okina barely alive. Speechless and shocked, Aoshi left declaring that he never wishes to see her again. While tending Okina’s wound in the Aoiya, she received a letter from Okina that said “Misao, in case I died, please forget about Aoshi and lead a normal life.”
Having difficulty accepting the tragic events, she becomes determined to forget him. She declares herself as the new Okashira of the Oniwabanashū and refuses to recognise Aoshi as the clan's head any longer.
Misao becomes close friends with Kenshin, Kaoru, and Yahiko and helps them fight the agents of Shishio Makoto. Before leaving for the final battle for Shishio, Okina asked Kenshin to kill Aoshi. This made Misao’s tears fell because after all, she still loves him. He promises her that he will bring Aoshi back home to Aoi-Ya, because he does not believed that Aoshi has lost himself completely.
During the fight with members of the Ten Swords (Juppongatana) outside Aoiya, Misao is knocked unconscious after fully receiving a hit from Kamatari Honjo's weapon. Han'nya appears before her in a dream and tells her that Kenshin has kept his promise and is bringing Aoshi back. She wakes up and helps Kaoru defeat Kamatari. She also knocks Kamatari out when he attempts to kill himself to atone for his defeat; she says she cannot truly understand the feelings of a homosexual man, but was touched by his loyalty to Shishio. After all of the Ten Swords present are defeated, they are saved by Seijuro Hiko, and wait for Kenshin, Sanosuke and Aoshi to return.
Kenshin stays in Kyoto for about another month but decides to leave with Kaoru, Yahiko, Sanosuke and Takani Megumi. Misao is sorely disappointed when her new friends decide to return to Tokyo, though Kenshin attempts to cheer her up by assigning her to get Aoshi to smile. Her attempts at comedy have little effect on Aoshi, though she does not intend to give up.
Jinchū Arc Edit
She and Aoshi arrived with the diary just after Enishi has taken his revenge. Kaoru was dead and Kenshin has suffered a complete breakdown, going off to a village of lost men. Sanosuke attempts to reach Kenshin, but his friend is completely lost in his grief and Sano wanders away from Tokyo in despair. Misao and Yahiko also pays a visit on Kenshin and try to revive his spirit, but their efforts are useless so they left him. They swore to find Enishi, make him read Tomoe's diary and beg for forgiveness at Kaoru's grave.
Misao was really devastated at Kaoru’s death. She cries alone in Kaoru’s grave without the knowledge that Aoshi was sitting outside, watching and heard her tears. This led Aoshi to investigate more about the death of Kaoru. He exhumes the grave and cuts open the body, proving that it is not Kaoru but an elaborate doll, one that could fool even Megumi's medical expertise. Misao and Yahiko began a search to find Kaoru. Sanosuke returns to the clinic to see Megumi and Kenshin has a dream in which Tomoe tells him that Kaoru is still alive. He also returns and gathers his friends, including Saitō.
They travelled to Enishi's island, where Kaoru is being held. Guided by Aoshi, Misao sets off the bombs in the water surrounding the island, allowing the group to land safely. After Enishi is defeated, Aoshi decides to head back to Kyoto. Misao realises Aoshi wants to leave so early because he wants to rebury Han'nya and the others in a "place with more sunlight". Misao is now happy to go home and Aoshi finally smiles.
In Kenshin Kaden Edit
At the end of the series, Aoshi and Misao both attended a picnic where everyone is reunited. The only one who is not present is Sanosuke; who sends a letter from Mongolia that he is returning to Japan to be with his friends, and Saitō; who is on assignment in Hokkaidō.
In The Anime Series Edit
Post Kyoto Arc Edit
In the episode directly after the Kyoto Arc explores what happens to the characters after Shishio’s battle. Misao was looking everywhere for him but was told that Aoshi is at the shrine, meditating. Suddenly, she notices that storm clouds are moving in. She runs to the shrine with two umbrellas, and waits outside the shrine for him. The rain stops, and Aoshi still inside but Misao leaves the shrine. Without her knowledge, Aoshi was watching her from the temple with a solemn look on his face.
Shimabara Arc Edit
An aristocrat is begging for Aoshi’s protection, but he refuses to give it. Misao goes in his stead. However, she gets in way over her head. Aoshi senses that Misao is in danger and runs barefooted to the aristocrat’s house, only to catch Misao after the Amakusa Shojo attacks her. Aoshi glares at the man, and cradles Misao’s body close to his. As Aoshi brought her back in the Aoiya, he told Kenshin and Kenshin about the event so they paid a visit.
