Utsuro was the founder and first leader of the Tenshouin Naraku before Oboro took his position. He is the original identity and self of Yoshida Shouyou and now part of the Tendoshu. Utsuro is one of the antagonists introduced in the Farewell, Shinsengumi Arc, and established as the main antagonist in the Gintama series.
BackgroundUtsuro (original name unknown) was born with the ability to absorb and contain a high amount of Altana within his body, granting him near ageless immortality and high regenerative capabilities. Unfortunately he was persecuted by a wary populace who continuously tried to kill him to no avail, leading to them becoming more fearful and greater attempts to kill him, sparking a vicious cycle. To cope with the constant suffering and death, Utsuro created multiple personalities. He was then placed in prison and forgotten about for decades until he was able to leave when his cell door rotted away. But at the same time, Utsuro's other personalities took over their shared body and decided to kill people, partially as revenge and partially to strive to become human again. He continued being a serial killer until he was caught by the imperial government, who instead of executing him, decided to make him into an assassin, seeing his potential. So he formed and lead the Naraku for 500 years, continuing to slaughter and kill; yet along the way, developing a death wish.
The original personality watched in the background at his blood-thirsty personas and wanted to fight back and resist them. Thus he created another personality, Shouyou. Shouyou suppressed the other personalities, defected from Naraku, took in a child, and with their help opened a school to teach children. It appeared that Shouyou succeeded in living a life without killing and death. Unfortunately with the Naraku searching for him and opening a unique school during the Joui Wars, it seemed inevitable that he will be found. Someone reveals his location to the Naraku, and he is arrested with his school destroyed. Before Shouyou was executed by Gintoki, the original personality decides to act and kills his other personalities, including Shouyou, to become the only mind in his body. He had decided to end all his personalities' suffering and accept that they will continue to suffer forever. So he concludes that he will end all suffering and emptiness.
Utsuro was then revived in front of his former Naraku subordinates, who never knew that their former master was an immortal being who had continuously lead them for centuries. Utsuro was taken to the Tendoushuu where tests were run on him about his immortality and he tells the Amanto group about himself. In exchange for sharing his immortality to the Amanto group, he joins the group as a means to find a way to end his suffering.
Utsuro is usually shown wearing a dark-green cape with feathers on the shoulders and the mask of the Yatagarasu. In contrast to Shouyou, he's wearing his hair laid back and has red eyes filled with emptiness. Just like all Naraku assassins, he's carrying a shakujō with a hidden blade inside. The tsuba of his blade has the form of the manji.Utsuro is rarely shown without a cold, weary smile, which neither shows happiness nor hides sadness.
As a result of experiencing many deaths, Utsuro is shown to be emotionless, even fearless. His longing for death is shown in every appearance, and even though he is immortal, knowing that Kouka, who was immortal as well, died in the end, gave him a little hope. The only thing that awakens his interest is an opponent who seems to be able to kill him, just like Umibouzu. Utsuro is the personification of his name, for even Batou couldn't read his mind at all, since it seemed like an empty, unreadable vessel.
Strength & Abilities
Master Swordsmanship Specialist: Utsuro is an expert in swordsmanship as he was able to take on Sougo, Nobume, and Kagura all at the same time. During the fight with Gintoki, Sougo noted how Gintoki reacted to Utsuro's sword like he was fighting it from memory. Utsuro stated that Gintoki had fought against his sword style before (hinting at Shouyou's style) and that Gintoki, as he is now, could not defeat him.
Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Just as seen before with Oboro, Utsuro is a master of Hakkei, a fighting style that involves exerting an explosive amount of power through strikes by using ones inner energy. He used it with an even stronger force than Oboro, which caused a serious damage on both Gintoki and Sougo.
Physical Attributes: Utsuro is shown to have great physical strength, speed, agility, senses, and reflexes thanks to his training during his persecution and assassin phases. Despite this, he does not have high durability. Utsuro may be one, if not the most powerful fighter within the series; fighting on par with some of the strongest characters, such as Gintoki, Sougo, Nobume and Kagura. Even Umibouzu, the strongest sweeper in the universe and a powerful Yato in his own right was unable to defeat him, and considered Utsuro a monster.
Cunning: Utsuro was taken by the Tendoushuu as a test subject. With the only condition to find a way to kill him, Utsuro was willing to go through their many tests, and even threatened them that if they wouldn't fulfill their part of the deal, he - as the only being with the knowledge of killing in many and almost every possible way - would make them go through hell. He used their greed of turning immortal to gain the means of controlling Altana, manipulated the Harusame pirates into turning against their leaders, the Elders and becoming his added force, and made the Liberation Army so blinded by vengeance to not realize that bringing their most destructive weapon was what he wanted, plus using some of these forces to distract the protagonists from stopping him. Thus his plan to end his and the universe's suffering by complete destruction nearly succeeds. It should be noted that most of the knowledge he needs to conduct his plan was gathered during his ten years of being part of the Tendoushuu.
