Anime / Ronin Warriors
aka: Yoroiden Samurai Troopers

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/roninwarriors.jpg
Why are they "ronin"? That's a good question.

Yoroiden Samurai Troopers is a 39-episode Shōnen anime produced by Sunrise in the late 1980s; its story centres on a group of young men in possession of transforming mystical armors. Sunrise designed the show to capitalize on the success of another hit show about young men with mystical armors, although Samurai Troopers was made with Sengoku flavor. The series came to the United States in 1995 as Ronin Warriors, where it meshed well during the post-Power Rangers wave. The show's American dub remains one of the least Macekred Anime-to-American TV adaptations of its time in terms of cuts (excluding the name changes).

In the first episode, Master Talpa, the supreme lord of the Underworld—who spends most of the show's first arc as a floating demonic mask—enters the mortal world and invades Tokyo with a horde of demonic henchmen. A handful of people escape the flood of Talpa's Dynasty henchmen; Yuli, a young boy whose parents end up captured during Talpa's invasion, and Mia Koji, a young student-teacher and researcher of ancient Japanese legends and antiquities, are among the escapees.

Also witness to this event: five athletic young heroes in colorful armor, one of whom—Ryo—wandered into the city alongside an enormous white tiger minutes before Talpa's arrival. When Mia and Yuli are threatened by Talpa's foot soldiers, Ryo and the other heroes step in to rescue them. Talpa sees the five warriors as a threat to his invasion and casts them to the four winds with his supernatural powers. This leads to Mia and Yuli travelling across Japan to find and reunite the Ronin Warriors so they can prevent The End of the World as We Know It. But the young warriors and their friends have more than just Talpa and his low-level goons to worry about: The evil mastermind has four powerful warlords in his employ, each of whom have their own mystical armors that allow them to unleash unspeakable horrors upon the world. (The heroes have Yuli on their side, so things even out.)

Once the warriors reunite, they venture into Talpa's demonic stronghold and discover the origins of their armors. Long before Talpa came to conquer Tokyo in modern times, a mystic known as The Ancient One defeated Talpa in battle. The mystic sent Talpa's soul to the Underworld, but the warlord's demonic armor remained in the mortal world. As a precaution against Talpa's possible return, The Ancient One melted down the armor, then remade it into nine separate armors. Five of these armors found their way to the Ronin Warriors; the other four ended up with Talpa's Warlords. The heroes press on into battle even after learning the truth, and Ryo eventually defeats Talpa after the power of all five Ronin Warriors combine to give Ryo a new suit of armor.

Several new foes show up after Talpa's defeat to challenge Ryo while he learns to control the the Inferno Armor's immeasurable power. But these villains are a distraction from the true threat: Talpa, who still lives on in the Underworld, and the corrupted Lady Kayura, the last member of the line of Ancients and a force more powerful than even the Inferno Armor. The Warriors decide to strike at Talpa in the Underworld instead of waiting for another invasion, hoping to stop the warlord's schemes once and for all.

Sunrise followed up the series with three OVAs: Gaiden, Kikoutei Densetsu ("The Legend of the Solar Armor"), and Message. Each OVA features their own distinct storyline and villains.

Thanks to its cheesy-yet-enjoyable dub, lack of content cuts, and wide exposure via syndication (and later Toonami), Ronin Warriors helped pave the way for the mid-to-late 1990s anime boom. Bandai gave in to fan demand in the early 2000s by releasing the entire show on special double-sided DVDs: one side contained episodes of Ronin Warriors, and the other contained subtitled and uncut episodes of Samurai Troopers. Bandai later released the OVAs—with their own dub to boot—then eventually released both the series and the OVAs together in a collector's set. The individual DVD releases likewise had a special "flip" cover where both sides shared the same layouts save for the back-cover text and logos, which stayed in line with each version of the show right down to episode titles and character names. Discotek Media eventually rescued the Samurai Troopers license and released the series and OVAs on DVD; legal issues surrounding the Ronin Warriors dub, however, have prevented Discotek from re-releasing that version.


Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Abridged Series:
  • Accent Adaptation:
    • Rowen, who is from Osaka, is given a New York dialect in the TV series. When Bandai dubbed the first OVA, his new voice actor dropped the dialect altogether. (Several years had passed between the original dubbing and the OVA dubbing, though.)
    • Cye has a British-English accent to emphasize his polite nature.
    • Talpa has a Welsh accent because...well, why the hell not.
  • Alien Sky: Talpa/Arago's castle looms in the sky over Tokyo, surrounded by greenish Ominous Clouds. Those clouds seem to follow the antagonists wherever they go.
  • All There in the Manual: In-depth background information on the characters and the armors can be found in Japanese publications and official novels written by the show's scriptwriters. While general information about the characters can be found on the Internet, good luck finding translations of the novels that feature the actual stories about the warriors' home lives.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Ronin Warriors form the Inferno Armor by lending Ryo the energy of their elemental armors. This usually causes them to transform back to the less powerful "underarmor" forms—less powerful because each of the warriors has shown some kind of superhuman ability while in that state.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The Warlord Sekhmet/Naaza shows signs of this, though the show never draws attention to it. Not only is Sekhmet the name of a goddess, but his "snake-like" physical traits include large eyes with pink-shadowed lids. A lot of his taunts towards the heroes tend to be a bit suggestive.
    Sekhmet: Feel my venom, biting into your flesh!
    • The English dub may have given his character a deep, manly voice to counteract this.
  • Anime Accent Absence:
    • The few foreign characters who appear have little trouble understanding or communicating with the Ronin Warriors.
    • Mia (or Nasuti in this case), who was born and raised in France, also speaks without any noticeable accent.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The transformation sequences use a stock phrase, "Armor of X! TAO Y!!" where X is the name of the character's armor and Y is their virtue. That "Tao Y" part was invented for the dub, and it's odd in a few ways:
    • The "Tao" part is actually Chinese. The Japanese equivalent of Tao, pronounced Do, is seen in the word Kendo. This could be plain ol' carelessness, but considering that the staff went to the effort to give Tao the revised "dao" pronunciation, it seems unlikely.
    • The "Y" part uses the character's original Japanese virtues even though the dub switches their English equivalents around.
    • There are two exceptions to this:Rowen says "Tao Inochi" and Sage says "Tao Chi"—"Lifeforce" and "Wisdom", respectively.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • White Blaze pulls this off in both the TV series and the second OVA.
    • Nadia is this in the second OVA.
  • Baseball Episode: This occurs in one of the two closing credits of the TV series. The same scenes are recycled at the end of episode 39.
  • Battle Aura: The nine armors tend to give their wearers this in tense situations.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Rowan never runs out of arrows. Justified, since his armor magically generates an infinite supply of arrows. In one comic, the group decides to see how many arrows the quiver can produce—and they give up on it after Rowan draws enough of them to build a woodstack.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Lady Kayura. After the necklace that caused the brainwashing was damaged by Ryo, Talpa resorted to other means.
    • Mukala qualifies for this since he was manipulated and eventually possessed by the Black Armor of Inferno.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: The series makes extensive use of Stock Footage for transformations and signature attacks.
  • Canon Foreigner: The dub created an exclusive character in Hariel. Meddling executives felt that they needed a new character for the Inferno Armor toy because, in their eyes, the target audience would be confused if there were two Ryo toys.
  • The Chosen Many: In the dub version of episode 31, Badamon informs the three Dark Warlords about the Legend of the White Inferno Armor and how Hariel, the first Ronin Warrior, was able to summon its powers. In the original Japanese version, there were no other warriors to have worn the armors.
  • Code Name:
    • The four Warlords have these. You didn't think those were their real names, did you?
    • The Ronins could also be considered to have these as sometimes they are simply referred to as their armor name.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The five Ronin armors are all bright, primary colors. The Warlord's armors tend towards darker colors.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The heroes combine their powers to form the White Inferno armor.
  • Convection Schmonvection: After Talpa splits up the heroes, Ryo lands in an active volcano. His power is based on fire, so the lava makes his mystic armor stronger, but also makes it give off an excessive amount of heat. Anubis capitalizes on this when he throws Mia and Yuli into the same volcano: Ryo dives after them, but realizes that his armor's heat will kill the pair if he grabs them. He transforms out of the armor to save them—which he does—but gives Anubis an advantage in their fight by doing so.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In the first episode, the Warriors have trouble with a single Dynasty Mook. By the end of the series, they can take out entire armies of them.
