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Mugen's a crazy murderous break dancing pirate
. While not the main character, Mugen is probably the face of the show
, as he was voiced in the dub by Steve
. Despite Mugen picking fights with everybody, and generally being a dick
, he sticks with Fuu on her quest.
- Afro Asskicker
- Amazon Chaser: Mugen usually prefers strong women to the more quiet ones that he meets.
- Anti-Hero: Seems to be a Type V at first, but acquires some traces of a Type IV. He's a foul-mouthed Blood Knight who will frequently abandon his companions for the sake of a good fight, and cares little for his promise to Fuu, instead trying to fulfill his promise to kill Jin. But he also teams up with the latter numerous times, scorns at the idea of villainy, and in the end, honors his companions as true friends.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: He learned how to use energy to attack his opponent after having it used once against him, being told what his opponent had done and one month of mostly irrelevant training.
- Badass: Mugen pulled off a Ki blast by simply mimicking the movements of his opponent (who perhaps took a few months or more of training to accomplish just that feat), and regularly kicks the crap out of armed soldiers with his feet.
- He's a self-taught swordsman who's been officially stated to have created his own style of fighting (based on break-dancing and/or Brazilian capoeira), dubbed "champuru kendo". Translation: "champloo kendo", automatically certifying the show's premise and half the title) by taking bits and pieces from all forms of martial arts and making up the rest as he fights his opponents. And for not being properly trained, he's sure as hell one of the most powerful. The dude seems to have a natural talent.
- Balloon Belly: Tends to happen when he seriously overeats.
- Berserk Button: Not that it takes much to piss Mugen off, but he really can't stand when Japanese people mistreat foreigners like the Dutchman (and the Russian from the manga). Obviously, it hits a little close to home for him.
- Blood Knight: In one episode, he tries to start a fight with Fuu's pet squirrel.
- In fact, the only time he ever turns away from a fight is when he goes to rescue Fuu from where she's being held on that island. And that said, he did so reluctantly (he was desperately out-classed and if he'd stayed Kariya would've killed him) and he knew he was running towards another fight anyway.
- Book Dumb: Interestingly enough, he takes learning how to write rather enthusiastically.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Cut off one guy's arm and didn't care enough to remember. When his victim tracked him down with a Giant Mook and an elaborate murder plot and promised to make him pay for his crimes, all he got in return was a blank look.
- Character Development: He slowly comes to care about someone other than himself, most notably Fuu. By the end of the anime, he's also learned to use his head a little bit more in fights. He also finally makes peace with his desire to kill anyone he considers a threat. At the end of the series, he admits that he considers Jin to be a friend and has no desire to fight him anymore.
- Combat Pragmatist: Mugen doesn't know the meaning of fair play.
- Cruel Mercy: To Kohza.
- Dance Battler: Break dancing to be specific, he even has steel plates on the soles of his sandals. His style is also often compared to capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and could plausibly have been learned from a passing Portuguese sailor. (Or invented on the spot.)
- Determinator: The man dies more than once during the course of the series, and comes back to life through sheer determination!
- Hidden Weapons: He has a dagger hidden in the end of his sword's scabbard. He only considers using it as a last resort, and only does so twice over the course of the series.
- Implacable Man: He's extraordinarily resilient and he has recovered from injuries that were all but explicitly lethal.
- Improbable Age: Although no one's quite sure of his age, Mugen is generally thought to be no older than twenty, which is pretty young for a man of his abilities and experiences.
- Informed Flaw: His ugliness. In some episodes his face is legitimately loathsome, but in others he's just ruggedly handsome.
- Informed Loner
- I Work Alone:
Mugen: I don't believe in anyone, but me, and what I can do.
Mugen: I don't work for no one, but me.
Mugen: Now I lived my whole life without takin' help from nobody, and I'd be damned if I let you guys help me into my grave.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Moreso later on and Mugen may threaten murder against anyone who implies this.
- Made of Iron: He's been been in close proximity to massive explosions, had his belly slashed open, was shot in the back with a musket ball, tortured, mauled by a psycho with a scythe, and even died on more than one occasion. And each time he recovered completely within a short space of time with no apparent lasting effects.
- The McCoy
- Never Learned to Read: Although an early episode shows him reading or at least recognizing the words for certain foods from a menu.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Roguish Male to Jin's Noble Male.
- No Social Skills
- Only Mostly Dead: Another possible (albeit more mundane) explanation for how he seems to keep coming back.
- Perma Stubble
- Perpetual Frowner
- Rebellious Spirit
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red One to Jin's Blue Oni. They even have the clothing choices to match.
- Resurrective Immortality: Possibly. It's certainly invoked with the Spirit World imagery whenever he dies, but it's not impossible that the resurrections are just Mugen's Heroic Second Wind and the visions of the spirits reviving him are just symbolic and/or hallucinations.
- The Rival: To Jin.
