Shinichirō Watanabe will always be known and highly praised for creating the masterpiece Cowboy Bebop. However, he created another anime very much like Cowboy Bebop in terms of an unlikely main cast of characters, awesome fight sequences and plenty of humor, all of which was set to an awesome soundtrack by Nujabes. That anime was Samurai Champloo.
The one thing that connects a lot of the characters in Samurai Champloo is right there in the title: they’re samurai. Many of the samurai throughout the series are dangerous opponents, and we soon get an understanding of just how talented our main characters are by which of them they can easily defeat, which of them they can stand up to, and which of them clearly outclass them. We even see some characters show how deadly they can be despite not being samurai. Here are the top 10 Deadliest Samurai Champloo characters.
A warrior whose entire village was torched by the Matsumae Han, Okuru is extremely deadly since he has nothing to lose from the moment we meet him (something Mugen catches on to during their fight). Even though he uses a modified crossbow as weapon of choice that can repeatedly fire bolts, Okuru proves himself of being a capable warrior by going head to head against Mugen when he mistakes him as being part of the Matsumae Han. Okuru’s best display of his fighting prowess is surviving multiple flaming arrows that wound him; not only does he survive such an attack, he rips out one of the arrows from his gut and uses it to kill Tobata, the leader of the Matsumae Han. It doesn’t get deadlier than that.
A yojimbo to his yakuza boss, Rikiei, Ishimatsu does not take kindly to Mugen, especially when Rikiei offers Mugen a partnership after seeing Mugen’s swordplay. Despite the large Buddhist beads he wears around his neck, Ishimatsu is pretty hostile, especially when he ends up turning on his own boss. Even though Ishimatsu’s skills with a manriki are impressive, they’re not enough to beat Mugen, and Ishimatsu ends up suffering an honorable defeat. However, the fact that Ishimatsu was working as a yojimbo proves that he’s not just your run of the mill samurai.
8. Yatsuha Imano
Trained in the ways of the ninja, Yatsuha is first introduced using her skills to work undercover in a brothel in an attempt to break up a criminal organization whose purpose is counterfeiting coins. Yatsuha’s best displays her fighting techniques by taking out the criminal organization (with Mugen’s assistance) as well as holding her own against Mugen in hand to hand combat (despite Mugen’s somewhat inebriated state). Yatsuha is even able to get the jump on Mugen after taking out the organization by knocking Mugen out with a block of wood. Definitely deadly when it comes to fighting with fists.
The middle of the 3 brothers whose lives were devastated by the pirate raid Mukuru and Mugen did in the past, Umanosuke is definitely the deadliest of the brothers when it comes to combat. Wielding a modified kusarigama that can reach incredibly long distances, cut through wood and rock, and serve as a scythe in close combat, Umanosuke certainly makes life difficult for Mugen in their epic fight at the end of the series. Consumed by his sole desire for revenge, Umanosuke’s flurry of attacks as well as his spiral into madness forces Mugen to not rely on his instinct and instead adopt an entirely different fighting style in order to defeat him. This choice that Mugen makes to fight in this manner confirms just how deadly Umanosuke really is.
6. Mariya Enshirou
Known as the “Slayer of a Thousand Men”, Mariya Enshirou is the head of the dojo that Jin trained in and in turn learned the way of the samurai from. Even though Mariya is already dead before the series begins, we eventually learn in Jin’s flashbacks how talented in Muju Mariya really was. Mariya was even talented enough to attract the attention of Kariya Kagetoki, who wanted Mariya to shift his dojo into an academy that would train assassins. Even though Mariya agreed with this sentiment, Jin, his finest pupil did not, and ended up killing Mariya in self-defense when Mariya tried to assassinate him. Based on how well Mariya was revered by Jin as well as what Mariya accomplished, it’s safe to say that Mariya was one of the deadliest warriors when he was alive.
