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Japan is pretty hard on the feet.

Until the abolition of the samurai class in Japan in 1868, a rōnin ("wave man") was a samurai without a master, generally due to the former master's death, the individual rōnin's disgrace, or the destruction of his lord's clan. Without a job, an income, or a home, rōnin could and would spend their days Walking the Earth looking for a master willing to take them on. It was common for rōnin to take positions as yojimbo (bodyguards), mercenaries, or become Ninjas. Others resorted to banditry, organized crime, or piracy.

Although in ancient days rōnin were considered a dangerous threat since it was believed they were likely to become bandits, the noble rōnin is a common hero type in Japanese pop culture, typically acting as a Knight Errant. Since a samurai is defined by loyalty to his master, a samurai losing that master and struggling afterward for a purpose in life can make for a great Tragic Hero.

In the modern era, rōnin has two additional, different meanings: either a student who failed his college/university entrance examinations but continues to study for a re-attempt instead of looking for a career elsewhere; or a salaryman who is temporarily between jobs.

See also the comic maxi-series Ronin (1983), the film Ronin (1998), or the historical novel Ronin (2013).

Compare Street Samurai, Samurai Cowboy, and Rogue Agent. Compare Dangerous Deserter for the less romanticized (and not necessarily Japonesque) version. A rough western equivalent would be the Black Knight (of the Real Life mercenary type, not the Tin Tyrant type.)


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Traditional Ronin

    Anime and Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: Kishika Torotoro gives off this vibe. She is the captain of the kendo club at Rentarou's school, and she is first introduced saving him from a group of street thugs. On the surface, she presents herself as a mature and knightly senpai, but her responsibility for looking after her younger siblings has left her with a secret desire to be doted on and pampered, not unlike a samurai in search of a master.
  • Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran: Ran is an uncommon example — a 'female' ronin who's actually a much better swordsman than her male colleagues. While she never resorts to banditry, she often scours the roadside for lost wallets or change, or tricks/charms her companion Miyao into giving her money or a free meal.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, that's what de facto turned out to be of Yoriichi once he was expelled from the Demon Slayer Corps, he was no longer a employed Samurai in a time they were still in place, the Sengoku Period, and Yoriichi was born from a Samurai family; the man was still resolute in trying to eradicate demonic threats and Muzan for as long as he lives, so he just became a Ronin, fighting against evil all by himself till he died in his final battle, 60 years after his lone pilgrimage started.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Ogami Itto was the former headhunter to no less than the shogun himself, but was framed as a traitor. Rather than committing seppuku or giving himself up for execution, he escaped to become a hired sword in the hopes of one day getting revenge.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin Himura, except for the fact that as the orphaned son of a farmer who became an assassin, he was technically never a samurai. "Rurouni" actually means "wandering swordsman" (sort of—Watsuki freely admits that it's a neologism of his own invention and the term was never used historically), which is a more accurate description than "ronin".
  • Samurai 7: The anime remake of Kurosawa's classic film.
  • Samurai Champloo: Jin and Mugen both have characteristics of ronin, though only Jin is actually a ronin. Having grown up in a penal colony Mugen was not born into the samurai class. (Nor did he earn his way with his skill as he used those skills for stealing from the shogunate).
  • Blade of the Immortal features a number of ronin, including Manji himself.
  • Akitsu from House of Five Leaves.
  • Lupin III has Goemon Ishikawa XIII; a traditional samurai in the modern world. He constantly seeks to improve his skills, seeking teachers of Martial Arts (whom he then refers to as his "Master", rather than the more traditional "teacher"), as well as operating as a hitman or Yojimbo. Everyone In-Universe calls him Samurai, but he is a Ronin by our definition. Goemon also believes that his attitude is normal, and that most of Japan has lost their way, instead.
  • Anpanman has Omusubiman and Komusubiman, two rice ball-headed characters that travel througout the village, doing random good deeds when needed. Komusubiman's still a kid, so he still has a lot to learn from Omusubiman.
  • On a technicalty, pretty much all the characters from Gamaran are Ronin, most of whom are on a plot to oppose the Shogunate and rely on their status as expert martial artists and deadly warriors to survive. The exception would be Ichinose Zenmaru, who' the cadet son of the prestigious Ichinose clan of swordmasters who's serving the lord of Omiya as sword teachers. While they all have a family name, something a self-made Ronin wouldn't have, it's implied it was self-given. The sequel, Shura, which features a more direct conflict with the Bakufu, have warriors who're implicitly samurai.