- Satisfied Street Rat
- Sword Drag: Does this in Hellhounds for Hire when charging at Jin. Totally for the Rule of Cool, by the way.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky
- Tattooed Crook: The blue rings tattooed around his wrists are a historical Japanese method for identifying convicts.
- Technician Versus Performer: The performer to Jin's technician.
- Token Evil Teammate: Though he's far from evil, he is an asshole with little regard for human life, a hair-trigger temper and enough Berserk Buttons to give The Hulk a run for his money.
- The Unfettered: He gives his all to every single thing he does.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Being a self trained swordsman, Mugen uses eratic movements in fights with opponents instead of actual technique. Majority of the time it works to his favor. When facing Sara, Mugen found himself outclassed and forced to actually use his head. When facing Kairya, he's hopelessly outclassed and Jin convinces him to leave the fight.
Mugen's prize beetle. Rodriguez is her name
Wanted criminal, pirate captain, former cohort of Mugen.
Mukuro's perpetually gloomy younger sister. She has a fondness for Mugen that dates back to their days of piracy, though the feeling is not quite mutual. Kohza isn't so much in love with Mugen as she is attached to him. This stems from her chronic dependency.
The youngest of the brothers. His and his brothers' lives were ruined by Mukuro and Mugen during a pirate raid on a sugar shipment. He is the least stable of the three and prone to violent fits of uncontrollable urges to kill. He carries a bisento short enough for him to wield and whines or shrieks wildly whenever he opens his mouth.
- Ax-Crazy: Literally twitches while trying to contain his bloodlust. That should say it all.
- Psychopathic Manchild
- Shared Unusual Trait: The brothers all have pink sclera on their left eyes; it's arguably the only physical trait they share. It may be due to some degree of damage. Unlike Umanosuke, both Denkibou and Toube don't have to use any protection.
- Wolverine Claws
The middle of the brothers. He sports a hefty chonmage, wears an eye patch, and wields a spectacular weapon: a chain-sickle kusarigama with an incredibly long reach.
- Ax-Crazy: Like Denkibou, he's a seething, barely-contained cauldron of homicidal fury. Unlike Denkibou, he can sort of keep it under control... that is, until the eyepatch comes off. Once that happens, he becomes every bit as unhinged as the latter.
- The Berserker
- Eyepatch of Power
- Faux Affably Evil
- The Heavy: As far as Mugen goes, he's the most important antagonist and drives the biggest and final conflict of the story for him and Fuu.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Mugen uses his own scythe to behead him
- Ki Attacks: While it's unknown who taught him how to use them, it becomes obvious fairly quickly that his scythe is far stronger, and faster, than his frame would allow. Not to mention the impossible accuracy with which he uses it. See Person of Mass Destruction.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Relatively so. He can demolish a house in a couple swings, and has destructive capabilities comparable to the more powerful bombs available.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He fondles Fuu, and while he never goes as far as raping her, the threat is on the table. He's mainly holding off so that he can finish the job in front of Mugen (or after Mugen dies with the knowledge of what's going to happen).
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Well eye in this case, he sports an eyepatch on his left eye due to losing an eyelid rendering him unable to blink. When it gets knocked off, his eye is red colored from the lack of water. Umanosuke also gets much crazier by this point in their fight.
- Revenge Before Reason
- Shared Unusual Trait: The brothers all have pink sclera on their left eyes; it's arguably the only physical trait they share. It may be due to some degree of damage. Umanosuke is the only one of the brothers that has to use protection, but it's mostly due to his loss of the eyelid.
- Sinister Scythe
The eldest of the brothers. Like his brothers, he lives for revenge. Mugen severed his leg in the raid on the ship he was protecting, and since then he has never uttered a word and uses a wheelchair.
A skilled ninja working as a prostitute in covert to break up a criminal operation counterfeiting coins. She is the daughter of Imano Jinpachi, a member of the Shogunate guard staff. She is purchased by Mugen after winning a rock-paper-scissor game with Jin to see who will stay with her. While Mugen is preparing himself for Yatsuha, she overhears a conversation about the counterfeiting through a wall. After failing multiple attempts to subdue Mugen, who thinks her actions are foreplay, Yatsuha resorts to tricking Mugen into helping her stop the counterfeiting operation by promising him a night of sex.
Pantu/Grim Reapers/Ancestor spirits
Voiced by: Ginpei Sato (JP), Kirk Thornton (EN)
Jin is everything Mugen isn't: polite, honorable, self-controlled and introspective. A ronin who barely speaks, Jin helps Fuu on her quest out of a sense of obligation, while running away from his own past troubles.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: He's pretty enough to get into a brothel while disguised as a prospective prostitute, no questions asked.
- Badass Normal: Doesn't use any Ki, even Mugen pulled off that weird spirit blast thing.
- Bishōnen: Is able to successfully dress up as a woman.
