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Characters / Seven Samurai

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Kambei Shimada
Played by: Takashi Shimura

The first samurai the villagers recruit, Kambei is an old, world-weary soldier. While he initially refuses to help the villagers, seeing their utter despair and desperation at this response leads him to change his mind. His wealth of battlefield experience quickly cements him as the leader of the group.

  • Bad Habits: When we first see him, he's disguised as a priest to rescue a little boy.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: He has an Important Haircut in his very first scene, making his baldness symbolic of his willingness to help others.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: He primarily uses his katana during the film, only to pick up a bow for the final battle. He kills two bandits with it while they are on horseback.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He shaves his head within his first scene (to samurai, this was a symbol of shame) so he can trick a bandit into thinking he is a monk and save a child. Further, when the farmers of the abandoned outlying houses try to desert the militia because they feel marginalized, Kambei threatens to personally execute them rather than let them go, citing that the individual who fights for the individual not only dies as an individual, but endangers the rest of the group (and kills morale before the fight even starts).
  • Cool Old Guy: He's in his early fifties or so.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He shaves his head to impersonate a monk, showing how he doesn't place much stock in honor or fair play if an innocent life is on the line. He rubs his bald head throughout the film to remind the audience of it.
  • A Father to His Men: Despite his stoic expression, he clearly grieves whenever he suffers losses.
  • Glory Seeker: He was a glory seeker in his youth, but he advises Katsushirō against it.
    Kambei: I was a young man like you once. "Train yourself, distinguish yourself in war: become somebody, maybe a warlord!" But time flies. Before your dream materializes, you get gray hair. By that time, your parents and friends are dead and gone.
  • Honor Before Reason: He explicitly points out that defending a village of noncombatants against forty bandits is suicide, but decides to go through with it anyway when it's pointed out to him that the villagers have given him the only rice they had as a meal while describing their plight.
  • Important Haircut: Had his head shaved for the Bad Habits example above.
  • Jack of All Stats: The samurai have their own specialities, but Kambei is pretty good in all those fields as well. He's a damn fine swordsman, but Kyûzô is the best fighter; he looks at morale from the big picture while Shichirōji is good at personally motivating the men; he's good with a bow, but Gorōbei is the designated archer; and while he's a great tactician and strategist, Kikuchiyo is the The Social Expert, and the true conscience to remind the samurai what they're truly fighting for.
  • The Leader: Deconstructed Trope. As effective as his leadership skills are, he wasn't able to save four of his comrades.
  • Old Soldier: He's the oldest of the seven and old enough to have grey hair (his actor was forty-nine during filming), and is implied to have spent a lot of that time fighting. The other six instinctively see to him as the leader of the group due to his age and experience.
  • The Stoic: Generally remains impassive, and either serene or resigned.
  • The Strategist: He's in charge of general strategy, and makes a very good showing in planning a multi-stage defence of the village that allows them to equalize the odds. The fortifications, in particular, quickly prove vital to allowing the village to be defended at all.
  • Survivor Guilt: He's gotten this over his career, and this is the reason why he says that he and the other survivors have "lost" the battle.
  • Thinking Tic: He rubs his shaved head when in thought.


Katsushirō Okamoto
Played by: Isao Kimura

A wealthy young man from a noble family, Katsushirō is eager to see battle as a samurai and desperately wishes to become Kambei's apprentice. While his enthusiasm is palpable, the older samurai tend to look down on him for various reasons, and Kambei in particular wishes to keep him far away from combat.

