Yamazaki Sagaru (山崎 退 Yamazaki Sagaru ), formerly nicknamed as Mountain Zaki, is a spy working for the Shinsengumi. He himself confessed that he is "very plain" which helps him in undercover missions. He is known for his love for badminton, often playing or practicing badminton alone instead of working (he is often caught by his Vice-Commander Hijikata Toushirou and is subsequently roughed up as a result). Despite all this, Yamazaki still often at times get ignored and unnoticed. Prior to the Shinsengumi being officially established, he was originally a punk.
Yamazaki has neck-length black hair and usually wears the Shinsengumi lower-rank outfit. He looks quite plain compared to more colorful Shinsengumi members. His off duty clothes usually consists of a kimono and hakama ensemble with the kimono sometimes patterned. He is often given (forced into) different hairstyles, including but not limited to mohawk, afro, and hair parted and dyed blond for gags. Four year before the start of the manga/anime, Yamazaki was shown with a green mohawk and black hair stripes along the side.
During the events of the Dekoboko Arc he switched genders due to a virus and was seen in his female form. There is little difference except for having longer hair and a bust.
As the epitome of plainness, he actually surpasses Shimura Shinpachi. Despite this, however, it is implied by Hijikata in Lesson 243 that he is actually good at "wooing" women.
Yamazaki loves playing badminton, and when he is not doing it, he ditches work to practice Kabaddi with random people (which results in a beating from Hijikata afterwards). In Episode 62, the anime parodies the anime/manga series Prince of Tennis substituting its protagonist, Ryoma Echizen, for Yamazaki in a burlesque game of badminton.
He never goes undercover without equipping himself with the Shinsengumi Sausage. Yamazaki seems to enjoy eating hot dogs and apparently brings them to eat on stake out missions. However, during stakeouts, he tries to limit his diet by eating only anpans with milk; his act of sacrifice to the myriad of gods for a successful operation (or as what the detective dramas say...)
Prior to the Shinsengumi being officially established, he was originally an uptight punk before redeeming himself to Kondou's wisdom.
Strength & Abilities
Not much is known about Yamazaki's fighting ability besides wielding the Osafune Mark II. Though it can be said that like most of the Shinsengumi, he is a competent swordsman.
His best ability is infiltration and surveillance. Thanks to his nondescript nature, he can study his targets without them noticing him and is capable of thinking tactics based around this ability. Of course, sometimes he can be caught.
Yamazaki Sagaru's Gallery
Friends & Allies
- Kondo Isao: Yamazaki's Commander in the Shinsengumi. If it weren't for his wisdom and kindness, Yamazaki would always been a punk forever.
- Hijikata Toushirou: Yamazaki usually takes orders from Hijikata, although he is almost always seen being physically abused by the Vice-Chief. This most likely stemmed from when he disrespected Kondou in front of the fiercely loyal Hijikata and Okita. The duo's show of superior strength cowed him, resulting in Yamazaki changing his ways. It also doesn't help that Hijikata has a short temper and always catches Yamazaki at a bad time.
- Okita Sougo: Okita is shown to be indifferent to him.
- Shimura Shinpachi: Both are known for their "plain-ness" resulting in a camaraderie, although in reality, Yamazaki is more ignored then even Shinpachi!
- Tama: Currently in love with her. In lesson 384, he is tasked with spying on the Yorozuya. When he goes out to buy more anpan for his boring stakeout, the copious amounts of anpan break the store scanner. Tama, the next person in line, fixes the machine by motivating it with kind words. Touched by Tama's speech, Yamazaki falls in love and abandons his assignment to spy on Tama.
- Kawakami Bansai: Yamazaki was almost killed by Bansai for interfering with his plan to crush the Shinsengumi. Despite Bansai's absolute cruelty, he decided not to kill Yamazaki, as he wished to "listen to Yamazaki's song" a little longer.
- Narasaki Donbei:Yamazaki arrested him for absconding the group's money. After hitting him an anpan on the face.
He was requested to buy a takoyaki by Hijikata. but the takoyaki was only few left and no mayonnaise. Because of that he was accused by Hijikata for eating the takoyaki the evidence is in Yamazaki's face. So Hijikata prepares for the seppuku for Yamazaki.
After the Benizakura arc, Toushirou would instruct Yamazaki Sagaru to spy on Gintoki to found out the connection between Katsura and Gintoki. Toushirou would also orders Yamazaki to assassinate him but in the end Yamazaki wrote a school like essay with no crucial information.
In the Otae's Cabaret club. He and his comrade was begging to stop the Marriage of Kondo from the True gorilla. but Otae refuses then bitten up to bits by Otae.