- Blood Knight: Although he doesn't go out of his way to start trouble, Jin never backs down from a fight.
- Subverted in his fight with Yukimaru, which is a major characterization point. Jin urges Yukimaru to withdraw, so that he will not have to put an end to the fight.
- Born in the Wrong Century: According to Jin, there isn't any worthy lord to serve nowadays. The clan symbol on his kimono indicates he's descended from the Takedas or their close retainers. The Takeda clan was one of the Tokugawa clan's 2 main rivals prior to their securing the shogunate, but was exterminated in the power struggle. So Jin is literally a relic of a bygone family and era.
- Character Development: Just like Mugen, Jin gains human connections during the series, so he finally has something he wants to protect.
- Combat Compliment: Both Inuyama and Kariya praise his skill as a swordsman.
- Combat Pragmatist: Over time, Jin takes the Firefly Samurai's advice to heart and starts to use his surroundings to his advantage.
- The Comically Serious: After being...entertained by at least two prostitutes, he gets up and takes out an attacking group of five men in two slices. Then doubles over. "My back!"
- Covert Pervert: Jin is perhaps almost as interested in women as Mugen is, he's just a little more quiet about it.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: He uses this to defeat Kariya. The move is supposed to be suicidal but he manages to survive.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Determinator: Gets a sword through his stomach and keeps going. Able to fight at peak level after being tortured for a whole day. Also falls off bridges a lot. A LOT. You start to wonder if he has gills.
- Disguised in Drag: In Episode 3, to get into a brothel.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Especially since he's so quiet.
- The Fettered
- Good Is Not Nice: Not as bad as usual cases since most of it's more just his serious personality. As a card-carrying samurai he saves a Damsel in Distress from a life of prostitution (and it's heavily implied he'll marry her after her period of isolation ends), will not serve the currently corrupt Government in return for wealth and respect, and refuses to use force if he doesn't have to. However, he is not exactly friendly, starts off with a small superiority complex, doesn't mind sex with prostitutes even after he rescues a severely traumatized one, and in the first episode he saves a peasant from the the corrupt lord that was going to have the peasant beaten or killed for not giving the lord a sufficient bribe, but he takes the peasant's cash too. Of course, the peasant is probably happy to not be on the wrong end of the katana. Then again, saving said peasant proved useful as he later gives Fuu the pipe needed to start the fireworks that would save Mugen and Jin from their executions.
- Honor Before Reason: See The Last DJ below.
- Knight Errant: Prior to the series. He wandered around Japan searching for a purpose until Fuu roped him as her bodyguard.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He knows damn well that it doesn't pay to be good or honorable in the world he was born into. But he just can't help himself from doing the right thing.
- The Lancer: Jin is much less likely to instigate an episode's events than Mugen and Fuu are, and rarely involves them in his conflicts.
- The Last DJ: He could be a famous and wealthy warrior, but first he'd have to find a daimyo he didn't loathe.
- Furthermore, Jin's old master told Jin about the shogunate's plan to turn their school into a corps of assassins for the government, and Jin vehemently protested on principle. For this his master was ordered to kill him, but Jin was the winner of that fight. He could probably clear his name in a second and do serious damage to the government by telling the truth. He'd also dishonor the name of his master and his school, so he goes Walking the Earth instead.
- Lethal Chef: In "Gamblers and Gallantry", Jin mans a grilled eel stand alongside a woman he ran into earlier in the episode. After the dinner rush, he agrees to cook her an eel. Her reaction? "...Wow. Your cooking is really quite amazing. I'm pretty sure this the worst thing I've ever eaten! But I suppose that's a talent in and of itself..."
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy
- Made of Iron
- Mistaken for Gay: Both Mugen and the "Firefly Assassin" from episode two assume on first impressions that he walks down the left side of the street. There are some suggestions that Jin's old school friend Yukimaru was more like an old flame. On the other hand, he seems perfectly willing to sleep with women when the opportunity arises (to Mugen's vocal relief) and he genuinely falls for Shino.
- Worth noting: In the Edo Period, especially for men of Jin's socioeconomic class, bisexuality was a default assumption. Samurai men were expected—even required—to show interest in women but it was perfectly normal to bed another warrior or a hot kabuki actor as well.
- Mr. Fanservice: Very much so, especially when you factor in his detached personality and Shirtless Scenes.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Noble Male to Mugen's Roguish Male.
- Not So Different: With Mugen, both highly trained fighters who don't really enjoy themselves (except in combat) and put a lot of emphasis on martial prowess. Neither experienced love in their lives until they met up with each other (and Fuu). Yes, that was intentionally hoyaytastic.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: To Mugen.
- Perpetual Frowner
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses
- The Quiet One
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Raised and trained indoors, in contrast to deeply suntanned pirate-wanderer Mugen.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Mugen's red.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Trained from childhood in a high-level and super purist dojo, by age 20 he's a fearsome, near-unbeatable kenjutsu prodigy who can't cook, catch fish, hold a conversation (especially with women), or drink more than two shots of sake without falling asleep. He makes a little progress towards (metaphorically) tying his own shoelaces over the course of the series.
