List of Samurai Champloo characters


List of Samurai Champloo characters

This is a list of known characters in the anime and manga series "Samurai Champloo".

Cast

Main characters

Mugen

Name: Mugen
Age: 20
Profession: Vagabond, and former pirate
Weapon(s): Double-edged tsurugi (often confused with a katana) with two-prong hilt (in the videogame, "Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked", this sword is named "Typhoon Swell"), Tantō (concealed in opposite end of scabbard), claymore replaces main weapon at the end of the series.
Fighting style(s): Mix of various styles incorporating rapid, irregular movements he dubs "Champloo Kendo"
Quote: "I don't give a rat's ass about going to hell. I guess it's because I feel like I'm already there."
Appears in: All episodes
Final status: Alive

Mugen (無限) was born in a penal colony on the Ryukyu Islands (most likely Miyako Island since it was a penal colony in the past), which in the Edo period was a separate kingdom with close ties to the Satsuma domain of Japan. His name means "without limitation", as the components of it are the characters for "without" and "limitation." Incidentally, he writes his name using the infinity symbol (∞), a pun on his name, 'Mugen,' which is a homophone of the Japanese word for 'eternity'. His Japanese is quite rough and "Yanki"; and he is illiterate until later in the show. The exact date of his birth is unknown, and much of his past is shrouded in mystery. It also appears that he may be of Ainu origin, from the style of his clothes, and Mugen himself commenting that he grew up on the same music an Ainu fugitive was playing, though the Ainu man came from the far North, and Mugen came from the far south. As for his parents, Mugen states that he never knew who they were in episode 20, "Elegy of Entrapment, Verse 1." The blue tattoos on his wrists and ankles indicate that he was once in prison. [ [http://www.artelino.com/articles/japanese_tattoo_art.asp Japanese Tattoo Art] , Artelino.com.] The circumstances of his imprisonment are unclear at first, but it is later verified that he was to be executed for engaging in piracy.

Rude, lewd, vulgar, and nihilistic, Mugen is somewhat of an antihero. Some of his actions seem to represent an amorality, indicating that he operates more on instinct than anything else. In several episodes it is made clear that Mugen is a womanizer. Character designer Kazuto Nakazawa stated in an interview: "When I was doing character design, the most difficult one was Mugen, as I expected. I'm pretty sure that as far as the director's image went, he probably was thinking of someone like a 'rapper who acts like a bad guy.' But the way Mugen acts is relatively based on his core conviction"." ["Thank You All For Your Hard Work", Kazuto Nakazawa staff interview; insert of U.S. Samurai Champloo DVD, Volume 6.] He and Jin fight from time to time, but there is an undercurrent of mutual understanding between the two. Despite periodic confrontations with Fuu he also seems to care for her, staging rescues of her on several occasions.

Highly unorthodox swordplay and a fighting style based on breakdancing - dubbed "champuru kendo" and ostensibly developed by himself - taking bits and pieces from all forms of martial arts and making up the rest as he fights his opponents, make him a force to be reckoned with. [See: [http://www.spookhouse.net/angelynx/comics/watanabe-at-DIA.html Shinichiro Watanabe, "An Evening With Shinichiro Watanabe," Detroit Film Theater, Detroit, 8 Feb. 2006] (Note: Although Mugen's fighting style resembles capoeira, series creator Shinichiro Watanabe has stated that it is based on breakdancing, rather than any existing martial art, in keeping with the show's hip hop theme). ] An example of this being his battle with Shouryuu, as he was able to mimic and use the technique 'Hakkei' seemingly picked up in their first duel, turning the tide of the battle. His fighting style is probably best described by Kariya Kagetoki when they fight in Episode 25: "Interesting. You utilize erratic movements to prevent anyone from predicting them. But you fail to utilize your martial arts skills. By relying only on reflex and instinct, you inadvertently show the limitations of your skills to your opponent"." His limitations were further exploited in his fight with Denkibou while on a small boat, as his inability to fight well in small areas was shown. This is further evident in that his moves become increasingly erratic and unique as his opponents are more powerful. He carries two blades, his principal weapon a unique sword with a curved blade and a hilt with two prongs sheathed across his back and the other a small tanto concealed at the end of his scabbard (only resorted to as a trump card). His main weapon appears to be an amalgamation of the okinawan sai and Japanese katana. Mugen also has a tendency to parry attacks with the steel base of his geta. His clothing is anachronistic as well, reminiscent of baggy hip-hop fashions of today: his gi functions more like a jacket and his hakama is cut off at shorts-length, resembling loose-fitting Bermuda shorts. His black hair is unkept and similar to an afro or Spike Spiegel's from Cowboy Bebop.

Mugen seems to be incapable of dying, or at the very least has a body that is more resistant to life-threatening injuries than the average person. When on the verge of death, he appears to cross into a mystical world in the Ryūkyūan religion called Nirai Kanai—depicted in "Samurai Champloo" as an upside-down mirror world—overseen by the Futuchi who are dressed in black-feathered robes and carry spears. With each visit to this world he is subsequently 'rejected.' He has been brought back to life in this manner on at least three occasions. It has been speculated that his survival is because he is being preserved for a greater purpose.

His seiyū is Kazuya Nakai. His dub actor in the U.S. version is Steven Jay Blum, credited as Daniel Andrews to circumvent union regulations. [Fans have noted an odd coincidence in these choices: Kazuya Nakai also plays the "Pirate Hunter" Roronoa Zoro in the popular shonen anime "One Piece;" Steven Jay Blum voices Spike, with whom Mugen is often compared, in the English dub of "Cowboy Bebop". ] However in the English version of the game for PS2, he is played by Liam O'Brien.

Jin

Name: Jin
Age: 20
Profession: Ronin
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): Mujushin Kenjutsu, Jujutsu
Quote: "By starting this pointless squabble you've done nothing but reveal just how vast your stupidity is"
Appears in: All episodes
Final status: Alive

Jin (仁) spent the vast majority of his life training in kenjutsu dojos. Unlike Mugen, it is legal for him to carry a daisho (two matching swords: a katana and a wakizashi), as he is of the samurai class. His swords have a lightning and twin-eyed design on the tsuba. He wears traditional hakama and gi in indigo blue patterned with a white diamond kamon made up of four small white diamonds. His kamon closely resembles that of the great Takeda Clan, leading to speculation that his family origins may be of nobility. [See: [http://www.zenstoriesofthesamurai.com/Characters/Shingen%20Takeda.htm Zen Stories of the Samurai] . Also, compare Jin's appearance to that of Takeda Sokaku: [http://www.scottshaw.com/daitoryu/ An Overview History of Daito Ryu Aikijutsu] .] He also sports a Buddhist Rosary and a pair of anachronistic wire-rimmed glasses (which he does not actually need), the latter of which is probably the single most distinctive aspect of his appearance and the one everybody remembers.

When he was 18, he was to be assassinated in his sleep by his sensei, Mariya Enshirou, at Kariya Kagetoki's insistence. Jin killed Mariya in self-defense, to his horror. He fled the dojo, becoming a ronin. His death is sought by many, including former classmates and not limited to fame-seekers. "Mujushin" was a real sword-fighting dojo, and Mariya Enshirou is known to have been the third master — although the circumstances of his death are unclear. [http://www.spookhouse.net/angelynx/comics/no-abiding-mind.html The Sword of No Abiding Mind - Mujuushin Kenjutsu and Samurai Champloo] ] The esoteric teachings of "Mujushin" become vitally important in the series finale. Jin is highly devoted to upholding Bushido and is in fact named after "jin" (benevolence), one of the seven samurai virtues. [ [http://www.orientaloutpost.com/bushido_code_of_the_samurai.php#benevolence Oriental Outpost: Bushido Virtues - The Code of the Samurai] ]

Jin is usually taciturn and unusually collected. He is an extremely skilled swordsman, using swift, refined, orthodox moves of the "Mujushin Kenjutsu" discipline, making him the perfect foil for Mugen. His sword-fighting abilities impress and are commented upon by several extremely skilled fighters, such as Inuyaka, Sara, Kariya Kagetoki, and even Mugen. In episode 25, Kariya himself admits that Jin is closer to his level than any opponent he has faced in years, but still the lesser, by a paper-thin margin (although Jin eventually defeats him). However, Jin need not rely solely on his sword. In one scene, he falls back on Jujutsu techniques, disarming and incapacitating at least six armed samurai before getting his daisho back. Jin is shown in the opening sequence alongside images of fish, and he ends several battles by falling or jumping into water. His dedication to the sword is so intense that he seems to lack abilities in other areas like holding his liquor, playing the shamisen, cooking eel and fishing. As a testament to his intelligence and unwillingness to readily trust others, he usually is the first to suspect when someone is not who they seem. He is also a formidable player when it comes to board games, especially shogi, and takes his time to think about his moves and doesn't fret to put his life on the line against his opponent.

