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Samurai Cowboy

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Konnichiwa, pardner.

But every day there's a new thing comin'
The ways of an Oriental view
The sheriff and his buddies with their samurai swords
You can even hear the music at night
The Doobie Brothers, "China Grove"

Essentially a melding of The Wild West and Feudal Japan, even if the setting also takes place in the future or has Cattle Punk elements.

The earliest association between samurai and gunslinger tropes was probably Akira Kurosawa, who modeled several of his samurai films after American Westerns. Fittingly, several of his films were remade as actual Westerns (e.g. Yojimbo into A Fistful of Dollars, and Seven Samurai into The Magnificent Seven). This helped tie in the close association between these eras.

Also, Ronin and The Gunslinger seem to occupy the same place in the stories of their respective cultures. Both are essentially an updated version of the Knight Errant (or rather, Ronin serve as a bridge of sorts between the Knight Errant and The Gunslinger, having at one point been the contemporaries of both), drifters with Mysterious Pasts Walking the Earth, dueling rivals, fighting bandits, embodying stoicism and self-reliance, and aspiring to self-discipline, often while struggling with their inner demons.


The similarities between the idealized forms of the Bushido code and the Code of the West are undeniable, as well- Placing honor and duty above all, protecting the weak, killing only when required but unflinchingly doing so when it is, valuing equally intelligence, Heroic Resolve, and physical ability. This makes it only natural that the two characters should begin to blend together in an East-meets-West world. The fact that they're both iconic warrior-types of their respective nations is also a plus.

Note that a cowboy moving to old Japan, or a samurai or kung fu master moving to the Old West, does not count. Such situations often lead to this trope, which is about explicitly blending the two — but not always.

May be a result of wanting to justify the combination of Sword and Gun with Katanas Are Just Better and Revolvers Are Just Better.


A Sub-Trope of Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot.

Compare Street Samurai, Corporate Samurai, Cyber Ninja, The Gunslinger, Ronin, Sword and Gun, Space Western, Western Samurai.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Andy, the crazy cowboy from the "Cowboy Funk" episode of Cowboy Bebop decides to become a samurai (complete with katana) at the end of the episode, after Spike beats him.
  • In the Captain Harlock spinoff Gun Frontier, the Old West incarnation of Tochiro is one of these. He shows some traits of this in other entries in the franchise like Cosmo Warrior Zero.
  • GUN×SWORD which takes place on a Space Western planet where cowboys and mecha roam. The protagonist Van is a cowboy who wields a metallic cloth that can turn into a sword, with its hilt looking an awful lot like a gun handle with a trigger included. Plus he pilots an Armor that uses a sword. In addition, his rival uses a gun that looks like a Japanese sword handle, with his two very long magazines kept in his belt, making it look like he's carrying a daisho.
  • The one-off antagonist Rai-Dei the Blade of the Gung-Ho Guns in Trigun is basically a samurai on a Wild West planet. He is treated as outrageous and insane. He dodges bullets. He wears a fringed leather vest with hakama and his katana can fire its blade if necessary. In the manga, he does all of this on rocket skates.
  • Justice from Afro Samurai at first seems like a straight example of The Gunslinger, fighting Afro's father (who is using a katana) to a standstill with two pistols in one of the most badass fights of the series. He eventually plays this straight when it is revealed that he has a hidden third arm that wields a katana.
  • Azuma Mutsu's arc from Shura no Toki is arguably this. Azuma, while isn't a samurai or a cowboy, is a Japanese man thrown into a cowboy/frontier setting and ended up mixing characteristics from both sides.
  • Sazanami in Naruto is a former swordsmith turned bounty hunter. His katana has a hilt shaped like a rifle stock and he wears a cowboy hat. In the English dub, he's voiced by Steve Blum and gets an Actor Allusion for that other bounty hunter he played.
  • The prequel chapter of Silver Spoon either manages to be an example or an aversion, depending on how you look at it, since the story centers on the lives of the actual Samurai Cowboys (and cowgirls) of historical Hokkaido. After the conflicts that began the Meiji period, many samurai families were driven north to the province of Hokkaido, where they began new lives as farmer pioneers (with all the attendant tropes...including an unfortunate fate for the native Ainu tribes).

    Comic Books 
  • The Comic Book Shaolin Cowboy.
  • The title character from the Image Comics comic Cowboy Ninja Viking is essentially one of these (just ninja instead of samurai) also crossed with a Viking.
  • The Judge Dredd Alternity special had Shimura appear as one of these in The Wild West, helping a family of former slaves by fighting the Angel gang, who had been slavers and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War until they'd been locked up by Dredd (who appears briefly as a Union General) after the war.