  • Break the Cutie: He starts off in the movie being idealistic and hopeful. By the end, he's lost a lot of his enthusiasm and at least some of his illusions.
  • Death Wail: At the end of the final battle. He's mourning Kikuchiyo and Kyûzô. He can't even avenge them because Kikuchiyo wiped out the bandit chief who killed them.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: He and Shino probably can't stay together. A farmer's daughter, due to class differences, would never be anything more than a concubine in society's eyes, and he doesn't want to subject Shino to that kind of shame. In the last scene of the film she is seen ignoring him in order to join in the rice planting.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He sems like a simple starry-eyed novice; his Wealthy Philanthropist moment comes when the peasants' rice (their intended pay to the samurai, and rations for the trip home) is stolen, and he donates enough money to cover their costs.
  • Heroic BSoD: He goes through one at the end when Kyûzô is killed.
  • Kid Samurai: The youngest of the group.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: The night before the battle, Katsushirō and Shino realize it's now or never.
  • New Meat: He's a samurai by birth, if not yet by profession. The other samurai attempt to keep him out of harm's way for as long as they can as a result.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: He spends most of the movie as Kambei's attendant and messenger and not allowed to participate in battle (even Kikuchiyo is allowed to fight). By the eve of the final battle, he sleeps with Shiro, and the next day, Kambei lets him fight and he kills his first man. Neither fills him with the sense of manhood that he had expected.
  • The Runt at the End: He tags along with the much older samurai.
  • Tagalong Kid: At first Kambei didn't even want to count him toward the total of seven 'samurai'. But he's soon saddled with responsibilities and decisions that force him out of the 'tagalong kid' role.
  • The Team Wannabe: He's a child that wants to be a samurai.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Has this reaction after he stabs a bandit during the final battle.
  • Uptown Girl: He is a gender-inversion to Shino.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: He's young and inexperienced, but he really does believe in the justness of their cause. When the farmers' rice — the only thing they had to pay the samurai with — is stolen, he (the only samurai who isn't flat broke) gives them some money to buy more.


Gorōbei Katayama
Played by: Yoshio Inaba

A quiet, observant and good-natured man, Gorōbei is the first samurai that Kambei manages to recruit. A skilled archer, he is quite keen to see if the old man's plan will actually work.

  • Archer Archetype: Played with. Gorōbei's a very collected person, but he's mellow and easygoing.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: He has a very imposing sort of name. He lampshades it by explaining that despite his name, he isn't really that tough.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: When brought to a doorway, he immediately deduces that there is someone (Katsushirō) waiting to hit him.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: He joins just to see if Kambei's plan will work. Unfortunately, he doesn't live long enough to find out.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He takes one look at a Schmuck Bait doorway, and immediately deduces what's going on. Kambei is impressed.
  • Killed Offscreen: Poor Gorōbei is the only one of the four samurai casualties to have this happen to him. We don't even get to see him kill any bandits before he gets shot.
  • Satellite Character: Alongside Shichirōji, he is one of the less established of the samurai.


Heihachi Hayashida
Played by: Minoru Chiaki

A down-on-his-luck ronin reduced to cutting wood for a living, Heihachi agrees to join on the promise of food and lodging at the village. He isn't the most skilled warrior, a fact he's more than willing to admit, but his cheerful and upbeat attitude quickly endear him to the others.

  • Alliterative Name: Heihachi Hayashida.
  • Brutal Honesty: Cheerfully admits that he is not a good warrior.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He mentions how he usually runs away from battle when he's about to die.
  • Establishing Character Moment: While chopping wood, he admits with cheerful honesty that he's not very good as a warrior. Yet he still agrees to join the mission.
  • The Gadfly: He loves to pick on Kikuchiyo. One example is the banner he makes for the village: Six circles for the samurai, a triangle and the farmers. When Kikuchiyo asks where he is, Heihachi responds that he is the triangle.
  • The Heart: He's the jokester of the team, and specifically brought in to raise morale despite being 'average' in skill (but still better than Kikuchiyo).
  • Innocently Insensitive: At the beginning of the second act, he jokingly made a remark about Rikichi not having a wife, not realising that his wife was captured by the bandits. However, he hadn't previously caught onto Rikichi's thinly veiled denial about having ever had a wife.
  • In the Back: This is how Heihachi dies, while trying to pull Rikichi away from a burning house.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a very mild-mannered man with good intentions, but he has a knack for saying things that are met with a Dude, Not Funny! response.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Recruited to be this, someone who could cheer up the defenders in times of strife. Unfortunately, he dies.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The first of the samurai to die.
  • With Friends Like These...: With Kikuchiyo.


Played by: Seiji Miyaguchi

A stoic Rōnin and master swordsman that the others approach after witnessing his masterful performance in a duel. While he initially refuses to join their seemingly-hopeless mission, he changes his mind at the last minute, hinting at his heart of gold.

