Keiichiro Washizuka and a Shinsengumi soldier.
|Known Members||Keiichiro Washizuka, Kojiroh Sanada, Kaori Sanada, Shikyoh|
|Subgroups||Unit Zero (the unit that investigates demonic activities)|
|Introduced in||The Last Blade|
Shinsengumi (新選組 or 新撰組) was a special police force that kept peace in the name of the shogunate in Japan. Members were devout believers in bushido (samurai code of honor) though a majority of them were not from samurai families. They were commonly known as "Miburo" (Wolves of Mibu). Fictional members of this group exist in the SNK universe, primarily in The Last Blade series.
Historically, this group was active during the last years of Tokugawa reign, where samurai generals (daimyo) and their armies were either choosing to live with their war-mongering traditions or accept the more European culture of peace. Since the more radical ideas of foreigners had threatened to overthrow the shogun's control over the populace, men from different families -who still had faith in the more isolated and ancient Japan- volunteered to stop them, eventually forming the Shinsengumi. Their targets were renegade pro-Imperialists, people who worked to restore power to the Emperor by defaming the shogun with murder or other acts of violence.
When the emperor ordered the last Tokugawa shogun to step down from power, the Shinsengumi was officially disbanded and relieved of their duty. A brief civil war erupted between the former Shinsengumi members and the pro-Imperialists shortly afterwards. The former lost to the Gatling gun and Japan's reign of power eventually returned to the emperor. They are often romanticized as tragic heroes of Japan because most of the members stayed loyal to their cause to the end.
In the Last Blade universe, the group is still active and thriving with members. One of their members, Shikyoh, only joined the group so that he could murder innocent people. He escaped from his supervisors' punishment -who would have forced him to commit seppuku (honorable suicide)- and was on the loose. Keiichiro Washizuka and Kojiroh Sanada were ordered to dispatch him as well as investigate the mysterious "Hell's Gate". Shikyoh was confronted by them on separate occasions, killing Kojiroh and attempted to do the same to Keiichiro. He was dispatched by Keiichiro shortly before Shinnosuke's defeat.
Although he reported to have not seen the captain to his supervisors, Keiichiro privately tells Kojiroh's death to his sister, Kaori. Since she looked nearly identical to her brother and wanted to discourage the men from investigating their captain's absence, Kaori poses as her brother and takes his place in the Shinsengumi in appearance only. She thought her brother to be avenged until Shikyo's corpse reanimated itself as a zombie named Mukuro. Against Keiichiro's wishes, she sets out to execute him a second time and lay her brother's soul to rest. She intended to discard her guise and return to her life as Kaori after Mukuro's death, but she strengthens her resolve and continues her life as "Kojiroh". The last activity mentioned by the group is their orders to stop the pro-Imperialists from setting a fire in the capital.
The group is given another brief allusion in Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage with Jushiro Sakaki. As he mentions his displeasure with the shogunate, he also realizes that there are those who would protect it, calling the would-be defenders "wolves".