In the last episode, he confesses to both Fuu and Kariya that he has spent his entire life with no devotion to anyone. He lived only for his sword and no master; saying that the lords of that time have no sense of honor, only caring about self-preservation. But he seems to change during his travels with Fuu and Mugen, saying that they are his "first friends."

His seiyū is Ginpei Sato. His dub actor in the U.S. version is Kirk Thornton.

Fuu Kasumi

Name: Kasumi Fuu
Age: 15
Profession: Varies (usually a waitress)
Weapon(s): Tantō
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "Without duty, this world would be a dark place."
Appears in: All episodes
Final status: Alive

Fuu (風) is the leading lady of the show, a fifteen-year-old girl of samurai lineage, but brought up in poverty. After a not-so-successful stint as a teahouse waitress, she saves Mugen and Jin from execution and recruits them as her bodyguards to help her on a quest. She is searching for the Samurai who smells of Sunflowers, but never explains what a sunflower smells like or what the man looks like. Mugen and Jin are often reminded of their life-debt to her when they wish to fight each other, much to their chagrin. Without her father around to support them, Fuu and her mother led a difficult life until her mother died of illness.

Her relationship with Mugen and Jin is deferential but for the most humane, though it is hinted several times in the series that she may have subtle romantic interest for either of them. She is a surprisingly big eater (in one episode she entered an eating contest and was one of the last two remaining and would have likely won had she not accidentally given the sign that she gave up by squishing a bug), has a bright and trusting personality, and is strongly prone to accidents and trouble although she is quite practical. She often puts on a front of being more worldly and experienced than she actually is so as not to appear completely ingenuous in front of her bodyguards. Fuu wears a deep pink kimono with a pattern of flowers and carries a matching tantō (which she never uses, but has brandished once or twice). Attached to the tanto are three netsuke: a skull (a Christian pendant from her father), a pair of dice (probably referencing her dice-rolling skills in "Hellhounds for Hire") and a dog. A flying squirrel by the name of "Mo-mo" (evidently short for "momonga," which means "flying squirrel" in Japanese) inhabits her clothing and frequently helps out when she's in trouble. Momo also means "Peach" in Japanese, and is a popular modern pet name in Japan.

A running gag throughout the show is Fuu becoming impossibly huge after overeating, reverting to ordinary form after her stomach has digested everything. This occurs in Episodes 6, 15 & 23.

Her voice actress in the Japanese version is Ayako Kawasumi. She is voiced by Kari Wahlgren in the U.S dub.

upporting characters

hibui Matsunosuke

Name: Shibui Matsunosuke
Age: 50s, "most likely"
Profession: Magistrate
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "Money! I'll pay you!"
Appears in: Episode 1
Final status: Deceased (killed by Jin)

Corrupt magistrate who has no qualms about extorting the townsfolk he governs. Evokes the irritation of Jin, who cuts down his bodyguards, the Yagyu Three, to express his dissatisfaction. The last straw arrives when Shibui incarcerates and sentences Jin (along with Mugen) to death for the murder of his son (which Mugen had plenty to do with and Jin nothing). Upon escaping, Jin recites a Buddhist proverb on mercy being granted only once and executes him just as he intended to execute Jin.

Shibui's pipe reappears when Fuu needs a light, and the pipe is given to her by the man whom Shibui was going to execute.

hibui Tomonoshin

Name: Shibui Tomonoshin
Age: Early 20s
Profession: Idle
Weapon(s): Katana
Fighting style(s): Unknown
Quote: "…I'm untouchable."
Appears in: Episode 1
Final status: Deceased (perishes in teahouse fire started by Ryujiro)

Shibui Sr.'s son, who carries much of the same traits as his father. As with Mugen, everything about his appearance is anachronistic, from his bleached blond hair to his ear and brow piercings to his jumpsuit. He banks on his father's position to throw his weight around and is first seen in the teahouse Fuu works in, accompanied by a posse. Mugen puts him in his place, after being offered one hundred dumplings by Fuu to do so, mutilating his men and subsequently breaking his fingers one by one until Jin shows up. Technically, he is killed by Ryujiro, who sets fire to the teahouse in a blind rage, but his father blames it on both Mugen and Jin, and summarily decides to have them beheaded. (Ryujiro gets away scot-free initially, though his madness and vengefulness lead to his death later.)

Ryūjirō Sasaki

Name: Sasaki Ryūjirō
Age: "probably" Mid 30s
Profession: (Former) Yojimbo
Weapon(s): Katana
Fighting style(s): Either Kenjutsu or Kendo
Quote: "We should go on a killing spree."
Appears in: Episodes 1 & 2
Final status: Deceased (strangled to death by Oniwakamaru)

Mentally unbalanced subordinate to Shibui Matsunosuke, the corrupt magistrate of an oppressed town, who assigns him to protect his brat of a son, Tomonoshin. Ryūjirō's arm is chopped off by Mugen after the altercation in the teahouse, driving him over the edge. He has a ruthless sadism which predates the loss of his arm, claiming to have lost his humanity a long time ago and having no problem with killing and torturing his opponents. He burns the teahouse down in retaliation, inadvertently putting Fuu out of work and Jin and Mugen in prison. While Shibui Sr. (and his son) perish, Ryūjirō survives and returns later to exact revenge on Mugen. He is strangled to death by Oniwakamaru for threatening Fuu's life.

Yagyu Three

Name: Yagyu Three
Age: 30s to 40s
Profession: Yojimbo
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): "probably" Kenjutsu; possibly Yagyu Shinkage-Ryu "or" Kendo
Quote: "Of course it's honorable."
Appears in: Episode 1
Final status: Deceased (killed by Jin)

Three asparagus-robed samurai, possibly related to legendary samurai Yagyu Jubei, or students of his family's dojo, who serve as Shibui Matsunosuke's personal bodyguards. According to a local who advises Jin not to challenge their skill, they are master swordsmen from Edo. Jin questions their ethics in front of the townsfolk, regardless, arousing their ire. All three are sliced dead in a blink when they attempt to rush him.

The Sunflower Samurai

Name: Kasumi Seizō
Age: Late 40s
Profession: Rebel, Ronin
Weapon(s): "most likely" Katana & Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): "probably" Kenjutsu "or" Kendo
Quote: "Fuu, I have no right to ask forgiveness. I don't deserve it. But you should know not a single day has passed when I have not thought of you and your mother. Please forgive me."
Appears in: Episodes 16, 19, 25 - 26
Final status: Deceased (killed by Kariya Kagetoki)

The Sunflower Samurai is Kasumi Seizō, a Christian samurai who played a leading role in the Shimabara rebellion. His death is sought by the Shogunate as a result of this betrayal.

The objective of the trio's quest, it is revealed later on in the series that he is actually Fuu's father. He left Fuu and her mother to save them from anti-Christian persecution (he was a major proponent of Christianity, considered heretical at the time). Fuu, however, thinks that his abandoning the family was unforgivable. Her only memory of him is a departing figure shifting through a field of sunflowers.

He was relentlessly pursued by the Shogunate, but succeeded in evading them. When Fuu began to search for him the Shogunate had her followed. She led them right to him, sick and dying in a hut on Ikitsuki Island. Kariya Kagetoki arrives just after Fuu's tearful reconciliation with her father and kills him right in front of her.

Oniwakamaru

Name: Oniwakamaru (nicknamed "Oniwaka" in English dub)
Age: Unspecified
Profession: Pariah
Weapon(s): double-bladed Bisento
Fighting style(s): Bōjutsu
Quote: "You weren't afraid of me. I'm not alone."
Appears in: Episode 2
Final status: Deceased (skewered by Mugen)

Childlike, ogreish killing machine sprung from prison and recruited by Ryūjirō to bring Mugen to his knees. Uses a weapon similar to Tessai's from Ninja Scroll (and resembles him, interestingly). He has been feared and ostracized all his life due to his size and deformities, until he is shown kindness by Fuu. He easily defeats Mugen with his immense strength (At one point he throws Mugen through a wooden fence). He strangles Ryūjirō to death after Ryūjirō threatens Fuu's life. Following that, he and a severely poisoned Mugen engage in combat again. Fuu screams for them to stop. Oniwaka does stop, but Mugen doesn't. Oniwaka is then impaled by Mugen's sword and dies with Fuu at his side.

It is never specified how Oniwaka obtained his weapon and who taught him to wield it with such skill, or whether he taught himself, given his status as a pariah. Additionally, "Oniwaka" was the moniker of Saito Musashibo Benkei, an actual person but better remembered as a legendary figure in Japanese folklore of great strength and stature.

Watanabe has admitted that Oniwaka, while similar to the cinematic Frankenstein's monster, is actually a reference to zombies. The entire episode in fact was a reference to the samurai zombie genre.

