Shinpachi Shimura is one of the main characters of the Gintama anime and manga.
A 16-year-old samurai-in-training who joins Gintoki in hopes of studying under him. He stays at his family's dojo along with his older sister Otae Shimura. Although he commonly criticizes Gintoki's lazy behavior, Shinpachi comes to regard him as a very important person to him in the same fashion as Kagura.
Despite his meek, scholarly appearance, Shinpachi is a more than competent swordsman. He serves as the captain of the "Otsu's Imperial Guard," a fan club devoted to the famous idol singer Otsu and takes his role seriously.
In the AWA fics, Shinpachi is a student at the AWA Academy and is part of Class 1.
In the XP4 fics, Shinpachi is a member of the Heroes Coalitions and is part of the Deadly Hearts. He also attends the Vanguard Academy as a student.
In the TWA fics, Shinpachi is one of the major characters. Shinpachi is part of the Honor Fighting Force and is a member of The Ragtag of Heroes.
Shinpachi has black hair and brown eyes. He wears a light blue keikogi with blue linings and a blue hakama. Many other characters have pointed out that Shinpachi's glasses are his charm point. Sakata Gintoki even went as far as to say that Shinpachi's glasses make out 95% of him and that they are more Shinpachi than Shinpachi himself, with the rest being 3% water and 2% garbage. His poor eyesight is supposedly caused by chronic ingestion of dark materials (egg) cooked by his beloved elder sister, Otae.
Shinpachi is best known for his Tsukkomi (being a straight man) when other people especially Gintoki or Kagura say or do idiotic things, which happens very often. He is frequently teased by Sakata Gintoki, his supposed employer, and later on by Yagyuu Kyuubei for having a 'sister-complex' because of his attachment towards his sister. Since he doesn't have as much physical strength as Kagura, he is often bullied by her, who often tends to literally give him a thrashing. He takes charge of all the household chores in the Yorozuya due to his 'inclination to care for other people (as he explained during the Goukon in Episode 88). He also likes to save leftovers, bringing Tupperware to store the food and is called 'domestic' because of it. All of the above points, combined with his plain bespectacled look has made him the archetypical downtrodden nerdy character. Shinpachi is also a rabid fan of fictional pop-idol Terakado Tsuu, and often gets so moved by her songs that he starts crying listening to them. He is the strict leader of the Terakado Tsuu's Imperial Guards,a fan club with deep admiration and devotion to her, and has made 99 regulations that he makes sure the members loyally follow. Whenever someone breaks one of the rules and regulations of the fanclub, he personally issues their punishment with a flying nose-hook. Most of the time, the Sergeant is on the receiving end. Shinpachi himself has been shown to break some of the regulations that he punishes others for doing the same. Shinpachi also likes to sing, and has been seen singing karaoke-versions of various songs by Tsuu, but is completely tone-deaf.
He has limited dojo training, but inherited a dojo together with his older sister Shimura Tae called Koudoukan, specialising in the Tendoumushin sword-fighting style.
Although Shinpachi's fighting abilities are not as powerful as that of his two friends (Kagura with her monstrous Yato strength and Gintoki with his sword mastery), and is joked that his combat ability was merely two Kelp above normal human; in truth he is still stronger than average swordsmen and can fight alongside with others in battles without being only a burden to them. He grew a lot stronger over the years and also finally gained actual combat experience, which he lacked according to Takechi Henpeita. Sorachi himself had stated that Shinpachi is pretty skilled, the reason for not being obvious is because he is always surrounded by "monsters" and is often not the main fighter in the group.
He has been shown to be able to fight with not only his sword, but using hand-to-hand combat in a boxing match, and also using his intelligence; as seen when he was able to knock back Kyuubei and beat her grandfather, winning the game against the Yagyuu clan, when he figured out a way to get past Tosshi's human wall, and when he fought with Tosshi in a boxing match.
In Episode 213, he defeated Chin Pirako who was a feared and extremely skilled swordsman herself, in two blows, proving how strong he became. He also defeated Obi Hajime in a deathmatch, causing Hajime to admit that Shinpachi has become a strong warrior.
In the manga, by chapter 422, he is strong enough to knock down 2 members of the giant clan with a single kick (knocking one out), albeit with a surprise attack. Each member of the giant clan is big and strong enough to knock over buildings with a single blow. Once again, as Sorachi said, his contribution is made insignificant next to his monster allies, as Gintoki and Umibozou annihilate an entire invading force of the Giants that were preparing to eradicate the human race.
On a recurring note, as the series progresses, every time there is one of the trademark fights against hordes of enemies, Shinpachi without fail will defeat several dozen, or even hundreds of mob class enemies without much difficulty. By chapter 500 of the manga, even elite special ops units are treated like fodder to him.
In addition to his skill with the sword, he has also been seen using the powerful nose hook technique that is used by several characters in the series, and possibly even invented it.
At some point in the series, he switches from using a katana to using a bokuto like Gintoki. This seems to coincide with his growth in strength and skill, as he casually defeats elite fighters armed with live steel with his bokuto.
His combat ability drastically changes depending on whether or not he is wearing his glasses, as he has a very poor eyesight. Just like Sa-chan, his poor eyesight makes it impossible for him to fight against decent combatants. This seems to change as the series progresses.
- Shinpachi along with Gintoki Sakata are the first characters from Gintama to be introduced in the AWA fics.
- In the AWA fics, Shinpachi is often called "Shitpachi" much to his dismay.
- A recurring running gag for Shinpachi's glasses which other characters concerned the glasses itself is Shinpachi, which mostly makes the owner of the glasses being irritated due the presence of the real Shinpachi was ignored.
- Shinpachi's name contains "Hachi" which means 8, which also means infinite or glasses (he wore glasses). He also placed on 8th rank in all the Gintama character polls to date (4 in total).
- For unknown reasons in the Dekobokko arc, while all the characters (excepting for his sister, Otae) had their genders changer, Shinpachi had his frame changed from blue to pink instead.