- Samurai Ponytail: Though a ronin, he keeps up the proper appearances.
- Shirtless Scene: With torture scenes, hot springs and good old fashioned sword fights, he gets a couple.
- Shrouded in Myth: If you heard the stories being spread about "The Thousand Man Killer" and his exploits, you'd be pretty shocked to find that the guy behind the rumors is the slightly fey broke dude facepalming at his traveling companions.
- Skilled, but NaÔve: One of his early opponents, Inuyaka, notes that while he's a very skilled swordsman, he hasn't had enough outside experience to fight him in an unfamiliar environment, as he's spent his entire life training in a dojo.
- Slipknot Ponytail
- The Spock: He rarely shows emotion and is dispassionate about everything.
- Stoic Spectacles: He's quite fond of them too.
- The Stoic
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- Tall, Dark and Snarky
- Technician Versus Performer: The technician to Mugen's performer.
- Tranquil Fury: You can practically feel the temperature around him drop when he's getting angry, but he won't make a sound.
Voiced by: Makio Inoue (JP), Peter Spellos (EN)
The renowned "Slayer of a Thousand Men", third master of the Muju and Jin's master. He intended to turn the dojo into an academy for training assassins, under pressure from Kensei Kariya Kagetoki, but received passionate opposition from Jin. Then, Mariya tried to kill him in his sleep. However, Jin killed him in defense and Mariya passed away proud of him.
Nagamitsu's mirror-holder and flunky, former student of Mariya Enshiro.
A student of Mariya Enshirou.
Once the respectable wife of a store owner, Shino is forced to work in a brothel to help pay off her husband's gambling debts. A chance encounter with Jin leads to a fairytale romance and hope for freedom from her degrading life.
Voiced by: Kosei Daigo (JP), Doug Stone (EN)
A former sensei of Jin's who had a dojo in Mihara. He was so envied by the other masters that he was ordered by the daimyo to take down his sign or cut off his arm. He committed suicide rather than allow this to happen. He requested that Jin look after his sons should something happen to him.
Niwa Tatsunoshin and Niwa Kazunosuke
Voiced by: Hiro Yuki (Tatsunoshin, JP), Akio Suyama (Kazunosuke, JP)
Sons of Juunosuke and identical twins. After their father's death, they abandoned the way of the sword and tagging is their new way of life. They risk their lives to put text where no brush has scribbled before. They are first seen brawling in the street over who's the real head of the gang. Fuu suggests that they solve their succession argument with a tagging contest (most incredible location wins) and Jin agrees to be the referee.
Voiced by: Takayuki Sugou (JP), Steve Kramer (EN)
An elite samurai working for the Shogunate known as the "Divine Hand" for his skill. Kariya has not drawn his sword in quite some time being that there hasn't been an opponent worthy of him in years, according to Goroujuu, a member of the Shogun's council who visits him. Upon learning of Sara's death
, he determines that Mugen and Jin must be worthy adversaries, and brings himself out of retirement in order to face them. Although employed by the Shogunate, his true motives are to use the government to further his own needs since the age of the samurai is ending.
- Big Bad: Closest thing to a main antagonist in the series. He plays a major part in two of the protagonists' storylines. He's been ordered to kill the Sunflower Samurai, and was the one who ordered Mariya to kill Jin.
- Blood Knight
- Born in the Wrong Century
- Charles Atlas Superpower
- Cultured Badass
- Evil Counterpart: To Jin, reflecting that both of them are swordsman who hold values that are no longer relevant. But whereas Jin gradually becomes protective of those he cares about, Kariya seeks to manipulate others to get by.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Man Behind the Man: He's the one who ordered Mariya Enshirou to kill Jin.
- Nonchalant Dodge: Mugen and Jin can barely get close to him, let alone touch him.
- Obfuscating Stupidity/Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
- Power of the God Hand: Kariya Kagetoki is known as the Hand of God due to his skills.
- Red Baron: The fabled "Hand of God". He surpasses his reputation. One can only wonder what he must have been like in his prime.
- SNK Boss: A non-videogame example obviously, but seriously. The man has explicit superpowers that he whips out at the drop of a hat AND is a superior swordsman. This makes him almost literally untouchable. Our protagonists have only mundane strength and skill at their disposal, as do most of the other opponents in the series (the only exception being the next most powerful enemy Mugen has faced, who had to throw the fight to die).
- Sphere of Power
- World's Best Warrior: Considered the best swordsman in the series, though he notes there is a "paper-thin margin" between him and Jin. Jin has to exploit a Taking You with Me to wound and kill him.
The driving force behind the story. Fuu is a Nice Girl
looking for a samurai who smells of sunflowers, who is her father, Seizo Kasumi
. She has some connections with the underground Christian movement, a movement she doesn't know about.
