Kanbei is a older samurai who fought in the Great War, though he feels no pride from this. Many of his friends have died in the war. He lives in the shadow of his painful and violent past, rejecting Kirara's plea for help after stating that his heart is dried up. However, he later recants this and joins their cause. He leads the group during their battles and usually plans strategy. In the end, after understanding Katsushiro has become a successful samurai, he passes his sword onto him. He is the first samurai. To avoid confusion it should be noted that in the English dub he is called "Kambei" instead of "Kanbei".
Badass: Out of the seven samurai, all formitable on their own, he is the best.
Barehanded Blade Block: He pulls one off with Kikuchiyo's sword. It's slightly justified in that Kikuchiyo's sword is wide enough that Kanbei could hold it with out having to touch the edge of the blade.
Blade Brake: He pulls off a rather memorable one involving a falling elevator.
The Chosen One: Kirara's water crystal pointed to him specifically. It was his idea to find six other samurai.
Graceful Loser: He readily admits defeat to Kyuzo when the other samurai has him on the ropes.
Kikuchiyo is a cyborg with a mechanized exoskeleton. He is originally a peasant until becoming a samurai to help others. He is often looked upon as a clown or a bother, as he gets angry easily and often causes trouble with his loud noise and clumsy ways. He is accepted as the seventh samurai after standing up to the other samurai and revealing that he was also a farmer, like the peasants of Kanna. He carries the largest of the swords, which also acts as a chainsaw. He is fiercely loyal to Kanbei, and, when given recognition, he returns favors fourfold. He is well liked by the villagers, especially by little Komachi, who asks him to become her husband when she grows up, a request that he accepts in return for her keeping his fake family tree.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: It cuts through walls and thick stone pillars with ease, though in in this case it might have more to do with Kikuchiyo's strength.
Animated Armor: A science fiction example of one; mechanized armor instead of enchanted armor.
Berserk Button: He's not afraid to attack any civilian who dares to underestimate him or insult him. Thankfully, he's often held back by his companions; unfortunately, it also means that when they're not around he has trouble even walking down a street without starting a brawl.
Boisterous Bruiser: His energy and guts make a great contrast with the other, more reserved, samurai.
Chainsaw Good: His sword essentially functions as a chainsaw/jackhammer.
Destructive Savior: His first scene involved him destroying a shop to catch the thief hiding in it. At least he asked permission from the owner first.
Died Standing Up: His feet are still firmly planted in place afterwards, even though the rest of him was vaporized.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Cleaves the capital ship in half with an Nobuseri sword, blowing himself up in the process. If Samurai 7 were a "Who can have the most noble and awesome death scene" contest, he'd win.
Extreme Omnivore: When offered a bowl of rice, he eats some of the rice before shattering the bowl and inhaling the whole thing.
Friend to All Children: When the samurai have some downtime with no enemies to fight, Kiku can often be found playing with the village children. His best friend is definitely Komachi.
Plucky Comic Relief: His skills are nothing to brag about in the first part of the series, so most of the time, he's good for a laugh.
Precocious Crush: He's on the receiving end of one of these from this from Komachi. He even tearfully accepts her proposal to be her husband when she grows up. Daaaw.
Super Strength: He possesses this, and even uses it to break himself and a number of prisoners out of a jail cell. He's by far the most physically powerful of the samurai, though the others are much more skilled and dangerous.
Took a Level in Badass: After he admits to being a farmer and stops denying a part of himself, he's able to become a true samurai, and he soon begins to distinguish himself in battle. He's even capable of vibrating his blade like the other samurai are.
Unskilled, but Strong: He doesn't exactly have the same level of competence as the other samurai, but he's easily the most physically powerful of them. And it shows during his Heroic Sacrifice when he picks up a sword intended to be held by a Humongous Mecha and cleaves an entire airship in half.
Vibroweapon: Notable in that he does it with a massive Nobuseri sword in order to cut the Capital in half.
Voiced by: Romi Paku (JP), Sean Michael Teague (EN)
Katsushiro is the youngest and most inexperienced of the samurai. He joins both to help the village and because he wishes to be Kanbei's student, calling him sensei almost from their first meeting. He idolizes the principles of bushido. He vows to protect Kirara no matter what, and seems to be attracted to her. He grows stronger and more skillful throughout the series, eventually becoming a worthy student of Kanbei; and he also comes to terms with killing enemies, after reacting in shock the first time. He becomes strong enough to deflect the capital's main cannon, and defeated numerous bandits all by himself. He gains emotional strength as well, and understands his true reason for becoming a samurai. He thanks Kirara in the end but doesn't pursue her, and explains to Kanbei that he intends to continue his life on the battlefield. After hearing this, Kanbei gives him his sword as recognition for being his student. Unlike in the original movie, he shows more focus on becoming a samurai and improving his skills (where in the original he was preoccupied with a love affair). He is the fifth samurai.
