Fanart Friday returns, ready to dispel a major myth: not every chucklehead carrying a sword in anime or manga is a samurai. Last week, we took a sneaky, underhanded trip through the world of ninja, so this time around we're practicing our bowing and shikko-walking as we celebrate the honor-bound samurai!
Samurai were a distinct class, not wanderers/rurouni (like Himura Kenshin) or mercenaries/ronin (like Samurai Champloo's Mugen and Jin), so don't be surprised if your favorite characters don't make it. Honestly though, a character can still embody the ideals of the samurai, such as self-sacrifice and faithful service--so again, no Kenshin, Mugen, or Jin.
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However, Rurouni Kenshin's take on Saitou Hajime counts! While the Shinsengumi weren't technically samurai--they were police!--Saitou and the other Captains of the Shinsengumi strictly lived by the then-dying samurai's philosophy.
So if we get that Darkstalkers remake, it's almost a given that Bishamon is going to show up. He's never been one of the more popular Night Warriors (that honor goes to pretty much any female character), but you can't have a game without him.
Why play a fighting game as a samurai, when you can go up a level and play as the shogun himself? Yep, Samurai Shodown VI let you do battle as Tokugawa Yoshitora himself, letting you get even more historically accurate as you got to fight US President Andrew Jackson in a thirty swords vs. bayonet rifle duel!
As Yoh became more and more powerful in Shaman King, we got to see less and less of Amidamaru. I actually liked the series a little more when it was "ghost Pokemon" instead of a more typical supernatural action/tournament series.
I don't know about you, but I absolutely loved the Onimusha games. I was especially religious about the fourth game, Dawn of Dreams, which gave you like four or five very different and fun playable characters.
Highschool of the Dead's Saeko isn't a samurai--just a very gifted kendoka--but the almost-fanatical loyalty she shows toward series main character Komuro practically makes her samurai.
As difficult as it could be to watch, Shigurui was a real breath of fresh air. Not once did it glamorize or romanticize life as a samurai or the life of a duelist, instead showing just how savage and brutal it was back in those days.
Alright, fanboys and fangirls, it's been almost a decade since I've watched or read Samurai Deeper Kyo, so here's my question: what the hell is a Samurai Deeper? Is he deeper than other samurai and writes more pretentious poetry? Is it something we can't talk about here? I NEED TO KNOW.
Aside from being three of the coolest characters in their respective series, Zoro, Date, and Hijikata are all voiced by Kazuya Nakai!
If you need any motivation to get some friends together and go play Legend of the Five Rings, think of it this way: Avatar: The Last Airbender had to draw its influence from somewhere. Yep, it's the O.G. Avatar world, but now in a kickass tabletop RPG! You even get an extremely samurai-like people with the namby-pamby Crane! (Why yes, I'm a fan of the Crab.)
I was kind of leery about Samurai 7 back when it was first announced--thankfully, it was not only a surprisingly accurate adaptation of the movie (even with its sci-fi backdrop), but it had really likeable characters.
And there's the original badass Seven Samurai! Don't be put off by the fact that the movie's in black and white--the film is a timeless masterpiece, with a great story and excellent action.
While it's been a while since Gin was actually a samurai, he's able to get around his crippling laziness and Jump obsession to actually act like an honest, loyal servant of right. Or at least, a somewhat honest, only partially loyal servant of getting paid.
When Genndy Tartakovsky was first talking about Samurai Jack, he said he'd made the series because "cartoons didn't have enough action in them." I scoffed at that--and then I actually watched the show and was blown away. FOOLISH SAMURAI, indeed.
While pretty much any Jedi counts in terms of being a "samurai," Obi-Wan Kenobi is more or less the cream of the crop, strongly adhering to traditional light-side values but being flexible enough to cut a dude's arm off for looking at him funny.
Goemon ended up being my favorite part of any Lupin III story I watched--he was so damn cool! You'd think Fujiko would be my favorite, but nope, Goemon's unflappable attitude won me over in the end. So... who is our last samurai?
Why, none other than Arakawa Under the Bridge's Last Samurai! I was never sure if he was named after the Tom Cruise movie, or if he was literally supposed to be the "last samurai" in Japan. Well, we've got room for one more, so who is our last last samurai?
Just so you know, I save every picture like this that I see, in the hopes that one day I can unleash the fury upon the entire readership with a "Fanart Friday: Can't Unsee Edition." Prepare yourselves for the day when the very stars go out in the heavens and you run out of eye bleach when you need it most!
That's all for this week--make sure to swing by for next week's Fanart Friday, when we satisfy our hunger with fanart of the best culinary experts from anime, manga, games, and more!
Who are some of your favorite samurai in the series you watch, or the games you play? Were there any big ones that I missed? Let us know in the comments, and don't forget that if you want your art to appear in a future Fanart Friday, just send it my way! See you all next week!