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so if you live outside the palace, how are you supposed to protect your shit from criminals?
hire a samurai.
everyone started hiring samurai. (correction: rich important people hired samurai. poor people who could not afford to hire samurai did not hire samurai.)

Members of the military class in feudal Japan, they had considerable social status, and after the end of the 16th century until the mid-19th century, they were the only Japanese citizens legally allowed to own swords (with the exception of swords having blades less than 24 inches, which were legally considered wakizashi and legal for non-samurai to own), causing wearing both a long and short sword (called the daishō, literally "big-little") to become a symbol of the samurai.

Theoretically, samurai were supposed to follow the bushido code of honor, which stressed loyalty to one's master, self discipline and respectful, ethical behavior. However, the degree to which individual samurai actually adhered to bushido (which as a formal concept may be Newer Than They Think, according to historians, though patterns and traditions in common with the concept certainly existed throughout the centuries) varied about as much as the degree to which individual knights in Europe adhered to the code of chivalry — which is to say, you could find everything from bandits in armor to saints of the battlefield. Although women could be and frequently were warriors, the social and military rules for them were somewhat different than for men.

A popular misconception holds that the samurai were the counter-culture to the Ninja; that is, whereas samurai tend to came from the upper classes and were honorable warriors who fight face to face and use no "dirty" tricks, ninjas tend to be from the lower classes, were skilled at unorthodox warfare and would not hesitate to use backstabbing, poison, or spying to gain the upper hand. This is commonly seen in works featuring ninjas, in which samurai and ninja were either depicted as mortal enemies, or ninjas being mercenaries hired by the samurai to do the unsavory wetwork honorable samurai would not do. However, the aforementioned depiction is not historically accurate. In Real Life, while some ninjas were mercenaries, most ninjas were actually samurai themselves. The idea that the ninja were something separate from the rest of Japanese society came about during the Edo period (a 250 year long period of peace), after Tokugawa Ieyasu became shogun and unified the country. Edo-period samurai started assuming the values of the court-aristocracy, while simultaneously resurrecting centuries-disused aspects of the samurai honor code from before the Mongol invasion, and didn't like to talk about actual warfare—they also pretended they were primarily swordsmen, while the main roles of the samurai in war were actually Horse Archers, archers and spearmen. Furthermore, warfare in the Sengoku Period involved extensive use of gunpowder weapons, another useful implement of war the samurai distanced themselves from during the Edo Period—albeit the infantrymen who used them, who carried the technical label ashigaru, were nevertheless recognized as the lowest rung of the samurai hierarchy. Many modern historians believe the entire concept of ninjas being the counter-culture to the samurai was invented by Edo-period novelists to avoid showing recently gentrified samurai involved in anything remotely dishonorable.

Subtypes of the samurai commonly seen in anime include the Kid Samurai and the Rōnin, a samurai without a master to serve whose 'low class' status is sometimes designed to be more identifiable.

Samurai are popular heroes in period stories, and no few anime feature them. Such heroes, naturally enough, tend to be paragons. Outright subversions tend to be for specific characters and even then usually criticizing the upper class as a whole. Samurai and their code of ethics were featured heavily in Japanese military propaganda during the early twentieth century. For obvious reasons, they are much less popular in certain Asian countries.

When samurai are presented negatively, expect them to be wearing their full armor, including an elaborately designed and intimidating helmet. When they are presented as higher-ranking officials, Beleaguered Bureaucrats or Upper Class Twits (particularly those working for the shogunate/military government of their period), they are usually presented wearing simple-yet-clearly refined kimono (either the hitatare from the Kamakura Period or the kamishimo from the Edo Period). When they're being presented as paragons, expect them to at least be helmet-less, or sometimes wearing nothing but a Hakama. Rōnin in particular probably aren't going to be armored and maybe be visually contrasted to armored samurai - though what with Rōnin tending to be Walking the Earth, it's pretty logical they aren't going to be able to haul full armor around. Speaking of samurai armor, it was usually made of leather-backed iron scales laced with silk, or later on, iron or steel lames riveted together. While it was often coated with lacquer to prevent moisture from rusting the metal, it was never made of wood like some sources claim.