    Comic Books 
  • Ronin (1983) revolves around a ronin whose master was killed by a demon.
  • Usagi Yojimbo is a perfectly named comic as it means "Rabbit Bodyguard", although Usagi doesn't take on that many bodyguarding jobs. While Usagi is an example of the "dead master" ronin, others encountered have different backstories such as the clan's disintegration (Gen) or turning to banditry (most of the mooks Usagi fights).
  • The title character of the Judge Dredd spinoff Shimura, a Hondo City Judge who went rogue to take revenge on the Yakuza.
  • While Jiro from Get Jiro! wasn't a Samurai, he has some of the hallmarks associated with the Ronin. He once implied to have fought for a "Master's" cause and vowed not to do it again. His skills are desired by both ruling mobs in the city, but instead he works on behalf of himself and the populace that suffers under their rule. He even wields a moguro bocho as though it were a katana.

  • Harakiri is a brutal Deconstruction of many chivarlic tropes relating to Ronin and the bushido code of honor of the Samurai. Becoming a Ronin in the peaceful Edo period without war means being without employment, respect, food, or medicine.
  • The Seven Samurai were ronin. Except Kikuchiyo, who was born a farmer's son.
  • The constant civil wars ensure that a steady stream of them pass through the tiny fishing community in Onibaba.
  • Both Yojimbo and its direct sequel Sanjuro feature Toshiro Mifune playing the role of the nameless Ronin, with unmatched sword skills. Yojimbo would later be adapted into A Fistful of Dollars, with role of the nameless wandering Ronin seamlessly switched to a wandering cowboy, the man with no name.
  • Hirayama and Sahara from 13 Assassins. Hirayama has worked as a mercenary for years, but owes his allegiance to his former sensei in swordfighting, while Sahara joins the main characters' plight because he finds their cause worthy, and in exchange for a payment.
  • Shogun's Samurai: The tide turns in a civil war between two brothers vying to be shogun after the supporters of one brother frame the other for hiring an army of ronin to kill the first brother.
  • Any of the many, many films made of the Based on a True Story tale of The 47 Ronin. They avenged their late master Lord Asano, who was unjustly forced to commit seppuku, by beheading the man responsible, Lord Kira. Films about this story include 1941 epic The 47 Ronin and 1962 epic Chushingura.
  • Sword of the Beast: Gennosuke isn't just a ronin, he's on the run and being chased by a death squad, after he killed the leader of his clan.
  • Zatoichi (2003): Hattori is one. Some minor thugs are also implied to be Ronin.

  • Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle: Gabriel Goto. He's the son of Japanese Jesuits exiled from Japan when Christianity was banned; he's a fervent believer in both Catholicism and bushido. He eventually gives his swords to Jimmy and Danny Shaftoe, who later end up traveling America as the "Red-Neck Ronin".
  • In the Morgaine Cycle books by American author C. J. Cherryh, the main character, Vanye, is an ilin, which is more-or-less completely analogous to ronin. Exiled for fratricide, he must walk the Earth, and if he ever takes succor from a Lord he must serve them for a year and a day in recompense.
  • Zero Takaishi of Tasakeru is a ronin of the "disgraced samurai" variety.
  • In Larry Correia's The Grimnoir Chronicles, part of the Chairman's backstory. Toru takes this to heart as justifying his actions.
  • In The Riftwar Cycle, the survivors of the armies of Tsurani Houses that come to an end (usually violently as a result of politics) are forced to become grey warriors, who invariably become bandits due to lack of any other options. Mara of the Acoma restores her House's army's losses from the battle in which her father and brother died by pointing out that the soldier of a fallen Lord becoming a grey warrior is tradition, not law, and starts hiring bands of grey warriors that had turned to brigandage out of necessity - many of whom having lost their Lord to the same man who killed her father, and more than willing to sign up under someone offering a chance at revenge.
  • Temeraire: Referenced in Blood of Tyrants. Junichiro is quietly ashamed that his late parents were ronin and is all the more loyal to Lord Kaneko for adopting him anyway.
  • The aptly named Ronin (2013) novel by Francisco Narla tells the story of Saigo Hayabusa, who is forced to become a ronin to uncover the mystery of a betrayal.

