Captain of the Shinsengumi’s Third Division. Along with Souji Okita and Shinpachi Nagakura, he was noted as one of the best swordsmen in the Shinsengumi, though details such as his origins and school of swordsmanship.
He continued to fight from the turbulent Bakumatsu period up through the Meiji era as one of the few Shinsengumi members to live out his natural lifespan. His swordsmanship was outstanding even among the rest of the Shinsengumi, with the captain of the Second Division, Shinpachi Nagakura, describing Okita Souji as the Fearsome Blade and Hajime Saito as the Invincible Blade. It is said he diligently performed many off-the-record missions such as purging of members within the group, and one rumor is that he was a secret agent for the Shinsengumi from the shogunate and Aizu. In reality, we have an incomplete understanding of much of his behavior during his time as part of the Shinsengumi, and it appears he held a special position among the soldiers.
He was a member of the Shinsengumi since its founding, and the Commander, Kondou, and Vice-Commander, Hijikata Toshizou, both place very much trust in him. Although he completed many important missions and survived countless fierce battles, he eventually left the Shinsengumi, supported the new government, and lived out his life.
He didn’t speak much in his later years, and passed away telling very little of his time in the Shinsengumi.
He did more work as a secret agent than as a swordsman, leading an aloof existence that belied his true feelings from enemy and fellow soldiers alike— and as such was often accused of being a man who held no conviction as a samurai.
“Well, that’s basically how it is. I aimlessly wander here and there, following whatever seems most interesting at the time. If humans die, they lose, right? So in other words, if you don’t die then you won’t lose. That’s the innermost secret of the Invincible Blade. But who knows, ya’know?”
—Indeed, who knows? That until his final moments he heralded a single flag within his heart, even as he continued on into a new era.
At first glance, he seems to be a flippant guy who’s 50% joker and 50% romcom lead, but sometimes the sharp and shrewd glint in his eyes slips through. Among the Shinsengumi soldiers, who tended toward anachronistic ideals, he believed in a flexible way of life unbound by pre-existing values.
“Wha~at, this way is just more interesting to me.”
However, because he’s always like this, his fellow member Okita has given him many nicknames such as the Shabbygumi.
He likes noodles. He especially likes the croquette soba he ate after coming to the modern era.
“Croquettes soaked in soba broth is cheap-looking, delicious, and totally irresistible.”
“School? That doesn’t matter. Well, if we’re talking about me, I guess you could call it the Invincible Style?”
His swordsmanship was outstanding even among the rest of the Shinsengumi, with the captain of the Second Division, Shinpachi Nagakura, describing Okita Souji as the Fearsome Blade and Hajime Saito as the Invincible Blade. It is said he diligently performed many off-the-record missions such as purging of members within the group, and one rumor is that he was a secret agent for the Shinsengumi from the shogunate and Aizu.
He can draw with his left, right, or both hands to confuse opponents. He also goes from one sword to two swords to thrusting to slashing to reversing his sword's grip to strike when his opponent least expects it. This formlessness is what made him known as the Invincible Sword.
- Invincible Sword (A Rank): This phrase describes Saito’s swordsmanship, which was appraised as able to compete for first or second strongest in the Shinsengumi. His style was said to be Mugai Ryuu or Ittou-ryuu, but in reality, it was a free sword technique not bound to anything.
- Freely Drawn Sword (B Rank): An ever-changing sword-drawing technique wherein the sword can be drawn with either the left, right, or both hands. A sword technique without school where the blade’s point can be changed freely. A special combat style that is exceedingly difficult to predict.
- “Dominant hand? Oh, no, I’m just drawing the swords however when I gotta. Like I always say, ‘If you have time to think, you have time to slice.’”
- Mind's Eye (True) (B Rank): No information available.