Episode 89 Edit
In episode 89, Misao stayed with Kenshinhumi in Tokyo. Okina sends Aoshi, Omasu and Okon to fetch Misao. But instead of being happy to see Aoshi, she is frustrated that he only came because Okina asked him. It is then brought to Misao’s attention that Aoshi never does what he is asked, unless he wants to. Misao assumes this means that Aoshi wants her to come home with him. The girls of the cast go out on the town, leaving Aoshi and Kenshin time alone to talk. During said talk, the subject of Misao comes up. Aoshi still views her as a little girl, but Kenshin tells him "She’s not a child anymore..." Aoshi’s face falters as this realisation dawns on him.
At the end of the episode, Misao gives Aoshi a paper ball, because he bought her one when she was little. Aoshi replied. "You never change, do you?" Which aggravates Misao. She declares that she is not a little girl anymore. She then asks Aoshi to come with her shopping next time and he agreed.
Shin Kyōto Hen Edit
Shin Kyoto Hen is an OVA which retells the Kyoto Arc through Misao's point of view. The plot and events taking place in that film differ largely from those shown in the original anime and the manga.
Misao is a little petite young woman with the lean build of someone who engages in regular physical activity. She has large, greenish-blue eyes and wears her black hair cut to chin length on the sides of her face, but in a long, thin braided ponytail in the back. Misao is often seen wearing a blue Oniwabanshū-style shinobi shozoku tied with a pink obi. To complement this outfit, she wears tabi socks with zori sandals and her lower legs wrapped in blue tape and on her hands, she wears blue combination hand- and forearm-guards.
However, Misao apparently keeps a set of street clothes for use during her downtime in Kyoto. These consist of pair of blue short pants and a blue shirt with its sleeves sewn loosely on.
In 2014 live action films, Misao wore a different variation of outfit. She was seen wearing a light lavender kunoichi uniform with yellow obi.
Misao is a bright and vivacious young girl with a headstrong attitude and volatile temperament. Though trained as kunoichi, she rarely misses a chance to make her presence known to friend or foe and can sometimes be said to have a lack of focus in combat, as her strong will often leads her to act without inhibition rather than with caution. Whether her emotion of the moment is joy, rage or sorrow, the young kunoichi displays what is in her heart without reserve and can switch from emotional state quickly. Although quick tempered, her anger is usually comical. She is particularly close to Kenshin, Kaoru, Sanosuke and Yahiko. In addition, she refers Kaoru as her best friend.
- Shinomori Aoshi: Aoshi was ordered by the previous Okashira to take care of his granddaughter Misao when she was a child. The two had a brother-sister relationship during Misao's childhood but as she reached her adolescence, she had fallen deeply in love with him that lead her to travel Japan in search for him. Once Misao witnessed Aoshi nearly kill Okina, she severed ties with him and declared herself the new Okashira of the Oniwabanshu. During Aoshi's fight with Kensin, Kenshin helps Aoshi regain his senses and convinces him to return to Misao. Her feelings for Aoshi re-kindle once again after he returns. While his exact feelings for Misao have never been stated, he obviously cares for her and the two had been usually seen together during the Jinchuu arc. Aoshi and Misao married after the events of the Rurouni Kenshin series as stated by the author, Nobuhiro Watsuki in his appearance at Comic Con 2006.
- Okina: Okina is an old member of Oniwanbashu. He has known Misao since she was a child and had a personal hand in her upbringing, regarding her as surrogate granddaughter. As a former spy, he taught her battle techniques, tactics and weapons skills. Misao also called him “Jiya”.
- Himura Kenshin: She first met Kenshin during his journey back to Kyoto and team up with him after she discovered that Kenshin knows Aoshi. After that, she decides to follow him to Kyoto, because she sensed that he knew something about Aoshi and the others that he refused to tell her. Afterwards, she became his comrade.
- Kamiya Kaoru: Misao always look up to Kaoru as her best friend and big sister. During the stay of Kaoru in the Aoiya at the events of Kyoto Arc, she and Misao developed a strong friendship. It was also Kaoru who embraced and comforted Misao when she cried at the thought of Kenshin killing Aoshi. In addition, Misao was really devastated at Kaoru’s fake death in Jinchu Arc.
- Myōjin Yahiko: Misao became particularly close to Yahiko in Jinchu Arc. The two were seen traveling together and finding clues about Kaoru’s death.