    Live-Action Television 
  • The samurai of Samurai Gourmet is a Mifune-style Sengoku ronin. He is unshaven and unkempt, Walking the Earth, terse, just a little coarse (but not too coarse), hard-drinking, and understatedly badass. He represents the ideal of the protagonist Kasumi, and his appearances may or may not inspire Kasumi to act more assertively.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering's plane Kamigawa, which is based on feudal Japan, ronin obviously exist. Toshiro Umezawa is the most prominent of them.
  • Ronin play a prominent role from time to time in Legend of the Five Rings. One even became Emperor.
  • Cypher the Fallen from Warhammer 40,000 is a lone Space Marine as old as they come, whose entire identity is a mess of contradictionsnote  and who makes his former battle brothers the Dark Angels drop whatever they were doing to hunt him down. More importantly, it is believed that he carries an abnormally huge sword which he never uses, and could be the weapon of the Dark Angel's Primarch, which he supposedly want to take to the throne room of the Emperor. Whether he is a dangerous revolutionary who plots to kill the Master of Mankind, or a lost soul looking for redemption for past sins, his entire image fits snugly in the Ronin trope.
  • The Mishina faction (a formerly Japanese megacon now situated on a subterranously terraformed Mercury) from Warzone has Ronin Samurai units (unlike their Bushido Samurai they use assault rifles).
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition had a Ronin Prestige Class. While any martial character could become one, it was intended for the Samurai class and gave additional benefits based on how many Samurai levels a character had before becoming a Ronin.

