But every day there's a new thing comin'
The ways of an Oriental view
The sheriff and his buddies with their samurai swords
You can even hear the music at night
— The Doobie Brothers, "China Grove"
Essentially a melding of The Wild West
and Feudal Japan
, even if the setting also takes place in the future or has Cattle Punk
The earliest association between samurai and gunslinger tropes was probably Akira Kurosawa
, who modeled several of his samurai films after American Westerns
. Fittingly, several of his films were remade as actual Westerns (e.g. Yojimbo
into A Fistful of Dollars
, and Seven Samurai
into The Magnificent Seven
). This helped tie in the close association between these eras.
and The Gunslinger
seem to occupy the same place in the stories of their respective cultures. Both are essentially an updated version of the Knight Errant
(or rather, Ronin serve as a bridge of sorts between the Knight Errant and The Gunslinger, having at one point been the contemporaries of both), drifters
with Mysterious Pasts Walking the Earth
, dueling rivals
, fighting bandits, embodying stoicism
and self-reliance, and aspiring to self-discipline, often while struggling with their inner demons.
The similarities between the idealized forms
of the Bushido code and the Code of the West are undeniable, as well- Placing honor and duty above all
, protecting the weak, killing only when required but unflinchingly doing so when it is
, valuing equally intelligence, Heroic Resolve
, and physical ability. This makes it only natural that the two characters should begin to blend together in an East-meets-West world. The fact that they're both iconic warrior-types of their respective nations is also a plus.
Note that a cowboy moving to old Japan, or a samurai or kung fu master moving to the Old West, does not count. Such situations often lead
to this trope, which is about explicitly blending the two — but not always.
May be a result of wanting to justify the combination of Sword and Gun
with Katanas Are Just Better
and Revolvers Are Just Better
of Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot
Compare Street Samurai
, Corporate Samurai
, Cyber Ninja
, The Gunslinger
, Sword and Gun
, Space Western
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Andy, the crazy cowboy from the "Cowboy Funk" episode of Cowboy Bebop decides to become a samurai (complete with katana) at the end of the episode, after Spike beats him.
- In the Captain Harlock spinoff Gun Frontier, the Old West incarnation of Tochiro is one of these. He shows some traits of this in other entries in the franchise like Cosmo Warrior Zero.
- GUN×SWORD which takes place on a Space Western planet where cowboys and mecha roam. The protagonist Van is a cowboy who wields a metallic cloth that can turn into a sword, with its hilt looking an awful lot like a gun handle with a trigger included. Plus he pilots an Armor that uses a sword. In addition, his rival uses a gun that looks like a Japanese sword handle, with his two very long magazines kept in his belt, making it look like he's carrying a daisho.
- The one-off antagonist Rai-Dei the Blade of the Gung-Ho Guns in Trigun is basically a samurai on a Wild West planet. He is treated as outrageous and insane. He dodges bullets. He wears a fringed leather vest with hakama and his katana can fire its blade if necessary. In the manga, he does all of this on rocket skates.
- Justice from Afro Samurai at first seems like a straight example of The Gunslinger even fighting Afro's father (who is using a katana) to a standstill with two pistols in one of the most badass fights of the series he eventually plays this straight when it is revealed that he has a hidden third arm that wields a katana.
- Azuma Mutsu's arc from Shura No Toki is arguably this. Azuma, while isn't a samurai or a cowboy, is a Japanese man thrown into a cowboy/frontier setting and ended up mixing characteristics from both sides.
- Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman
- Red Steel 2 currently provides the page image for good reason. The main character is a duster-wearin', sword-swingin', pistol-packin' hombre with a very Nice Hat. He is in fact from an entire TRIBE of them, the Kusagari.
- Gemini from Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love is a cowgirl — right down to having a super-effective horse and a Colt Peacemaker on her belt. She also carries a katana, and was trained by an exiled samurai.
- The appropriately named Samurai Western.
- Yasha from Asura's Wrath has a bit of this going for him, especially in his theme song Wind.
- Jack in Wild ARMs 1 has more than a bit of this—he wears a classic Western duster, jeans, and cowboy boots with a hat to match(in out-of-game art), but is a Master Swordsman specialising in Iaido. Of course, his past is as something more like a European Knight in Shining Armor, and his current role before being swept up in the plot is more Indiana Jones than Man With No Name...
- The Player Character in Fallout: New Vegas can easily be this; wearing cowboy hats and dusters while wielding a katana, all while adhering to a strict code of honor. This is even lampshaded by the achievement for dealing damage with melee weapons, 'New Vegas Samurai.'
- Yasuo in League of Legends has the "High Noon" skin, which turns him into this trope.
- Zero got a Tombstone themed head and skin for Community Day◊. Given that the game itself is a Space Western, it's quite fitting. Zero also has Vladof class mods built around improving his skills with pistols.
- The Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Zuko Alone," complete with a Showdown at High Noon. Though Zuko uses Chinese-style swords, the effect is the same.
- Weilding twin katanas as well as a gun, and being an explosives expert and being a lone ranger type, Transformers Prime Wheeljack could well be said to be one of these.
- Often utilized in Samurai Jack; the title character would often take the role of the Lone Stranger who comes to help a town in need.