Bodyguard Crush: At first he vowed to help Kirara because of Bushido but his motivation soon changes.
Heroic BSOD: He has a brief one after his first kill, but Kanbei snaps him out of it.
Honor Before Reason: Taken to extremes; he believes that the code of Bushido is law and subject to no interpretation. It even causes him to have a falling out with Kanbei, though by the end of the series, he grows out of it and becomes just another world-weary warrior like the rest of the samurai.
When his sword is destroyed in the final battle, he grabs a gun from a fallen guard and shoots an enemy about to kill Kanbei, but also kills Kyuzo, who was hidden from view by the enemy, and naturally was also defending Kanbei.
He's also indirectly responsible for the death of Heihachi, who was laying charges while Katsushiro defended. Katsushiro lost focus in battle and was didn't notice a guard who was aiming at Heihachi's unprotected back, and so could not kill him before he opened fire. Heihachi's resulting wounds left him unable to stop a thrown sword that pinned him next to the final charge.
Rules Lawyer: Count on him to point out even the smallest violations of the code of Bushido. The others are either so pragmatic or so world-weary (or hotheaded, in Kiku's case) that they rarely pay much attention.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: His version of Bushido is far more idealistic and benevolent than that of most real samurai. As he experiences the samurai life for himself, his idealism falls away and by the end of the series he picks up a pair of Jade-Colored Glasses.
Gorobei is a skilled samurai who has made his living since the wars' end by entertaining people on the city streets. He is also a veteran of the Great War, so he knows Kanbei by reputation. He is very skilled at dodging blows and can pluck arrows and darts from the air. This ability was presumably based of the fact that in the original movie, Gorobei was able to sense (from a few feet outside the door) Katsushiro's waiting to hit him inside the hut. He often makes light of rather serious or dangerous situations. He is also quite smart, in his own unique way. To him, all the world was a stage and the people, merely players. He is the second samurai.
Brutal Honesty: When he and Kanbei were discussing how to recruit more samurai, Kikuchiyo asked if they were counting him. Gorobei told him, quite frankly, that they were not.
Combat Sadomasochist: Appears to get turned on twice in the series: once from almost being shot in the forehead by an arrow with minor bleeding, then during a fight with the yakan/Nobuseri when a bullet grazes his cheek, also drawing blood.
Heroic Sacrifice: He blocks a massive bullet that would have killed, or at least seriously wounded the other samurai, but doing so left him open, which allowed another bullet to hit the house right behind him and explode, which killed him.
Nice Guy: A little brutal honesty about Kikuchiyo's abilities aside, he's one of the nicest samurai.
Shichiroji initially fought side by side in the Great War with Kanbei, and is often referred to as "Kanbei's old wife." ("Mate" in the English series) He temporarily leaves behind his successful post-war business at the Firefly Inn, and with it, his beautiful girlfriend/fiance, to join Kanbei in battle once again. He has a prosthetic left hand which has a grappling hook capability with his index finger. In combat he uses a type of spear; the only samurai not using a sword. This is probably a reference to his using a spear mainly during the final battle in the original movie (though normally he carried a sword). His girlfriend, Yukino, has nicknamed him Momotaro, from the traditional Japanese tale, because she found him, badly injured after a battle, floating down a river inside a capsule reminiscent of a peach. He is the fourth samurai.
Artificial Limbs: He has an armor plated arm that shoots grappling hooks from the fingers.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kanbei. Despite the fact that he has a fiance and a successful business, he joins Kanbei without even being asked. Before the start of the series and the gathering of the other samurai, it's clear that the only friend Kanbei still had was Shichiroji.
Shichiroji: "I'll be at your side." Kanbei: "There's no reward or fame, only a bloody war. Are you sure?" Shichiroji: "Yes." Kanbei: "This time, we may meet our deaths." Shichiroji: (smiles softly)
Retired Badass: He fought alongside Kanbei in the last war but had been living as an inn keeper since. Then Kanbei showed up and he took up a spear again.
Retirony: He joins up with the group for one last battle with his old fried and even waves good bye to his girlfriend/fiance. Kirara even has the nerve to tell his fiance that "Momotaro"note the hero from a traditional Japanese fairly tale and the nickname Shichiroji's fiance gave himalways comes back with loads of treasure. Inverted. Out of the seven samurai, he is one of the three survivors.