    Video Games and Visual Novels 
  • Miyamoto Iori from Fate/Samurai Remnant technically isn't a disenfranchised samurai, since he was still in training as the shogunate rose to power, but his only marketable skill is his swordsmanship, so he is experiencing the same economic and social strains as the "real" rōnin are. He's also doing this to himself to some extent — the Ogasawara clan would love to have him in their service (and he was indeed a chief retainer for them in real life), but he wants to remain a free agent until he actually masters Niten Ichiryu.
  • Final Fantasy X: Auron has a lot of ronin qualities to him, such as the "death of a former master" thing, what with Braska dying at the hands of his own Final Aeon, Jecht. He also has three other major features used to signify a ronin: his left arm is held tucked out of his sleeve, he keeps a gourd of alcohol on his belt at all times, and his overdrive category is named 'Bushido'.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, characters of the myrmidon/swordmaster class are often drawn with ronin qualities. They tend to be aloof survivors haunted by the deaths of their clan, or family, or house, and require to be recruited by a unit who can either speak to their dormant sense of honor or press their Kindness Button. Usually their endings involve their Walking the Earth.
  • Bang Shishigami from BlazBlue describes himself as such, although technically he's a Ninja.
  • Age of Empires III has two different types of ronin. The Ronin from the classic game are heavily armored fighters who can only be recruited from the home city as part of a mercenary band. The ronin from the expansion are much weaker, lightly armored and closer to the concept of wandering swordsman. Both types of Ronin are recruitable if you choose to play as Japan.
  • The Serpent Clan's third tier unit in Battle Realms is called the Ronin, which is an Evil Counterpart to the Dragon Clan's Samurai. One of their Zen Masters, Shinja, is a Ronin as well.
  • The player character in each Way of the Samurai game and a lot of supporting cast as well. Depend on the choices made by the player, dependent upon the game but some of the most common boil down to, join up with a new master, join (possibly noble) gangsters, continue to wander aimlessly as the game goes by doing odd jobs for money, or support a third "civilian" side in the local conflict.
  • Gaichû from Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong is a Cyberpunk Ronin who used to belong to the Red Samurai special forces before being forced into shadowrunning. His entire character is heavily flavoured by traditionalist views on samurai and ronin (appropriate, as Japanese Imperial State has resurrected the old ideals in the Shadowrun-verse).
  • Samuel "Jetstream" Rodrigues from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was one of these in Next Sunday A.D. He's a Brazilian with Japanese ancestry and possess a 16th-century Murasama katana. When his father was killed Sam took the sword and sliced up those responsible, then got some Power Armour, converted the Murasama to a HF Blade and traveled the world fighting bad guys For Great Justice. Unfortunately by the time the game starts he's working for Desperado Enforcement.
  • The prosecutor Simon Blackquill from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is called a samurai, with his endless sword metaphors, a coat that resembles a jinbaori, and the occasional slash of a Razor Wind with his fingers in lieu of a real blade. But his characterization is closer to the ronin: his mentor Metis was murdered and he went to extraordinary lengths to protect Metis' daughter from being blamed for it out of Undying Loyalty to the family. He is eventually exonerated and becomes something of a Big Brother Mentor to Athena while putting his sword to the service of the Prosecutor's Office.
  • Samurai: Way of the Warrior and it's sequel revolves around a masterless Ronin named Daisuke Shimada, who roams Feudal Japan slaying evil men everywhere he goes.
  • Soulcalibur has Mitsurugi, a wandering swordsman who wants nothing more than to find a sword that stops him from getting wrecked by firearms, and otherwise is very like The Seven Samurai's Kikuchiyo (right down to being a former farmer's son). The original plan is to use the demon sword Soul Edge, but he ends up disregarding this because he's gotten good enough to beat gunmen anyway. Later on, he just wants someone to give him a good challenge, to the point where he's willing to challenge gods just to have some fun. Setsuka also qualifies as this, as she's an iaijutsu practicing swordswoman who's seeking to avenge her dead master. Appropriately enough, her master was wounded by Mitsurugi in a duel.
  • In Sword of the Samurai, any samurai may disguise himself as a poor ronin in order to move across the countryside undetected (mostly for purposes of eventually infiltrating a lord's estate for some nefarious purpose). Furthermore, bands of ronin often cause trouble for local lords, who can then gain honor by killing them all in melee combat.
  • Etrian Odyssey: The Ronin class is focused around a unique Stance System of buffs that allows them to use different skills (or, in the case of Etrian Odyssey Nexus, apply bonus effects to certain skills) depending on which stance they're currently in. However, despite their power, they are one of the physically frailest classes in the game, with terrible HP and the lightest armor class.
  • In For Honor, the Aramusha is essentially one of these, being a masterless swordsman and mercenary. He primarily fights with two swords, and is heavily inspired by classic samurai and ronin movies. Several of his armor sets can emphasize his place as either a vagabond mercenary, wandering monk, or even a tattooed Yakuza.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • Kaedehara Kazuha is a samurai from Inazuma who is currently on the run after defying the Raiden Shogun's Vision Hunt Decree, becoming a wanderer unattached to any lord in the process.
    • Nobushi, former samurai who have fallen to banditry, are common enemies throughout Inazuma. Some work as mercenaries for the Treasure Hoarders or the Fatui.
  • Yasuo in League of Legends is a swordsman under double disgrace — his master was found dead and he was falsely accused of the murder. To further twist the knife, one of his accusers was his own brother, who challenged him to a duel to the death and lost.
  • Elden Ring: One of the secondary characters, Bloody Finger Hunter Yura, is a gruff fellow with a katana whose armour goes so far as to be known as the Ronin Set. He has no stated faction or allegiance, instead having adopted a mission of eliminating Bloody Fingers.