    • The series explains the disparity over the course of its run, though. The first episode mook was using Anubis's weapon. It was also explicitly stated that the Warriors grow stronger with every fight. Their fight in the first episode may very well have been their first fight ever—at least with the Dynasty, anyway. In the original Japanese version, Ryo says the fight was the first time he used his Finishing Move. Teamwork also comes into play later on in the show, whereas the heroes spend most of the first episode in a pissing contest with each other.
  • Costume Porn: This show loves showing off the completely kickass armors of the heroes. Specifically, it shows photos of them posing. Cue the Fangirl Squees.
  • The Dark Side: The nine armors of the Ronin Warriors and the Warlords can be used for either good or evil, depending on the will of the user. If evil thoughts cloud one's mind, they can be turned to working for Talpa. (The dub script had several Shout-Out lines to Star Wars in recognition of this trope.) The origins of those armors explain why this is the case: They were all made from Talpa's armor after he was first defeated by The Ancient.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The nine armors, which were all made from Talpa's armor after The Ancient defeated him. Inverted, as they actually do something while dismantled.
  • Elemental Powers: The five Ronin armors are based directly on classical elements: Fire, Earth, Light/Lightning, Air/Void, and Water. The Warlord armors are based on the seasons as well as creatures: Spring/Ogre(Oni), Summer/Spider, Autumn/Serpent, Winter/Wolf.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: The Armor Of Inferno appears late in the game.
  • Elite Four: The Dark Warlords—Anubis, Sekhmet, Kale, and Dais—serve as Talpa's generals. The Four is a contrast to the Five heroes.
  • The Empire: The Dynasty, natch.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Tokyo becomes a deserted metropolis in the first episode. Subsequent episodes show only the Warriors, their allies, and the Dynasty's forces roaming around in the city.
  • Epic Fail:
    • In Episode 6, Sage tries to break open the boulder Kento is trapped in with his sword, but bounces off.
    • In Episode 11, the heroes attempt to transform, but nothing happens because the area had a Power Nullifier.
    • In Episode 16, the warriors storm Talpa's palace, complete with Theme Music Power-Up. Ryo proceeds to execute his signature attack on the castle in an attempt to force Talpa out. The music stops and the attack bounces right back in their face.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: This proves to be Talpa's final undoing—specifically, it forces him to hold the Idiot Ball when it comes to Mia and Yuli. Talpa cannot see them as anything other than weak, inconsequential children even after they have saved the Ronin Warriors several times and acquired an artifact that can destroy his power. If he had just thrown the bulk of his forces at Mia and Yuli or brainwashed a human assassin to take them out without a direct confrontation with the Ronin, he would have had little trouble in taking over the world.
  • Evil Is Dumb: Anubis becomes more powerful after his Heel–Face Turn, with only a possessed Kayura and Talpa himself being legitimate threats to him. Justified, as he is the strongest of the four Warlords and becomes even more powerful after he takes on the powers of The Ancient.
  • Evil Twin: Red Torrent and The Black Armor of Inferno.
  • Eye Catch: In the original Japanese version, different eyecatches were used for different story arcs.
  • Faceless Goons: The regular Dynasty goons are just disembodied spirits in armor. Averted with the Dark Warlords, who are human.
  • Full Potential Upgrade: Ryo eventually gained new swords to go along with the Inferno Armor after his original swords shattered due to the power of the Inferno.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of Kayura's transformation sequences leaves her temporarily (and noticeably) nude. The episode with this sequence aired in syndication and on Toonami—multiple times—without any edits.
  • Good Weapon, Evil Weapon: The nine armors themselves—the five Troopers' armors have bright colors, symbolizing their use as virtuous, while the four Warlord armors have more imposing designs and muted colors, the Armor of Illusion having perhaps the most unusual weapon of all. Despite them all coming from the same source, it's rather evident which ones are good and which ones are evil.
    • At one point, Arago creates a sword from the powers of the captured Troopers' armors, which has an extremely jagged edge, playing this trope straight.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Mostly averted, as the Japanese comes in small, managable bites. The show's dub pronunciation of Ryo (Rye-oh) plays this straight, though.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: When your opponent is an evil spirit in a giant suit of armor, you should know that he will eventually grab one of your friends and use him to club the rest of you.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Most of our heroes suffer from this at least once. The most notable case occurs when Dais successfully tricks Kento into thinking his armor is slowly turning him evil—and this was before the Ronin Warriors learn of the armor's origins as part of Talpa's armor. Yuli snaps him out of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Ancient gives his life to create a path to Talpa's base. Anubis, who later inherits the power of The Ancient, pulls his own sacrifice to save Lady Kayura.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Anubis, Lady Kayura, and—after Talpa betrays them—the rest of the Warlords eventually turn to the good side.
