Saemon Kisaragi (如月 左衛門, Kisaragi Saemon) is a member of the Kouga Manjidani clan and one of the ten ninjas selected by Danjou to participate in the war against the Iga. He is the older brother of fellow Kouga ninja Okoi.
Saemon has black hair which he keeps back in a small topknot. He has a rather unremarkable face, with his only distinguishing features being his slightly narrow eyes. He wears a pale green kosode with slightly darker green hakama, tied around the waist with a dark green sash.
Before the WarEdit
Saemon is seen watching Shougen Kazamachi fish at a stream, seeming fairly relaxed and even comending Shougen's fishing skill. Suddenly Jousuke comes rolling down the hill behind them, landing in the water and setting the fish free. He is followed by an irritated Okoi and Gyoubu Kasumi, who accuse Jousuke of ruining their hunting trip. The group then joke that Jousuke should be eaten as punishment for letting all their food get away. Jousuke explains to Okoi that if they eat him, her rear may get to large, which enrages Okoi. She thrashes Jousuke and walks off, with Gyoubu and Saemon following closely behind.
Saemon is perhaps Basilisk's most complex character. Cool and aloof, he conducts himself in both war and peace with an almost professional sense of detachment. Following Okoi's brutal capture, interrogation, and terrifying death at the Iga's hands; Saemon throws himself whole-heartedly into the war between Kouga and Iga, viewing victory for his clan and revenge for his sister as one and the same. To that end, Saemon will use any method necessary to physically and mentally break the remaining Iga ten. But after the fight is over and his enemy is dead, Saemon will always apologize to his slain opponents with the hope that in death they might know the peace they were denied in life. He seems to be very close friends with both Gyobu Kasumi and Kagero.
Skinchanging: By pressing another's face into a raised mound of mud or soft clay, Saemon can form a mold with which he can insert his own face into, taking their form and appearance for himself. His technique however is only effective cosmetically, and does not allow him to imitate a person who's bodily proportions does not match his (i.e. Jousuke Uduno, as noted by Shougen). It doesn't bestow him with any of a person's memories or abilities and anything with senses superior to a human's (as Hotarubi's snake proved) are able to see through it.Thankfully, while impersonating someone, Saemon is very adept at weaving everything he says in such a way that it would not rouse any suspicion from those being subjected to his subterfuge
- Voice Mimicry: Saemon can impersonate voice which he heard. This, along with his talent for skinchanging, makes Saemon a master of disguise. However, when he is distracted or shocked his voice mimicry stops.
Taijutsu: Saemon shows some of the best hand-to-hand combat skills amongst the Kouga, easily managing to defend against Hotarubi's kicks and steal her weapon in the process. He also shows extremely precise and effective lethality against three of Lady Okufu's vassals: while disguised as Tenzen, he attempts to enter the compound where Oboro and Akeginu are staying. The men initially try to stop him but he snaps their arms at the elbow almost instantaneously when they attempt to restrain him. In an earlier instance, Saemon also shows why he's one of the Kouga's more capable fighters by successfully defending himself against multiple Iga ninjas at once.
Okoi is Saemon's younger sister and the only person he shows emotion to. The pair seem to share a very deep bond. Her death stirs him into action and starts him on a path of revenge. In a scene shown only in the anime it is shown that Okoi likes to tease him and that Saemon is a little over-protective, demanding to know when Okoi became "tea-friends" with Juubei Jimushi.
Saemon appears to be very good friends with Gyobu, as they always talk. They also work well together, as seen when they both kill Yashamaru and then set out to save Gennosuke immediately after.
Saemon and Kagerou share a strong bond and both are seen working together many times. When Gennosuke and the other Kouga members set out to Senpu, Saemon was the first one to notice that Kagerou was not in the right state of mind. Later, both Saemon and Kagerou seem to partner together like when they chased after Hotarubi's butterflies and Ogen's hawk carrying a scroll. They were also responsible for the death of two Iga members - Koshiro and Akeginu. When Kagerou finds out that Tenzen has killed Saemon, she is seen to be very upset and kills Tenzen in the process.
Their relation is maybe the most hatred in the series. since Saemon participated in her beloved Yashamaru's death and Hotarubi stabbed his friend Shougen incessantly. to make things worst saemon used Yashamaru's appearence with Hotarubi in a loving moment. which let her horrified and extremely violent towards him. the animosity between both culminated until he killed her.
Saemon doesn't show much expression or feelings but at some point he express an extreme hate for Nenki who is responsible for the death of his sister Okoi. Which he later turns in happiness by degrade, offend and kick Nenki's dead body after Hyouma kills him.
Difference between Manga, Anime and Novel VersionsEdit
Like most of Basilisk's characters, Saemon is considerably more humanized in the anime than he was in the original manga where he experiences neither regret nor sadness after slaying his enemies and frequently displayed an ironic and cynical sense of humor. An example would be after he and Kagerou killed Akeginu in volume 5 and Saemon is being questioned by Ofuku's samurai. After being told that it was an honor to be on the same side, Saemon sardonically laughs to himself at how the Iga's allies were unaware that his true intention was to infiltrate their party to assassinate Oboro.
In the anime, where he is indeed more humanized, Saemon seems to be almost sympathetic of Akeginu. Just as Kagerou is about to finish her off, Saemon stares at Akeginu with a pained expression on his face. He seems to have had sympathized or even pitied Hotarubi as well. When he kills Hotarubi in the manga, he remarks how the Iga had killed his sister Okoi, and death was to be expected. In the anime he gives Hotarubi an approving nod of his head and remains silent as her body falls down into a canyon.
In the novel it is stated that he appears so plain and common that a person would forget what he looked like moments later and even upon several meetings. And between his own clansmen and the Iga ten, Saemon does appear to be the most ordinary. It is also contemplated that the face he usually has might not even be his real face at all. His personality is the same as how he is depicted in the manga.
Appearance in Other MediaEditSaemon is also a featured character in the 2005 Japanese live-action film Shinobi: Heart Under Blade, portrayed by Houka Kinoshita. Within this movie, his whole body is wrapped up in a certain type of cassock, in which he wears a mask over his face. He had the apparent ability to teleport and instead of pressing a person's face in mud, he simply has to rub his hands on their face and then rub his hand on his own face, thus successfully mimicking their appearance. He uses his ability to steal Yashamaru's identity and infiltrates the Iga, attempting to assassinate Oboro at his first opportunity. His stab is blocked by Hotarubi and the two begin to battle, though it is cut short when he his slashed from behind by Tenzen Yakushiji.
- "Let me kill the first."
- (To Hyouma) "Women are terrifying creatures no matter how you look at them."
- (Imitating Akeginu's voice) "Its tiring...the seductive voice of a woman."
- (To Kagerou) "Listen...Kagerou. The sun will always rise and set; this is a constant. But during the next few cycles, how many more lives will be lost? I do not wish to appear this way anymore than Gennosuke-sama wishes to hide. But we do our parts so those in Kouga can live their lives."