Heihachi is a genial samurai who wishes to avoid fighting as much as possible and prefers to eat rice instead. During the Great War, he took a position as a combat engineer, which kept him off the front lines but also used his mechanical skills. He is discovered chopping wood in exchange for food or devices that interest him. He is most helpful within the group as their mechanic, and orchestrates the construction of medieval-type weapons. However, he harbors a deep hatred for traitors as he was one himself, which resulted in his whole unit being killed. Within the series, he talks about the old tradition of the "seven rice kami" inside every grain of rice. He is the third samurai.
The Atoner: During the war, he sold his comrades out, leading to their deaths. Ever since, he's tried to live his life as they would so as to give their deaths meaning. Furthermore, his hatred of traitors stems from his own self-hatred, and the reason he's so willing to execute a traitor is because he's afraid that they'll only be as dependable as he was.
Berserk Button: Traitors be warned. Though it can be missed at first as his is more of a Tranquil Fury, when one of the farmers betrays the samurai Heihachi is by far the strongest proponent of just stabbing him and being done with it.
Dying Moment of Awesome: He is badly wounded and pinned to a wall when setting charges that would cause significant damage to the Capital and greatly limit the damage to Kanna Village when the ship crashed. Rather than let Katsushiro waste precious time helping him escape, he hits the detonator, despite the fact that he was right next to one of the charges. His last words as the part of the ship he's on falls to the ground are to declare that his spirit will be one of the seven gods in the rice of Kanna Village.
Eyes Always Shut: Though he doesn't adhere to this as strictly as characters from other works.
Redemption Equals Death: He sees his death as such. He's lived his life trying to make the deaths of the comrades he betrayed mean something, and he hopes to one day have a death worthy of them. He does.
Stepford Smiler: Underneath that easy going perma-grin, he has some serious self-loathing stemming from the fact that he betrayed his comrades and got them all killed.
Kyuzo is originally a nearly silent, mysterious bodyguard for Ayamaro. In that role, he fights with Kanbei, and he later joins the group with the stated intent of saving Kanbei's life so that he can later fight Kanbei to the death. Kyuzo is an incredibly skilled fighter, wielding double blades that fit into one sheath on his back. He is the sixth samurai.
Does Not Like Guns: Though its never stated outright, the contempt he shows for his old partner, who went off the deep end and started using a gun, is suggestive. Ironically, he himself died from being shot by an ally using a gun.
Dual Wielding: Unlike the other samurai, he uses two swords instead of one.
Heel-Face Turn: He began the series working for Ukyo's father before switching sides. It's actually something of a Berserk Button for many enemies, and several of them want to kill him specifically because of his betrayal.
Implausible Fencing Powers: He stands out among all the rest. Whereas all the others appear forceful and almost graceless when cutting through the giant Nobuseri, as if they're doing something that, though not difficult, require a great deal of power, Kyuzo is presented as extremely graceful in battle. Especially earlier in the series, he just jumps all over the Nobuseris' bodies, waving his sword, and body parts just fall off.
Major Injury Underreaction: His only reply to having a mangled and crippled right arm is that he can still use his left arm competently.
One-Man Army: The biggest one of them all: While Kanbei and Shichiroji fought together, Kyuzo fought alone and still did quite well for himself.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The whole reason he joined up in the first place. He and Kanbei fought early in the series and Kanbei lost, but he refused to continue the battle because he had already sworn to defend the village and he would be unable to fulfill that vow if he died. Kyuzo, realizing that the mission would be dangerous and possibly even suicidal, decided to come along and make sure Kanbei survived.
Token Evil Teammate: He's not cruel or greedy like the Nobuseri or the other samurai employed by merchants, but he's coldly pragmatic and utterly ruthless, he has no qualms about killing his former comrades. Then there's the fact that he only joined up to kill Kanbei. The above causes the others to be wary of him at first, but his extreme badassery and surprising altruism win their respect.
Worthy Opponent: The only reason ever stated for him joining up. No one kills Kanbei but him (though he's also willing to defend others). Though Kanbei greatly respects Kyuzo's skills, he's too jaded to care about the rivalry.
Kirara is a Mikumari (water maiden, a village priestess) of Kanna. She decides to find the samurai that will defend her village, while admitting that she also wanted to see the outside world. She possesses a dowsing crystal on a necklace which allows her to detect the flow of groundwater and to read others' hearts. She rejects Katsushiro's love, and later is shown to have fallen for Kanbei instead, who rejected her for his own reasons.