  • Interim Villain: The show put the heroes up against several of these between Talpa's initial defeat and the warriors learning of his return.
  • Last of Her Kind: Lady Kayura is the last living member of the Clan of the Ancients.
  • Little Miss Badass: Lady Kayura is physically twelve years old, but only a handful of the cast can fight her and not get stomped into the ground.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: When the DVDs were released in Japan in 2003, fans got their hands on posters and limited edition anniversary cards. The latter was only if fans sent in special request cards on time.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • When not in their armors, the Ronin are always seen wearing the same civilian clothes. Except for the ending, where the armors transform into monogrammed jackets.
    • Mia and Yuli also tend to wear the same outfit, even if they have access to other clothes.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Cye, when he hesitates to help his friends summon the White Armor in Legend of the Inferno Armor. It all goes downhill from there.
  • Mad Scientist: Shikaisen's cohort in the first OVA is simply referred to as "The Mad Scientist."
  • Master of Illusion: Dais. He puts the nin in ninja.
  • Meaningful Name: Many of the character's names were changed for the dub, while others were left intact.
    • Changed:
      • Anubis — Originally Shutendouji, an oni from Japanese folklore. Guess what armor he wears.
      • Cale — Originally Anubis. His association with darkness and wolves paralleled the Egyptian god's association with jackals and the black of decay.
      • Sekhmet — Originally Naaza. Naaza/naga is a Japanese word for serpent and his armor is snake-like.
      • Dais — Originally Rajura, being a Japanese word for a type of spider, since he wears spider-like armor.
    • Played straight with the last names of the protagonists, who share the last names and are all descended from famous Japanese warriors. Sage Date from Masamune Date, etc.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The show received brand new Ronin/Trooper action figures in both 2009 and 2011.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Rowan/Touma is said to have an IQ of 250 and his virtue is (originally) Wisdom, yet he tends to make dumb remarks and decisions—such as incriminating himself in the first OVA. Also:
    Rowan: Lady Kayura... she's a girl!
    • That line could be a result of Good Bad Translation. In the original, Touma expresses surprise that Shuten (Anubis) and Kayura are human, as opposed to the dub's "You're a man!"/"She's a girl!". And as for Kayura specifically, the fact that her title is "Lady" brings to mind an adult woman, not a twelve-year-old girl.
  • Official Couple: Mukala and Nadia, though the majority of the North American fandom tend to forget the OVAs exist and focus on shipping the Ronin Warriors with Mia and Kayura, or with each other, or original female characters.
  • Oh, Crap!: This is the reaction of the Warlords when the redeemed Anubis calls forth his armor again. Fully justified, as he begins to administer pain.
    Anubis: If this is your will, Ancient One, then I shall become the Ogre once again. To arms.
  • Older Than They Look: Depending on how you interpret their physical ages versus how long they have actually been alive, the Warlords and Kayura can both invert this and play it straight. Anubis is physically 17, but has been alive for centuries thanks to the power of Lord Talpa.
  • One-Man Army: Each of the Ronin Warriors are (eventually) capable of laying waste to countless Dynasty soldiers.
  • On the Next: The English dub of the series did not have these. They were left intact for the DVD release of the OVAs, though.
  • Painful Transformation: When Ryo assumes either of his armors, it looks like it causes him pain. The others show signs of this too, albeit to a lesser extent. Ryo is definitely in pain when he is forced to don the Inferno Armor by Kayura and the Nether Spirits, who corrupt the armor in the process.
  • Parental Abandonment: Yuli, briefly, although he gets them back later on. Also, all of the Warriors. They're only 14, people.
  • Passing the Torch: In the spinoff manga, Shin Yoroiden-Samurai Troopers, there are at least three new warriors with their own suits of armors. Too bad the series was cancelled before anything else could be developed.
  • Protagonist Power-Up Privileges: Ryo was the only hero who received a new armor—which he received by taking the powers of four of the eight remaining armors, usually meaning his fellow heroes.
  • Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: Kento loses the ability to summon his armor after Talpa convinces him that the armor is inherently evil.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Anubis dies while performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save Lady Kayura. He had technically redeemed himself by becoming the first of the Dark Warlords to rise up against Talpa, which allowed him to later inherit the power of The Ancient. Consider this a prolonged case, as the previous Ancient One also pulled a heroic sacrifice.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In the second episode, Mia and the Ronin Warriors steal food from subway vending machines.