Most fictional depictions of samurai tend to be Always Male, though female examples aren't entirely unheard of. In fact, there was a specific type of samurai known as onna-musha or onna-bugeisha (meaning "women warrior" in Japanese). They were noblewomen trained in the art of bushido and were expected to protect their household, family, and especially their honor in times of war much like their male counterparts. The armor worn by an onna-musha was not too dissimilar to most standard samurai armor worn by men. The naginata was the weapon of choice for many female samurai which has even spawned its own trope. On the rare occasion when female samurai do appear in works set in the feudal period of Japanese history, expect them to be Yamato Nadeshiko ladies of war who are culturally refined, elegant, and capable of fighting.

Not to be confused with the Cyberpunk "Street Samurai" character type. A more modern take is the Corporate Samurai, who takes the general ethos of the samurai and applies it to a modern setting. Samurai Shinobi is when you mix Samurai with Ninja (which is Truth in Television if you look closely enough). Samurai Cowboy is when you mix the classic samurai with the Western cowboy. Speaking of which, those three character types definitely got made because Everything's Better with Samurai. Western Samurai is when you have a samurai warrior of non-Japanese descent (usually European or East Asian).

See also Jidaigeki. You were probably expecting their iconic katana swords to get a mention around here, so for that, see the page Katanas Are Just Better (and don't forget not Every Japanese Sword is a Katana). Japanese Spirit also incorporates a lot of old samurai tropes and virtues into modern manga. Knight in Shining Armor and its subtrope Knight Errant are the Western equivalents of the samurai and the ronin respectively.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ken Akamatsu's use of the Shinmeiryuu sword school in his stories (Love Hina, Negima! Magister Negi Magi) is a way for him to bring samurai into the setting, because Everything's Better with Samurai. That and to depict Implausible Fencing Powers.
  • Manji and a number of other characters in Blade of the Immortal. Most however are just "thugs that just happen to be born into nobility" (like most were during the 18th-century). Manji himself is a Rōnin who's been wandering Japan as a sword-for-hire since his sister was murdered by bandits.
  • Bleach: Soul Society is modeled on medieval Japan. With the Soul Reapers filling the role of the samurai class, emphasis is placed on courage, loyalty and obedience. Particular examples include Byakuya and Komamura, whose zanpakutous sometimes manifest as warriors wearing traditional armour.
  • Shuro from Delicious in Dungeon certainly looks the part. Later chapters confirm he hails from the East.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the series is set in the Taisho period, 1910 onwards so the Samurai aren’t a thing anymore, but the setting spams an old feuld against demons that has lasted for centuries, in the Sengoku period there were a band of Samurai known to be particularly strong demon hunters, one of them almost killed the series’ main antagonist Muzan Kibutsuji, that samurai was later revealed to be Yoriichi Tsugikuni who had mastered one of the most powerful sword arts the series has ever presented.
  • Somei from the cooking-manga Food Wars!, member of the Elite Ten. Somei lives by the code of the bushido, the way of the samurai, and incorporates it in his mannerisms. He uses his sword in his sushi preparations.
  • While not an actual samurai, Juubei from Get Backers seems to follow the same basic honor code, to the point where characters will actually use the word when describing himboth flatteringly and not-so-flatteringly.
  • Gintama in all its wacky glory.
  • Graham Aker of Gundam 00 adopts the way of bushido in the second season, despite being American. His idea of the code of bushido was also rather skewed, considering he only cared about fighting his Worthy Opponent and was extremely disrespectful to his superiors. This got played up to such an extent that his In-Series Nickname became "Mr. Bushido". He even dolls up his personal mobile suits with armor and weaponry designed to evoke samurai imagery. It is subverted in that many people, in universe and out, consider him a total idiot for these actions, which he drops in time for The Movie.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team. Chief Security maid Konoe Tsurugi clearly has had military training, especially in the katana, which shows in her demeanor.
  • One episode of Haré+Guu started showing samurai fighting a war in feudal Japan. Turns out Guu was just watching TV.
  • The band of brothers who make up The Hakkenden.
  • House of Five Leaves: The main character and a few others.
  • In Log Horizon, Samurai is one of the Japanese server's two exclusive classes (with the other being the Kannagi class); as a melee class it features incredibly powerful attacks that are offset by having long cool-downs and can also function well as a tank by making use of abilities that draw aggro onto them. Touya, one of the main characters, is the main Samurai player in the story.
  • Ohgami Itto from Lone Wolf and Cub, along with many other characters.
  • Lupin III: Goemon Ishikawa XIII, descendant of the real historical figure/folk hero of the same name. The historical Goemon was closer to a Ninja version of Robin Hood than a Samurai, though he may have been born into a Samurai family. XIII himself is actually what we call a Rōnin, but is never called that In-Universe.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Signum has a lot of samurai-like qualities (like her loyalty to Hayate and being The Stoic) despite Ancient Belka being closer in line with Medieval Europe. Levi the Slasher even calls her "Bushido".
    • Micaiah Chevelle has a Katana Intelligent Device (one of the few that speaks Japanese instead of German or English), and her Barrier Jacket resembles a Kendo uniform.
  • Naruto:
