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Useful Notes / Hattori Hanzō

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The legendary ninja? He looked like another Samurai...note 

If Sarutobi Sasuke is the Miyamoto Musashi of ninjas, then Hattori Hanzo (服部 半蔵) was definitely the Yagyu Jubei of ninjas and the Trope Maker for Samurai Shinobi.

Put it simply, Hanzo can be considered the first Japanese ninja, although his actual profession was a front-line soldier and he preferred to ride into battle with a spear. Born Hattori Masanari, he was loyal to his lord Tokugawa Ieyasu. He made his officially debut in the battle of Anegawa, at the tender age of 16, and earned himself the nickname Oni no Hanzo.note  He was a master of Iga ninjutsu, and before his official debut, he served Ieyasu under the shadows as a backup force against the Imagawa, rescuing Ieyasu's first wife and son from an Imagawa remnant right after his declaration of independence (which would prove tragic, as said son and wife ended up having being ordered to be executed because of rumors of them conspiring with the Takeda, but even then, there was a famous story about how 'Even Devils can shed tear', no wait, not that one, based on how even Hanzo, after being ordered to do so, still can't bear to shed the blood of his lord and had someone else do the job).

Later on, after the defeat at Mikatagahara, Hanzo participated in one of Ieyasu's greatest survival gambits. As the Tokugawa forces retreated to Hamamatsu, there were only five retainers left, including Ieyasu. He managed to trick the Takeda into thinking he had a trap in the castle to stop their advance, then sent Hanzo and his ninja friends to cause chaos in the Takeda camp, finally convincing Shingen that the Tokugawa definitely has a trap and they had to retreat (though in fact, they didn't).

His biggest accomplishment was during Ieyasu's perilous journey crossing the Iga village after fleeing from Akechi Mitsuhide's forces after Mitsuhide killed Oda Nobunaga. Using his ninja connections, Hanzo proceeded to secure a path for Ieyasu to arrive safely in his domain.

His cause of death is unclear. According to myth, he was lured into a naval battle against Fuuma Kotaro and died when his ship was burned down. Historical records, however, say that he died of sickness shortly before Ieyasu took control of the land. Hanzomon (literally, "Gate of Hanzo") in Tokyo is named after him and is allegedly where he is buried.

