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"Hey, That's not fair! How come he gets to be a samurai? That's so much cooler!"
—Odd Della Robbia, Code Lyoko prequel "XANA Awakens"
The tendency of some writers to just throw in a Samurai for the heck of it, even in a western world without a Japanese Counterpart Culture. And also the fact that people tend to dig the samurai. (Who doesn't dig Sanger?) This is NOT the same as Katanas Are Just Better, this refers to samurai particularly when they appear without katana (Sanjuro, for instance).
Rule of Cool may be responsible...
Anime & Manga
- Meta Knight in Kirby's anime of the game would talk about Musou ("peerlessness"). One time he stands to fight for Kirby, declaring I WILL BE YOUR OPPONENT as leaves blow by.
- Twilight Suzuka in Outlaw Star. Slightly less out-of-nowhere, at least in that it's no stranger than the Chinese Magic-using Space Pirates they already introduced.
- Mr. Bushido in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 — who is actually American. Additional to it, a samurai mobile suit. 3, in fact.
- Elites in Halo Legends have samurai-ified armor, clothes and hairstyle(s). And buildings. Do buildings count?
- Toudoh in Code Geass is another future samurai.
- The second arc of New Getter Robo which has the characters get stuck in an alternate-universe Heian Japan, just to fit armies of samurai into a Humongous Mecha anime.
- Setsuna of Mahou Sensei Negima, a half-bird demon, Demon Slaying, lesbian-in-denial Samurai in an Urban Fantasy. Also one of the most popular characters in the series, whose prominence was quickly raised after her introduction in the fourth volume.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
- Signum from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As and onward obstinately calls herself a "knight", whereas her warrior code (not to mention her fighting style) is obviously based off the samurai. But then again, most Japanese writers confuse the two at least somewhat.
- Micaiah Chevelle of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid is an even straighter example. She's a Mid-Childan who's also a traditional samurai, complete with katana, dojo, Japanese attire, and an Iaijutsu fighting style. Fans were quick to dub her as Signum Mk II. A bit of a surprise, what with Mid-Childa being an alien world with a European-like society.
- In Naruto, the Land of Iron has samurai, instead of the Ninja in Hidden Villages most other nations rely on. For added goodness, in relation to trope picture, the regular samurai of the Land of Iron wear armor similar to the Stormtroopers.
- The episode "Challenge of the Samurai".
- Oshawott/Mijumaru and Dewott/Futachimaru, who have both appeared in the anime as of the latest episode in Japan, have their origins in samurai. (More blatant in Dewott than in Oshawott.) Ash even gets an Oshawott-fans are hoping it will finally avert the trend of water-type starters never evolving.
- Lupin III creator Monkey Punch wanted a more Japanese character for his ensemble. Enter Goemon Ishikawa XIII...
- Digimon has several notable examples, including the most well known one, Musyamon/Mushamon. Other examples include Yashamon, one of V-mon's armor evolutions, Zanbamon, a Ultimate/Mega level digimon whose lower body is a war horse, Tactimon from Digimon Xros Wars, and Gaioumon, who is a samurai Greymon.
- Samurai Ryuma in One Piece, for anyone who's ever wanted a duel between a pirate and a samurai.
Comics — Books
- The French series Chroniques de la Lune Noire (Black Moon Chronicles) has the character of Murata, a samurai in an otherwise western fantasy setting. Since it is based on an old D&D campaign, you can blame the Oriental Adventures on this.
- Frank Miller loves this trope.
- The Tick comics have Paul the Samurai, despite all the other heroes being over the top cape and cowl style. His primary role is to be there to recommend that he and anybody associated with him commits seppuku at the slightest failure.
- The Shredder. He and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are analogues to the (alleged) viciousness between samurai and ninjas. In reality, more samurai hired ninja than they cared to admit, but that doesn't matter here, since the ninjas are already human-sized mutant turtles.
- Honda City Judges in Judge Dredd are deliberately modelled on samurai; their equivalent of the Chief Judge is even referred to as the Shogun.
- Teen Titans introduced Bushido, a young warrior with... well, powers of the samurai, apparently. He was among the fatalities in Infinite Crisis.
- Batman's original Outsiders team had fairly standard-issue superheroes... and Katana, a steely-eyed female samurai.
- Silver Samurai
Films — Live-Action
- In Brazil, Sam's later Dream Sequences have him fighting a samurai. Apparently, "samurai" is supposed to be a Stealth Pun.
- Red Sun is a western with a samurai thrown in. Better than it sounds. Considering who plays the samurai (Toshiro Mifune), it should be.
- Six String Samurai is an epic After the End tale where the King, Elvis, has died, and samurai Buddy Holly travels to "Lost Vegas" to take his place. Standing in his way are Bowlers, Communists, and the Grim Reaper aka Slash from Guns N' Roses.
- Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai is a film revolving around an African-American assassin who follows the Code of the Samurai.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader's character design was heavily based off samurai armor.
- Samurai purinsesu: Gedô-hime. She's actually more of a Ninja, but still takes the name of Samurai.
- Attempted with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. The fact that it was a Franchise Killer indicates it wasn't enough.
- Though Neal Stephenson's series The Baroque Cycle takes place mostly in 17th century Europe, it features Gabriel Goto, a Japanese Jesuit who just happens to be deadly with a katana. In all fairness, the series features characters from just about everywhere and most of them are badasses.
- There's also get a randomly-placed samurai in St. Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman.