5. Shoryu/Ukon “Street Killer”
Shoryu is one of the most accomplished samurai warriors in Samurai Champloo; saying that Shoryu is deadly would be putting it mildly. Studying under a master by the name of Zuikou, Shoryu, then known as Ukon, became a key disciple until his ship was capsized one day and he washed ashore in China. There, Ukon learned an art known as Hakkei from Shaolin monks and adopted the name Shoryu. After returning home and killing a student in a training session because of his new approach, Zuikou expelled Shoryu; as a result, Shoryu grew bitter at not being able to find a master to acknowledge his greatness, and began killing renowned samurai for sport, resulting in the nickname “Street Killer”. Mugen is just able to kill him in their fight despite Shoryu’s incredible speed and his ability to use ki in battle, and stands as one of Mugen’s toughest opponents in the series. Shoryu certainly stands as one of the clearest examples of a deadly warrior.
One of the 2 main male characters in Samurai Champloo, Mugen serves as the reckless example of being a deadly samurai. Mugen’s method of fighting relies purely on instinct and “champuru kendo”, a free for all fighting style that Mugen uses to adopt certain fighting techniques that his opponents use on him. As a result, it’s very difficult for his opponents to get a read on what techniques to expect from him, especially when Mugen himself might not even know. Combined with the speed that Mugen uses these techniques, his sword with a curved blade, and his tanto that he uses as his secret weapon, and you have a very deadly samurai to deal with. Mugen defeats many opponents in the series using this style, and only begins to change his style into a more disciplined one after his fight with the “Hand of God”, as his go-to style wasn’t enough to defeat him. Even so, Mugen is clearly one of the deadliest warriors in the series; only a truly talented and disciplined samurai can defeat him.
The other of the 2 main male characters in Samurai Champloo, Jin serves as the calm example of being a deadly samurai. The star pupil of Mariya Enshirou in the Mujushin Kenjutsu discipline, Jin’s fighting method shows how disciplined he is by constantly demonstrating a perfect execution of its proper techniques and relying on technical skill to overwhelm his opponents. In contrast to Mugen, Jin does not adapt any of his opponent’s moves nor uses moves from other styles; as a result, Jin has little margin of error to work with if his style isn’t enough to defeat his opponent. With the Katana and Wakizashi as his weapons of choice and his impressive display in his fight against the “Hand of God” at the end of the series, Jin arguably has the slight edge over Mugen despite neither of them ever besting each other in battle. At the very least, Jin can be considered deadly by all without a doubt.
2. Sara “Blind Assassin”
A blind shamisen player that Mugen, Jin, and Fuu meet near the end of their journey, Sara soon reveals herself to not only be a Shogunate assassin, but an incredibly deadly assassin. Unlike most of the other opponents that Mugen and Jin come up against, Sara is able to best Jin in their battle to the point where Jin had to cut the support ropes to the wooden bridge they were on in order to escape and flat out defeat Mugen twice. Sara’s fighting skills mainly rely in her use of her kama-yari as well as her ability to perceive her opponent telegraphing their movements, the latter of which was the key in her defeating Mugen. The very fact that Sara had the skills necessary to take on both Mugen and Jin is proof enough how deadly she can be; had it not been for Fuu begging her to spare Mugen’s life, Mugen would have died.
1. Kariya Kagetoki “Hand of God”
An elite warrior that worked for the Shogunate, Kariya comes out of retirement upon hearing of warriors worthy to face off against after hearing about Sara’s death. Known as the “Hand of God”, Kariya carries out the Shogunate’s wishes, one of which is to eliminate the Sunflower Samurai and his family for his role in the Shimabara rebellion. Kariya’s talent is very evident in his fights with Mugen and Jin; he easily makes short work of Mugen and proves to have the edge over Jin until Jin’s desperation move ends their fight in a standoff. Kariya’s skills lie with his use of the sword as well as a mastery over ki both in his offensive moves as well as defensive ones. It can be said without a doubt that Kariya is the deadliest character in Samurai Champloo.
Here is the list for the top 10 deadliest characters in Samurai Champloo. What do you guys think? Should Mugen have been listed over Jin? Should have Mugen and Jin been higher up on the list? Is there anybody missing that you feel should be there? Let us know in the comments!