    Live Action TV 


    Tabletop Games 
  • Deadlands allows for these kinds of characters with a little artistic license. A character with a saber (refluffed as a katana), martial arts, and a trusty revolver is so easy to make that it can be done during character creation.
  • In Pathfinder you can do this fairly easily by multiclassing between samurai and gunslinger, or by focusing entirely on one class and just getting the necessary proficiencies to use the other's weapons.

    Video Games 
  • Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman
  • Red Steel 2 currently provides the page image for good reason. The main character is a duster-wearin', sword-swingin', pistol-packin' hombre with a very Nice Hat. He is in fact from an entire TRIBE of them, the Kusagari.
    • Wouldn't you know it, someone made an AMV mixing the opening of Red Steel 2 with "Super Ultra Sexy Hero", the Japanese opening of Rising Zan (see above) here.
  • Gemini Sunrise from Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love is a Texas cowgirl — right down to having a super-effective horse and a Colt Peacemaker on her belt. She also carries a katana, and was trained by an exiled samurai.
  • The appropriately named Samurai Western.
  • Yasha from Asura's Wrath has a bit of this going for him, especially in his theme song Wind.
  • Jack in Wild ARMs 1 has more than a bit of this—he wears a classic Western duster, jeans, and cowboy boots with a hat to match(in out-of-game art), but is a Master Swordsman specialising in Iaido. Of course, his past is as something more like a European Knight in Shining Armor, and his current role before being swept up in the plot is more Indiana Jones than Man With No Name...
  • The Player Character in Fallout: New Vegas can easily be this; wearing cowboy hats and dusters while wielding a katana, all while adhering to a strict code of honor. This is even lampshaded by the achievement for dealing damage with melee weapons, 'New Vegas Samurai.'
    • The picture for the achivment is the Vault Boy dressed up as Buddy the protagonist of the postapocalyptic movie Six String Samurai where he tries to get to Lost Vegas and take the throne of rock that Elvis Presley left behind after forty rockin' years as the King of rock. Therefore its most likely a movie reference
    • The Fallout world in general could be described as a post-apocalyptic American version of the Sengoku Period mixed with The American Civil War: Numerous factions, from the NCR to the Brotherhood of Steel to the Enclave, are all fighting each other for control of the Wasteland, each trying to reunite and rebuild America in their own vision throughout the series, fitting with the Arc Words "War never changes."
  • Yasuo in League of Legends has the "High Noon" skin, which turns him into this trope.
  • Zer0 got a Tombstone themed head and skin for Community Day. Given that the game itself is a Space Western, it's quite fitting. Zer0 also has Vladof class mods built around improving his skills with pistols.
  • Assassin's Creed: Rogue: Frontiersman outfit + Katana = this, effectively turning Shay Cormac into an Assassin/Templar privateer cowboy samurai.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Shadow in Final Fantasy VI is a Ronin ninja with a whistling, jaw-harp-twanging Spaghetti Western theme and the appropriate personality.
    • Both Cloud and Barret in Final Fantasy VII have very similar backstories (hometown gets burned down due to Shinra's evil, a charismatic old friend does a Heel–Face Turn and becomes The Rival, vowing revenge...) but Cloud's takes place in a little rural town with swordsmen going off into the mountains at the orders of their master, while Barret's takes place in a desert/mining town with rogue gunfighters, infinite deserts and whistling Spaghetti Western music.
    • Gravey from Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is pretty much this trope. The very first commentary he gets during his introduction is that his weapons of choice, a pair of katanas, doesn't seem to fit his appearance of a stereotypical Western gunslinger. His bio in the game explains that Gravey gets bored really easily and is constantly changing and mastering weapons to keep boredom at bay.
  • This Game Mod for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, replacing Wolf with Sheriff Woody from Toy Story of all people.
  • One of Lumisa's optional outfits in La-Mulana 2 invokes this, giving her a pink kimono top with a cowboy hat, leather chaps, boots, and shorts. It's even called Kimono Cowgirl.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Zuko Alone," complete with a Showdown at High Noon. Though Zuko uses Chinese-style swords, the effect is the same.
  • Weilding twin katanas as well as a gun, and being an explosives expert and being a lone ranger type, Transformers: Prime Wheeljack could well be said to be one of these.
  • Often utilized in Samurai Jack; the title character would often take the role of the Lone Stranger who comes to help a town in need.
  • One episode ofTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) is basically a Whole Plot Reference to The Last Challenge, with Leo playing the sheriff and the villain playing the punk gunslinger kid who calls him out. To drive the point home, the epsiode starts with Splinter watching a Western (implied to be The Last Challenge) and comparing the main character to a "samurai of the Old West".
  • Kanan Jarus from Star Wars Rebels has outright been described as such by the creators, adding that he's as likely to shoot someone with a blaster as he's to use his lightsaber. He lived up to this spectacularly in the Season 1 finale duel against the Inquisitor, utilising Sword and Gun by simultaneously using his lightsaber with Ezra's blaster-lightsaber to keep his opponent off-balance.


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