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Kid Samurai

A youngster who may have all the skills and attitude to be a samurai, but has not yet actually faced true battle. Often the Kid Samurai has practiced an "art" form like kendo, instead of a battle form like kenjutsu, and has yet even to draw blood in a fight. Sometimes played as an arrogant buffoon, other times as a "little brother" sidekick. If he doesn't die a tragic death in one of his first true battles, the Kid Samurai may mature into the true Samurai. Probably knows that Wooden Katanas Are Even Better. Sometimes they'll be a Kendo Team Captain in their spare time.

For the Western equivalent of this trope, see Young Gun. For martial arts, see Kung-Fu Kid, and for ninjas, Ninja Brat.


Anime and Manga
  • Yaiba. A Kid Samurai who wields the Power of the Thunder God Raijin and fight onis and evildoers.
  • Delusional and bombastic Tatewaki Kuno from Ranma is an example of the buffoon variety.
  • Motoko Aoyama from Love Hina starts off as a Kid Samurai more because of her arrogance, but matures into a proper Samurai.
  • Tetsunosuke from Peacemaker may be the world's most clear-cut Kid Samurai. He actually buys a katana at one point but isn't strong enough to get it out of the sheath.
  • Myojin Yahiko from Rurouni Kenshin, pictured above, is an example of the more competent variety.
  • Iori (Cody) from Digimon Adventure 02 fits this trope, although he doesn't get to actually use his kendo skills much. He throws a bokken at the Digimon Kaiser once and whacks around a pair of Gokimon with a giant spoon, but that's about it.
  • Another is Okamoto Katsushiro, from Samurai 7. He gains steadily in skill throughout the series; at the outset he cannot defeat a simple thug, but by the end he can defeat several Nobuseri at once, and even deflect an enemy beam cannon shot with his sword. He's shown post-battle to have gained significant wisdom and maturity from his experiences. His skills are improved enough that his Samurai sensei Kambei shows great respect towards him, and presents Katsushiro with his own katana.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Gohan in the beginning of the fight against Vegeta and Nappa and their Saibamen.
  • Isidro from Berserk is both a parody and Deconstruction (even though he's from a Medieval European Fantasy instead of Japan). The parody comes from the parts where he foolishly announces his intent to become the best swordsman in the world while other characters look on with arched eyebrows. The deconstruction comes from the fact that he foolishly believes that swordsmanship revolves around flashy techniques that you call out before using, doesn't know that his height and strength would make using a BFS like Guts, his idol, both nearly impossible and impractical, often overestimates his own abilities and has actually chosen learning how to use swords instead of improving his throwing skills (the area in which he does truly excel).
    • It is stated and shown that Isidro is getting better at his swordsmanship, as he learns how to use his size to his advantage. However, in a fight with a pirate captain, the captain noted that Isidro didn't have a taste for killing...which is probably something you really need in the Berserk world.
  • Shu in Now and Then, Here and There.
  • Played with in Vagabond, where both Musashi and his would-be disciple Jōtarō go through this phase, though in Musashi's case the mentality originally leaned more towards Heroic Wannabe; overcoming the hurdle of Inshun allowed him to fully grow into this, and after his encounter with Yagyuu Sekishuusai he was able to further mature and his rise truly began.
  • Subverted (naturally) in Ayakashi Ayashi, when a man who wishes to leave the family that adopted him, gives his sword to a kid, who immediately thinks this will make him a samurai. The catch? The sword is alive, and is after it's true owner, who happens to be the protagonist.
  • He's not the most intuitive example, but the chimera Dolcetto from Fullmetal Alchemist might qualify. He's clearly fairly young, he dresses in martial arts clothing, and wields a katana. However, he's fairly easily defeated by unarmed opponents, and falls into the "killed in his first major battle" version.
  • Kazuma was one of these in the backstory of Kagerou-Nostalgia. However, the destruction of his Doomed Hometown, coupled with the utter show he's been living in since then has transformed him from this trope, and into a cynical, jaded Child Soldier.


  • Somewhat similar Western example: In Night Watch, Sam Vimes a.k.a. John Keel oversees training exercises at a Watch House, and tells the trainees that they'd do jolly well if an armless dummy came at them and stood stock-still. He later instructs them in the usage of various useful but entirely ungentlemanly weapons such as coshes and blackjacks.
  • Jōtarō and later Iori in Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi.
  • Rajiv Sanga in Belisarius Series.

Video Games
  • Lampshaded in Brave Fencer Musashi, where the princess complains about how she should have summoned a great hero and not a 'little turd'. Subverted in that the protagonist dual wields a katana and a BFS with surprising competence.
    • He may be a real samurai in his own world, despite his apparent age. One of the first things he does is try to order someone to bring him a palanquin.
  • Brooklyn "Bullet" Luckfield of Super Robot Wars Alpha. While he's not to the samurai Sanger Zonvolt's level yet, he's getting there. In Alpha 3, it's from Sanger he directly receives training to improve his techniques.
    • Interestingly lampshaded by Bullet's master Rishu Togo in Super Robot Wars Original Generation, who states Bullet may avert this trope one day, as he's got more potential than Sanger and himself.
  • Youmu Konpaku from Touhou is like this. She is young for her race (half-ghosts), inexperienced and naive, but also very strong and absolutely loyal towards her employer Yuyuko Saigyouji.

  • Princess Raeka from Samurai Princess begins the story having only practised kendo.

Western Animation
  • In the Season one finale of Dexter's Laboratory, a Kid Samurai, of all people becomes the mentor to Dexter's family and teaches them the importance of teamwork so they can defeat a giant monster.
  • Any time young Jack is shown in a flashback in Samurai Jack this is typically his characterization. Of course, it's a Foregone Conclusion that he'll learn to be a real samurai soon enough.

Kendo Team CaptainStock Japanese CharactersMagical Girl
Kiddie KidYoungstersKids Are Cruel
Kendo Team CaptainBushido IndexKnight in Shining Armor
Rurouni KenshinImageSource/Anime & MangaX Marks the Hero

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