Usui Uonuma was a swordsman of the government. He loses his eyesight after a battle with Shishio and is left for dead. Suddenly, Usui hears the sound of a stream to which he ran towards. After arriving, he realized how far he had walked to get to the stream and wondered how he was able to hear it. Soon he realized he had developed hearing surppassing human limits. He then joins the Juppongatana under the condition that he may attempt to kill Shishio at any time.
Usui is first mentioned when Sawagejō Chō was being interrogated by Saitō as to which of Shishio’s men could have killed fifty policemen in one or two hours. He is described as the second strongest of the Juppongatana.
When Usui arrives at Shishio's compound, he kills several of his army and attempts to kill him. When he gets to Kyoto in order to help creating Kyoto's Grand Fire, he finds out that the reason Kyoto wasn't being burned to the ground was Makimachi Misao. He attempts to kill her, but is stopped by Anji.
Usui is an arrogant, haughty opponent who enjoys killing his victims. He refers to it as fun and hates it when his fun is interrupted. He is sadistic and cruel. He has an inferiority complex against Shishio since Shisio took away his sight and that was his reason for joining the Juppongatana under the condition he would have the chance to kill Shishio whenever he wanted and when Shishio would let his guard down. However, as Saitō has stated in reality he was happy for losing his sight because he felt he had gained the Heart's eye after coming out of a living hell but realized Shishio gained more from his burning hell and deep down resigned the fact that he could never kill Shishio. He knew if he went against Shishio he would lose and then his whole life would be meaningless so tried to look for an opening while keeping up the bluff to hide his defeat. He has a cheap sense of pride which Shishio takes advantage of, knowing Usui had known he could never kill Shishio but feigned obliviousness so he could use Usui, something Usui didn't know. Because of this understanding he couldn't kill Shishio, he kills people weaker than him. He enjoys using his Heart's Eye to scare others and enjoys showing it off, managing to use his Heart's Eye (actually a form of super hearing combined with a form of psychology to read a person's heart and mind but not their reason) to frighten others and reveal their thoughts. He is so possessive of his Heart's Eye that he became jealous and angry when Saitō used his own "Heart's Eye" to read Usui's true thoughts and intentions along with his insecurities and said only one person was allowed to have a Heart's Eye.
During his time with the government, Usui is shown to be using an ordinary sword. However, he changes his weapons after battling Shishio and during his stay as part of the Juppongatana. Throughout his role in the manga, he uses a spear called “rochin” and a shield called “tinbe”.
Usui possesses the ability to sense movements and emotions through hearing, which he calls his "Mind's Eye" (or Shingan as it's written on his blindfold), because of his fight with Shishio.His technique is called Hyakka Ryoran, which uses both the blade and the mace at the end of his spear to attack the opponent quickly and multiple times. However, if the sphere gets destroyed, he splits the spear in half and uses it with the shield.
First, he uses the shield to deflect the opponent's attack, keeping it in front of the opponent's face in order to block their sight. While they are blind to any attack, he uses the spear to quickly stab any part of the body of the opponent.
Development & ReceptionEdit
The idea of a blind swordsman came from an assistant. Usui was supposed to fight Kenshin right after Chō, but the plot went in a different direction, and he ended up fighting Saitō. The model for his figure (in terms of design) is Tao Pai Pai from Dragon Ball. He also has a turtle carapace shield, which is based on the shell Master Roshi uses (also from the same series).
- Shishio Makoto : He was his rival but Usui ended up working for him.
In Live Action filmEdit
It was revealed in January 2014 that Mitsu Murata will play Usui in the upcoming sequel to the Rurouni Kenshin Live action film.
- Usui is the only character in the series who is blind.
- The Japanese characters on his blindfold say "眼心", which can be translated as "Mind's Eye".
- Usui claims the Ryukyu Islands as his homeland; however, it is not mentioned whether he sees himself as Ryukyuan or Yamato-Japanese (the latter of whom typically consider Ryukyuans to be related to the Yamato, and therefore do not recognize them as a separate ethnic group).