Hotaru

Name: Hotaru
Age: Mid 20s
Profession: Assassin
Weapon(s): Poison
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "Nights are like the lives of human beings... all too brief. So let's enjoy ourselves."
Appears in: Episode 2
Final status: Alive

A Russet-haired beauty who the trio encounters while traversing a forest in Episode 2. She has full lips and burgundy lipstick. Mugen fixes her broken sandal strap and she entices him to a nearby shack. They make out, but before going further Mugen pulls away, realizing he has been poisoned. Hotaru informs him that his drink and her lipstick both contain a toxin called "one Night's Mushroom" (a mushroom known as Hitoyo-take, "C. curtus"; related to "C. atramentaria"), which is normally benign, but which, since it was consumed with alcohol, would kill him by morning. She reveals that she is working for Ryujiro and he has the antidote (as well as Fuu). With time running short, Mugen spares her life and rushes off. This is the last we see of her.

Her name means firefly in Japanese, which coincides with the constant theme of fireflies throughout the episode.

Inuyaka

Name: Inuyaka
Age: "likely" Over 50
Profession: Samurai
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): Ninjutsu
Quote: "Do you know why fireflies glow?"
Appears in: Episode 2
Final status: Alive

A very skilled elderly samurai hired by Ryūjirō to assassinate Jin. He pretends to be a spineless "samurai by title only" when he is first seen. He uses barely subtle innuendo in his "fireflies" speech while he and Jin are in a hot spring, seemingly to manipulate Jin into a vulnerable position and facilitate the assassination. As Jin begins to leave, Inuyaka quickly lies about knowing the whereabouts of the Sunflower Samurai in order to lure Jin deep inside the woods, where the two do battle. Inuyaka comments upon Jin's skills, saying that if they were in a dojo Jin might be able to defeat him. The dialogue seems to indicate that Inuyaka is aware Jin killed Mariya Enshirou. [ [http://www.spookhouse.net/angelynx/comics/characters-episode-two.html Amalgam: A Samurai Champloo Fansite] , Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai ChamplooEpisode Two--Redeye Reprisal] Jin comes very close to defeat when Inuyaka senses Ryūjirō's death and withdraws, saying there is no point in killing Jin if his employer cannot pay him. He remarks that he expects to cross paths with Jin again.

Contrary to his last words, this is the single episode in which Inuyaka makes an appearance. According to commentary within the "Samurai Champloo Roman Album", Inukaya was intended to return, but his character was forgotten on part of the writers and wasn't recalled until it was too late.

Nagatomi Rikiei

Name: Nagatomi Rikiei
Age: Late 20s to Early 30s
Profession: Yakuza Boss
Weapon(s): Tanto
Fighting style(s): Unspecified
Quote:: "I Like Being A Thug."
Appears in: Episodes 3 & 4
Final status: Deceased (killed by Ishimatsu)

Leader of the Nagatomi yakuza, ruthless and ambitious. He enlists Mugen as his partner after the former impresses him by sitting at his men's table, eating their food and beating them up. Keeps a chinstrap and sports Ray-Bans, a distinguishing part of his appearance. Killed by his personal yojimbo Ishimatsu for his wicked ways after Ishimatsu decides enough is enough.

Daigorō

Name: Daigorō
Age: 60s
Profession: Carpenter
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "Please! Don't take Osuzu!"
Appears in: Episodes 3 & 4
Final status: Alive

Daigorō is the catalyst for the events that unfurl in Episodes 3 & 4. After a dramatic loss at one of Rikiei's gambling establishments, he is pressured to give up either the deed to his business or his daughter, Osuzu, in order to cover his debt. He pleads with Kawara Heitarou for help, suggesting that Rikiei's establishments practice dishonesty. Kawara refuses, citing a lack of evidence. Daigorō has no choice but to give up his store, but Ishimatsu takes Osuzu as well after Sōsuke tries to intervene.

Osuzu

Name: Osuzu
Age: 16 to 20s
Profession: Tutor
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "Don't you have any family?"
Appears in: Episodes 3 & 4
Final status: Alive

Daigorou's demure daughter; she is quite something to look at. Before she is forcibly procured by Ishimatsu, as an excuse to make up for Sousuke's insolence, she was the latter's tutor. She is put to work with in one of Rikiei's brothels, where she meets Fuu (who is also being forced into prostitution because of bad fortune) and they become friends. Both are emancipated after Rikiei's demise.

Kawara Sōsuke

Name: Kawara Sōsuke
Age: 12
Profession: Student
Weapon(s): Katana
Fighting style(s): No formal training
Quote: "Give back Osuzu-neechan!"
Appears in: Episodes 3 & 4
Final status: Alive

Heitarō's pubescent son, heir to the Kawara Clan's leadership. He is hasty and impetuous, not a surprise for his age and the shame his father has to endure. He has strong feelings for Osuzu, and intervenes when Ishimatsu comes to collect her father's business deed, succeeding only in getting her taken away, too. Joins forces with Jin to rescue her but fail as Mugen is guarding the brothel. The night after he goes to see Osuzu again and blows a gasket when a customer puts his hands on her. The man is a Nagatomi, but Sousuke does not know that when he draws his sword and stabs him to death. Heitarō commits seppuku on his account. Rikiei mocks Heitarō, while Sousuke defends him. Upon the Nagatomi Clan's defeat, he assumes his father's position.

Kawara Heitarō

Name: Kawara Heitarō
Age: 40s to 50s
Profession: Yakuza Boss
Weapon(s): Tanto
Fighting style(s): Unspecified
Quote: "I atone for that life with my own."
Appears in: Episodes 3 & 4
Final status: Deceased (seppuku)

Known as "The Merciful" despite being a yakuza head, he is poised, level-headed and traditional, running the yakuza to take a form of foster care for its young men who would otherwise be criminals. It is because of this, the unscrupulous Rikiei easily moves in and seizes control of the town. He dotes on Sōsuke, his only son. After losing a dice duel to Rikiei (who may have cheated) and in an act that moves almost everyone, he sacrifices his life to ensure the future of the Kawara Clan.

Ishimatsu

Name: Ishimatsu
Age: "roughly" Mid 30s
Profession: Yojimbo
Weapon(s): Katana, Manriki
Fighting style(s): "probably" Kenjutsu "or" Kendo
Quote: "'My eyes are finally open."
Appears in: Episodes 3 & 4
Final status: Deceased (killed honorably by Mugen)

Ishimatsu is yojimbo to an influential yakuza boss, Rikiei. His considerable height, dark skin and a string of large Buddhist beads he wears around his neck are distinctive features. Rikiei offers Mugen a partnership after Mugen impresses him with his fighting skills. This does not sit well with Ishimatsu, and he and Mugen do not get along; barely past introductions they are attacking each other. Their duel is cut short by Rikiei, who wants to get down to business. Eventually, disillusioned by Kawara Heitarou's sacrifice, Ishimatsu cuts down Rikiei, and finishes his duel with Mugen. He suffers an honorable defeat.

His manriki can be seen as a wild card, in the same light as Mugen's tanto.

Detective Manzō (a.k.a. "The Saw")

Name: Nokogiri "The Saw" Manzou
Age: 40s
Profession: Police Detective
Weapon(s): Jitte
Fighting style(s): Juttejutsu
Quote: "For Pete's sake!"
Appears in: Episodes 5, 12 & 23
Final status: Alive

A recurring character, Manzō is a lampoon of Hanzo Itami. Aside from the main trio, Momotaro and Ichiemon the announcer, he is probably the only other character shown in multiple episodes (discounting flashbacks and multiple-part episodes). His persistence and enthusiasm are not without humorous results. As he is a law enforcer, he carries a jitte with him wherever he goes and is apparently able to use it to perform calisthenics. In all three episodes in which he appears, he plays the narrator for part or all of the story. Oddly enough, his narration transcends time, as he has narrated about future events which he could not feasibly be alive long enough to know about, like Vincent Van Gogh, and the Zen movement in the '60s. It also seems to be no accident that his seiyu Unshō Ishizuka is the same as that of Jet Black, as the two characters share much in common, especially considering that Shinichiro Watanabe directed both series.

Hishikawa Moronobu

Name: Hishikawa Moronobu
Age: 20s
Profession: Ukiyo-e Artist
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): None
Quote: "You are my #1 FAN!"
Appears in: Episode 5
Final status: Alive

A handsome, effeminate ukiyo-e artist who charms young, attractive women into letting him draw ukiyo-e portraits of them, and then allowing his yakuza employers to kidnap the girls and sell them as European sex slaves, using the ukiyo-e painting as the advertisement. He does the same to Fuu; however, as she actually had appreciated his art, he feels guilty and failingly tries to free her. Moronobu also seems to be the object of unrequited attraction by the yakuza leader's wife, which aids his survival when the yakuza discover what he did. He later tells Mugen everything, who proceeds, along with Detective Manzou, to successfully rescue her and expose the slave trade. In the end he tries to stowaway for Europe with a nude painting of Fuu with sunflowers, inspired by his number one fan, (on account of how she spared the time needed to glance at his work), Fuu. Although she never finds out if he makes it to Europe, Manzou informs us that Moronobu was captured shortly after and returned to Japan but his painting made its way to Holland, where it would inspire Vincent Van Gogh centuries later. Hishikawa Moronobu is based on an actual historical figure.