    • The Kage Summit arc introduces the Land of Iron, which is a neutral country with no ties to any ninja villages, defended by samurai, who wear armor similar to stormtroopers. The samurai are stated to be a powerful military and even the regular samurai are able to use Laser Blade and Sword Beam techniques to destructive effects. Of the samurai, only three are named: Mifune, the leader of the samurai and a master of Iai; Okisuke, Mifune's bodyguard who is a scarred and bald man wielding two swords; and Urakaku, who is Mifune's other bodyguard, though few details are known about him. As might be expected, all of them but Mifune instantly lose any fight against a named character.
    • Gato's henchmen are referred to as Samurai. While technically, they could be samurai (but are more likely to be a pair of bandits who only carry that name because they serve one of the world's richest men), their adherence to the Bushido code leaves much to be desired.
  • Mazinger Z: In episode 26 Dr. Hell praised Kouji Kabuto, stating that he had to have blood samurai because he was a strong, courageous and tenacious warrior, right like a samurai.
  • In One Piece, Samurai are the skilled swordsmen of the Country of Wano, whose skill is so great, that they are successfully independent from the World Government. When the Straw Hat Pirates enter the New World, they meet three of them: Kin'emon, his son Momonosuke and his friend Kanjuro. There is a big Culture Clash between the groups, and due to Wano's isolationist policy, are rather out of place in there. They also are unaware of what their own Devil's Fruit powers are, as well.
  • A kid known only as Samurai was the very first one-shot character to appear in the Pokémon anime, in the episode "Challenge of the Samurai". He dressed like a samurai and used bug-type Pokemon.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, Rikkaidai sub-captain Genichirou Sanada follows several of the stereotypes associated with samurai. He's Tall, Dark, and Handsome, extremely stern and proud (or tries to be, does NOT tolerate anything similar to indiscipline, is a Heir to the Dojo specialized in kendo, etc.
  • Ryoko Mitsurugi in Real Bout High School.
  • Rurouni Kenshin is set in the late 19th Century during the Meiji Period of Japan, a few years after the abolition of the Samurai caste. A major part of the story centers around the last generation of Samurai trying to adjust to life in post-feudal Japan. The main character, Himura Kenshin, is sometimes described as a Samurai being a highly skilled swordsman but he was never actually a member of the Samurai caste, coming from a poor farming family. He also plays with this trope a bit seeming to fully obey Bushido while acting as Battousai and disobeying it when in his less violent state of mind, preventing many fellow Samurai from committing Seppuku, dishonoring them. During his time as an assassin in Kyoto he would have been impersonating a samurai, as a commoner wouldn't be allowed to wear swords on the street like he did, which is why he gained the family name "Himura" at that time; as a commoner during the shogunate he wouldn't have had a family name, but samurai had family names so he needed one to pass as a samurai.
  • Samurai Executioner follows Asaemon Yamada, who is a samurai, an executioner, and an executioner of samurai, being the shogun's blade-tester (which involves cutting dead bodies with swors and killing criminals). He's often thought to be a pushover in a real fight since most of his victims are tied up or already dead, those who think they can attack him with impunity are swiftly proven wrong. He also tries to find out why the people he kills did what they did.
  • Samurai in Masashi Kishimoto's Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru are individuals chosen by the War God Fudo Myo-o's locker ball with the duty to protect the galaxy. They are considered to be above bushi (human warriors).
  • Jin in Samurai Champloo is the most prominent example, as is anyone in the show related to his past. There's also the "Samurai who smells of sunflowers" who Fuu convinces Jin and Mugen to help her track down he's her father, and a Japanese Christian. Also worth noting is that while serving as the narrator, Manzo the Saw comments explicitly on the homosexual practices of samurai noted above.
  • In School Rumble, Harry (the American) is freaked out when he first sees Harima's partially shaven head, mistakenly assuming that it is a "Samurai haircut." He later refers to Harima as "the one with the Samurai haircut," and seems to be under the impression that Harima is some sort of super warrior for awhile.
  • Amidamaru from Shaman King. He is a samurai who died during the Muromachi period 600 years ago and is now Yoh's guardian ghost and best friend.
  • Shigurui exists partially to call out the darker, more screwed-up parts of samurai culture, in response to the romanticization of samurai and feudal Japan in Japanese culture.
  • Mifune of Soul Eater, arguably the strongest character with no special powers to swing a blade.
  • In addition to sharing the surname of a Japanese World War II ace, Major Mio Sakamoto from Strike Witches is modeled after the historical image of a samurai—she puts honor above everything, is protective of her subordinates, and lives to fight. Plus, she has a katana.
  • Symphogear has Tsubasa Kazanari, whose personality is based on that of a warrior. She vows her life for the battle, frequently calls herself as a sword and sentinel, and her Armed Gear has a katana as its default form. Additionally, her battle songs feature traditional Japanese instrumentals. However, she actually deconstructs it, as it's shown repeatedly and increasingly throughout the series that this mind set is not good for her to have; in fact it's shown at the start to come from the trauma of losing her first battle partner, retreating into old code and issues stemming from her messed-up family to cope. She ends up reconstructing it as she goes through Character Development and ditches the more harmful parts of it.
  • Greatshot in Transformers Victory is modelled on a samurai - in the Japanese version, he even has the appropriate speech pattern.
  • From Trigun Rai-Dei the Blade, one of member of the Gung-Ho Guns villains group. A warrior who's adapted the way of the samurai (in a western steampunk world)... with a few adjustments.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Sherry's Battle Butler Mizoguchi uses a deck based on the concept. While hardly a Samurai himself, Mizoguchi follows a code he believes is similar to bushido, comparing it to his desire and willingness to protect Sherry at all costs.