  • Tower of God: Hatz.
  • In The Water Phoenix King, we find the non-human Ngapp, who supported the titular God-King in hopes of supplanting his rebellious human subjects, and were retroactively outlawed after their emperor decided to support the human resistance at the tail end of the war. Now exiled to the wastelands, men without a country or hope of pardon, they have turned bandits and raid against neighboring humans and their own people, the Yigs, indiscriminately. Recently one of these — a Sorcerous Overlord who was originally just an Alchemist looking for the scholarly respect denied him at home — has found a powerful, if secretive, backer and is starting to unify all the separate Ngapp bands under his aegis, posing an increasing threat to neighboring kingdoms and principalities on all sides...

    Web Media 
  • WALLE Forum Roleplay:
    • The Japanese Autopilot KATANA insults people and robots whom she sees as disgraced samurai who turned their back to the Way of The Warrior, or otherwise failed their Daimyos (note: she means superiors), as ronin.
    • JAXA, another Japanese Auto, on the other hand, embodies the trope of the samurai without a master who became a dangerous bandit.
  • Kat and Mouse: Guns for Hire features two ronin from the future named Kat and Mouse.

    Western Animation 
  • He's never referred to by the term, but Samurai Jack fits the description to a T, having no master and being an outlaw in a Dystopia ruled by his mortal enemy. Unlike most, he has a mission he has sworn his life to, while retaining the tradition and Code of the Samurai. When he does succeed, this end up restoring his original kingdom and he resumes his role as prince.

    Real Life 
  • The legend of The 47 Ronin, a band of samurai who took revenge for their master's death, and were allowed to commit seppuku for their crimes to keep their honor rather than be executed. Though based on a true story, it has seen many changes over the years. Considered a shining example of loyalty, honor, and bushido, and the best-beloved story in Japan.
  • Miyamoto Musashi in most depictions of him. Justified as Musashi spent most of his life as a ronin, and tended to go in and out of service to various lords and patrons. Mitsurugi of Soulcalibur is heavily based on him.

Modern-Day Ronin

    Anime and Manga 
  • Chobits: Hideki leaves the countryside for the city so he can attend cram school and retake the college entrance exam, while at the same time having a part time job at a bar. He makes friends with fellow ronin Shinbo, and their cram school teacher Takako Shimizu also figures into the story.
  • Love Hina: Keitaro, Mutsumi and Naru. Later, when Kid Samurai Motoko starts worrying about her exams, it's commented that she could end up a "Ronin Ronin" (she does not take this well).
  • Yusaku Godai from Maison Ikkoku starts out as one, having failed to get into college the first time around, and he struggles to get any studying done since the other Ikkoku residents keep using his room for parties. Fortunately, he doesn't stay one for long, since he manages to get accepted to college only a few chapters/episodes into the story.
  • Crayon Shin-chan's fat otaku neighbor has been trying to get into a 3rd rate vocational university, one that Boo's dad got into with flying colors, and after years has STILL not been able to get in.
  • Touma Inaba from Sakura Diaries.
  • Saya of Servant × Service spent a year as a ronin under this definition. This is why she's the oldest of all the newbies.
  • Ichiroh! has its protagonists Nanako and Akane. In fact, the title is the term used for someone in their first year as a ronin.
  • In Parasyte, Shinichi fails the university entrance exams at the end of the series, due to missing so much school while fighting the Parasytes and dealing with his mother's death. He has to catch up.
  • Slow Start:
    • This is the main conflict for the protagonist Hana. She missed her entrance exams on account of mumps and begins high school a year later than expected. For the most part she hides this fact from her classmates, seeing it could be socially disastrous; she had actually considered Hikikomori out of that concern an was only defied by moving to another town so her situation is not known, in turn allowing her to make new friends.
    • Hiroe's case is worse than Hana's. After missing the college entrance exam out of the flu, the stress of the Student Council President becoming this made her a Hikikomori for about a year.
  • Sekirei: Minato Sahashi starts out the series having failed his college entry exam twice. It's later clarified that Minato gets good grades, but is just bad at handling pressure. By the time of the series epilogue, he's overcome this.