- A-Cup Angst
- All-Loving Hero: Not a mean bone in her body, and due to her actions she saved both main's lives and an innumerable number of side characters.
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In one episode, Fuu believes she is to be the "prize" in a duel between two brothers battling to succeed their father's dojo (they had both commented on how absolutely cute something was while looking in her direction). When the duel is over, the two brothers approach Fuu as though they're going to glomp her, only to become preoccupied with her flying squirrel. Fuu is pissed.
- Berserk Button: While not driving her into a murderous rage, she gets pissed whenever Mugen calls her ugly.
- Big Eater: Interestingly, she fits both the "surprisingly skinny" and "fat" versions of the trope, as she's normally pretty lanky, but will temporarily swell up and get a Balloon Belly after some particularly serious eating.
Mugen: You're some kind of low-grade monster.
- She is a teenager, a time when metabolisms are at their highest.
- Used to hilarious extremes in one episode, when after eating a huge meal, after which she looks like she's put on 200 kg, she is seen by a set of guards with Jin and Mugen when they've just gotten themselves into trouble (again). The guards run into her again after she's slimmed down and ask her:
Excuse me, miss, have you seen a really fat girl around your age?
- Bodyguard Crush: Possibly on Jin, Mugen, or both. While most interpret her as being closest to Mugen, she's more openly affectionate with Jin (as they're both of samurai families, they have much more in common).
- The Chick
- Curtains Match the Window
- Damsel in Distress: A fairly justified version, since while Mugen and Jin have pasts which justify their combat prowess, Fuu is just a normal teenager.
- Gag Boobs: In the first episode, she hides some bombs in her dress and runs through town with them bouncing to and fro.
- Gainaxing: See above.
- Green-Eyed Monster: She's angry whenever Jin or Mugen visit other woman.
- Interesting to note though that whenever Jin gets interested in another woman she gets seriously concerned and worried about him, while when Mugen gets interested in another woman she just gets furiously jealous.
- The Heart: She keeps Mugen and Jin from killing each other, and takes it hard whenever they try to leave.
- Heavy Voice: Has one on the occasions that she gorges herself to obesity.
- Japanese Christian: The daughter of Saizo Kazumi, leader of Christianity in Japan.
- The Kirk
- Memento MacGuffin: The skull charm on her knife's sheath. It's a hint to her father's past, but she doesn't learn this until near the end of the series.
- Neutral Female: Not quite. She's physically weak and small, and probably should stay out of fights, but she intercedes on more then one occasion. Personality-wise, she is a very strong, determined person and is by no means completely helpless when she's stuck in a tight spot. Hellhounds for Hire comes to mind.
- Nice Girl: While she may get frustrated by her companions antics, she's ultimately a very considerate person who can even sympathize with those who kidnap her.
- Plucky Girl: She runs off with two guys she's never met, one of dubious morality, saves their asses from the government, to find some guy whose face she doesn't remember. Does she give up? No. Does she give in? Hell no! Face it, Fuu is stronger willed then either Mugen or Jin. Or just plain insane.
- For a specific example, in one episode a thug tries to threaten her with a knife and tells her if she screams, he'll kill her. She goes ahead and screams before he has time to actually put the knife in a threatening position.
- The Protagonist: While Mugen and Jin are more active due to their fighting skills, the plot is still primarily about Fuu's quest to find the Sunflower Samurai.
- Spell My Name with an "S": A single example—the Impression soundtrack CD has a song called "Who's Theme".
- Small Name, Big Ego: She thinks the men are lining up to ravish her. She's usually wrong.
Fuu's pet flying squirrel.
The Samurai Who Smells of Sunflowers (Seizo Kasumi)
Voiced by: Kouji Nakata (JP), Doug Stone (EN)
The man Fuu is looking for. He is actually Fuu's father. He left Fuu and her mother to save them from anti-Christian persecution.
Should be noted it's "the Samurai who smells of sunflowers".
Ladies of the Champloo Universe
A Russet-haired beauty who the trio encounters while traversing a forest. Mugen fixes her broken sandal strap and she entices him to a nearby shack. They make out, but before going further Mugen pulls away and spits, realizing he has been poisoned. Hotaru informs him that her smooch contained the toxic "One Night's Mushroom", which is normally benign, but which, since it was consumed with alcohol, would kill him by morning. She reveals that she is working for Ryujiro and he has the antidote. With time running short, Mugen spares her life and rushes off.
Daigorou's demure daughter. Before she is forcibly procured by Ishimatsu, as an excuse to make up for Sousuke's insolence, she was the latter's tutor. She is put to work with in one of Rikiei's brothels, where she meets Fuu (who is also being forced into prostitution because of bad fortune) and they become friends. Both are emancipated after Rikiei's demise.
