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Okita Mitsuba (沖田 ミツバ) was the older sister of Okita Sougo and the former main love interest of Hijikata Toushirou. She loved to add spice to all the food she ate, having a fanaticism on par with Hijikata and his mayonnaise. Mitsuba suffered from a lung disease which would ultimately become her demise, as seen in Episode 87.

Background

She single-handedly brought up her younger brother Okita Sougo in Bushuu, a part of the Musashi province, after their parents passed away, while Sougo was still very young. As seen in Episode 86, Mitsuba herself admitted that she pampered Sougo until he was spoilt rotten, resulting in the aloof character that he is now.[1] She took such great care of him that she neglected her own health and developed tuberculosis, and forfeited her own chance for marriage when she was of marriageable age.

As a result, Sougo respected her immensely, addressing her very respectfully as Aneue (姉上) and using the formal courteous form boku (僕) to refer to himself when speaking to her. Though he is usually known for his sadistic personality, consequently, when he is with her, he is very polite and caring towards her. She in turn refers to Sougo affectionately as Sou-chan/Sou-kun.

When they were still young, Sougo, Hijikata, Kondou Isao and the rest of what would become the Shinsengumi decided to move from Bushuu to Edo to try and find success there. Mitsuba expressed her wish to follow Hijikata to Edo, but was rejected by him, out of his concern for her safety and happiness. However, it was later revealed that Hijikata did, in fact, love her. He felt that he was unable to give her happiness, and that is why he treated her coldly.

Appearance

Her appearance was strikingly similar to that of her brother, Sougo, with short, sandy brown hair and brown eyes. She was usually wearing a light brown/green yukata.

Personality

Okita1

Young Mitsuba and Hijikata in Episode 86.

Although her younger brother resembled her a lot when it came to appearance, character-wise they were the exact opposite. Mitsuba was the archetypal virtuous female character, termed yamato nadeshiko (大和撫子) aka traditional feminine virtues of olden Japan, as well as the stereotypical figure of 美人薄命 bijin hakumei, also known as 'the beautiful die young'. Similar to Hijikata's mayonnaise addiction, she uses Tobasco instead. She also enjoys eating spicy food.

Story

Okita Mitsuba Arc

Mitsubasfinalwords

Mitsuba's Final Moments in Episode 87

Many years later, Mitsuba's sickly condition would deteriorate when she came to Edo to marry her husband-to-be Kuraba Touma, who unbeknownst to her, was using her and Sougo as pawns in order to 'buy over' the Shinsengumi so as to allow his own illicit arms trade with Joui extremists come to pass. Touma was later killed by the combined efforts of Hijikata and Sougo. Shortly after exterminating Touma's business, the Shinsengumi members visted the hospital only to find out Mitsuba laying in her final moments after being informed by the doctor that she couldn't be saved. As Sougo stood in tears beside her, Mitsuba commended Sougo after he berates himself  - telling him that she's proud of her little brother and the man that he's become. Mitsuba soon succumed to her condition after laying her hand on Sougo's cheek and bidding her farewell.  Hijikata was then seen on the hospital's rooftop crying over her death and commenting on how spicy the chips that he was eating were. 

Relationships

Family

  • Okita Sougo: Her younger brother, who loves her very much and is shown to have done anything to please her.

Love Interest

  • Hijikata Toushirou: She fell in love with Hijikata a long time ago. She loves him very much, and has confessed to him in the past. Though he also loved her, he rejected her, wanting her to live with a normal man and have a normal life.
  • Kuraba Touma: He was intended to be her husband. Unbeknownst to her, he intended to use her to let the Shinsengumi's guard down, so he could sell weapons to Jouishishi groups.

Friends & Allies

  • Sakata Gintoki: He and Mitsuba get along well and are friendly to one another. Mitsuba notes that Gin and Hijikata are quite similar in personality.

Trivia

  • Based on Okita Mitsu (沖田みつ), the eldest sister of Okita Souji. Souji later suffered from tuberculosis and Mitsu took care of him until his passing.
  • Mitsuba is the name for Cryptotaenia.

References

  1. Sorachi Hideaki, Gintama, VIZ media, Vol. 15, Lesson 129, page(s) 143.
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