- Han'nya: Han'nya was Misao's teacher in martial-arts and she was very close to him. Later on in the series, when injured during the battle with Kamatari, Han'nya appears before her in a vision inspiring her to continue the battle and telling her that Kenshin kept his promise and would bring Aoshi back to the Aoiya.
Kansatsu Tobikunai - This is a move in which a ninja weapon called kunai (dagger) is used like a shuriken (ninja star). Kunai are placed between clasped fingers and they are thrown at the enemy by using the power of the entire body being bent back. Eight kunais in all can be thrown at the same time, and unless the enemy can avoid all of them, death is imminent. It can also be performed with 16 kunai, shown in episode 52. However, Kenshin easily repels it when he first encounters her.
Misao is also a Kempo expert, and excels greatly in hand-to-hand combat. It is also noted that Hannya taught her this ability. Her signature move is the flying kick named as Kecho-Geri (lit."Monster Bird Kick").
Creation and Conception Edit
Misao was introduced because the author, Nobuhiro Watsuki felt that the Kyoto Arc needed an extra hero character to interact with Kenshin since he and Kaoru were separated. He created Misao to be bright as possible since the story was decided to be in a dark direction. He added that “Yahiko + Kaoru / 2 = Misao.” The author of Rurouni Kenshin gave her an association with the Oniwabanshū, stemming from the reader suggestion of an Oniwabanshū kunoichi. To prevent additional complications in the storyline, Watsuki wanted Misao as a character who would not develop romantic feelings for Kenshin.
Her design originates from Nakoruru in Samurai Shodown (Samurai Spirits) and the author received criticism for this. Watsuki believes that she is closer to Mai Shiranui and Yuri Sakazaki from another SNK battle-game. He also added that the setup of the physical design occurred very quickly as he fussed with an Oniwabanshū ninja outfit a bit. He also stated that he intended Misao’s face and body to resemble of a young man. While Misao is 16, Watsuki wanted her to appear like a 13-year-old. He argued with his editors about the inclusion of Misao’s braid. Ultimately, it was kept since it added emphasis to Misao’s movements. “Misao’s cloak was added just for fun”, he stated. The creator of Rurouni Kenshin intended for her to have a painful encounter with Aoshi in the future, but that Misao would keep going strong.
The author admitted that he enjoyed drawing Misao and she was one of his favourite characters.
In Live-Action filmEdit
In September 2013, Tao Tsuchiya has been cast as Makimachi Misao in the two awaited Rurouni Kenshin live action films, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends.
- The meaning of the name “Misao” is: “Fidelity”. Fidelity means faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.
- Her family name originates from a place where Watsuki lived in Niigata.
- The series' metaphoric joke of seeing Makimachi Misao, Kamiya Kaoru, and Takani Megumi as weasel, raccoon, and fox all stems from the superstition-based idiom, "The kitsune (fox) has 7 disguises, the tanuki (raccoon) has 8 disguises, and the itachi (weasel) has 9 disguises." Misao appears to fit the definition, with Sanosuke and Saitō often calling her a weasel girl for her looks, and for her very shrewish and short temper temperament that is also associated with real life weasels.
- Misao's image song was called, "Ice Blue Eyes". It was sung by her Seiyū, Tomo Sakurai. The song refers her romantic feelings and loyalty for Aoshi. On the other hand, the title of the song also signifies Aoshi's eye colour.
- Kaoru and Misao have an image song together called "Kaoru to Misao". The song does not have any lyrics at all. It mostly interprets the girls’ sadness as Kaoru was longing for Kenshin and Misao was longing for Aoshi.
- Her Seiyuu Tomo Sakurai also voiced Kamiya Kaoru in DramaCD.
- In episode 89, it was revealed that in childhood, Misao always loves paper cranes that are made by Aoshi.
- Aoshi and Misao as a pair, was one of the most popular pairings in Japan in the early 2000s. The pair rank 2nd in Rurouni Kenshin pairing poll. The 1st one is Kenshin and Kaoru.
- (To Himura Kenshin) Don't just stand there and talk to me like you know it all! You're a big knucklehead! You're telling me to forget Lord Aoshi? The reason I'm searching for him is because there is no way I can forget about him! How is forgetting about the one person I care about the most in the entire world supposed to ever make me happy?
- I, Misao Makimachi, see no compelling reason to give villains like you my name!
- (To Himura Kenshin) Come on, Himura, why are you trying to push us away? Is it because we found out you're battousai the manslayer? That doesn't matter at all! I don't care what you were! When we first met, I met you as a wanderer, not as a man slayer!