Voiced by: Reiko Kiuchi (JP), Melodee M. Spevack (EN)
A creepy old lady fortune-teller. For a small coin, she gives Fuu a hint: "Watch out for pots/vases."note
Voiced by: Yayoi Nakazawa (JP)
The Fearsome Bookseller, an imposing middle-aged female owner of the bookshop/gallery where Moronobu's art is displayed, married to Roukishi, apparently sells some really captivating porn.
An attractive young kabuki actor.
A brunette with dreamy eyes, a penchant for quoting proverbs, and a "sweet tooth for grapes" and (foreign) grape wine. Although Nagamitsu, her husband, calls her Osen, "Budoukiba" ("grape fang") is her name.
Takegawa and Suyama
A pair of courtesans offered to Mugen and Jin in Episode 15. Jin is forced to spend the night with them after losing a rock-paper-scissor game with Mugen.
A woman who believes in Christianity. She was kidnapped by Xavier, who hopes to force her to marry him.
A beautiful, barefoot blind musician who the trio encounters near the end of their journey. The quartet travel together for a while, and she reveals she has an illegitimate son that was sequestered from her, allegedly due to her blindness. She requests for one of the men to accompany her to reclaim her son. Knowing that Mugen likes Sara, Fuu reluctantly offers Jin, expecting him to reject the offer, but Jin accepts. Sara is in reality a Shogunate assassin, sent to expunge both Mugen and Jin.
- Badass: Almost as tough as Kariya.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with.
- Blind Weaponmaster: If she used a sword, she'd deserve the title Master Swordsman. Instead she's a Master Yari-user?
- Bullying a Dragon: Subverted in the beginning (where those guys that hassle her have no idea that they're a mood change away from being bloody puddles on the floor), and played straight in the end where Mugen provokes her because she is stronger than he is. Doubles for a Tear Jerker ending when she dies.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Like Kariya, her master, her insane skills are derived from training in the martial arts themselves, not an incidental superpower. Her Hyper Awareness is derived from her blindness.
- Death Seeker: When she realizes that her son is already deceased.
- Disability Superpower
- Does Not Like Shoes: She's always barefoot, likely due to her blindness as it helps her make out the terrain.
- Handicapped Badass: It's interesting to note that her skills and competence do not originate from her disability. Her enhanced senses - derived from her blindness - simply compensate for her loss of sight (and enhance her awareness).
- I Did What I Had to Do
- Ki Attacks: Taught to her by her master. Her weapon can cut through solid stone like butter, and every slice is accompanied by the telltale bursts of wind that occur when ki is used.
- Lady of War: She is a fighter on the level of 'Hand of God' Kariyanote , and is actually more skilled - and probably more experienced - than both Mugen and Jin. She is also quite a bit older than them and seems to have been doing her shtick for a very long time.
- Let's Get Dangerous
- Mama Bear
- Professional Killer
- Punch Clock Villain
- The Stoic: Taken to the extreme and lampshaded several times.
- Too Powerful to Live: She's the second most skilled opponent in the entire show (second only to Kariya Kagetoki). The only reason why Mugen and Jin are alive by the end of her arc is that she allowed Mugen to kill her. Suffice to say Mugen is significantly pissed off.
- Case in point: the only way Jin can get out of their fight alive is to destroy the freaking bridge they're fighting on.
- Unwitting Pawn: She doesn't realise until the end that her child has been dead for a long time, and even then she can't do anything about the fact that she was manipulated. Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
Voiced by: Seiji Sasaki (JP), Jamieson Price (EN)
A large man with a misshapen face that frightenes most people. Oniwakamaru is haunted by memories of being chased out of a village by a torch wielding mob, and is what motivates is defensive violence. He wields a large double bladed weapon and is strong enough to knock a defending fighter off their feet.
Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki (JP), Ezra Weisz (EN)
An effeminate ukiyo-e artist with a captivating smile. He convinces Fuu to pose for him semi-nude knowing that she will be taken by slave traders and the portrait used as advertisement. Because she was sweet to him and liked his picture, he has misgivings and tries to free her, but gets caught by the three Punk Stooges. Mugen shows up and demands that he talk, and Moronobu spills the whole slave trade story. He ends up trying to leave for Europe where his art will be appreciated, with a stunning picture of Fuu in his luggage. Manzou tells us in the end narration that he was caught and deported to Japan, but his picture of Fuu stayed on in Holland to inspire Vincent van Gogh.
The announcer is self-proclaimed as Edo's number one gossip, as he sells newspaper prints by reading them aloud.
A recurring character, Manzo, known also as "The Saw", is a lampoon of Hanzo Itami.
Voiced by: Takaya Hashi (JP), Michael Forest (EN)
Introduced as a timid, easily startled old man who nonetheless is a samurai by title; he is actually a skilled assassin hired by Ryūjirō Sasaki . He and Jin do battle in episode 2; but after Oniwakamaru strangles Sasaki to death he retreats, seeing as he no longer has anything to gain from killing Jin.