  • In Weekend at Hisao's, Takumi, Hisao's old friend, uses the term's variant for college students to describe himself (the fic takes place after he and Hisao graduate from high school), as he failed to get into the school that he wanted.


  • Wearing the Cape: Japan has mandatory superpower registration and training, but voluntary government service. Supers who refuse to sign up with the government are referred to as ronin, and are generally treated as little better than criminals because they are wasting their gifts instead of allowing them to be put to the best use for the nation. Of course, some of them are criminals (the yakuza are quick to hire any ronin they can), but even supers who sign up with international aid organizations are dismissed as ronin. In the book Ronin Games, Hope, Jackie, and Ozma go undercover as ronin with some magical help to appear Japanese. By the end of the book, the "Three Remarkable Ronin" have become cultural heroes due to their actions, and Hope (as "Hikari") has been practically deified.

    Video Games and Visual Novels 
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan: Tsuyoshi Hanada, your very first target in both games. This trope only applies in the first game, where he's struggling to pass his college entrance exams. He's trying to get himself a job in the second.
  • The protagonist of Kisetsu o Dakishimete (the 2nd game of the Yarudora series), was one for a year in the Backstory. Unlike most examples, it was not due to poor academic results, but because of a Heroic BSoD caused by the death of the girl he loved. The game starts as he just got into his town's university.
  • Richard Wellington, the first antagonist of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, is described as one of these in the Japanese version. (The English translation goes with "drifter.") He claims to be one by choice, having simply not found a university that meets his high standards, but given his general character and the fact that he's fallen into petty criminality, it's much more likely him being delusional about having flunked out.

    Real Life 
  • In medieval China, the only way to enter the civil service was to take multiple, incredibly difficult exams. Pu Songling took his first test at 19 years old and succeeded, but got no higher until he was 71. In the meantime, he collected folk tales and mystic stories, which remain with us now as his Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio.

Other uses of the term Ronin

    Anime and Manga 
  • The titular Ronin Warriors are an unusual case in that while they do lose their master, the name is given from the get-go. Given that in the original Japanese they were called the Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, this is most likely a case of Rule of Cool.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Clint Barton and Maya Lopez have both used the name "Ronin" on occasion. It's basically a placeholder identity for heroes who can't use their normal superhero identities for whatever reason.
    • Wolverine: In Wolverine (1982), while Yukio does not use it as a name, she is actually described as a ronin.

  • Ronin (1998) is set after the cold war and compares former secret agents to Ronin.
  • The Wolverine: Ichirō invokes this trope to describe Wolverine metaphorically. The latter's "lack of a master" translates to "a lack of purpose," and this turns him into an immortal drifter. note  This doubles as Fridge Brilliance because Logan's strong reaction to Professor X's supposed death in X-Men: The Last Stand, the post-credits airport scene (where Wolverine only cares about what Xavier has to say, not Magneto), and the 2023 portion of X-Men: Days of Future Past prove that Charles is essentially his "master."