"Jōji" (a.k.a. Isaac Kitching)

Name: Isaac Kitching
Age: probably early to mid 30s
Profession: Governor General of the Dutch East India Company
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi (part of disguise), Governors Dispentsation (Diplomatic Immunity)
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "I like men better."
Appears in: Episode 6
Final status: Alive

The Redheaded Dutch Stranger of Episode 6's namesake. A quixotic homosexual, he left his homeland for Japan, assuming it to have more open attitudes towards homosexuality according to his interpretation of Bushido and possibly the real-life tradition of shudo. Drags Jin and Mugen along with him to view a kabuki play after he wins their swords from them in an eating contest (Fuu has no choice but to tag along). Also the Governor General of the Dutch East India Company, he has information for Fuu relating to her skull netsuke.

Oshaberi Ichiemon (a.k.a. "Ichiemon the Announcer")

Name: Oshaberi Ichiemon
Age: Unknown
Profession: Announcer
Weapon(s): N/A
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "And of course I, Ichiemon, Edo's number one gossip, will be your announcer."
Appears in: Episodes 6 & 23
Final status: Alive

Ichiemon serves mostly in the role of comic relief, providing amusing commentary during the eating contest in episode 6 and the baseball game in episode 23. His name "Oshaberi" literally translates to "honorable talker" and is meant to imply that he is a gossip. [ [http://weblog.delacour.net/archives/2003/05/this_is_a_test_of_japanese.php Jonathon Delcaour - The Heart of Things] , citing: Cherry, Kittredge; "Womansword: What Japanese Words Say About Women"] He wears a strange hat that appears to be a newspaper folded up like origami.

hinsuke

Name: Shinsuke
Age: "about" Fuu's age
Profession: Pickpocket
Weapon(s): Tanto
Fighting style(s): None
Quote: "The only people who say money isn't everything are the people who have it."
Appears in: Episode 7
Final status: Deceased (killed by policemen)

A well-meaning but naive young man who tries to pay for his sick mother's medicine by pickpocketing. He picks Fuu's pocket, and later steals a packet of opium from a drug-dealer and attempts to have a connection sell it for him. Unfortunately the friend gives his name to the drug dealers after a torturous interrogation. Fuu tracks down Shinsuke at the same time the drug dealers catch up with him, rousing the attention of the police, and leaving him with no alternative but to take Fuu hostage in a nearby house. Fuu helps him escape the building because his situation with his mother reminds Fuu of her own situation with hers. Shinsuke tries to escape, but is killed shortly after, leaving behind his mother, who although not being told, had already suspected the activities he was involved in, and is sure that he met his tragic end.

His character and predicament are similar to Roco Bonnaro from Session 8 of "Cowboy Bebop", the most highly regarded anime Shinichiro Watanabe helmed.

akonshōgen Nagamitsu

Name: Sakonshōgen Nagamitsu
Age: 30s
Profession: Samurai ("presumably")
Weapon(s): Tachi, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): "probably" Kenjutsu "or" Kendo
Quote: "'I'm going to be "big"."
Appears in: Episode 8
Final status: Alive

Sakonshōgen Nagamitsu's goal in life is to become a great samurai warrior by defeating Mariya Enshirō's killer, who happens to be Jin. On his quest, he is accompanied by two "flunkies", the anachronistic, beatboxing Shinpachi and an "apprentice", Ogura Bunta. He goes on and on about his greatness, but falters when he actually comes face-to-face with Jin or anyone who could be considered competition for that matter. Once he finally confronts Jin, Ogura steps in for him instead, revealing that he doesn't particularly care for Nagamitsu and that he has a greater goal to achieve. Somewhat similar in mannerism and appearance to Dan Hibiki of "Street Fighter" infamy.

Ogura Bunta

Name: Ogura Bunta
Age: 20s
Profession: Samurai
Weapon(s): Katana
Fighting style(s): Mujushin Kenjutsu
Quote: "Prepare yourself, murderer!"
Appears in: Episode 8
Final status: Deceased (suicide, "probably" seppuku)

Nagamitsu's apparent flunky, he is really a former student of the deceased Mariya Enshirou. He meets Nagamitsu outside of Osaka Castle whom he associating himself with and endures only because two heads are better than one (Nagamitsu, too, appears obsessed with hunting Jin down). He is defeated effortlessly by Jin, who spares his life. According to Yukimaru, he committed suicide, unable to live with the disgrace.

Budoukiba

Name: Budoukiba ("possibly" Osen)
Age: late 20s to Early 30s
Profession: Barfly, Pickpocket
Weapon(s): N/A
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "Two handsome men like you shouldn't be drinking alone."
Appears in: Episode 8
Final status: Alive

Pretty barfly who regularly flaunts her ample cleavage and legs. Her husband calls her Osen, which may be her real name or a pet name. She lures Jin and Mugen to a foreign bar on the pretext of enjoying the wine there. Manages to get Jin inebriated, but is not as lucky with Mugen, who is quite the well when it comes to food and drink. Not to be daunted, she successfully drugs him and steals their money. Appears again to drag Nagamitsu away from making a further fool of himself, and it is revealed that he is her husband. She adds insult to injury by robbing Mugen again before she departs.

Mariya Enshirou

Name: Mariya Enshirou
Age: "probably" Late 40s
Profession: Kenjutsu Sensei
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): Mujushin Kenjutsu
Quote: "You've improved tremendously, Jin."
Appears in: Episodes 8, 25 & 26
Final status: Deceased (killed by Jin prior to the show's beginning)

The renowned "Slayer of a Thousand Men" and third master of the Muju. He has perished by the show's beginning, but features prominently in flashbacks. Both his character and the dojo were actual historical entities, albeit relatively obscure. According to "Samurai Champloo", he intended to turn the dojo into an academy for training assassins, under pressure from Kensei Kariya Kagetoki, but received passionate opposition from his finest pupil and heir, Jin.

In Episode 25, Jin remembers a flashback of a conversation with Mariya about turning the Dojo into an assassins academy. Jin said if it becomes that, then Mujushin Kenjutsu would no longer be a martial art. Change was the only way to survive in this day and age, Mariya lamented. In Kariya Kagetoki's view, if Jin would not see change, he would have to be erased from the picture. Jin would have to be killed in his sleep. However, Jin killed his attacker in the dead of the night, discovering to his horror that it was Mariya. Proudly before passing away, Mariya remarked, "You've improved tremendously, Jin."

Given the identical kamon on their kimonos, Jin and Mariya were either relatives or Mariya adopted Jin.

Yamane

Name: Yamane
Age: 20s (present), 50s (future)
Profession: Checkpoint Official
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): Unspecified
Quote: "I remember that look in his eyes. He was like a stray dog that had long ago broken free of its leash."
Appears in: Episode 9
Final status: Alive

A young government official in charge of guarding the Hakone Checkpoint. Nicknamed "The Ogre," he changes little appearance-wise from his youth to his old age—bespectacled face, small stature. He appears as the narrator of Episode 9, reminiscing about his encounter with Mugen, Jin and Fuu (specifically Mugen) several decades ago. He has the ability to dislocate his left shoulder at will, which is especially useful in wiggling out of tight restraints.

Aohabu

Name: Aohabu
Age: Probably 40s
Profession: Leader of the Tengu Priests
Weapon(s):
Fighting style(s):
Quote:
Appears in: Episode 9
Final status: Alive (Stoned)

Leader of the souhei warrior monks disguised as tengu. He and his men are a group of warrior priests who were abandoned after the war and hope to gain revenge on the country by causing a revolution with their fields of marijuana. He seems very no-nonsense and is quick to schedule Mugen's execution when he judges him as a Shogunate lap dog. He goes ballistic when Mugen and Yamane burn his fields of marijuana (Which also intoxicates all those nearby) and is seen at the end of the episode intoxicated and singing with the two of them.

Tajima Munetada

Name: Tajima Munetada
Age: 30s
Profession: Samurai
Weapon(s): Reverse-Blade Katana
Fighting style(s): Fuu Sekisai Ryu
Quote: "Alright. I could use a little after-dinner exercise."
Appears in: Episode 10
Final status: Deceased (killed by Shouryuu)

A famous samurai of the Fuu Sekisai Ryu (literally, "Wind Strike") Dojo, he is introduced at the beginning of Episode 10, chewing on a blade of grass. He is approached by Shoryu by the riverside on his way home and challenged to a duel. Tajima remarks, confidently, that he "could use a little after-dinner exercise," and charges Shōryū. Shōryū parries his attack with a wave of ki channeled through his sword. At first, Tajima is puzzled as to why Shōryū is no longer attacking. A moment later, blood bursts out of his eyes, with his face clenching up, and falls into the river, dead. His body is later discovered by an elderly villager who remarks at the peculiar way he died.

