Later, the new Meiji government believed it would be in their best interests to eliminate Shishio. While they had found Himura to be an idealistic servant of the Imperialist cause, Okubo and other Meiji officials correctly concluded that Shishio was an opportunistic sociopath who would undoubtedly use his vast knowledge of government secrets to plunge the country into turmoil for his own personal gain. Thus, during the Boshin War, Shishio was knocked out from a blow to the head from a gun, doused in oil and burned alive by the Ishin Shishi. He survived, sustaining severe damage to his entire body to the point that he must wear bandages day and night to cover his disfigured skin, giving him an appearance similar to a mummy. It also limited the time he could fight. Any battle that surpassed fifteen minutes placed him in jeopardy of undergoing spontaneous combustion due to his lack of sweat glands and abnormal rising body temperatures.
Shishio, with the aid from a man named Sadojima Hōji, assembled a group of the best fighters in Japan, called the Ten Swords (Juppongatana), to overthrow the Meiji government. He envisioned a Japan ruled by him, enforcing the principles of Social Darwinism. Using this belief, Shishio ran a campaign against the Meiji government, as he felt it was too weak to effectively lead the country. Using his motto, he molded an ideological disciple out of Seta Sōjirō, who served as his right-hand man, and the strongest of the Juppongatana. He planned to strengthen the economy with petroleum once he took over the country. At some point, he met Komagata Yumi, whom he shared a romantic relationship with.
Shishio is extremely ruthless and coldblooded. Living by the belief that weak only exist for the benefit of the strong, he generally appears heartless, though in reality he isn't. For all of his ruthless nature, he was still in love with Yumi, and understood her feelings. He was also able to form some bonds to a degree with Sōjirō and Hōji.
Shishio displays very high intelligence, in some ways giving him something of an evil genius persona. He is extremely crafty, being able to hide from the Meiji government despite their efforts to find him, and his plans nearly succeed in bringing them down. He also learns from his mistakes; after his brush with death from being knocked out with a bullet to the head, he takes to wearing a hachigane (iron headband) to keep that weakness from being exploited.
Story Image Figure Ruroni Kenshin Best Selection: Shishio Makoto
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Rurouni Kenshin Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story Swing: Shishio Makoto
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