    Comic Books 
  • Daughters of the Dragon: Colleen Wing was trained as a samurai by her grandfather and has samurai ancestry on her mother's side of the family.
  • Western example: Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro) from Batman and the Outsiders and related series/teams.
  • Hondo-Cit Judges in Judge Dredd are modeled on samurai. Their equivalent of the chief judge is even called the Shogun.

    Fan Work 
  • One Piece: Parallel Works has Mikuri, one of the last samurai to leave Wano Country. Kazuma also qualifies as a younger version of this trope.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Hagakure: The Book of Bushido is a collection of commentaries from Yamamoto Tsunetomo, a former samurai who retired and became a Buddhist priest. A younger friend of his, Tsuramato Tashiro, dictated all of Tsunetomo's statements in their conversations over seven years and eventually had them published long after Tsunetomo's death. It is frequently thought of as a handbook on how to be a samurai, though in truth it is more a assortment of a man's nostalgic musings for a time he never even experienced, as he never fought himself since his samurai tenure was during a time of peace and no one knows if he ever intended for everything he said around Tsuramato Tashiro to be published.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Nanao Hibiya was a samurai in Yamatsukuni, the setting's counterpart to Sengoku Period Japan. Notably, despite being a teenage girl, she prefers a katana to a naginata, and was brought to Kimberly Magic Academy by a visiting Union mage who plucked her from a battlefield where she was fighting a Last Stand in an army's rearguard.
  • Samurai Santa: After Yukio and the other ninja kids chase Santa Claus out of the ninja village, a red-faced samurai leading an army of Snowlems engages them all in an all-out snowball war. The samurai was Santa Claus, and the snowball was was his Christmas present to Yukio.
  • The Tomoe Gozen Saga by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, starring the eponymous legendary 12th-century lady samurai.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers:
  • After his appearance in the drama Fuurin Kazan, GACKT started getting cast in roles as a Samurai. Since then he has been cast as a Samurai in the upcoming movie Bunraku, as Nemuri Kyoshiro in a theater play, and was one of the main features of Koei's Samurai Festival.
  • The recurring sketch on SNL where John Belushi plays a samurai dressed like Yojimbo speaking pidgin Japanese in various jobs like "Samurai Delicatessen" or "Samurai Hotel" with Buck Henry always as a customer.
  • Highlander had an episode entitled 'The Samurai', where Duncan washes up in Japan during its isolationist period. Samurai Hideo Koto helps him even though it's illegal and he should kill him. Eventually, he gives Duncan his signature katana and when he's told the Emperor's men are coming, he commits seppuku with Duncan as his second. Duncan much later helps his descendant because of a promise he made to the family.
  • All of the Riders in Kamen Rider Gaim are based on different kinds of warriors, but the samurai motif gets special treatment as being that of both The Hero and the Anti-Villain that serves as the main antagonist.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The Samurai class in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 (while seen as possibly the worst basic class in the game if one doesn't count NPC classes like Commoner note ) is contrasted with the Paladin in the text, with it being noted that the Paladin might ask if an order given by one's superior is just, while a Samurai would say to that Paladin "You dishonor the lord by questioning his orders".
    • The Samurai is brought back for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, but this time as a specialization of the Fighter rather than its own class. This time around, the suckiness has been removed and a sidebar notes that while samurai were of course real, the game makers decided to go with "samurai as depicted in movies and comic books" because they thought that it would be more fun that way.
  • Legend of the Five Rings plays the trope very straight, and actually gets a fair number of the societal details right as well - although Bushido is a somewhat bigger deal than it was in real life, primarily for dramatic purposes.
  • In Pathfinder, the samurai is a sub-class of the cavalier. Ironically, despite the fact that the samurai is perhaps an iconic Lawful-requiring class, the Pathfinder samurai has no alignment restriction, nor does its parent the cavalier. This is particularly noteworthy when contrasted with D&D, where they both had to be Lawful, and especially since Pathfinder does retain many of the classic alignment-restrictions on classes (The Paladin must be Lawful Good, barbarians can't be lawful, druids must be Neutral, monks must be Lawful).
  • The samurai creature type in Magic: The Gathering, introduced in Kamigawa. All of them have Bushido as a keyword ability. Notable examples are Toshiro Umezawa and Daimyo Konda.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, there are the Six Samurai, and the forbearers, the Legendary Six Samurai.