Neutral Female: Says as much herself after having Katsushiro kill a bandit for her. She is also told as much by Kanbei though he is speaking more of the farmers in general. Justified as she's a priestess, not a warrior.
Plucky Girl: While acknowledging danger, she never lets it get her down.
Yamato Nadeshiko: First, notice the Hime Cut. Second, notice how unfailingly polite she is to the Jerk Ass samurai who eat her village's rice but refuse to protect it. Third, notice her unfailing bravery and determination to recruit the seven samurai in the face of danger.
Komachi is Kirara's little sister, who follows along with her and Rikichi to see the city as well as help locate the samurai. She likes the boisterous Kikuchiyo and asks him to marry her when she grows up. Komachi is seen with her sister's dowsing necklace hinting that she inherited her position as the Mikumari of her village.
Precocious Crush: Has one on Kikuchiyo. She eventually admits this to him, and says they should get married when she grows up. He couldn't have been happier.
Token Mini-Moe: Kiara's adorable little sister, who follows her and little else.
Rikichi is a peasant of Kanna, who travels with Kirara to locate the samurai. He can be often rash because of his hatred for the bandits. He blames himself for the loss of his wife, Sanae, who has given herself up to the bandits to save the village. Kanbei promises to rescue Sanae, and Rikichi is eventually reunited with her.
Took a Level in Badass: Starts out as a sniveling farmer unable even to protect his rice from a street thief. By the end he is a skilled fighter, though not as good as the samurai of course.
Masamune is Kikuchiyo's mechanic and veteran of the Great War. As the series progresses, he befriends Kambei and the other samurai while they stayed in Kogakyo. He was the one who helped them escape Kogakyo in episode 6 of the show. (Although he was tied up by Kambei and "roughened up" by Kikuchiyo as a ploy to trick the attendants into believing that Masamune was taken hostage rather than willingly aiding the samurai)
Ukyo is the adopted heir to Ayamaro. His shielded and pampered lifestyle leaves him with a self-centered yet playful attitude on life, which is really a cover for a rather calculating, manipulative and cruel personality. He is later revealed to be the 49th clone of the Emperor and after surviving a three-day ordeal of constant questioning, Ukyo is proclaimed heir to the throne. He then murders the emperor to succeed him and launches a plan to pit the villagers, samurai and bandits against one another to consolidate his control.
Berserk Button: He hates machine samurai. It's not until much later that it's revealed this is because he grew up as a peasant and was oppressed by them like all the other peasants.
Big Bad: The central villain in both halves of the story but more so in the second half of the series because it is there that his Evil Plan drives the plot.
Broken Aesop: In-universe. He was raised a peasant then adopted by a merchant as a means of teaching sympathy him for them and the rest of the social classes, and possibly to drill into him some semblance of fiscal discipline. It might have worked a little better if his adoptive father was rather less well-to-do, and/or treated him like a son than a white elephant whose most minor distress would cause a major diplomatic incident; in the end, his upbringing left him greedy, cunning, and utterly amoral.
The Dandy: As a merchant's son and later emperor he enjoys being a fashionable dresser.
Dirty Coward: Ukyo is not a fighter and when a battle comes to him, he's prone to freaking out in sheer terror.
Evil Plan: At first he wanted to add Kirara to his paid harem and abduct her if necessary. When she resisted it became an obession and he sent assassins after her and her samurai. Later he has bigger goals in mind.
Faux Affably Evil: Ukyo is a funny, charming and affable fellow well liked by his Paid Harem. This is nothing but a mask for a ruthless, calculating and cruel personality who views said harem as nothing more than replaceable objects and human life as expendable for his goals.
Villain with Good Publicity: He is so good at winning the people over and demonizing his predecessor that when Kiku says he wants to ram his sword through 'the emperor's chest' another group of samurai laugh and think he means the old emperor. He couldn't possibly mean their sympathetic and benevolent new emperor.
Tessai is a samurai employed by Ukyo as a body guard. Throughout most of the series, he plays the role of the frustrated sycophant to Ukyo; enduring near constant verbal abuse. However, he is eventually revealed to be a competent warrior, who's martial skills may even be greater than the heroes. His subservience to Ukyo comes from a sense of personal honor in loyalty to his retainer, however undeserving that retainer might be.
Ayamaro is the Magistrate to Kogakyo and adopted father of Ukyo. He raised Ukyo and taught him in the ways of commerce. When his samurai hunt for the murderer of the Imperial Envoy turn up unsuccessful, he is stripped of his title which is given to Ukyo. Ayamaro was seen in the last episode, living among the Shikimoribito (Guardians).