  • Ronin: Averted given the name difference. We have both Watson and Doylist explains for how it is averted:
    • Despite the group's name, nothing indicates that they are former vassals of a feudal lord. While ronin does typically refer to a samurai who lost their master, the meaning has become somewhat garbled, in that it could also refer to a samurai who never had a master in the first place. Ronin are also frequently portrayed as being either bodyguards or mercenaries. In one possible interpretation, the Ancient One could be their master, so the heroes did not become true ronin until the Ancient One sacrificed himself to provide passage to Talpa's castle. To justify why they were always called ronin, the Ancient One often did his work in secret, which gave our heroes the appearance of having no master. The heroes also lack a true leader, as they tend to make decisions as a group. They are samurai who act as if they have no master to guide them—hence, they are ronin.
    • The original show was called Yoroiden Samurai Troopers and had nothing to do with ronin. The dub title was most likely thought up as a catchy two-word title that could get the point of the series across, rather than being a title with any deeper meaning.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The Inferno Armor's increased power eventually shatters the swords Ryo used with the Wildfire armor. He eventually acquires the more potent Soul Swords Of Fervor, which can handle the power of the Inferno.
  • Rope Bridge: In the third episode of the Kikoutei Densetsu OVA, Shu, Touma, Nasté, and Jun find themselves crossing one in Tanzania. Naturally, it is cut, and everyone survives unscathed.
  • Satanic Archetype: The show has a ha'sa'tan/Satan equivalent in the form of Arago (Talpa), absolute Emperor of the demonic nether-realms and, in general, the literal adversary of all mortals.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Talpa and the Dynasty were sealed away in the Underworld by the Ancient One over a millennium before the events of the show.
    • Sealed Evil in a Six Pack: But after Talpa was defeated, his armor—which was the seat of most of his power—remained in the mortal world. The Ancient One converted that armor into a set of ten smaller armors to keep Talpa from regaining all his power. Even without the armors, however, Talpa was still absurdly powerful.
  • Sentai: Of both the good guys and the bad guys.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Ryo after his nightmares. Also happens to the other four during the final battle.
    • There's also Lady Kayura during one of her transformation sequences.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Averted, as the series begins before the official start of the Japanese school year. The OVAs conveniently take place during school vacations.
  • Simple Staff: The Ancient One carries a khakkhara (monk staff), complete with its characteristic rings. But it was not always a staff: When Talpa first tried to conquer the world, the staff was a sword with the rings around the hilt.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears: Episode 39 of the TV series and episode 2 of Gaiden are quite sparkly.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Kento/Shu does this with his Blade on a Stick. Also happens with the Ancient's staff.
  • Stock Footage: The transformation sequences and their Super Move footage are all recycled and reused throughout the series. Many of the battle sequences are also reused constantly.
  • Super Mode: The Inferno Armor is this for Ryo.
  • Super Strength: All of the heroes have great levels of superhuman strength thanks to the armors. Official canon sources say that Kento is physically the strongest of the heroes, though.
    • Mukala also counts, since he manages to break the chest plate of Ryo's Wildfire armor with his Talk to the Fist tactic.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: After the second OVA, the boys believed they no longer had to be Ronin Warriors because the armors had been destroyed.
  • Transformation Sequence: The warriors putting on their full armor has a sequence of By The Power Of Grey Skull, cherry blossoms, and pictures of them posing before the battle continues.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action
    • The enemies wait to fight a fully-armored Ronin to get a better challenge out of the battle—that, or the actual armoring-up sequences only last mere seconds in the real world.
    • The third episode subverts this: Ryo take the usual stance to get his full armor back on. Anubis does not allow him to pull it off.
  • True Companions: The Ronin Warriors are this to each other, as almost all of them come from various broken homes. By the time the invasion is over, they are practically brothers.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Downplayed. While both the heroes and the Warlords wear their full armor during battles, they wear smaller, form-fitting "underarmor" for the majority of their on-screen time.
  • Weapon of Choice: All of the main cast has unique weaponry—katana, yari (spear), kusarigana (sickle-chain), nodachi (two-handed sword), yami (longbow), and many more. Justified in two cases: Shin's family traditionally trained in the yari and bo, and Seiji's family trains owns a kendo dojo. Their associated weapons—trident and greatsword, respectively—do not quite fit, but the training is there.


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