Ukon (a.k.a. Shōryū)

Name: Shōryū (formerly Ukon)
Age: 30s
Profession: Ronin
Weapon(s): Dao
Fighting style(s): Shaolin kung fu, Hakkei
Quote: "Once mastered, the martial arts are a tool for killing."
Appears in: Episode 10
Final status: Deceased (killed by Mugen)

Like Jin, Ukon was born into the samurai bloodline. He studied under Zuikou and became one of his most prized disciples. Ukon was sent on a voyage by the province's daimyo, but his ship met with disaster and capsized. Somehow, he ended up washed ashore in China. There, he encountered a 'mysterious martial art' known as Hakkei, and studied it vigorously under the tutelage of Shaolin monks. He returned to Japan a different man under a different name, Shōryū, and had become so different that he had no qualms about killing a fellow student to demonstrate his newfound power. Zuikou expelled him, but Shōryū had the last laugh. Shōryū wandered the continent searching for a new master, but no one would have him, labeling him a heretic. He became embittered as he felt his greatness deserved acknowledgement. He began murdering renowned samurai for sport, at the same time hoping to find a worthy opponent. The 'street killer' myth was built around him. His latest victim would have been Mugen, who despite being far superior to most of Shōryū's opponents and having trained intensively for the fight, had little chance of winning outright. After an intense fight, both Mugen and Shoryu knock the swords out of each other's hands. When Shoryu attempts to engage Mugen in hand to hand combat, Mugen defeats Shōryū by pulling out a tanto at the end of his scabbard as a trump card, and kills Shoryu with it.

Mugen's battle with Shōryū characterizes the uniqueness of his free-for-all fighting style he calls “champuru kendo”, swiping bits and pieces from all forms of martial arts thrown at him, as he was seemingly able to mimic and use Shōryū's ki technique to his own advantage, likely picked up in their first duel. This battle marks the first time Mugen ever faced an opponent he was unsure of defeating as stated by Jin. [ [http://www.spookhouse.net/angelynx/comics/episode-ten.html Episode 10 ] ]

Next to Kariya Kagetoki and Sara, Shouryuu is easily one of the most powerful fighters in the "Champloo" universe. His stance and fighting style are markedly Shaolin. His discipline, Hakkei, makes use of ki. It is unknown if Shouryuu employs ki to strengthen his defenses, but he certainly uses it to greatly augment his offensive prowess. Already as quick as Mugen, if not quicker, he is able to project ki at a distance or even channel it through his sword. Furthermore, one blow from his palm is a fatal death touch.

Momoi Seishirō (a.k.a. "The Human Dynamo")

Name: Momoi Seishirō
Age: 30s to 40s
Profession: Samurai
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): "probably" Kenjutsu "or" Kendo
Quote: "Don't hurt me, please! It was all a lie, I swear to you! The whole Human Dynamo thing, I made it all up!"
Appears in: Episode 10
Final status: Alive

Mustached, goateed, cowardly samurai who surrounds himself with flunkies, in addition to being a self-styled "Human Dynamo". Mistakes Mugen for the street killer after some miscommunication and stands back to watch as the flunkies defend him. Only, Mugen clobbers them all, leaving Momoi to fall to his knees and beg for his life. Mugen spares him, disgusted (also because it would be wise not to stir up any more fuss in broad daylight, what with the townsfolk being on the edge of their seats about the street killer).

Zuikō

Name: Zuikō
Age: 40s to 50s
Profession: Monk
Weapon(s): Katana (given up after he converted to monkhood)
Fighting style(s): Unspecified ("might be" unique)
Quote: "That's a lively piece of firewood!"
Appears in: Episodes 10 & 12
Final status: Alive

A muscle-bound monk who gives the trio room and board in his temple in exchange for their menial services. He was once the master of the dojo that Shōryū trained in and became a monk as penance for his failure to save his pupil's soul. Makes a second prominent appearance in the Episode 12 flashbacks, "possibly" instructing Mugen on the art of Hakkei (how he knows anything about its workings is quite inexplicable, though it wouldn't be a stretch to assume he researched it).

It would seem that his giving room and board to the trio was not merely for their labor. In "Disorder Diaries", he provided both Jin and Fuu with spiritual guidance, and Zuikō's predictive powers (evident by his telling them to fix the doors "before" Mugen actually broke them) could lead the viewer to believe that he predicted that Mugen would help his quest to end Ukon's path of destruction.

hino

Name: Shino (working name: "Kohana")
Age: "probably" late-20s
Profession: Prostitute
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "An eel's like a good woman. If you try to hang onto them by brute force they'll only run away."
Appears in: Episode 11
Final status: Alive

A benevolent woman who falls in love with Jin, and vice versa. With a little subtlety, he saves her from jumping off a bridge. They spend the rest of the night manning an eel stand, which its oblivious owner has left Jin in charge of. She divulges that she will be sold to a brothel come morning to pay for her husband's gambling debts (a predicament similar to Osuzu's in Episodes 3 & 4). When they next meet, she has become a prostitute and has assumed the name Kohana. A bunch of samurai pound on Jin for 'window shopping'. Aware that they might blame Kohana if he retaliates, he takes the beating in silence. He borrows money from a stunned Mugen and Fuu in order to see her the following night. Their bond grows stronger, and he persuades her to escape. This is a meticulously hatched plan: he frees her from her contract and sends her off to a divorce shelter where she will stay for the next three years. After that, should he die or remain a penniless ronin, she will at least be free of her husband.

Mukuro

Name: Mukuro
Age: Late 20s to Early 30s
Profession: Pirate
Weapon(s): Revolver, Kodachi
Fighting style(s): Gunslinger, Other unspecified skills
Quote: "You and I are two birds of the same feather."
Appears in: Episodes 13, 14, & 25
Final status: Deceased (killed by Jin)

Wanted criminal, pirate captain, former cohort of Mugen. He carries a revolver tucked in his waistband. His clothing includes a sawtooth design, wristbands and ankle bandages, which Kohza and a younger Mugen both share in appearance. Like his sister, Kohza, he has a fairly swarthy complexion. He double-crossed Mugen at least once before and does it again. After their 'reunion', he convinces Mugen to rob a government ship with him, the spoils being 60,000 gold ryo. He blows the ship up with Mugen on board and returns to shore, where he and his secret accomplice, a government official named Shiren, hoard the gold. Unfortunately, Kohza is none too fond of her brother (according to her, he killed her mother), and engineers the double-cross into a triple-cross. He and Jin end up dueling. He fans two shots at Jin; however, Jin anticipates and evades them. Mukuro met his end when Jin sliced him across the chest, then stabs him from behind seconds after drawing his katana.

Mugen's relationship with Mukuro is analogous to Spike's relationship with Vicious in "Cowboy Bebop".

Kohza

Name: Kohza
Age: Around Fuu's age
Profession: Pirate
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): N/A
Quote: "It's not fair that they get to be beautiful. Not when everything is so ugly down here."
Appears in: Episodes 13 & 14
Final status: Alive

Mukuro's perpetually gloomy younger sister. She has a fondness for Mugen that dates back to their days of piracy, though the feeling is not quite mutual. Kohza isn't so much in love with Mugen as she is attached to him. This stems from her chronic dependency—she simply can't bear to be alone, which explains why she has remained with Mukuro all this time, even though he clearly repulses her. She devises a scheme to get rid of Mukuro and leave with Mugen, but as Mugen rejects her advances, she replaces him with Shiren. She neglects to inform Mugen what Mukuro has in store for him. After the ship Mugen is on explodes, she manipulates Jin and Mukuro into fighting, which ends in Mukuro's death. As she is leaving with Shiren, Mugen, having survived the explosion, confronts them and cuts Shiren down with a series of lightning-quick slashes despite being rigorously weakened. Kohza begs him to kill her. He pays her no heed, sick of her antics and furious beyond words at her betrayal; he departs, leaving her to suffer alone.

It is disputable whether Kohza is Mukuro's actual sister, as, aside from their skin tone, Fuu observes that they look nothing alike. Moreover, Kohza states that Mukuro "killed "her" mother";, not "their" mother.

There are hints that Mugen may have stronger feelings for her than he displays. For one, his unenthusiastic behavior towards her exemplifies what Watanabe states is the way Mugen would act towards a girl he actually has feelings for [http://www.dailytexanonline.com/media/storage/paper410/news/2006/02/14/LifeArts/cowboy.Bebop.Director.Watanabe.Talks.Anime-1611865-page4.shtml?norewrite200604271412&sourcedomain=www.dailytexanonline.com] . Secondly, at the end of Mugen's near-death experience in Misguided Miscreants Part 2, the last people he sees in his mind are Jin, Fuu and Kohza, the only people who ever cared for him, or possibly whom he ever cared for in return.

hiren

Name: Shiren
Age: 20s, "probably"
Profession: Shogunate Official
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): "probably" Kenjutsu "or" Kendo
Quote: "I signed on for the money."
Appears in: Episodes 13 & 14
Final status: Deceased (killed by Mugen)

A Shogunate official, infatuated with Kohza. He becomes Mukuro's collaborator in double-crossing Mugen and keeping the gold for themselves. It is unknown if he is aware of Kohza's betrayal of Mukuro, though if he did he would surely be in on it, as it would mean more money for him. He is slashed dead by Mugen at the end of everything. As he and Mukuro are the only two people who know where the gold is hidden, it is never recovered.