    Video Games 
  • In Akane the Kunoichi, your goal is to rescue Goro, the samurai, who is the heroine's master and love interest.
  • The Dragon Clan's third tier unit in Battle Realms is the Samurai. At least one of their Zen Masters, Otomo, is one as well. Kenji will also begin resembling a Samurai in the Dragon campaign and will don a hakama in his final incarnation.
  • Brigandine: Samurai is a character class of some characters within the game and promotes into a Shogun. Take note that this is despite the setting being a medieval Europe-like world. The Japanese version called it 'Sword Master', but it doesn't take away from how their sprite/model is basically an O-Yoroi armor set (usually worn by Samurai).
  • Bug Fables: Kabbu and the Northern Kingdom from which he hails are portrayed with many stereotypical attributes of idealized samurai. The Northern Kingdom is described in a Lore Book as very traditional and honor-focused like feudal Japan, while its predominant beetle inhabitants (like Kabbu and Stratos) are designed with exoskeletons that evoke samurai armor. Kabbu's use of his sharp horn for melee attacks faintly resembles sword attacks, while his unswervingly kind and chivalrous demeanor invokes Japanese Politeness.
  • Civilization routinely features Samurai as Japan's unique unit. They tend to have superior stats compared to generic military units of the same era, or special abilities like striking first in combat or fighting at full effectiveness no matter how badly they're wounded, though Civ V inexplicably gave them the ability to improve ocean resource tiles, to make up for Japan's lack of peacetime buffs.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3:
    • Imperial warriors from are high-tech Samurai, with rifles and beam katanas.
    • The Tsunami tank crew even refer to themselves as samurai (in their role as cavalry, the Tsunami being an amphibious tank), and according to the background info study calligraphy, poetry at the same time as they study tactics an train with the tank.
  • Ensemble Stars! has a weird example: though it's a game about high schoolers in training to become Idol Singers, one character - Souma - is explicitly samurai themed, and unlike the ninja character, he is not just LARPing. He comes from an extremely old-fashioned family which lives as though it were still the Edo period and is very protective of its samurai history. They also seem to have some kind of political clout - Souma has a government permit to carry around a sword everywhere he goes, even in school, and when Shinobu hears this he wonders aloud who his family even are. As a result, Souma not only acts like a samurai - complete with old-timey speech, Samurai Ponytail, Undying Loyalty to his 'master', and comic willingness to suggest seppuku as penalty for any of his mistakes - he even identifies himself as one, even though for obvious reasons the whole warrior class doesn't actually exist anymore.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Empire Earth 2 has Samurai as the Japanese unique unit in the first 5 epochs, meaning it's possible to see them fighting alongside cavemen.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy V, every character can take on the Samurai job once unlocked - its special ability is throwing gil at all foes the player is currently facing. While economically taxing, it is one of the fastest way to deal massive amounts of damage.
    • Cyan from Final Fantasy VI fits this character type completely, with his use of formal speech (Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe in the NA translations}, a wide array of katanas/Eastern-style swords, and unique sword skills such as multislashes, counterattacks and stuns.
    • Final Fantasy VII of course has Sephiroth, who's also got a Samurai theme going on, Big Fucking Katana included. By Word of God, Sephiroth was inspired by Sasaki Kojiro, who similarly used an unusually long nodachi. Cloud in turn was inspired by Miyamoto Musashi, who according to legend defeated Kojiro using a sword carved from a boat oar, and thus Cloud's Buster Sword resembles a sharpened, exaggerated boat oar.
    • Final Fantasy X:
      • A lot of Auron's appearance is due to traditional depictions of Rōnin, including the arm being kept inside his robe and the jug of sake hanging from his belt.
        He also starts the game with a BFS that is called a katana, (although it looks more like a cross between a katana and Sanosuke's zanbato from Rurouni Kenshin) and most of his other weapons are named after famous Japanese sword smiths, although not all of them look much like traditional blades. His (gigantic) katana are notable for being considered piercing weapons, which along his massive strength, are able to take down armored enemies without hassle.
