Kondou Isao ( 近藤 勲 Kondō Isao ), also known as Gorilla, is the commander of the Shinsengumi. When he was not working (which was often the case, and the vice-commander, Hijikata Toushirou ends being the one who ended up covering for Kondou most of the time), he was busy stalking Shinpachi's sister Shimura Tae, earning him the nickname Gorilla-stalker.

Even though the Shinsengumi are fiercely loyal to Kondou, he often has to use the Shinsengumi Vice-Commander Hijikata Toushirou to settle them down (with harsh words or the use of violence) before conducting a speech. During Nobu Nobu's reign when he and Matsudaira were about to be beheaded, he entrusted Gintoki with a message to pass on to his fellow former Shinsengumi police-mates (most of all to Hijikata) to keep moving forward and to not be stupid as Edo still needed someone to protect it, even if the Shinsengumi disbanded.


In his childhood, Kondou attended a temple school that worships a monkey god. He had been a troublesome kid, uprooting neighbors' daikon and stealing them. Because of his behavior, rumors spread that he was raised by monkeys. The chief priest of the monkey god-worshipping temple took Kondou in and let him attend the temple school, even going as far as wanting him to be his successor, so long as Kondou never stole anything again. One day loan sharks took some kids from the temple school as hostage as they wanted the land. Kondou went alone and saved the kids, but when they returned the temple had been burned down. He was forbidden by the chief priest to return to the temple's site, and eventually Kondou left.[1]

Kondou became a member of a dojo run by Kanchou in Bushuu. There, he met Okita Sougo and Hijikata Toushirou, recruiting both of them to join his dojo. Kondou would later take all the members of the dojo with him and move from Bushuu to Edo to establish a career for himself, and create what is now the Shinsengumi.


Kondou is a tall, muscular man with tan skin, spiky brown hair and a goatee. He usually wears a Shinsengumi uniform, though in many situations he is found naked, believing that being naked is a show of big heart. It's a running gag that his normal appearance resembles that of a gorilla, so the other characters "mistake" him for one, and although he often gets angry with them for using that nickname, he sometimes uses the same word to identify himself.

During the events of the Dekoboko Arc he switched genders due to a curse and was seen in his female form. In that form, he has long blonde hair.


Kondou is kind-hearted and trusting with his subordinates. Most of the members of the Shinsengumi are fiercely loyal to him, as seen in the Mutiny Chapter. Shinsengumi's 1st Division Captain Okita Sougo often remarks that Kondou's nice-guy attitude is also his weakness as he never notices negative points about other people. In the Mutiny Chapter, he was described by Itou Kamotarou as honest and pure (seiren) 清廉 , and unsullied (muku) 無垢. In the same Chapter, Hijikata Toushirou described him as the soul of the Shinsengumi, and the rest of them being the sword that protects him. Hijikata also said that everybody joined the Shinsengumi so that they could be with Kondou, and that as long as he was there, the Shinsengumi would not be finished. He mentioned to Itou that he felt he wasn't suitable to take the role of the commander but as a comrade that couldn't stand seeing the sight of losing friends.

Strength & Abilites

He was trained in his dojou in Bushuu, although not much is known about his skills as a swordman as he is the commander of the Shinsengumi that must always be protected, but he was able to beat (although comically) Toujou Ayumu who was the leader of the 四天王 Shitennou aka 4 Devas, who is the most skilled amongst the 4 Devas, and that the other 3 can't even compare to him.

Kondo wields a katana known as Kotetsu, he nicknamed Kotetsu-chan which he accidentally breaks before paying off the loans. Later purchases Kotetsu Z-II which easily (and purposely) gets broken by Sougo.



  • Based on Kondo Isami 近藤勇, commander of the Shinsengumi and close friend to Hijikata Toshizo.
  • Kondo Isami was known to own a katana named Kotetsu but rumours say its a fake which ironically in Gintama he breaks.
  • Gintoki was the first person to give the nickname or call him Gorilla.
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