  • The Big Guy: Of the quiet, skilled variety. Though he's actually the shortest of the samurai, he's one of the team members who serves as the muscle.
  • Blood Knight: He joins the samurai mainly to test his skill.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Originally turned down an offer to join.
  • Consummate Professional: Swordsmanship is his craft and he takes satisfaction in it.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: He doesn't like killing people; he's also considered one of the finest swordsmen around. This is seen early in the movie when he is shown dueling; he begs his opponent not to challenge him with real swords, because the opponent would quite certainly die. He does.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The duel where an unknown ronin demands a rematch and Kyûzô turns him down, stating "No use. You'd die." When the ronin persists for a duel, Kyûzô silently accepts the challenge and kills him.
  • First-Name Basis: Alongside Shichirōji and Kikuchiyo, who additionally has Only One Name, we never get to learn Kyûzô's last name.
  • Force and Finesse: The Finesse to Kikuchiyo's Force.
  • Humble Hero: One of the reasons Katsushirō respects him so much is that he doesn't call attention to his deeds no matter how impressive they are.
  • In the Back: Shot by the Bandit Chief in the back during the final battle.
  • Master Swordsman: The best swordsman of the Samurai. It doesn't save him from a bullet though.
  • Not So Stoic: A very brief moment where he admits that he'd like to kill every farmer in the village after finding that the farmers have been stealing armor from samurai corpses. Another, lighter moment is where he joins in laughing at Kikuchiyo failing to ride Yohei's horse.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Conducting a one-man raid on the bandit's camp, killing two bandits and returning with a musket.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The shortest of the samurai and the most skilled.
  • The Quiet One: Kyûzô has only a few lines.
  • Secret-Keeper: Keeps Katsushirō's secret about his romance with Shino.
  • The Stoic: Shows very little emotion.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The Technician to Kikuchiyo's Performer.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: An indirect example. Kyûzô throws his sword toward the hidden Bandit Chief, but only to show the direction of the bullet that killed him.
  • Vocal Dissonance: His voice is surprisingly high.
  • Warrior Poet: He sits studying a wildflower while he waits to ambush some of the bandits.


Played by: Daisuke Kato

Another veteran samurai, Shichirōji is an old friend of Kambei's who the latter thought dead. After reuniting, he quickly agrees to join the mission for the chance to fight alongside his friend again, serving as the old man's second in command.

  • Backstory: Some dialogue indicates that he and Kambei once served the same lord: both thought the other dead when their lord was overthrown.
  • Badass Adorable: He's short, chubby, jovial and can spear his enemies with earnest ferocity.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: He doesn't have hair on the top of his head and he isn't seen shaving it, like Kambei.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's a friendly, pleasant, well-meaning guy, and a warm and encouraging leader of his unit, but he flies into a rage when Kikuchiyo discovers the farmers' secret in front of them.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: He's a nice guy but very strict when training the farmers to run and fight.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He's asked to join this nearly suicidal fight simply to fight alongside his friend once more, and he can't say yes fast enough.
  • First-Name Basis: He's one of the three samurai whose last name we never learn.
  • The Gadfly: He has a little too much fun mocking Manzo after he learns that he disguised his daughter Shino as a boy.
  • Jumped at the Call: Immediately agrees to fight alongside Kambei when asked.
  • The Last Dance: It's implied he considers the defence to be this, pointing out at the end that he survived once again.
  • Number Two: Shichirōji is the feudal equivalent of a sergeant, accustomed to taking orders from higher-ranking samurai and passing them to the foot soldiers. Since Kambei lets Katsushirō take over the messenger role during the defence, Shichirōji is instead given command of his own squad of farmers.
  • The Reliable One: Valued more (by his superior and by his men) for his stolidity and quiet confidence than for any special skills.
  • Satellite Character: Shichirōji gets very little screentime and development, about as little as Gorōbei.
  • True Companions: He's in this with Kambei, win or lose, no questions asked.
  • Weapon Specialization: His primary weapon is a spear, which sets him apart from the rest of the samurai.