Voiced by: Ryuzaburo Otomo (JP), Peter Spellos (EN)
A yojimbo to an influential yakuza boss, Rikiei. His considerable height, dark skin and a string of large Buddhist beads he wears around his neck are distinctive features. Rikiei offers Mugen a partnership after Mugen impresses him with his fighting skills. This does not sit well with Ishimatsu, and he and Mugen do not get along; barely past introductions they are attacking each other. Their duel is cut short by Rikiei, who wants to get down to business. Eventually, disillusioned by Kawara Heitarou's sacrifice, Ishimatsu cuts down Rikiei, and finishes his duel with Mugen. He suffers an honorable defeat. His manriki can be seen as a wild card, in the same light as Mugen's tantou.
Voiced by: Hidekatsu Shibata (JP), Simon Prescott (EN)
Elderly clan head, known as "The Merciful" despite being a yakuza. First appears listening to Daigorou and Osuzu make their plea. Refuses to hire Jin, saying that it will only lead to more bloodshed. Tries several times to prevent escalation, having seen too much bloodshed in the past.
After Sosuke is taken hostage, he agrees to settle by wager. He loses the wager and commits seppuku.
The 12-year-old son of Heitarou. First appears being tutored by Osuzu, then turns up in fight trying to get the deed to Osuzu's father's store back. Jin saves him from a beating and becomes his bodyguard.
- Kid Samurai: Deconstructed. He tries to be one to save Osuzu, but gets beaten and berated for being overly impulsive.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While it's hard to blame him for how he feels and what he does, his actions only end up making a bad situation even worse, and ultimately seals his father's fate.
A strange man who claims to be Japanese even though his accent, red hair and blue eyes suggest otherwise. After winning Mugen's and Jin's swords in an eating contest, he asks Mugen, Jin, and Fuu to give him a tour of Edo in exchange for the return of their swords, and tells them that his name is "Jouji".
His real name is Isaac and he represents the famous Dutch East India company, the Governor-General in charge of trade. Isaac was to meet with the shogun but wanted to see Edo instead, his subordinates had been delaying the meeting while looking for him. In an emotional scene, he reveals that he was persecuted in his homeland because of his homosexuality, and upon reading Ihara Saikaku's "Great Mirror of Male Love", hoped to find a more tolerant environment in Japan - only to find that here he's a distrusted foreigner. Fuu asks him if he's seen "The Samurai who smells of Sunflowers" and shows him her trinket. After examining it he says to never show it to people and that it's dangerous to be showing it around at all in Japan.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: No, that is not a Dutch name. Not that most Japanese (or Americans, for that matter) would realize it. (His surname really should be spelled Titsingh, after the real Dutch Governor-General to Edo at the time; either "Kitching" is just a guess/transcription from the Japanese pronunciation, or they didn't want to suggest that Titsingh had been gay.)
- Big Eater
- Bi the Way: Even though he is attracted by men, he first fell for the kabuki actor mistaking him for a women, so he is attracted to women, too (although that could've been in a non-sexual, aesthetic way).
- Funny Foreigner
- Gentle Giant
- Gratuitous Japanese
- Straight Gay
- Ho Yay: Turns it into a personal philosophy.
Voiced by: Shigeru Shibuya (JP), Johnny Yong Bosch (EN)
A guy who is forced to steal to support himself and his mother. He first appears bumping into Fuu on the street, and it is later revealed that he picked her pocket. His next victim happens to be the head of a band of drug smugglers, yielding a packet of opium powder. He takes the drugs to Hikoichi for resale, but gets ratted out. Meanwhile, the doctor is telling him that it would take a hundred times his current funds to cure his mother's illness, and his mom is getting antsy because he won't tell her what he's up to. Fuu corners him at the same time the gang tracks him down, he takes her hostage and holes up in a warehouse. He was injured by the gang, and Fuu binds the cut and gets him to talk about his problems and they become friends.
A man who believes he's destined for great things and has set out to make a name for himself. A self proclaimed samurai, he travels all over Japan aiming to defeat the best regarded samurai in Japan, eventually hoping to live in Edo castle.
Samurai of the Fuu Sekisai Ryu. On the way he meets Shoryuu, is challenged by him and is killed by him.
Voiced by: Show Hayami (JP), Jeffrey Stackhouse (EN)
Born into the royal bloodline of the samurai, Ukon studied kenjutsu under the tutelage of Zuikou before he was sent on a voyage to the mainland. However, the journey was interrupted by violent seastorms and the boat he was traveling on was wrecked by the waves. Even so, Ukon survived the journey and he was found lying unconscious on the mainland by a group of shaolin monks, from whom he learnt of a mysterious fighting technique called 'Hakkei'
.The tenth episode is a character study of this martial arts student-turned-renegade as he travels to challenge and defeat the fighters he encounters across the country in the hopes of achieving national recognition for what he deems to be superior fighting skills.