  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Hedge knights fill a similar role to ronin in that they have no land or lord and wander the country seeking employment. They also have the reputation that they are at risk of becoming bandits.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Stargate Atlantis: Though never a Samurai, Ronon Dex was a soldier defending a world culled of sentient life by Wraith, and one of the few survivors. His name is also a play on the word Ronin.
  • The X-Files: "Pusher" Modell considered himself a Ronin, acting as a hitman and making many references to Japanese culture.
  • Person of Interest. The POI in "Wolf and Cub", who's a fan of samurai films, compares Reese to a ronin. Given that Reese is a former CIA assassin turned Knight Errant, he's not far wrong.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Thanks to the Japanese-themed Draconis Combine, the term "ronin" gets used a lot.
    • First, there were the Draconis Combine soldiers who fought duels with Star League Defense Force Gunslingers during the First Hidden War. Due to being declared ronin and fighting exclusively in one-on-one duels, the Draconis soldiers were given plausible deniability that prevented an escalation of aggression to a point that the Combine couldn't handle.
    • Second, there was the Ronin War in 3034, when a bunch of former Draconis Combine soldiers went rogue and attacked the newly formed Free Rasalhague Republic, which had formerly been a Draconis Combine district. The Combine, furious at this dishonorable behavior, requested the permission of the FRR's government and entered the territory in order to hunt down and kill all the renegades.
    • Finally, in the Dark Age there is a mercenary unit called the Ronin, formed from former Draconis Combine soldiers. They're noteable mostly for not really being noteable.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Garou who don't belong to any tribe are known as Ronin, and are pariahs in a setting that places heavy emphasis on community and group dynamics. Interestingly, they are not a popular choice for players with Special Snowflake Syndrome, since their "tribal" weakness — an extremely difficult time gaining renown — is much harsher than those for the tribes. For added Bilingual Bonus, "Ronin" can also be read as "Wolf Man."

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom of Loathing uses the term for the state inflicted after one ascends and starts over. While in Ronin, they can only access a limited number of items or money from their previous life, and they can't receive things from other players. Ronin expires after a set number of turns, unless you're in Hardcore mode, where it doesn't expire until you finish the game again and you can't access your previous life's items at all.
  • One of the rival gangs in Saints Row 2 is called the Ronin. The grunts all wield katana, and they're implied to have ties to the Yakuza. That said, it's a bit of a Non-Indicative Name, as is pointed out by NPC chatter: "Why are we called the Ronin? We have a leader!"
  • The main character's team in Unreal Tournament III's singleplayer mode is called Ronin. Reaper acknowledges the meaning when his team is drafted by the Izanagi corporation, commenting "So, the Ronin have a master."
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising, Steel Ronin are a kind of battlesuit unit. Specifically, they are in the suits as a form of punishment for not following orders or related crimes and hope to regain their freedom again by doing battle against the Empire's enemies. They're apparently in constant pain too. Meanwhile, in the Game Mod Red Alert 3: Paradox (which doesn't use Uprising units), Steel Ronin have laid down their weapons instead and, among other things, became tour guides as they figured "Why should we follow these people again?"
  • Escape Velocity Nova has a group called Ronin in the south-east of Auroran space. Composed of disgraced warriors, they are loosely-organized pirates who control a single asteroid base and survive mainly because both of the two local feudal houses argue that it's the other's responsibility to take care of them.
  • A pun rather than an actual example, the Hearthstone card for the character Rhonin describes him as A masterless shamurai.
  • Cloud in Final Fantasy VII is both of the definitions - a masterless swordsman who now works as a mercenary, and someone who miserably failed his entrance exams for the elite unit he tried to get into.
  • The Dark Knight class from Bravely Default is likened to a ronin. They refused to serve kingdoms and instead worked as either mercenaries, plunderers, or protectors of small villages.
  • Ghost of Tsushima uses both definitions, featuring a group of ronin mercenaries called the Straw Hats as supporting characters, while also having their leader Ryuzo be a failed samurai who never got to begin the process of becoming one and struck out on his own. They notably end up being a Deconstruction of the whole "noble ronin" archetype, as they turn out to be more like Real Life ronin; conniving, dishonorable opportunists willing to sell out the heroes to the Mongol invaders in order to save their own skins.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: The Japan-themed Verigo has Ronin as part of the human enemies in their castle.


    Western Animation 
  • In Epic (2013), the badass leader of the Leafmen is called Ronin, foreshadowing the death of his queen early in the film.


Video Example(s):



The Aramusha is a Samurai fallen from grace. They are not silent nor elegant but they move with the precision of a predatory cat and waste no movements. Their dual blades make short work of any who stand against them.

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Example of:

Main / Ronin

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