While his name isn't used as often as Sasuke's in the world of fiction, Hanzo remains a popular figurehead of Ninja these days, despite his actual profession stated above. No one seems to notice that "ninja" was actually a side job for Hanzo.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo, Hanzo is featured, however, it turns out this "Hanzo" is the actual Tokugawa Ieyasu, who's also good with ninjutsu and guises himself as Hanzo, while having one fat lard to act like Ieyasu. Voiced here by Hideyuki Hori.
  • In Naruto, Hanzo was the leader of the Rain Village and is a hyper-paranoid bastard, orchestrating Pain's Start of Darkness, and subsequently getting himself killed by Pain.
  • Hanzo's descendents are clanhead figures in Basilisk. The main Hanzo (Hanzo the first, aka Masanari) badassness is informed, but he is the one who implements the whole Koga/Iga truce. His son/succesor Hanzo the Fourth aka Masahiro and his nephew and adoptive son Kyouhachirou also appear: Masanari does his best to monitor the Kogas and the Igas as the truce is broken and by the end he's one of the few survivors in this particularly cruel series, while Kyouhachirou can more than keep pace with the dueling ninjas enough to bring back reports without a scratch and lives to tell as well.
  • Also in Hunter × Hunter there's a ninja named Hanzo who was looking for the Hunter license to find a scroll.
  • Genderswapped into a Ninja Maid in Samurai Girls
  • Hattori Junko from Demon King Daimao comes from a ninja family.
  • A ninja named Hattori Hanzo appears in the Oda Nobunaga Tournament arc in Yaiba as a secondary character. He looks like the traditional ninja and is one of the 8 strongest.
  • Another gender flip occurs in Battle Girls: Time Paradox, where Hanzo is a Nerd Glasses-wearing ninja who assists Ieyasu from the shadows, though sometimes going overboard (i.e. burning down the stage).
  • Hanzo is just one of the many historical figures appearing in Billy Bat.
  • Hanzou from A Certain Magical Index is heavily implied to come from a prestigious Ninja family by Kuruwa (a female Ninja).
  • Hanzo serves as Ieyasu's right-hand ninja in Brave10. He disappears for awhile after Oukatsu perishes, but it's later revealed that he has his own agenda of ruling Japan from the shadows, effectively making him the primary Big Bad as Ieyasu is largely ineffectual. He has his own band of dark ninjas, the Iga Grotesque Five, including the Brave of Ice, Anastasia, and at the climax he tries to drive Isanami into despair so he can claim her power of darkness... which (un)fortunately kills him outright when he attempts to control it in the anime. In the manga, he survives, but gets turned into a popsicle by Anastasia for revenge, only to return in the sequel and join the Braves in place of Benmaru. It was a controversial decision by Yukimura and everyone is rightfully suspicious of him, but he's one of the handful that survives 'til the end.
  • Hanzo also appears in The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, once again being Ieyasu's ninja. Funny thing, he's voiced by the same guy who voiced Hanzo in Brave10
    • Of special note about this Hanzo, though, is that he's one of very few named characters that is male, which is especially notable as every other named daimyo or daimyo underling in the series is either female or a villain with the exception of him, "Hideyoshi", and Saito Dosan. This actually makes the situation during the retreat when he and Zenki attack Yoshiharu more tense than it normally would be since up to that point...well, those three are a good half the male cast on their own in a Cast Herd of close to 2 dozen.


    Films — Live-Action 
  • Kill Bill: The master katana maker of the 21st century shares the name of Hattori Hanzo.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Japanese TV series called Kage no Gundan, localized to Shadow Warriors, features several Hattori Hanzos, each descended from a previous one, and all played by Sonny Chiba. This is mostly important to Americans because Kill Bill features Chiba reprising his role as yet another Hanzo descendant: This one is a swordsmith that can make swords that can cut down Gods; he runs a sushi bar in Okinawa as a cover, but once The Bride finds and confronts him upon one of his disciples (Bill), he comes out of retirement and forges her a sword.
  • At the end of the 2010 Christmas episode of Leverage, Eliot gets a Hanzo Sword as a present from Nate and Sophie.

  • Tou Myu does not feature Hanzo as he was killed in an ambush, but the Touken Danshi that stands in for him (Ishikirimaru) takes up an advisor role for Ieyasu and practically raises him and Ieyasu's son. He doesn't much get into fights himself, and is clearly haunted by the bloodshed in war he's met with.