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Is this in relation to his former teacher Zuikou.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Oh yes. It's also interesting to note that he takes pride in a martial artform that was taught to him by shaolin monks.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: It's loosely hinted that despite having trained rigorously at using Hakkei and knowing how to use it efficiently as a result, Ukon might not fully understand the power of his technique. When dojos kick him out because of his inability to understand or realise this fact, he became greatly insulted as he thought they simply did it to shun him.
- Although in the conversation he holds with Mugen for the first time over the bridge, he shows that he appears to be aware of what he is turning into.
- Blood Knight: A very bloodthirsty one as well.
- Charles Atlas Superpower
- It's All About Me: This comes in motherfucking spades.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: ...but only initially. By the time he gets to fight Mugen, he may or may not have confessed that he doesn't really care about this any longer.
- That Man Is Dead: He completes his transformation into 'Shoryuu' by announcing this trope in a private conversation he has with his former instructor.
- Serial Killer: 'He made the mountains his home, and he became a demon.'
- Villainous Breakdown: Aside from the motivation that gives him his reputation as tsugiri, the reaction he has to Mugen duplicating his Ki blast with only a month of training (which betrays the possibility that it may have taken him much longer to practice with his own ki attacks) might be a flicker of this.
Formerly a martial arts teacher, with Ukon having been one of his most talented followers. Becomes a priest to compensate for being unable to stop his student from turning rogue. Offers Fuu and company food and shelter in return for help with maintaining the temple and other domestic chores. Appears to be a canny and an highly intuitive individual.
- The Atoner
- Bald of Awesome: It's big and shiny. Mugen compliments him greatly for it and gets rewarded accordingly.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: With subtle implications, and the justifications thereof.
- Coconut Superpowers: He is highly intuitive, and has great reflexes.
- It's not completely absurd to suggest that he may also have done some research into the art of Hakkei, and the explanation he gives to Mugen of the offensive uses of this technique gives fruition to that possibility.
Voiced by: Tomohisa Asou (JP)
Nicknamed 'the lightning dynamo', Momoi is a poser who lives by a false reputation as an accomplished dojo instructor and surrounds himself with a group of flunkies. Mugen goes after him in order to ask about the tsugiri, but is mistaken for the tsugiri himself. In the ensuing scuffle, the flunkies are quickly disposed of and in as much time, dynamo exposes himself for the coward that he is.
Voiced by: Ken Narita (JP), Erik Davies (EN)
A Shogunate official, infatuated with Kohza. He becomes Mukuro's collaborator in his plan to steal gold from a ship.
A young shogunate ninja with a highly distracting facial mole and Yatsuha's underground counterpart. Before the story begins he apparently steals some of the forged koban to present as evidence. He ditches the gold in the river (where it is later found by Jin) but gets caught and withstands torture to protect Yatsuha's cover. Rescued (inadvertantly) by Mugen in a very painful state. Appears again at the end of the episode, leaning the unconcious Mugen against a tree outside of town, and expresses disbelief at Yatsuha's taste in men.
Voiced by: Joji Nakata (JP), Tom Wyner (EN)
The leader of a group creating counterfeit coins.
An Ainu warrior whose village was struck by an epidemic and torched by the Matsumae clan Han. Overcome with rage, he killed the official who authorized the burning. He was arrested and incarcerated, but escaped before he could be executed. His weapon is unique, a modified crossbow, called a Chu-Ko-Nu, that can repeatedly fire bolts.
Francisco Xavier III
A man who claims to be the grandson of the first Francisco de Xavier, an evangelist who introduced Jesus to Japan. He deceives an underground Christian village into producing firearms for him to make money. His crown is shaved in the fashion of a Western monk, and he is highly amblyopic.
Voiced by: Bon Ishihara (JP)
A crazy old hermit who fishes Jin out of the river after his fight with Sara. When Jin comes to, Johnny teaches him how to fish, and it is awesome.
A former ninja, a member of a hereditary elite guard that got shut down when the isolation order went into effect (that's how he's had enough contact with foreigners to know how to play baseball). He wears distinctive snazzy sunglasses. He is first seen sitting in a tree, balancing a baseball on his head. When Mugen runs past, fleeing from the restaurant staff, he jumps down and slugs him with the baseball. Mugen's return pitch is forceful enough to knock over a pagoda, and earn the trio a chance to get out of trouble by playing on Kagemaruís baseball team.
Alexander Joy Cartwright
Voiced by: Jamie Schyy (JP), Steve Kramer (EN)
The overweight American admiral. He comes to Japan in order to open trade by force. Kagemaru challenges him and his crew to a baseball game to settle the dispute.
Voiced by: Ryan Drees (JP), Doug Stone (EN)
A man who is very enthusiastic about being literate and forces Mugen to learn how to read.