Otawa Hankichi

Name: Otawa Hankichi
Age: 20s
Profession: Ninja
Weapon(s): "probably" Ninjaken, Kunai & Shuriken
Fighting style(s): Ninjutsu
Quote: "Are you sure he's going to be okay? I feel bad just leaving him here." [Referring to Mugen]
Appears in: Episode 15
Final status: Alive

A decent-looking young man, apart from the large mole on the left side of his face (which may be a subtle jab at his role as a double agent). He is a Shogunate spy, trained in ninjutsu, though this does not save him from being captured and tortured by members of a counterfeiting ring. He sustains the interrogation, and manages not to blow Yatsuha's cover, though the crooks are not taking chances and decide to silence her regardless, based on their suspicions.

Otowa is played by the same seiyuu who did Shikamaru from the popular anime Naruto, both being ninjas and both being good at running away.

Yatsuha

Name: Imano Yatsuha
Age: 20s
Profession: Detective
Weapon(s):Hidden dagger
Fighting style(s): Ninjutsu
Quote: "Listen, now how would you like to try something "really" amazing?"
Appears in: Episode 15
Final status: Alive

Ostensibly a young courtesan employed in a brothel, Yatsuha is actually Otawa's partner, working to stop the brothel's counterfeiting operation. When she's discovered shortly after meeting Mugen, she tries to escape, but an oblivious Mugen insists on getting the services he paid for and kills her would-be assassins. Despite several attempts at either convincing Mugen to leave or knocking him out (first with a hit to the head and the second in the groin, both precipitated by the claim "Look! A naked woman!"), she is unable to rid herself of him. As such, she uses the promise of sex to manipulate into fighting for her. They invade the brothel's basement and slaughter several people. Yatsuha then murders Ginsa, leader of the counterfeiting operation because of his history with her father and knocks Mugen unconscious so she doesn't have to fulfil her promise. The next morning, she confesses to Otawa that she is in love with Mugen and intends to marry him. Otawa has reservations about her taste in men.

Momochi Ginsa

Name: Momochi Ginsa
Age: 40s
Profession: shinobi
Weapon(s): Kodachi
Fighting style(s): ninjutsu
Quote: "Doubts are like bothersome flies. They must all be crushed. That is rule number one."
Appears in: Episode 15
Final status: Deceased (murdered by Yatsuha)

The leader of the counterfeiting operation fronted by a brothel operating overhead that seeks to duplicate koban. The operation is already well underway when Otawa, a government mole, almost exposes their illicit activities. He and his underlings are part of a clan of ninja discounted after the war, similar to the so-called tengu in Episode 9. He sends five of them to dispose of Jin, who is recuperating after having engaged in a session of strenuous activity with a gaggle of geisha, but they are killed instead. Ginsa and Yatsuha's father have history which prompts Ginsa, not wanting to be arrested by the daughter of the man that ruined his life charges them. He is then impaled to the ground by Yatsuha.

Okuru

Name: Okuru
"'Age: 40
Profession: Fugitive
Weapon(s): Repeating crossbow, kodachi
Fighting style(s): Archery, Other unspecified skill
Quote: "Death leaves no beautiful corpses."
Appears in: Episodes 16 & 17
Final status: Uncertain

An Ainu warrior whose village was struck by an epidemic and torched by the Matsumae Han. Overcome with rage, he killed the official who authorized the burning. He was arrested and incarcerated, but escaped before he could be executed. His weapon is unique, a modified crossbow, called a Cho-Ko-Nu, that can repeatedly fire bolts. He mistakes Mugen as part of the Matsumae Han (who, ironically, later mistake Mugen for Okuru) and attacks him. He withdraws after he realizes the error. Later, he saves Fuu after she plunges off a crag. Upon encountering Mugen again, they do battle, and Mugen remarks that he has the "eyes of a dead man, like a severed head that doesn't know it's been cut off." Their fight is interrupted by agents of the Matsumae Han, led by Tobata. Okuru is riddled by flaming arrows, but miraculously remains standing. Jin and Mugen slaughter the rest of the Matsumae Han agents, while Okuru wrenches an arrow out of his gut and stabs Tobata dead with it. Engulfed in flames, he leaps off a cliff into the river below. Mugen believes that Okuru is still alive.

Okuru's predicament of not being sure whether he is alive or dead due to life-changing events that occurred in his past bears similarities with that of "Cowboy Bebop" character Spike Spiegel.

Yukimaru

Name: Yukimaru
Age: 20 (near in age to Jin)
Profession: Samurai
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): Mujushin Kenjutsu
Quote: "You must understand, I'm not like those others at the dojo. There's no point in avenging our master."
Appears in: Episodes 16 & 17
Final status: Deceased (run through by Jin)

Like Ogura, Yukimaru was a student of Mariya Enshirou's before Jin killed him. Yukimaru contends that, unlike Ogura, he wants to take Jin's life not to avenge Enshirou but to make a name for himself. Unwilling to fight him, Jin takes a dive off the edge of a waterfall. Yukimaru is persistent and hunts him down once more. They clash katana, and Jin gives him one last chance to turn back. Yukimaru charges on. Jin runs him through. On his dying breath, shedding a tear, Yukimaru whispers that he only "wanted to be like you." Jin and Fuu bury him, and pray before his grave. When Fuu asks Jin about who he was, Jin replies Yukimaru "was like a little brother".

The Triforce-esque crest on Yukimaru's kimono is identical to the kamon of the Hōjō clan (which is incidentally where the inspiration for the Triforce came from). [ [http://www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/6-Hachigata-Castle Guide to Japanese Castles - Hachigata Castle] ; note Hojo kamon in upper right-hand corner] . Though the Takeda and Hojo clan were neighboring clans that often fought, they both did battle against Tokugawa and Nobunaga. [ [http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/2-19-2004-50744.asp Japan and the Samurai Warrior] , Buzzle.com] If Jin and Yukimaru are of the Takeda and Hojo clan, this might explain their more familiar relationship with each other.

Tobata

Name: Tobata
Age: Early 30s
Profession: Samurai
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): "probably" Kenjutsu "or" Kendo
Quote: "You monster, I'll make you pay for what you've done!"
Appears in: Episodes 16 & 17
Final status: Deceased (stabbed by Okuru)

Commands the band of Matsumae Han officials sent to pursue Okuru. Clearly enjoys what he is doing, as evidenced by the smirk on his face when he (thinks he) finally has Okuru cornered. His allegiance is to his daimyo and cannot be swerved, as he declares that he "has his orders," even after hearing that his superiors' motives might be less than honorable. Is stunned that Okuru is still on his feet after having been riddled by flaming arrows. He rushes forward with his katana drawn, intending to put an end to the enemy of the state. A dispassionate Okuru wrenches an arrow out his body and stabs Tobata to death with it.

Bundai

Name: Bundai
Age: Probably 30s
Profession: Priest scholar
Weapon(s): (Uses fists) None
Fighting style(s): Brawling
Quote: "Listen here, words have a soul! If you don't know the letters that convey it, you'll miss out."
Appears in: Episode 18
Final status: Alive

A priest-scholar of an apparently abandoned temple. He meets the trio in a restaurant where, in an inebriated state, he disciplines Mugen for his illiteracy. He later kidnaps Mugen and puts him through a humorously hardcore bootcamp-like course in reading. During the tagging of Hiroshima Castle, he is infuriated at the Niwa brothers' improper grammar in their graffiti and kidnaps them at the end to teach them the same way he did with Mugen.

Niwa Juunosuke

Name: Niwa Juunosuke
Age: Probably 40s
Profession: Kenjutsu sensei
Weapon(s): Katana and Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): Probably Mujushin Kenjutsu
Quote: "If something should happen to me, please take care of my sons."
Appears in: Episode 18
Final status: Deceased (suicide)

A master of the Gojuu dojo in Mihara and former sensei to Jin. His dojo was so envied by other masters that he was ordered by the daimyo to take down his dojo's signboard (an immense sign of disrespect), or cut off his own arm. Rather than allow this to happen, he committed suicide, so his sons could inherit the dojo. Jin learns all of this from a monk upon visiting the abandoned dojo. The Niwas apparently held Jin in high regard not just as a student, but as family, evident from Juunosuke asking Jin to look after his sons in case anything happens to him, as well as his sons' brotherly respect for Jin. His sons' decision to desecrate Hiroshima Castle was partially to avenge him.