        His other skills include 'Breaks', which reduces an enemies' attack/defense and/or magics, and he's also the first party member able to take massive hits in place of the more fragile mages. Once his Celestial Weapon is unlocked and fully powered, he deals even more damage at lower health, as a samurai embraces death it helps that he is in fact already dead for the entire game. There's a reason he's called the Legendary Guardian.
      • Yojimbo from the same game is an optional Aeon which joins upon being hired. Payment is expected not only to recruit him, but for his every action. He carries a number of weapons, including a nodachi which, should he decides you're worthy of him unsheathing, will oneshot ANYTHING in the game, up to and including the final boss OR even optional superbosses.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, Yuna, Rikku, and newcomer Paine can choose to carry on their legacy and wield the Samurai dressphere. It allows them bonus attack damage when they're on low health, reflecting the samurai's fearlessness in battle, abilities like Momentum, that increase the girls' damage as more foes fall in battle, and cleansing both the player's debuffs and purging their foes' buffs. By far their most notable skills however, are Zantetsu, an strike intended as a one-hit kill of any one opponent, and Shin-Zantetsu, a MULTITARGET strike with a 50% chance to do the same.
  • Fire Emblem, despite being mostly Medieval European Fantasy, has had this trope apply since the incorporation of Wutai in the 3DS games.
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the Swordmaster class very much looks like a samurai; in fact, the two recruitable characters who start off as Swordmasters (Say'ri and Yen'fay) are both from pseudo-Japanese Chon'sin.
    • Fire Emblem Fates takes it even further, with the Myrmidon class even being renamed to Samurai, due to one of the game's two major nations, Hoshido, being based almost entirely on feudal Japan. The promoted class Swordmaster even wears armor that is basically indistinguishable from traditional samurai armor.
  • Samurai are one of the three factions in For Honor. In the fictional world of the game, the Samurai, or "Chosen" of the Dawn Empire dwell in the swamps of the Myre, after their original home was destroyed in the cataclysm that wrecked the world a thousand years beforehand. They are a more technical faction than the Knights, who tend towards a more balanced playstyle, and the Vikings, who are more aggressively-oriented. Their classes include the Kensei, the most traditionally samurai-like of the lot, but who uses a nodachi rather than a katana, the Shugoki, massive oni-masked warriors who wield a kanabo and can shrug off the first attack thanks to their massive HP, the Orochi, elite Imperial assassins and katana-wielders, and the Nobushi, women warriors wielding naginata who protect the common folk. The Samurai are also the focus of the final story chapter with the viewpoint character being the Orochi who is also the one to kill Apollyon. Season two added a DLC class, the Shinobi, a Glass Cannon of the highest order who uses twin kusari-gama.
  • Samurai and Ronin are classes available by Djinn allocation in Golden Sun. According to the 4-koma gag manga, it turns them into actual samurai, complete with Samurai Topknot and Antiquated Linguistics ("This one shall summon Venus!").
  • Ghost of Tsushima: Jin Sakai is the only surviving samurai on a mission to protect Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. The game heavily Deconstructs the Proud Warrior Race Guy and Honor Before Reason tendencies of the samurai warrior ethos, and also much like the work of Akira Kurosawa explores the darker side of Japanese feudalism; most of the peasantry despise their samurai masters over historical grievances, and see their doomed and ineffectual Last Stand against the invaders on the sands of Tsushima beaches as foolish rather than noble. The story ends with Jin abandoning the samurai honour code after coming to see its shortcomings, and thus declared an outlaw by the Shogunate who vow to come after him and restore order, not knowing Jin has won the loyalty of the entire island.
  • The cast of Hakuouki are mostly Shinsengumi.
  • Minamoto no Yorihisa from the game and manga/anime Harukanaru Toki no Naka de.
  • Leagueof Legends has Yasuo, a recent samurai-turned-Rōnin, and Master Yi, who is closer to a monk in the story, but includes mostly samurai visual elements.
  • The Japanese edition of Maplestory introduces Hayato, who has a thing for iaijutsu, high speed dashing, and wind attacks.
  • Mass Effect: According to her own word, Samara's warrior code is based on a mix of this and Knight Errant.
  • Mercenary Force: A samurai is one of your mercenary choices. He fires two projectiles straight ahead, one high and one low. His transformation is "the Spirit of Fire", which surrounds him in a circle of fireballs.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: Samurais are the human mooks directly serving the evil warlord, firstly appearing in the mansion level. They are armed with the classical samurai weapons like katanas and spears, and in the tundra levels there are samurai archers as well.