He proved to be one of the loyal follower of Kondou's camp during the eve of Shinsengumi mutiny (Episode 102). He nearly dies during this arc, but Kawakami Bansai allows him to get away. By the time he recovers from his injuries the Shinsengumi believe him dead, and he worries about the reaction he'll get when he appears at his own funeral, but it turns out the funeral is mostly for a dog, and his picture is only in the corner and barely noticed.
During the Character Poll arc he and Shinpachi commiserate over their rankings and the fact that such plain characters as themselves have no chance at beating the more dynamic characters. Yamazaki pretends to try to cheer Shinpachi up, but then is 'attacked' in an embarrassing way lowering his ranking further. He claims that it was a lower ranking character attempting to improve their ranking. This sets up a nasty battle between almost all characters as they attempt to protect their rankings and to bring down higher ranked characters. But it is finally revealed that he faked the attack himself, knowing that it would lead to the infighting and betraying which would eventually lead the fans to turn against all the characters, plunging everyone's ranking to the point where no one would be able to brag about their ranking or look down on anyone else. He and Shinapchi had a heart-to-heart talk over this, and during that talk they raise their ranking to the number one spot. But, while pretending to celebrate their accomplishment, the rest of the characters end up throwing them off a building, returning their rankings to normal.
After a two-year timeskip, he appeared as "the Demon Vice-Commander Jimmy Yamazaki" of Shinsengumi with a violent, aggressive personality and continually bullied Hijikata, who pretended to be a gopher and endured his abuse. Not long after the latter revealed to be immune from the "timeskip," Yamazaki was tied up and hit in the head, revealing that he was under the control of the Kyousainetol parasite.
Toushirou knowing that Gintoki is Shiroyasha instructed Yamazaki to spy on Gintoki again, however he is not interested in Gintoki past but those around him mainly Katsura. By using Gintoki as bait, Yamazaki would patiently observe. However Yamazaki at his limit changed his target to Tama who he has fallen for.
Having seen Tama leaving a pudding (instead of Tokugawa Shige Shige's body) at the door of the Shinsengumi's headquarter, Yamazaki went to the "Robo Girl Confessional," asking Gintoki if Tama had feelings for him. Under Gintoki's instruction, he got into the Yorozuya Gin-Chan and wrote "Zura" next to the Shogun's body to frame Katsura Kotarou. However, he was beaten by Katsura, who happened to visit the Yorozuya at the same time.
Yamazaki was one of the Shinsengumi officers to protect a Shogun double in Edo, questioning about Okita's whereabouts. By the time the Tendoshuu intervened the battle against the Kiheitai in Iga and announced Nobu Nobu as the new Shogun, he arrived there as a part of Shige Shige's allies.
After the Shinsengumi had been disbanded and Kondou Isao had been arrested, Yamazaki joined in Katsura's Joui faction, along with Saitou Shimaru and Sasaki Tetsunosuke. Later, in the lines of the Shinsengumi-Jouishishi alliance, he opened the way for the others and attacked the Naraku from behind with Elizabeth and Saitou. Nevertheless, he was injured in the leg by an arrow.
- Yamazaki Sagaru is based on Yamazaki Susumu, a Shinsengumi officer and a spy.
- According to Sorachi, Yamazaki's first name, Sagaru, means "Take a step back, view things calmly and deal with them."
- The first kanji of his name (山 yama) means "mountain," and the second one (崎 zaki) means "rough."
- In the past, he was a punk and called himself "Mountainzaki". Though, the kanji for "zaki" here means "demon killer," completely different from the one in his name.
- Out of the entire characters in Gintama, Sorachi already mentioned that Yamazaki will not be on any cover of Gintama tankoubon/volumes. Indeed, so far, there has not been a cover featuring him yet.
- In an undercover mission, Yamazaki suffered from a mental breakdown due to eating anpan for a whole month. As a consequence, he threw an anpan in Hijikata's face, saw everyone's head as anpans, blacked out and arrived India in nothing but boxers. Later, on New Year's Eve, he even sent the Yorozuya a New Year card, writing nothing but "anpan" on it. This incident has become one of the most known non-arc events and begun a running gag about Yamazaki and anpan among the Gintama fandom.
- (To Oboro) You need to look carefully both above and below. That's an iron rule of surveillance, Crow-kun.
Gintama The Final Chapter: Be Forever Yorozuya
- (To the Jouishishi) Man, so much for the Shinsengumi. Now we're right back to being Joui rebels out to take down the Shogunate.