Characters » Hiko Seijuro
|Japanese name:||比古 清十郎 十三代,|
Hiko is shown to be very sarcastic, egotistical and a punishing taskmaster, often referring to Kenshin as "My idiot apprentice," and bringing up embarrassing incidents from Kenshin's past to provoke him into training harder. Despite this rough exterior, he has a deep sense of responsibility to Kenshin and those he protects, in the rare cases when he does get involved in a situation (usually at his own will). He has also been shown to be highly respectful and polite towards those he considers to be a true warrior, while at the same time condescending on those he considers to be weak. He loves sake, himself, and teasing Kenshin, although this is a testament to his excellent skill and powerful body. Master and student frequently have bouts of slapstick conflict between them. He dislikes socialization, and in order to avoid having to work with people, he makes his living as a potter.
Hiko is perhaps the strongest swordsman around; he is way too superior even to Kenshin. Although the two are comparable in speed, Hiko possesses a superior sense of judgement in combat and the superhuman strength (hidden, and even suppressed, underneath his heavy cloak) to wield Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu to its maximum. After fifteen years, master and student meet once more. It is then that Kenshin will complete his training, if Kenshin can survive Hiko's ego.
The cloak is not only distinctive for all Hiten Mitsurugi masters, but it also serves to strengthen them in peacetime. Even when conflict is not at the door, Hiko remains in training just by wearing it, as it is composed of several heavy materials that weigh him down and force him to work out because of counter-springs with pressure of around 37.5 kilograms. Watsuki mentions in the manga that he based the billowy capes' image on Spawn of Image Comics by Todd McFarlane (the size of the collar pieces was reduced in the anime).
The name Hiko Seijuro is in fact a title granted to each succeeding master of Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu. Since Hiko Seijuro II, each new master has discarded his own name in favor of the name of the creator of Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu. As Kenshin declines to take the name "Hiko Seijuro XIV", his master is the last man ever to be known as Hiko Seijuro.