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Kid Samurai

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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.

His weapon of choice is likely to be a wooden training sword. 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. For the darker and more cynical version of this trope, see Child Soldiers.


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    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 ½ 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 Kurogane 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 Soldiers.
  • Boruto features Tsubaki Kurogane, a cute but deadly samurai girl from the Land of Iron.
  • Asano Rin of Blade of the Immortal is the daughter of the master of the Mutenichi-Ryu School of swordsmanship, as well as its last surviving practitioner, and is out for the blood of those who murdered her parents. While she's skilled in formal martial arts, her inexperience with actual life-or-death fighting nearly gets her killed at numerous points early in the series. The only thing keeping her from being a true Kid Samurai is the fact that she's a woman in 18th century Japan.
  • In Brave10, the eleven-year old Benmaru is introduced when he sends the Braves on a Death Course made up of his inventions and traps to test whether they're worthy or not. Since they're the only ones who've managed to pass, he asks to join. It turns out he's an abandoned child who has always wanted to be a samurai and even gave himself a surname to sound like one. Yukimura sees potential in him so he joins the team and in the sequel really does get his wish when Yukimura adopts him as his heir, Sanada Daisuke.
  • Gintama's 16 year old Shinpachi has been training in kendo since youth as his father organised classes at the family dojo (which he and his sister now own). He is skilled and dedicated but initially lacks experience in fighting, which is made obvious when compared to the likes of older samurai like Gintoki (a war veteran) and the Shinsengumi (the police force). One of his first opponents lampshades this when fighting him. As the series progresses he gets involved in more fights, becomes more confident and is able to hold his own.
  • An early and infamous episode of Pokémon: The Original Series features one such kid samurai who rudely challenges Ash to a battle as the latter nearly captured a Weedle. He definitely qualifies because of his arrogance and refusing to accept responsible for his actions and instead pins the blame all on Ash when things go wrong for everybody.
  • Kotaro Lives Alone plays with the trope; Kotaro carries around a small katana and talks like a feudal Japanese lord, but he is not actually a samurai; instead he is copying his favorite show, Tonosaman.

    Fan Works 
  • In Incarnation of Legends, Kojiro is training Bell in his own brand of Eastern swordsmanship. While he isn't teaching Bell any particular code, the boy's desire to be an honorable storybook hero means that Kojiro doesn't need to teach him any morals. Ryoma also hands Bel an expensive katana and wakizashi to help him along in his goal of becoming such a hero.

    Films — Live-Action 


  • 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.
  • Sano Ichiro: Sano's pre-teen son, Masahiro has begun his training in the art of the samurai, a benefit of his father's role in the Shogun's court. Sano is wary of this because of the Shogun's lecherous ways, but proud of his son's skill.
  • Young Samurai: The majority of the characters in the first half of the series are samurai-in-training, including protagonist Jack Fletcher, his love interest Date Aiko, and his friend Masamoto Takeshi.
  • Tale of Yashima: Bitou Kenichi, younger brother of one of the main protagonists.

    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 Project 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.
  • F-Zero GX's Dai Goroh, age 10, son of Samurai Goroh.


  • 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.

    Real Life 

  • Like their Western counterparts, the samurai were basically noblemen and as such, professional soldiers. They started training very early, usually at 7 or 8, and were expected to participate on battles in their teens.