Immortality: Due to his Altana/Ryuumyaku blood, Utsuro is an immortal being: slow aging, unable to die, immune to all illnesses, diseases, disorders, poisons, toxins. One who would rapidly heal/regenerate from any and all injuries - no matter how destructive they were - and be restored to perfect health and condition. This was shown during the execution by Gintoki in his Shouyou persona, where his corpse was burned afterwards; he came back to life after being beheaded and incinerated. It is revealed that his only weakness may be the Altana that made him immortal in the first place, being poisoned by other planets' Altana and losing his regenerative abilities. While the Tendoushuu and other Amanto crave for his power of immortality, Utsuro himself wishes an end to his power. It is also revealed that the main source of his immortality comes from his heart.
- Sharing his blood to others grants quasi- immortality: able to age but gain slow regenerative abilities and survive fatal injuries. The price for this is that their bodies cannot cope with this foreign blood leading to slow rotting. The granted powers are not permanent: Oboro was finally able to die due to a combination of rotting, his constant deaths using up the blood, and fulfilling his pledge. They also gain his same weakness noted above.
- Oboro: Shouyou's first disciple. He was a semi-immortal thanks to Utsuro's blood, given to him as a dying child. He is responsible for Shouyou's arrest and later execution that lead to the emergence of Utsuro. He still decided to follow him, despite learning about his master's past and plans - as an atonement. He was fatally wounded by Takasugi and gives him (who later tells Katsura and Gintoki) the information they need about Utsuro's origins and plans before dying.
- Imai Nobume: Nobume was a former Naraku who defected after killing her fellow assassins who assassinated Isaburo's wife and newborn child. She refused to kill Isaburo, and started to follow him. Utsuro was part of the Tendoushuu during this time. During the Farewell, Shinsengumi Arc, she desperately tries to tell the Mimawarigumi, Kagura, and Okita to retreat when she realizes Utsuro's arrival. She and the latter two fight Utsuro just to be soundly defeated. She then stalls Utsuro long enough for Gintoki to get involved, but even with his help, they were barely able to push him back and forced to flee. In the Rakuyou Arc, she reveals to Gintoki and Katsura that Utsuro is an immortal being, and that Shouyou was one of his personalities. In her opinion, Utsuro is the most dangerous creature in the universe.
- Yoshida Shouyou: Utsuro's good persona. Shouyou and the other personalities were killed by Utsuro during Shouyou's execution. Even then, Shouyou's influence was such that, his disciple, Gintoki, was able to gather a strong force to stop his plans and a phantom image of Shouyou caused Utsuro to hesitate long enough for his defeat.
- Sakata Gintoki: He seems very interested in Gintoki, implying that he thinks he might be able to kill him. After the fight with Gintoki during the Farewell, Shinsengumi Arc, that thought proves wrong really quick. It is remarkable that Utsuro's usual cold expression changes a lot during that fight, especially to the kind smile of Shouyou. Utsuro keeps on telling Gintoki that his sword is not able to kill him (similar to Shouyou's words to Gintoki: "A monster's sword can not kill a monster").
- Katsura Kotarou:
- Takasugi Shinsuke: Similar to Gintoki, Takasugi was aware after the fact of Utsuro's potential existence through Shouyou. His thirst to destroy Earth comes in part from this knowledge.
- Sakamoto Tatsuma: Although having no direct connection with Utsuro, Sakamoto was determined to help his friends fight him.
- Umibouzu: Utsuro highly respects Umibouzu, who seems to be the only being in the universe who might be able to kill him. He interferes into the fight of Umibouzu and Kamui, even though Umibouzu told him to not do so. This shows, again, his longing for death. Umibouzu failed to kill him, even with the Altana crystal he received from Kouka, but he was still almost able to kill him. Utsuro pays his thanks and tells him to see him "on the other side". He is grateful, even if he didn't die, that Umibouzu made him taste death after so long for a short time.
- Sadaharu: Sadaharu temporarily prevented the dragon vein, where Utsuro receives his power of immortality, from waking up.
- Kamui: He joined in a battle, alongside with others, against Utsuro.
- Abuto: Abuto has witnessed how Utsuro's body regenerated after his battle against Umibozu.
