Shinpachi Shimura is one of the main protagonists of the series and is a teenager who joins Gintoki’s freelancer business to learn the ways of the samurai. He stays at his family’s dojo along with his older sister Tae Shimura. Both used to live there with their father who died when they were still children. In order to make their living, Shinpachi started working in a restaurant in which he met Gintoki when he was being tripped by aliens. Gintoki defeats the ambassador and his guards, not to stand up for Shinpachi, but to get revenge for his spilled parfait. Gintoki attempts to frame Shinpachi for the crime, and to make up for it, Gintoki helps Shinpachi save his older sister Tae from becoming part of a brothel as his father left them with an enormous debt. Although he commonly criticizes Gintoki’s lazy behaviour, Shinpachi comes to regard him as a very important person to him in the same fashion as Kagura. Shinpachi also regards himself as the comic relief character from the series, but tends to take that as something important. As the readers’ perspective, Sorachi notes that while he can be weak he will take action when necessary resulting in his growth across the series.
Shinpachi is easily identified by his glasses which he wears as result of hypnotizing himself to eat Tae’s poor meals. When trying to identify Shinpachi, several characters tend to notice first his glasses even though he may not be using them; Gintoki comments that the reason for this is that most of Shinpachi’s design are his glasses. Despite his timid appearance, Shinpachi is a more than competent swordsman of his family’s Kakidō-Ryu, the type of swordsmanship his dojo teaches. Shinpachi is also the captain of the “Otsu’s Imperial Guard,” an Otsu’s fan club, and takes his role seriously. Other members of the fan club treat him with utmost respect, something he is not usually treated with. His fanaticism for Otsu started prior to her career when he was inspired by the effort she gave in her songs. His character is loosely based on historical figure of Nagakura Shinpachi who Sorachi had previously used in one of his previous manga. Although he shares the last name from the Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, Sorachi picked that last name to fit his samurai heritage. He is voiced by Daisuke Sakaguchi in the Japanese version and by Mark X. Laskowski in the English dub of the movie, and Cole Howard in the English dub of the anime. In live-action, he will be portrayed by Masaki Suda.
Kagura is the female protagonist of the series. She is a young alien girl who belongs to the Yato Clan, one of the strongest and most bloodthirsty of the Amanto races, although Kagura rejects that part of herself. She came to Earth to earn money for her family, and to escape her violent Yato heritage. She found work fighting for a gang of hoodlums, but when they ordered her to kill her target, she ran away. Not long afterwards, she meets Gintoki and Shinpachi, when they accidentally run over her with Gintoki’s scooter. After they help her to make a clean break from the gang, she intimidates Gintoki into hiring her. Kagura and Gintoki have an odd brother-sister-like relationship and she commonly imitates his bad habits.
The Yato have “translucent” skin that is highly sensitive to sunlight, so Kagura carries an umbrella at all times. The parasol is also the Yato clan’s weapon of choice; Kagura’s umbrella is bulletproof and fires bullets from its tip. Because of her Yato blood, she is extremely strong and can stop a speeding motorscooter with one hand. However, she cannot control her strength perfectly; most of her pets, with the exception of Sadaharu, have all met an untimely demise at her hands. Kagura also has an unusually strong appetite, making her capable of consuming large quantity of food within a matter of seconds. Nevertheless, her tastes are endearingly plain.
Kagura is also somewhat of a tomboy, as she speaks in a blunt or perverted way. This is due to Sorachi not finding the too feminine characters believable and instead made Kagura from an anti-female lead perspective resulting in Kagura being the first female lead in manga to throw up. In the absence of Gintoki and Shinpachi, she is often seen partaking in games with various neighborhood boys. She regards Shisengumi’s Sougo Okita as a rival and often competes against him. Her speech often ends in -aru, characteristic of the Japanese’s impression of a Chinese accent. In Japanese, Kagura speaks in a stereotypical dialect that is associated with Chinese immigrants. In the English-translated manga, she punctuates her sentences with “yup”, “uh-huh”, “nope”, and the like. Her character is based on Princess Kaguya from the story The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter while her name comes from a place the island of Hokkaido. In a Newtype poll, Kagura ranked #21 for the top 30 most popular female anime character from the 2000s. Kagura was ranked #3 for most cheerful anime character in Animedia magazine’s 2010 character awards. She is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in the Japanese version and by Luci Christian in the English dub of the movie, and Jocelyne Loewen in the English dub of the anime. In live action, she will be portrayed by Kanna Hashimoto.
Sadaharu is an abandoned inugami who is collected by Kagura. He is named by Kagura, after her first pet. He was originally owned by a pair of miko sisters (Ane and Mone) who left him due to economical problems. Sadaharu chomps on anything smaller than itself, such as Gintoki’s and other people’s heads. Kagura seems to be the only one who can control him, for she has immense strength. Though he is dangerous when Gintoki first receives him, he becomes quite tame in the later chapters. He sometimes obeys Gintoki at certain points, and helps the main characters in many occasions. Kagura and Gintoki are often seen riding on his back, as he is big enough to carry two full-grown adults. The name Sadaharu is actually often used by Kagura for all her pets, whom all are dead. This Sadaharu is currently the 27th. He is voiced by Mikako Takahashi in the Japanese version and by Kyle Colby Jones in the English dub of the movie.
Tae Shimura is Shinpachi’s older sister, referring to her as “Big Sis”. She runs the Kakidōkan Dojo, the family dojo, with her brother, working part-time to pay for the upkeep. She is usually addressed as “Otae”(O) is an honorific used to refer to women. Kagura always addresses her as “Big sister” or “Boss”. She often mercilessly beats up Kondo Isao and Gintoki whenever they anger her, but she has a good side of her own. She almost always smile in front of her friends, one that might called “a fake smile”, since that she is actually feeling sad inside but she does not want to acknowledge it.
Her cooking skills are terrible, with her “special” tamagoyaki being so inedible that Kondo suffered amnesia after eating it and others are barely able to swallow it down. She has strong principles and believes in maintaining what is precious, even if it means throwing away honor and dignity. She believes that if apologies were enough, seppuku would not exist. She is voiced by Satsuki Yukino in the Japanese version and by Shelley Calene-Black in the English dub of the movie, and Janyse Jaud in the English dub of the anime. In live action, she will be portrayed by Masami Nagasawa.
Otose, whose real name is Ayano Terada, is Gintoki’s landlady. Despite constant arguments over Gintoki’s general inability to pay his rent, she is confident in his defense of her.[ They both met shortly after the end of the war between samurais and Amanto when Gintoki swore to protect her after he ate food offerings that were meant for her dead husband. She was very pretty when she was young and worked at a restaurant. She secretly fed poor children dumplings for free, and was fired. She is one of the four “emperors” that rule the Kabuki District and has the personal title “Empress of the Kabuki District”. She is voiced by Kujira in the Japanese version and by Shelley Calene-Black in the English dub of the movie.