Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai Champloo
Episode Ten--Lethal Lunacy

(all text written by and property of Neko-san.
Any note you see in italics--like this one--is by me, Kyuketsuki/Paula, the proprietor of this site.)

Episode Ten--Lethal Lunacy
This is my annotated character list for episode 10. People are listed in order of appearance, with names (where given), first appearance, and significant details. Main characters are referred to as J, M, and F. I note their first appearance in the episode, but don't bother to gloss them. Unnamed flunkies are grouped together at the bottom.

Tajima Munetada--Samurai of the Fuu Sekisai Ryu ("Wind Strike"). Appears only in the opening scene, we see him get up from dinner and begin to walk home. On the way he meets Shoryuu, is challenged by him, charges, and keels over dead, blood leaking from his eyeballs.
Shouryuu/Ukon--The tsujigiri (the word means "kills just to test his sword"), dresses in a style more Chinese than Japanese. Was once the monk's finest student, but got conscripted, shipwrecked, and ended up in China; introduced to shaolin arts (which attack using a person's ki, not physical force), and somewhere along the way went 100% grade A loony. Returned to the dojo and was soon kicked out for killing another student in practice, no other school would take him. First seen in the opening sequence, killing Munetada, then terrorizing the bridge thugs, then in a sake stand where he offers M the rest of his pot. (Of sake, that is. Presumably M had enough of the other kind last episode.) They start talking about the recent killings, Shoryuu tells an impenetrable story about mountain climbing, and then reveals himself as the tsujigiri. M nearly gets killed in the ensuing fight, but the police show up. Shouryuu, before fleeing, says he'll be there at the next full moon, and is. They fight again; M manages to turn Shoryuu's ki technique to his own advantage and Shouryuu is killed. [Note: As Kyuketsuki mentions in her episode summary, there are some interesting parallels between Jin's story and Shouryuu's--in fact, they make a kind of yin-yang contrast--as well as a connection to the larger theme of outsiders and outcasts.](It's also interesting to note that the design of three dots in an inverted triangle on his forehead, a water-yin symbol, contrasts with the upright triangle on Mugen's jacket, a fire-yang design. Shouryuu seems designed to be the opposite to everyone.)
Zuikou--Bald, muscular older man, used to be master of the dojo where Ukon trained. When his disciple went to the Dark Side, he was so wracked with guilt that he became a Buddhist monk. First seen collecting alms on the street, offers the trio free room and board in exchange for help cleaning the temple. J becomes suspicious of his fast reflexes and he admits to his warrior past. Tells them Shouryuu's story and explains the nature of the fatal technique to M. Engaged in prayer throughout the final fight, and his rosary breaks when Shouryuu is killed. He softly repeats his student's name in memorial. [Note: Zuikou reappears doin' the guru thang in episode 12. F, J, and M each ask him one question and get an appropriate response.]
Momoi Seishirou--Said to be the best swordsman in the area, calls himself "human lightning" (or "human electricity"). Appears only in one scene. M, figuring that a strong fighter will attract the tsujigiri, catches up with him strutting down the street with his flunkies. Assumes that M is the tsujigiri, watches his flunkies get taken out, and begs for his life, saying he made up the nickname. M is not amused.
Old Gossip --Old man in a shack by the river. Appears only in one scene. Tells F that he saw the corpse of the last man killed--bleeding from every orifice but with no visible wounds.
Bridge Thugs ---Three burly lowlifes. Appear only in bridge scene. Try to extort money from Shoryuu, who shows off his killing power on one of them. The other two grab his body and run, alerting M to the tsujigiri's presence.

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--Go on to Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai Champloo-- Episode Eleven.