Utsuro was first introduced arriving in one of the Naraku ships on the island where Kondou, Matsudaira and Katsura were imprisoned. He arrived to squash Isaburo's rebellion, and also to fight Gintoki. He easily defeats the combined forces of Nobume, Sougo and Kagura and is barely beaten back by the trio - mainly with Gintoki's help. When Utsuro's mask got torn off by Gintoki, and his appearance like Shouyou's, Gintoki suffers a breakdown that, as shown in the next arc, he doesn't completely recover from. Sougo, Kagura, and Gintoki also receive their first glimpse of Utsuro's healing ability. Utsuro will spend the rest of the Arc back on one of the Naraku ships, gleefully watching as they bombard its enemies and allies.
As Nobume reveals a little of Utsuro's history mainly to Gintoki and Katsura, Utsuro visits the Harusame Elders, the true leaders of the pirates, where they thank each other for destroying each others' enemies. He grows disgusted by their talks of immortality and helps the Harusame divisions to overthrow the Elders by killing them. Days later, the pirate division leaders pledge their loyalty to Utsuro and the Tendoushuu, and Umibouzu arrives to chastise the pirates. He warns Utsuro for interfering in his fight with his son, the former member of Harusame. It is later revealed that Oboro's constant revivals in the series was due to Utsuro (as Shouyou) giving the future Naraku leader his immortal blood - decades before, when he was a child near death.
Utsuro grows curious about how the disciples of his previous personality will become a danger to him and his fellow Tendoushuu along with his interest in fighting Umibouzu. He purposely antagonizes both groups and finally has his fight with the hunter. He barely defeats the Yato due to Umibouzu being not only aware of how his immortality works but also knowing his weakness to try to kill him. Utsuro was forced to resort to his trump card to stay alive and heavily weakened, he flees. He does thank Umibouzu for giving him a near-death experience in a long time.
Near the end of the arc, a dying Oboro tells Takasugi more information about Utsuro, who in turn sends Takechi to tell the other Four Heavenly Kings, especially Katsura and Gintoki.
At the same time as Tekechi tells the others, Utsuro reveals his ultimate plan to the weakened Tendoushuu. When the group heavily received his blood, their bodies couldn't handle the strain and started to rot. The most desperate members turned to Utsuro for help in reversing the effects and in turn they willingly gave him the means to control Altana, which was denied to him despite joining. Thus begins his plan of destroying Earth through universal war and anarchy with the blame for this spark placed squarely on the Tendoushuu's shoulders.
After revealing his betrayal to the Tendoushuu, he destroys their ship and is the only person to survive the crash unscathed. It is unknown what he was doing in the month since although the implication is that he has been quietly getting himself and his Naraku ready to make sure the potential war between the vengeful Amanto and the Earth continues. He made the assassins semi-immortal with his blood and together, disguised as civilians, they attack the stationed garrisons of the Altana Liberation Army. Nobume and the Yorozuya are also attacked by the Naraku and confront Utsuro at one of the destroyed garrisons. They try to fight through the assassins that is made all the more tougher due to them being semi-immortal. Gintoki was able to get through to attack the immortal until they were interrupted by a blast from an incoming Liberation fleet. Utsuro and the quartet were able to survive and escape.
While Gintoki and his Earth allies battle the Liberation Army's mercenaries, Utsuro has his Naraku secretly enter the Earth's terminal with one of the Tendoushuu's keys. He himself watches the fighting until finally showing himself to Gintoki and the others. He then reveals his masterstroke: by destroying their planets, he had made the Army bring a planet-destroying battleship that they would most likely use against Earth thanks to the Earthlings' resistance and the Army's blind thirst for vengeance. Utsuro had purposely chosen not to make Earth's Altana go berserk until this moment, the energy would be used as an impromptu cannon to counter the battleship's cannon; the resulting clash would destroy Earth, its surrounding area and, most likely, the universe. Worse, the generals would realize their folly but will attack anyway. True to his word, Enshou decides to use the cannon, causing the Army itself to fall apart. Gintoki and his allies again try to attack the immortal and his Naraku but the Altana explosions caused by the berserking gate interrupt them and they all escape, a few, unscathed.
|Fight||Outcome||Time it Occurred|
|Utsuro vs. Sakata Gintoki, Kagura, Okita Sougo and Imai Nobume||Retreat||Lesson 542 - Lesson 545|
|Utsuro vs. Umibouzu||Win||Lesson 577 - Lesson 583|
|Utsuro and Naraku vs. Yorozuya and Nobume||Interrupted||Lesson 603 - Lesson 604|
|Utsuro vs. Shinsengumi and Yoruzuya||Win||Lesson 660 - Lesson 661|
|Utsuro vs. Harusame and Umibozu (2nd Fight)||Win||Lesson 661 - Lesson 662|
- His name, "Utsuro", means "emptiness".
- His wardrobe is similar to a Tengu (天狗) hybrid of bird and human represented in Japanese mythology.
- As of January 1, 2018, he was ranked no. 2 on ViniiTube's Top 10 Most Overpowered Anime Characters of 2017.