Played by: Toshiro Mifune
"Kikuchiyo" is a drunken eccentric who insists he's a samurai and demands to join the group, which the others accept mainly because they find his antics amusing. Eventually, they learn that he is a peasant whose family was murdered by bandits when he was a child. While he lacks the training of a proper samurai, he makes up for it in determination and sheer ferocity.
  • A-Team Firing: When he returns to the village with a musket after his raid on the bandit's camp, Kikuchiyo fires the gun at them at point-blank range, only to fail spectacularly.
  • Author Avatar: Kurosawa speaks his opinion of ancient Japanese feudalism through him.
  • Badass Boast: During the final battle, he gathers a cluster of swords because he won't be able to kill enough bandits with just one.
  • Barefoot Poverty: Played with. Immediately after the reveal of Kikuchiyo's peasant birth, a close-up shot is given to his bare feet, although both he and other peasants wear shoes normally most of the time, making this trope purely allegoric.
  • BFS: Wields a Nodachi and it's about as big as he is.
  • Berserk Button: He will flip out spectacularly if commoners are being endangered.
  • The Big Guy: He's not as tall as Katsushirō or Heihachi, but he shares Kyûzô's role as the muscle of the group.
  • Blood Knight: He's the most ferocious of the fighters.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: He is, in his own way, friendly with both the samurai and farmers (and even, in one case, the enemy), and loves to talk to everybody. He also throws himself into combat with nearly insane fearlessness, and as a result is one of the most dangerous samurai despite probably having had little (if any) training.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Played with. Kikuchiyo delivers a long speech on how wily and underhanded the peasants are, how they murder samurai and loot their bodies and keep their best stuff hidden even from their 'protectors' and tells the other samurai how they should murder them all, only to add a second part to his speech about how the constant warfare and plundering the samurai do are driving them to this kind of desperation. It's clear that while Kikuchiyo doesn't like how the peasants are holding out on them, he understands why they are doing it. He later risks his own life to save a child from a burning building outside the fortifications.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: He's the most macho character in the entire film, but is passionate at best and brittle at worst, and has broken down in tears at least twice.
  • Butt-Monkey: For more than half the film the other samurai mock him repeatedly, and he's humiliated when he first tries to join the group. However, they eventually accept him as a teammate. He performs heroically during the final attack and even earns a samurai's death.
  • Character Tics: He has a habit of scratching his leg, or around his neck, something Tajomaru before him and Sanjuro after him (all played by Mifune) have in common.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He comes across as an idiot and makes stupid mistakes, but is still very strong, quite the fierce warrior and surprisingly insightful about the social class differences between the various groups of people.
  • Determinator: He absolutely won't quit until he's proven worthy of being a samurai. This is reflected in his Dying Moment of Awesome when he's shot by the Bandit Chief, then nearly half a minute later gets up and runs him through with his sword.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He's quickly established as a ruffian and buffoon, who shows up completely wasted in his attempt to join the team of samurai and tries to pass himself off as one of them with a scroll he stole, but he gets his moment later on, when he uses a simple false alarm to bring the samurai and the farmer militia together.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: He's named after the fake papers he has to "prove" he's of noble birth. Unbeknown to him and to the amusement of the others, Kikuchiyo is the name of a little girl.note  He still kicks lots of ass.
  • Force and Finesse: Force to Kyûzô's Finesse.
  • Gender-Blender Name: "Kikuchiyo" is a girl's name, meaning "chrysanthemum".
  • Glory Seeker: To a fault. It comes back to bite him in the last third when it gets several people killed, including Yohei and Gorōbei.
  • The Heart: Provides a living bridge between the samurai and the farmers throughout the film.
  • Heroic BSoD: Goes through too many to list here, but the biggest one is after his actions lead to Yohei's and Gorōbei's deaths.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's a loud and boisterous glory seeker.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be abrasive and bombastic, but he's deeply empathetic towards the farmers' plight and gets very emotional when he feels that they have been done injustice in some way.
  • Large Ham: An energetic prankster, braggart and glory hound who's usually shouting encouragement or threats.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Constantly blindly charges into battle with no particular plan in mind. This works to his detriment when, in the final battle, he's fatally shot by the bandit chief while he's trying to avenge Kyûzô's death.
  • Leitmotif: "Kikuchiyo's Mambo".
  • Line-of-Sight Name: He drunkenly pointed to it at random when introducing himself to the other samurai.
  • Master Swordsman: Subverted: he wields the impractically long nodachi and takes five katana as "reserves" should his sword break while killing the bandits.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Spends portions of the movie wearing very little, and showing off his perfect musculature. When he's catching fish on his journey to the village, he's wearing nothing but a thong.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He has this reaction when his decision to leave his post for a commando raid on the bandit camp ends up getting several people, including Gorōbei and Yohei killed in the ensuing counterattack.
  • Never Learned to Read: Explains in part how he got his name from the scroll.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He attempts to raid a bandit camp to get muskets in jealousy towards Kyûzô, and ends up getting Yohei and Gorōbei killed in the ensuing counter attack. He feels awful about it afterwards.
  • No Indoor Voice: Never is this more clear than when the 7 visit an old lady. Heihachi calmly asks him, "Why the hell are you always screaming?"
  • No Name Given: He never reveals his real name in the film. "Kikuchiyo" is a nickname the other samurai give him after his drunken attempt to "prove" his noble heritage, in which he pulls out a stolen family tree and claims the youngest child is him... only to be informed that the youngest child on the tree is a 13-year-old girl named Kikuchiyo.
  • No-Respect Guy: Is constantly the butt of the other samurai's jokes. He keeps trying to prove himself afterwards though. Inverted by the villagers, who seem to like him more than the other samurai.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: He claims to have forgotten his own name and initially pretends to be the youngest family member on a genealogy record he stole... unfortunately, he's illiterate, and thus doesn't realize the name he's pointing to is that of a 13-year-old girl, "Kikuchio". Heihachi and the other samurai mockingly start calling him by that name, and it sticks after Heihachi's death.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: A comic character, although in the last battle he's in deadly earnest.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He makes up for the Nice Job Breaking It, Hero example above by saving the village women from the bandit chief, only to die of his wounds.
  • The Runt at the End: He's the real odd one out in the group.
  • Sad Clown: For all of his upbeat nature, he's a conflicted, tragic character.
  • Screaming Warrior: Naturally, to go with his boisterous personality.
  • Self-Proclaimed Knight: He's an adult peasant that pretends to be a samurai.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Yohei's Sensitive Guy.
  • Sixth Ranger: Kambei didn't intent to recruit him initially as he's too much of an oddball, but the group eventually accepts him.
  • The Social Expert: He's the one who connects best with the farmers.
  • Taking You with Me: He skewers the man who mortally wounded him.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The Performer to Kyûzô's Technician.
  • With Friends Like These...: He and Heihachi are constantly at odds.