- Power Rangers
- John Belushi as Samurai Fatubi in Saturday Night Live.
- Tales of the Gold Monkey has Todo, Princess Koji's Samurai henchman.
- Barenaked Ladies. In their song "One Week", mention is made to this mentality. "Kay I don't make films, but if I did, they'd have a samurai."
- Gakupo from Vocaloids is a Dancing Samurai.
- Hodgy Beats of OFWGKTA has a song titled "Samurai" on his Untitled EP
- Sanjuro in .hack. Despite having little bearing on the plot, a popular character who was added to the .hack//Twilight anime.
- Sanger (and Wodan?) in Super Robot Wars. Also a very popular character. Even draws a katana during his attack animations, despite attacking with a BFS (he uses a Motion Capture Mecha).
- Kai in Luminous Arc. This is strange since the entire world is western, and he fights in a unit full of more convectional medieval soldiers. To increase his relationship values you have to answer his questions with stuff that corresponds to the Bushido. Mel, the Torrent Witch, is a big fan of samurai... to say the least.
- The Show Within a Show The Steel Samurai in Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney. Note that in the original version, Gyakuten Saiban, the Show Within a Show was not about a samurai, but rather, a feudal lord-based superhero known as "Soldier of Oedo, Tonosaman".
- Final Fantasy
- Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy Tactics both have Samurai jobs despite having no Japan-like area. FFT's Samurai has an absurdly broken ability called Blade Grasp, which pretty much makes you a Physical God (FFV also has it, but it isn't as broken as the FFT version). Final Fantasy VI also has Cyan, who has a distinct samurai vibe (and katanas in spite of his very European looks, armor, and nation.
- Final Fantasy X mostly has a Pacific island feel for its characters, with a Goth and a tribal beastman thrown in. Then there's Auron, who's a walking gallery of ronin imagery to go along with all those Badass tropes. And don't forget Yojimbo.
- Valkyrie Profile, despite being based on Norse Mythology, has Samurai and a whole counterpart of Japan for good measure.
- Age of Empires
- Kamui of Arcana Heart, who fulfills the Moe samurai-girl quota of the Widget Series.
- In Mega Man X6, the player has the option of assembling the Blade Armor which resembles a suit of Samurai armor, complete with Z-saber.
- Fate Stay Night has a samurai for the Assassin class. And no, it doesn't suit him in the slightest. He does no sneak attacks, no dirty fighting, doesn't go for Masters like he is supposed to when he has the chance, and finally he is the only Japanese hero amongst all the Servants. The rest of them? Greeks, Celts and English make up over half the Servants and both (including Fate/Zero) real Assassins are Arabs. Yes, both. He wasn't even supposed to be here at all. Also, he's a better swordsman than Saber and even Lancer doesn't want to fight him.
- The Wizardry games included samurai and ninja both as enemies and available character classes. Both were considered "elite" classes with high requirements for changing to, and both were flat-out superior to plain old fighters. Interestingly, Wizardry was also far more popular in Japan than similar game series.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, the Blades (or rather, the ineffectual royal-guard sub-set) take their armor style from the continent of Akavir, mimicking Remann Cyrodill's original Akavarii bodyguard. Their lavishly decorated armor is highly reminiscent of samurai or ashigaru armor, they fight with katana, and their fortress is a "temple" high in the mountains that looks for all the world like a Japanese castle. Keep in mind that the rest of the province Cyrodiil is based off of medieval Europe and the Roman Empire.
- Touhou Project
- Youmu sports a pair of katanas despite Touhou Project being mostly a Bullet Hell genre. She projects a following of the Bushido code, essentially being Yuyuko's samurai. Must be mentioned that her sword is highly capable of spewing bullets and slowing time.
- Also Meira, but she was only seen in Touhou 2 and never returned.
- Fallout 3 expansion "Mothership Zeta" has a Samurai abducted from ancient Japan and awakened from cryogenic suspended animation.
- The Unreal universe has a corporate faction, the Izanagi, who go into battle with heavily Samurai-themed armour.
- The penultimate boss of Blaz Blue is Hakumen, a Cyborg Zombie Samurai.
- The Kirby games' "Quick Draw" minigame have the characters dressed as samurai. (Though earlier English translations replaced samurai with cowboys, turning a Single-Stroke Battle into a wild west shootout.)
- In Pokémon, the starter Oshawott's entire evolutionary line is based around samurai--Oshawott is either a wannabe samurai or an inexperienced apprentice, Dewott is either a ronin, an apprentice, or a normal samurai, and Samurott not only has samurai in its name, but it is likely based on a daimyo, or samurai warlord. The best part? THEY USE THEIR SHELLS AS SWORDS.
- The old and mostly forgotten First Samurai bilogy of platform games. The title is also a pun on The Last Ninja series of games.
- The webcomic Samurai Princess. Not much more needs to be said.
- Ulrich in Code Lyoko takes the form of a samurai when he's virtualized.
- The gratuitous (but cool) "Blind n***a Samurai" sequence in The Boondocks.
- Samurai Jack. 'Nuff said.
- Samurai (heh) of the Superfriends.
- Naturally enough, when an episode of Gargoyles was set in (modern day) Japan, what code would the gargoyle clan found protecting a village there follow but bushido?
- Thundercats had Hachiman, a samurai Mumra brought to Third Earth to defeat Lion-o, but who would become an occasional ally of the Thundercats.
- Sam-R-I of the Justice Friends.
- The Cheese Shogun in Codename: Kids Next Door, though he has ninja for minions.