Niwa Kazunosuke & Tatsunoshin

Names: Niwa Kazunosuke
:: Niwa TatsunoshinAge: Probably slightly older than Fuu
Profession: Graffiti Tagging Gang Leaders
Weapon(s): Bokken with protruding nails, Balisong, Paintbrush
Fighting style(s): Unspecified
Quote: "The world's a big place. There's always someone better."
Appears in: Episode 18
Final status: Alive

Two identical twins and sons of Juunosuke Niwa. Appearance wise, their clothing is very hip-hop oriented, while still having Buddha bracelets like Jin's. The twins style also are similar, but contrasting, with one being blonde with nose-ring and earrings, the other black-haired with a black headband. They are heads of the local graffiti gang and are extremely competitive with each other. They deeply respect Jin like an older brother, to whom they reveal that they have given up the sword in exchange for the paintbrush and currently express themselves by "tagging" graffiti in different places. Following a suggestion by Fuu to settle their constant competing, they go on a tagging contest, culminating in the tagging of Hiroshima Castle, but are foiled when the newly literate Mugen beats them to it. This prompts them to finally accept that neither of them is better than the other, while also being recruited by Uohori of Andouya ("Champloo's" version of Andy Warhol) to shake up the fashion of Ura Edo and become the inspiration of scribbling. However, this is not before they are taken away by Bundai for some difficult training in grammar.

Yuri

Name: Yuri
Age: probably slightly older than Fuu
Profession: Underground Christian
Weapon(s): None
Fighting style(s): None
Quote: "May God protect you."
Appears in: Episode 19
Final status: Alive

A young, determined Christian girl who is the daughter of a gunsmith who hid on Ikitsuki Island with Fuu's father, Kasumi Seizou. They fled when the village was raided and burned, and never saw Kasumi after that. She is pursued and captured by the imposter Francisco Xavier III, who killed her father to prevent him from exposing his gunrunning plot. Francisco attempts to force her to marry him, until Fuu, Mugen and Jin help her escape and expose Xavier. She fires past him possibly by mistake or by divine grace, and after Xavier's death, prays for God to protect the trio on their journey. Yuri is notable for providing the first actual information about Kasumi Seizou and his whereabouts.

Francisco de Xavier III

Name: Francisco de Xavier III (false name)
Age: 30s to 40s
Profession: Gunrunner
Weapon(s): Primitive rocket launcher
Fighting style(s): Unspecified
Quote: "To stand against me is to stand against God."
Appears in: Episode 19
Final status: Deceased (accidental suicide)

Not his real name by any means. He claims to be the grandson of the first Francisco de Xavier, an evangelist who introduced Jesus to Japan. He deceives an underground Christian village into producing firearms for him to make money. His crown is shaved in the fashion of a Western monk, and he is highly amblyopic. He is the only person in the show with access to a rocket launcher, albeit a poor imitation, and dies when it backfires on him and explodes.

ara

Name: Sara
Age: Mid 20s
Profession: Shamisen Player, Shogunate Assassin
Weapon(s): Kama-Yari (disguised as walking staff)
Fighting style(s): Sojutsu
Quote: "I just want you to live, Mugen."
Appears in: Episodes 20 & 21
Final status: Deceased (allowed Mugen to kill her)

A beautiful, blind musician who the trio encounters near the end of their journey. The quartet travel together for a while, and she reveals she has an illegitimate son that was sequestered from her, allegedly due to her blindness. She requests for one of the men to accompany her to reclaim her son. Knowing that Mugen likes Sara, Fuu reluctantly offers Jin, expecting him to reject the offer. But Jin accepts. Sara is in reality a Shogunate assassin, set to expunge both Mugen and Jin. She unfolds the blades on her walking staff and wounds Jin in a matter of moments. Out of desperation, Jin cuts the ropes holding up the bridge they are on and they both go plunging into the river below. Jin recuperates, while Mugen and Fuu locate an unconscious Sara washed up on the bank. Mugen finds Sara's staff by the river and becomes suspicious of her motives. Most likely, he discovers the blades on it and deduces what happened to Jin. When she has recovered, he confronts her about it, quietly, subtly, uncharacteristically. Sara and Mugen fight by the river, and Mugen is almost killed when Sara slashes Mugen's abdomen, but Sara hesitates to kill Mugen when Fuu stands between them shielding Mugen. Fuu begs Sara not to kill him, and she relents, partially for Fuu, and partially because she relates to Mugen, as neither of them, in her opinion, have ever been loved. A Shogunate contact disguised as a pinwheel merchant urges Sara to finish the job, especially if she wants to see her son again. One of his many pinwheels stop, abruptly, and it hints that her son is already dead, and she realizes it. In their second battle, Sara allows Mugen to kill her even though she had the opportunity to kill him, because she no longer has any reason to live. Her death marks the only time we actually see Mugen regret killing someone.

Sara's fighting ability is one of the strongest in the "Champloo" Universe", being able to noticeably sunder rocks with her Yari in her fight against Mugen and sense opponents' attacks despite her blindness. Jin theorizes that she is able to sense movement through air currents, much like how a fish can detect movement in the water, or through sensing the vibrations through the ground.

Sara's concealed yari weapon and blindness may be references to Zatoichi.

Matagi

Name: Matagi a.k.a. Johnny (possibly Musashi Miyamoto)
Age: "probably" 60s
Profession: Hermit
Weapon(s): Unknown, if any
Fighting style(s): Unknown
Quote:"To catch a fish, you gotta think like one, see like one. They go with the flow. They use the water surrounding their bodies to sense what'll happen next. If you move against the flow of the water, the fish feels it, and darts away at the last minute. But, if you don't fight the current, and flow with it instead..."
Appears in: Episode 21
Final status: Alive

An old hermit who rescues Jin after the latter nearly drowns from the fight with Sara. Matagi brings him back to an old hut to recuperate. As Jin awakens he is offered a bowl of food, then denied it. Only joking, the hermit then places the bowl across the room from Jin allowing him to get it for himself. Jin painfully crawls towards it only to find it empty, and Matagi again laughing at him and observing his ability to move. Later, Jin finds Matagi outside standing in the water trying to catch fish with his bare hands, who explains his methods of entrusting oneself to the flow - a method later referred to as the "Way of the Water" (although it doesn't exactly work the first time it is demonstrated.) As Jin is leaving, he thanks the hermit for the lesson (to teach a man to fish instead of to give him one), to which Matagi claims he didn't teach Jin anything. Jin is greatly surprised when he asks the hermit's name and his reply is, in a serious tone, Miyamoto Musashi. But the old man laughs it off, saying that couldn't be true and his real name is Johnny. Whether or not he is indeed the legendary swordsman is left up to the audience to decide (Samurai Champloo takes place after the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637-38, and not in the 1850's as previously speculated by others, therefore Musashi's cameo is plausible). His name has been officially given as Matagi.

*Note: Miyamoto Musashi was known to be living on his own through the land, often wandering without bathing and having a very unkempt appearance. This parallels Matagi's personal appearance but is admittedly exaggerated if to be compared to Miyamoto Musashi. Also, his peculiarity in watching Jin's strength to move would make sense were he a practitioner of a fighting art.

Heike Shige

Name: Heike Shige
Age: Over 500 (appears to be in 20s to 30s)
Profession: (supposed) Nobleman
Weapon(s): Biwa
Fighting Style: Necromancy
Quote: "We shouldn't get too concerned over bloodlines, there's not a drop of blood in our bodies!"
Appears in: Episode 22, can be heard singing in episode 15
Final status: Zombie

Heike Shige is the leader of a band of zombie-like workers, who have been mining for the legendary gold of the Heike clan for 500 years. Some unearthly quality of the area's mushroom population preserved them long after their bodies expired. Shige and his men believed only five years had passed, when in fact they had been mining for five hundred years.

Shige, believing himself a descendant of the Heike (which Jin proves wrong at the end of the episode.), thought to eventually use the gold to defeat their ancient enemies the Genji clan. He claimed (apparently in truth) that his biwa could summon the stars from heaven to strike his foes. When he encountered Mugen, Jin and Fuu, he offered them 10% of the treasure in exchange for their help at the quarry. This would have been a fortune if the gold were truly there. Shige's quixotic quest came to an end, however, when Fuu discovered the nature of his men. During the ensuing confrontation, Jin discovered that Shige was not a true descendant of the Heike. This led to the zombie workers themselves turning on their would-be leader. Seeing his plans come to nothing, Shige at last unveiled his ultimate weapon, and indeed summoned a meteor upon the entire area. Mugen, Jin and Fuu may have left by the time it arrived, since they survive for the next episode. The ultimate fate of Shige and his men is not known (presumably they were annihilated in the impact.)

Shige was a zombie, much like his men. To stave off the inevitable rot of their bodies, they consumed a large amount of wasabi (which apparently holds preservative properties). Because they were already dead, it was apparently impossible to kill them---although Shige notes it was a "close call" when Mugen nearly beheads him. Presumably the zombies of Champloo are modeled after the most famous zombies of George Romero fame which can only be slain by direct trauma to the head. (Certainly they can sustain impalement, disembowelment and maiming with no problem, and severed limbs will eventually reattach if held to the stump for a period. However, in concordance with Japanese myths, the zombies of "Champloo" do not transfer their "condition" via biting, as Mugen is chomped on several times with no lasting effects.) Shige is inspired by Japanese video game designer, Shigesato Itoi (the creator of "EarthBound"), from his name, direct quotes, and his wasting much time and money searching for, in all likelihood, a nonexistent treasure.

