Yukishiro Tomoe (later Himura Tomoe) was the daughter of a low-ranking samurai family that remained on the side of the Bakufu during the Meiji Revolution and was engaged to her childhood friend Kiyosato Akira. However, when Akira was slain by the Hitokiri Himura Battōsai (a.k.a. Kenshin), Tomoe leaves home and joins the Yaminobu in order to avenge her fiancee. However, after tracking Battōsai down, she slowly falls in love with him instead. As the Yaminobu close their net around Battōsai, Tomoe intervenes and, saving her new husband's life, becomes a casualty herself - cut down by Kenshin's own sword. As such, Tomoe becomes Kenshin's primary motivation in his oath to never take another life following the end of the revolution and devote himself to protect the innocent without bloodshed.
Tomoe was a beautiful young woman with jet-black hair and eyes. She is thin and wears a white kimono with a purple shawl (colored light blue in the Trust & Betrayal OVA). She is constantly seen with a serene, almost sad look on her face, and rarely sports an expression of high emotion (for instance, happiness, anger, etc.).
The initial image of Tomoe as she is introduced into the series is blank and quite apathetic. This could be due to the death of her fiance, Kiyosato Akira, who is killed before Tomoe appears in Kenshin's flashback. She says that she's always had trouble expressing herself, not even smiling when Kiyosato proposed to her despite her joy. As such, she partially blames herself for his death. Though when interacting with her brother, Yukishiro Enishi, she becomes affectionate and shows more of her emotional side. After spending time with Kenshin, Tomoe begins to open up to him and even cries in his arms after confessing how she had tried to hate Kenshin for the murder of Akira. After Kenshin promises to protect the happiness that he has given her, Tomoe finally smiles at him. "This man stole my happiness from me...and gave me a new happiness. Farewell... my second love..." These are her parting words to Kenshin.
- He is her younger brother by roughly nine years. Tomoe became a mother-figure to Enishi as their mother died shortly after giving birth to Enishi and became very dear to him as a result. Despite appearing emotionless around most people, she seemed to allow herself to become more expressive around her brother. Tomoe seemed to love her brother dearly, however, she noted that he was a very emotional boy and could sometimes be a problem. After her death, Enishi lost all sense of himself and had only one thing in his heart: to get revenge on Kenshin. He constantly saw her in his mind, believing that he could do anything if she smiled at him. Once she stopped smiling at him, he lost confidence and it eventually led to his defeat by Kenshin. Only after reading Tomoe's dairy, which was given to him by Kamiya Kaoru, did Enishi realize Tomoe's true feelings for Kenshin. For better or worse, she was an extremely influential person in Enishi's life and seemed to be the only person he ever properly cared about.
- Akira was Tomoe's childhood sweetheart and fiancee whom she was going to marry before the former was killed by Kenshin. Not much is known about their relationship, but she was devastated upon his death and went as far as to travel to Kyoto to avenge his death.
- The Battōsai was responsible for her fiancee's death. Though she initially sought revenge against him by acting as a spy for the Shogunate, Tomoe grew to care for Kenshin as she got to know him; especially during their marriage while living incognito together. However, she kept most of her feelings for him a secret by writing in her diary. After she died protecting Kenshin, the latter learned the truth and, filled with sorrow, vowed to never kill again following the end of the Bakumatsu in order to atone for all his sins and honor Tomoe's sacrifice. His grief extended to the point where he couldn't face going to her grave until more than a decade after her death. Still, it is clear that Kenshin loved her very deeply, especially for how she saved his sense of humanity that he previously believed was lost forever during his career as an assassin. It is suffice to say that as Kenshin's first love, Tomoe was one of the most influential people in his life.
Tomoe was the first child of a samurai and low-level bureaucrat of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo. Her mother died giving birth to her brother Enishi, which left Tomoe to become a surrogate parent to her brother and he came to love her as both a sister and a mother-figure. Tomoe met Kiyosato Akira, the second son of another similarly-ranked family as a child. They became childhood sweethearts and planned to get married, which Enishi disliked at first but grew to accept it. Her happiness was short-lived, however, as Kiyosato was murdered by Himura Kenshin in Kyoto while serving as the bodyguard of a Shogunate official that Kenshin was ordered to assassinate; though he managed to cut Kenshin's left cheek, which formed the first half of what would become his signature cross-shaped scar.
Tomoe later met Kenshin in Kyoto herself after he killed an assassin sent to kill him. She fainted and Kenshin took her with him. As time went on, Kenshin started to develop feelings for her and they eventually married with Kenshin fifteen at the time and Tomoe eighteen. This was revealed to be a ruse as Tomoe was originally a spy to find Kenshin's weakness. Over time, however, she saw a kinder, gentler side of him and abandoned her mission, having fallen in love with him. Eventually, her younger brother Enishi arrived informing her that the trap for Battōsai was ready; after teling her brother to go home to not be involved with her dirty work, she confronts Tatsumi and the rest of the Yaminobu. It was revealed that her superiors intended for them to fall in love so they could create a weakness in Kenshin and take advantage of his love for her. They nearly succeeded in killing Kenshin after several attempts to. The final battle resulted in Tatsumi and Kenshin charging at each other. Tomoe however, got in the way and stopped Tatsumi from landing the killing blow on her husband, enabling Kenshin to kill Tatsumi but Tomoe as well. Before dying, she gave Kenshin the second half of his signature cross-shaped scar on his left cheek. Her death was also witnessed by Enishi, whose hair and eyes turned white and turquoise respectively due to the extreme shock and emotional pain witnessing her death put him through.
Fifteen years later, during Enishi's Jinchū, her image is very often seen by both her brother and Kenshin. To Enishi, she smiles to him at first, which gives him the strength and confidence to defeat his worst enemy. Meanwhile, Kenshin did not see her smile, as he lacked the answer to atone for his crimes and was overwhelmed by the consciousness of sin. However, the Tomoe that lived within Enishi eventually stopped smiling for him, and the one that lived within Kenshin did eventually smile, asking him to take care of her little brother for she was probably no longer smiling at him. This proved crucial in his defeat by Kenshin's hand.
In the Live-action filmsEdit
She appeared during a flashback where she broke down and wept at Akira's body though her face is never shown. This leaves a possibilty of her appearing in a possible prequel. Kenshin later mentioned to Takani Megumi that the cross-shaped scar on his face was given to him by a young samurai (Akira) and his fiance (Tomoe). Her appearance is noted by white plum petals, a nod to her perfume in the original story.
Development and ReceptionEdit
Watsuki has stated that Tomoe's appearance and personality were modeled after Rei Ayanami from "Neon Genesis Evangelion", and that his intention for designing Tomoe to have her as a "cool beauty", aka. someone who never reveals her true motives or feelings. He stated that he liked the character and would like to use her again in a later work.
- Tomoe means 'Friend and blessing'.
- In the sixth ending of the Rurouni Kenshin anime, "1/3 Junjou na Kanjou", Tomoe appears in two scenes. This marked her only appearance in the regular anime series, as it was cancelled following its infamous "filler arc"; which took place in-between the Kyoto Arc and the Jinchū Arc of the manga.
- In the Trust & Betrayal OVA, Tomoe has a more-emotional personality compared to her portrayal in the manga; due largely to the OVA's extra focus on her own point-of-view of Kenshin's past.