  • The Onimusha franchise stars a samurai in each iteration, with varying degrees of historical accuracy.
  • Samurott from Pokémon, an odd combination of this and a sea lion.
    • Being set in an alternate universe where the Warring States Period/Sengoku-jidai involved Pokémon, Pokémon Conquest naturally featured all the major warlords of the period. The aforementioned Samurott even serves as "link" partner of one of the major characters (though obviously not the only one), and most Pokémon in the game act and are treated as loyal retainers anyway.
  • Red Alert 3:
    • The Empire's basic footsoldiers are bushi wielding beam carbines and Energy Blades that can one-shot infantry via banzai charge.
    • Their tanks even moreso, actually referring to themselves as samurai (though in their role as cavalry rather than swordsmen), and it's mentioned they also take calligraphy classes in addition to training with the tanks.
  • Sakura Shinguji in Sakura Wars is a true samurai and not a Kid Samurai, despite her youth.
  • Samurai Gunn, which pairs up a combination of said warriors with firearms.
  • Samurai Revenge: The Player Character is Kabuto, who's on a quest for vengeance against whoever killed his wife and kidnapped his son.
  • Most characters in the Samurai Warriors series are Samurai; they also appear in the Warriors Orochi crossover series.
  • Given that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is set in the late Sengoku Era, it's no surprise that many of your toughest foes are samurai from the Ashina clan and the Interior Ministry, including the Big Bad and the final boss themselves. However, also true to the setting, Sekiro's samurai are Combat Pragmatists whose entire combat philosophy can be summed up as "victory is honor". A few of them will even pull on a gun on you if given the chance, as is accurate for the time.
  • As the name implies, Sengoku Ace series is based on the Sengoku Era with Magic and Steampunk elements. In this games, the Samurai you can choose are Ayin in Sengoku Ace and the 2 sequels (who also appears in other Psikyo's games), Shoumaru and Hagane in Sengoku Blade, and Masamitsu in Sengoku Cannon. Also, various villains of the series are Samurai as well, like Shoumaru's father in Blade.
  • Given it is set in the Sengoku era, most of the cast of Sengoku Basara are Samurai of one type or another. Almost all of them fall victim to one manner or another of Anachronism Stew and Rule of Cool and neither look nor act all that Samurai-ish however. The character closest to a historical Samurai would probably be Tachibana Muneshige (barring his extremely unhistorical weaponry).
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun features a samurai named Mugen as one of the playable characters. He notably leans away from the popular culture version of samurai, in that he's willing to engage in "dishonorable" stealthy tactics (which is arguably a necessity given the game's emphasis on sneaking around). Samurai also serve as the Elite Mooks of the game.
  • Sanger Zonvolt of Super Robot Wars Alpha is one, insofar as that it's possible for an ethnically German Super Robot pilot. In the same series, Brookyln "Bullet" Luckfield is also one, but he doesn't adhere to bushido that Sanger does; in effect, it makes Bullet more of the Kid Samurai trope. The straighter example occurs in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation with Rishu Togo, a master of the "Jigen" sword-style, to which Sanger and Bullet are his pupils.
  • Total War brings us Shogun and Shogun 2, both set in the Sengoku Period, and as such they feature many varieties of samurai, from Archers and Gunners, to various types of cavalry, to the Stone Wall Naginata wielders. Shogun 2 has a pair of Expansion Packs to cover other periods of Japanese history: Rise of the Samurai for the Genpei War, and Fall of the Samurai for the Boshin War. In the latter, it's possible for traditional armies of samurai to prevail over ranks of riflemen supported by gatling guns and artillery, but by no means easy.
  • In Warcraft III, the orcs' Blademaster hero unit is a weird combination of samurai and ninja: a sashimono-carrying Critical Hit Class who speaks in faux-Asian English but has moves that involve sneaking up on an enemy for huge damage and creating illusions of himself. Even stranger is that Grom Hellscream, noted Berserker and Leeroy Jenkins, is a Blademaster.
  • Warframe: The game is shamelessly Animesque, so it's very easy to invoke this archetype. Excalibur Umbra is top of the list, as his signature weapon is a large katana that is required for his story missions.
  • Way of the Samurai, though the PC and most NPCes are Ronin.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney games have a franchise of samurai-themed tokusatsu series - The Steel Samurai, The Pink Princess, and The Nickel Samurai.
  • Assassin in Fate/stay night frequently refers to himself as a samurai Heroic Spirit.