    The Peasants 
The inhabitants of the (unnamed) village: their quest to save their home is the center of the plot.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not mention Rikichi's wife in front of him.
    • Manzo is absolutely paranoid that his daughter, Shino, will be seduced by a samurai: he hacks off her hair, orders her to pretend to be a boy and beats her when he discovers that she'd slept with Katsushirō.
  • Butt-Monkey: Yohei is the subject of mockery to everyone, particularly Kikuchiyo.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Very pointedly inverted. The villagers aren't trained warriors, have no armour or 'real' weapons, and are no match for mounted bandits individually. They depend upon the samurai to plan defences and lead them into battle, fight in uncoordinated mobs, flee very quickly if not in a group, and several of them die during the bandit attacks. However, their sheer numbers allow them to mob down and kill individual bandits as long as they are separated or dismounted.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The peasants sent to find help, particularly Rikichi, seem at first to be the main characters.
  • Mauve Shirt: While most of the villagers are simply unnamed extras, a few — Rikichi, Manzo, Shino and Yohei in particular — are given names and have their own character arcs during the film.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Manzo moans and complains when he is only slightly injured from a bandit attack. He gets up very quickly when Kikuchiyo offers to Mercy Kill him.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Manzo disguises himself among the tall grass when he hears the bandits approaching at the beginning.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the raid on the bandit camp, Rikichi charges into the burning shack to save his wife and Heihachi is killed pulling him away.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rikichi furiously kills a bunch of bandits in a night attack to avenge the death of his wife.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Yohei is the Sensitive Guy to Kikuchiyo's Manly Man.
  • Slut-Shaming: On top of beating Shino after her night with Katsushirō, Manzo employs such colorful language as "tramp" and "damaged goods."
  • Took a Level in Badass: Most if not all of the farmers, but a few of them stand out.
    • Rikichi starts out as just a peasant with a little bit of a fighting spirit, but by the end he's the fiercest warrior among the farmers.
    • Yohei for most of the film is feeble and pathetic. Then he starts slowly gaining courage until he finally goes down trying to defend his post.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Downplayed: The peasants are revealed to have stashes of weapons, armour and valuables they've looted from fallen samurai, and they're implied to have killed deserters or ronin before. They're not eager to let anybody find out. Ultimately subverted in that when Kikuchiyo finds out, the townsfolk are less concerned with trying to murder the seven to cover it up and more worried that this means the seven will try to murder them. Luckily, Kikuchiyo disarms the situation.
  • Ungrateful Townsfolk: Played with. Ultimately, the villagers aren't quite as poor and defenceless as they claim to be, but according to Kikuchiyo it's a defence mechanism caused by their oppression by the samurai. Shortly before the final battle they break out a hidden bottle of sake and share it freely with the samurai, and some of the weapons used in the final defence similarly comes from their looted stocks. The final scene of the film show that the villagers gave all the samurai who died defending them prominent graves in the village and buried them with their weapons, but they are busier re-planting their rice and going back to their own lives than celebrating the survivors.
  • Untrusting Community: Some villagers think the samurai will just rob them, then leave and let the bandits have whatever's left. When the seven first show up the entire village hides away, and only come out when Kikuchiyo uses the town warning drum to prank them.
  • Wasteland Elder: The village's Grumpy Old Man is the informal leader, whom they turn to for advice.
  • Zerg Rush: The samurai don't have the time to give the peasants serious training, so they are deployed in large groups with bamboo spears, swarming the bandits' horses and stabbing like mad. Ultimately, the majority of the bandits end up dying by being dismounted and mobbed by the villagers.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She's attracted to Katsushirō because he's a samurai, but is frustrated and confused by his kind and courteous manner.
  • All Women Are Lustful: It's Shino who cajoles Katsushirō into consummating their relationship, not the other way around.
  • Defiled Forever: Her father Manzo loses his mind after finding out she slept with Katsushirō.
    • The rest of the villagers don't seem to agree, however, as she's not shunned or shamed by anyone else as she returns to the routine of village life once the bandits are defeated. Perhaps they agree that it was just the sort of thing that happens in castles under siege, and shouldn't be counted.
  • Disguised in Drag: Manzo disguises her as a boy against her own will.
  • Important Haircut: Her hair was cut into a short, shoulder-length haircut by Manzo.
  • Leitmotif: A heartfelt, romantic theme.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Manzo cuts her hair to disguise her as boy to protect her from the samurai.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Compared to her father Manzo she's quite fetching.