Some aspect of his biwa allowed Shige to resurrect the dead. However, the revived were presumably all Heike vassals and only served Shige because they believed him heir to the line. Therefore, the zombies he revived were not necessarily bound to his will.

While Shige may have truly perished in the impact of the meteor he summoned, the ending credits to his episode are interrupted by a shot of him bursting from the grave--an indication that he "lives" on.

Shige's ability to summon a meteor may be referencing Dawn of the Dead, which unofficially speculates that meteors were involved in causing the zombies.

Kagemaru

Name: Kagemaru
Age: probably mid to late 30s
Profession: Former Ninja
Weapon(s): Smoke bomb, "probably" Ninjato, Kunai & Shuriken
Fighting style(s): Ninjutsu
Quote: "I die with no regrets."
Appears in: Episode 23
Final status: Uncertain

Kagemaru is a former ninja who wears distinctive orange sunglasses and is a member of an elite guard that dealt with foreigners. It was shut down when Japan's isolation order went into effect, being yet another example of a member of a group which has lost its significance. His prior membership in this group explains why he is familiar enough with foreign culture to know about baseball. He challenges American sailors who landed in Japan (including Alexander Joy Cartwright and Abner Doubleday) to a baseball game, on the condition that the Americans leave if they are defeated. He recruits our main trio, as well as two animals, the "extremely" old town consul and later, Detective Manzou, to play on his baseball team, teaching them how to the night before the game. When the game finally kicks off, the first one up to bat, he bunts and gets on base by throwing a smoke bomb. Just as with the rest of the team, he is victim to the American team's blatant cheating, dodging hostile pitches and being elbowed by the American players. He seems very easy going about the entire situation, and when the second inning begins, he takes the pitcher's mound and willingly allows himself to be skewered by the wooden shards of Cartwright's baseball bat in order to catch the ball and get Cartwight out. He collapses on the mound upon gasping that he has no regrets. It is unclear whether or not he survived.

Kariya Kagetoki (a.k.a. "The Divine Hand")

Name: Kariya Kagetoki
Age: Late 40s, "probably"
Profession: Samurai, Assassin, Guard Captain for the Shogunate
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi
Fighting style(s): Mujushin Kenjutsu
Quote: "A Samurai who smells of sunflowers? Sunflowers don't have a scent. So isn't it possible that the person you're looking for doesn't even exist?"
Appears in: Episodes 24, 25 & 26
Final status: Deceased (killed by Jin)

An elite samurai working for the Shogunate. Kariya has not drawn his sword in quite some time being that there hasn't been an opponent worthy of him in years, according to Goroujuu, a member of the Shogun's council who visits him. Upon learning of Sara's death, he determines that Mugen and Jin must be worthy adversaries, and brings himself out of retirement in order to face them. Although employed by the Shogunate, his truer motives are to use the government to further his own needs since the age of the samurai is ending.

His calm and collected demeanor hides a cold and manipulative personality. Kariya attempted to gain control of the Mujushin Dojo and is the one responsible for ordering Mariya Enshirou to kill Jin. He is ordered to seek out and kill Kasumi Seizou, the Sunflower Samurai, for his role in the Shimabara Rebellion as well as Kasumi's heir -- Fuu. Regarded amongst his peers as "The Hand Of The Gods" for his divine skills, being said that there is possibly no one in existence capable of defeating him, he is arguably the strongest fighter in the "Champloo Universe." He fights Mugen and Jin simultaneously, easily handling Mugen's fighting style and defeating Jin in a standoff. Similar to Shouryuu yet even more powerful, he is a master of his ki and is able to use it with great force both offensively and defensively, and to an almost supernatural level, hardly making anyone his equal (though Kariya admits that Jin is closer to his level than any opponent he has faced in years, but still the lesser, by a paper-thin margin).

As Fuu is finally running towards the hut where her father is, a vision of Kariya appears in front of her, with his quote about the scent of sunflowers. He could be said to be the 'perfect Samurai' Fuu imagined her father as, though his actions in seeking Fuu's death after killing her father show this ideal to be as non-existent as Kariya states.

Jin finally defeats Kariya by sacrificing his own body to breach Kariya's defense. The move Jin uses to kill Kariya was the last technique taught to him by his master, Mariya Enshirou. Although Mariya described the technique as suicidal, Jin manages to survive.

The Brothers

Three brothers whose lives were ruined by Mukuro and Mugen during a pirate raid on a sugar shipment. The three brothers, who had been charged with security, were held responsible for the loss and forced to desert their positions in Satsuma. Mugen crippled the eldest brother during the raid, and they have been seeking his death ever since. As with Ryujiro, Mugen appears to have no recollection of the damage he caused. Predictably, he doesn't care once he is reminded, lambasting that "once you point your sword at someone it's kill or be killed." Each of the three brother's left eyes are red.

Denkibou

Name: Denkibou
Age: Unspecified
Profession: Mercenary
Weapon(s): retractable Tekko-Kagi (steel claw), diamond-shaped Bisento
Fighting style(s): Unspecified
Quote: "…but the person I want to kill so much is right before me! Patience…is impossible. Impossible!"
Appears in: Episodes 24 & 25
Final status: Deceased (skewered by Mugen/drowned)

The youngest and certainly the ugliest (hunched posture, large fanatical eyes, crooked teeth) of the brothers; wears a steel claw on his left wrist. He carries a bisento short enough for him to wield and whines or shrieks wildly whenever he opens his mouth. He was referred to, among a share of viewers, as "the troll" before his name was disclosed. He is given the task of bringing Mugen to his brothers, but loses control and attacks Mugen himself instead. He takes advantage of Mugen's inability to fight well in small spaces (they are on a boat), but Mugen overturns the boat. He is the first of the brothers to die, stabbed underwater by Mugen.

Umanosuke

Name: Umanosuke
Age: "probably" Mid 30s
Profession: Mercenary
Weapon(s): Katana, Wakizashi, Kusarigama
Fighting style(s): Kusarigamajutsu, "probably" Kenjutsu "or" Kendo
Quote: "What I'm saying is, you're standing in your grave!"
(After finally confronting Mugen) "Oopsie! Did I cut a little too deeply that time!?"
(After loss of his eye patch) "You're really pissin' me off!!
Appears in: Episodes 24, 25 & 26
Final status: Deceased (beheaded by Mugen)

Umanosuke sports a hefty chonmage, is deformed in one eye (it is lidless; he wears an eye patch to compensate for this), and wields a spectacular weapon: a chain-sickle kusarigama with an incredibly long reach. He wears a daisho, indicating that he was once samurai, but relies principally on his kusarigama. It is a fearsome, highly destructive weapon. While a normal kusarigama makes use of the chain to ensnare the opponent so the wielder may attack at full advantage with the sickle, the chain of Umanosuke's kusarigama is located in the shaft and can be launched to at least forty feet and retracted, ostensibly by some sort of helix mechanism. The sickle cuts effortlessly through solid objects like wood and rock; Umanosuke wields it with immense skill. Once retracted, it is effective as a scythe at close quarters.

When first seen, Umanosuke is cool and composed, and almost suave. He even has no problem with letting Fuu escape as long as he can kill Mugen. Upon his meeting Mugen, the composure crumbles, worse when the eye patch is cut away, and he spirals to Denkibou's level of madness. At this point, Umanosuke sports possibly the greatest destructive intent in the entire series, attacking in a berserk flurry of vicious attacks. Mugen gives up his sword in order to rescue Fuu from his clutches, but manages to reclaim it and, after a hard-fought battle, decapitates him with his own weapon. The way he ends the battle is important; in the earlier battle against Kariya, Mugen is told that simply fighting on instinct shows everyone his limits and is soundly defeated. The manner in which Mugen works out Umanosuke's death shows Mugen overcoming his weakness.

Toube

Name: Toube
Age: late 40s
Profession: Mercenary
Weapon(s): Firearm and Explosives concealed in wheelchair
Fighting style(s): Unspecified
Quote: Mute
Appears in: Episodes 24, 25 & 26
Final status: Deceased (Suicide via blowing self up)

Toube is the eldest of the brothers and the least fortunate: he is confined to a wheelchair. Like his brothers, he lives for revenge; Mugen severed his leg in the raid on the ship he was protecting, and since then he has never uttered a word. He shoots Mugen in the back with a pistol concealed in the wheelchair's left armrest after watching Umanosuke die, then ignites a stash of dynamite concealed in the wheelchair's base, intending to take Mugen with him.

Toube's concealed weapons within his wheelchair may have been inspired by the concealed weapons in Daigoro's baby cart in the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series.

Notes and references


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