    Video Games 
  • Hattori Hanzo is a character in Samurai Shodown, as a badass ninja. Said game also features Yagyu Jubei as his friend. His legacy somehow lived on to the modern era as well, there has been two characters in the The King of Fighters that is 'emulating' his fighting style: Nagase from Maximum Impact 2 (she downloaded his style to use for herself), and Bandeiras Hattori from XIV (said to be a distant descendant, with Brazilian ancestry)
  • He also appears in Warrior's Rage. But it's actually one of his sons, believed to be Shinzou (the boy who was used as Amakusa's Soul Jar in the first two games).
  • And previously, there's also Hattori Hanzo from World Heroes as a young ninja with Anime Hair who just wants to be the best fighter ever.
  • Hattori Hanzo is also a character in Samurai Warriors naturally serving under Ieyasu (and whichever faction Ieyasu happens to be serving at the time). He's portrayed as a stereotypical ninja, dressed all in black (or at least dark blue) and armed with various ninja tools and techniques like smoke bombs, shuriken and duplication techniques. He also plays the role of Foil for the other three ninjas in the game: Genki Girl Kunoichi teases him and tries to get him to lighten up, the motherly Nene wonders if he really needs to be so serious all the time, and Blood Knight Fuuma Kotaro doesn't understand why he wants to help Ieyasu forge peace and order when the chaos of wartime is so much fun. He also occasionally displays traits of a Deadpan Snarker, but more often is the Comically Serious, even when compared to the already serious Honda Tadakatsu.
    • Consistently, he's been portrayed through voice via Takaya Kuroda. In later games, in nod to his actual role as a general he wears more heavy armor and becomes somewhat less-ninja-like in his designs.
  • Hanzo appears as an elite officer for the Tokugawa in Sengoku Basara 3. He's also acquirable as a bodyguard to spot hidden enemies.
  • Hanzo is the final boss in Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.
  • In Suikoden, the leader of the Rokakku village (where Kasumi resides) is named "Hanzo".
  • Kenji/Mukuro from Red Earth is based on Hanzo.
  • In Mortal Kombat, Scorpion's real name is Hanzo Hasashi.
  • Hanzo from Overwatch is loosely based on Hattori Hanzo.
    • Interestingly enough, in the non-canon webseries Mortal Kombat: Legacy, his (previously unnamed) son is known by the name Jubei.
  • Total War: Shogun 2 features clan Hattori (formerly a special edition bonus, now available as DLC) a great clan whose hat is Stealth- most of their units have 'Iga-ryu Ninjitsu,' allowing them to temporarily become hidden in the open, or harder to detect when otherwise hidden; they also have improved success chance for Ninja agent actions.
  • Saizo Hattori from Power Instinct is a subversion, since his first name comes from Saizou Kirigakure.
  • In Inindo: Way of the Ninja, he appears as one of the more powerful recruitable characters.
  • Hanzo appears as a warlord in Pokémon Conquest, serving under Nene of the ninja-themed Viperia kingdom. He specializes in ghost types, with Spiritomb as his starter and the Gengar line as his perfect link.
  • Hanzo's clan is a playable faction in Shogun: Total War via DLC.
  • Hanzou the ninja is a playable character in Shining Force.
  • In the Senran Kagura series, the ninja school that the main protagonists attend is named after Hanzo. Hanzo also happens to be still alive in the 21st century, but it might simply be a case of Named After Someone Famous. Additionally, the lead character, Asuka, is his granddaughter, but since she starts off nowhere near as talented as he was, she feels somewhat overwhelmed by his legacy. Nevertheless, she greatly wants to prove herself worthy of the family name and trains hard to attain that goal. Hanzo himself appears occasionally, and although he sometimes expresses minor disappointment at Asuka's progress, he loves her all the same and encourages her when he can.
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, Hattori Hanzō was an Assassin.
  • Hattori Hanzo is one of the key Jidaigeki historical figures who appear in Nioh, assisting protagonist William, even occasionally conversing with the Englishman in fluent English, provided by Toshiyuki Morikawa. However, this Hanzo is not Masanari, but rather his grandson. Furthermore, the title of Oni no Hanzo belongs to this character's father: Meaningful Name ensues when Hanzo's father returns as a literal oni in the form of a Giant Toad. Masanari, on the other hand, was featured in Nioh 2, since it took place during his active days (the era of Oda Nobunaga) and distinguished with his trait of smoking from a pipe. The Giant Toad also smokes with a pipe.
  • Hanzo is the namesake of the demon ninja hero appearing in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. To compliment Hattori's nickname 'Devil Hanzo', this Hanzo is given a demonic sword (Ame no Habakiri) housing a demon that can devour neutral creeps. While his ninjutsu leers more into dark mysticism, his gameplay is surprisingly ninja-like in a manner of 'hide and seek': Hanzo must find a safe hiding spot while unleashing a demonic phantom to wreak havoc on his enemies while he controls it from afar, and being spotted by an enemy is the worst thing that can happen to him and must be avoided.

    Western Animation