    The Bandit Chief 

The Bandit Chief

Played by: Shinpei Takagi

  • Bad Boss: He's shown killing two of his men for deserting him.
  • Big Bad: He's the leader of the bandits raiding the village.
  • Eyepatch of Power: He sports one.
  • Flat Character: He's not in the film very much and only has a few lines so we don't really get to know him.
  • Hero Killer: He kills Kyûzô and Kikuchiyo with his arquebus in the second half of the film, and given that he had the only one left of the bandits' three firearms, almost certainly killed Gorōbei as well.
  • Mutual Kill: After he fatally wounds Kikuchiyo, he is stabbed to death by a relentless Kikuchiyo in return.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: With his eyepatch and crested helm, he resembles the Real Life sengoku-era warlord Date Masamune.
  • No Name Given: His name is never mentioned in the film.
  • Offscreen Villainy: The bandits had already attacked the village in a previous year, and apparently made off with food and several horses as well as several of the women in the village.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He stops his men from attacking the village in the opening scene (when the villagers could not have resisted) because they had already looted the village last year and the village hasn't harvested yet, thus they'd have nothing worth stealing. He instead notes that they'll come back after the harvest when the villagers have food.
  • Rōnin: He's implied to be a samurai. Not only does he wear full samurai armour with a house crest but he's shown to be a trained warrior and an especially good shot with an arquebus, killing at least five men with it.