  • The Webcomic Harkovast features a samurai called Shogun as one of its main protagonists.
  • Atomic Samurai from One-Punch Man, an S-Class hero (the number 4) practitioner of iaitsu. He is a formidable swordsman with exceptional speed and strength.
  • In The Order of the Stick Miko and the rest of the Sapphire Guard are samurai. Though as she tried to explain to Elan that's not her character class, their class is paladin and samurai is simply a title.
  • Hatz from Tower of God. Even though he is Korean, he follows a strict code of honor similar to that of a samurai. Also, he wields katana.

    Western Animation 
  • Ironically in Transformers: Animated, Prowl was a noble ninja, which is technically impossible. But when he put on an upgrade that looked just like Samurai Armour, he turned into an arrogant, callous jackass. He later gets it back. At which point he learns not to be a jackass while using it, and uses the armor for the rest of the season.
  • Samurai Jack: Jack, naturally. (Many fans, however, have pointed out that Jack fits the title of "ronin" better, at least according to traditional terms, as he is a Samurai with no liege.)
  • Beast Wars has Dinobot, a Predacon/Maximal who refuses to accept dishonorable means of victory (such as slipping) as valid and, in the end, proves his loyalty to the Maximals, albeit at the cost of his own life. His robot-mode helmet also evokes a samurai, as does his sword (which is quite reminiscent of a katana); the contemplation of harakiri after he percieves himself as having failed the Maximals also invokes the thought of a samurai comitting harakiri after failing his master.
  • Transformers: Generation 1: Bludgeon is generally styled as a Decepticon who is also an evil samurai. Some versions even pursue a worthy death, although given that he is also an utter bastard "worthy" is defined somewhat unusually.


    Real Life 
  • Yagyu Jubei
  • Miyamoto Musashi
  • Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto an immigrant to America and the writer of the memoir Daughter of the Samurai was the daughter of a Daimyo's officer in the Meji era. Her descriptions of the lifestyle sound anticlimactic, roughly similar to an orientalized variation of the life of an out of the way British country gentleman. The only thing interesting that happened to her father was the civil war where her father took the Shogun's side and was pardoned by The Emperor. One thing she notes though was taking her American children to the family estate. One of them asked what a specially kept bucket was for and she was embarrassed to explain that every important Samurai had one for his head in the event that The Emperor should require it.


Angry Joe

In the Ghost of Tsushima review, Angry Joe plays the role of a samurai, reflecting his preferred playing-style.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / Samurai

Media sources: