Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai Champloo
Episode Fifteen--Bogus Booty

(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 Fifteen--Bogus Booty
This is my annotated character list for episode 15. 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.

Kabuki Map Singer --Last seen in episode 6, charting the trio's trip to Edo. Narrates their progress from Edo to Osaka, mentioning that this is now the "Kansai"--southwestern Japan--part of the series. [Interesting touch that despite all the anachronism and such in the series they still bother to give it a real geography.]
Otawa Hankichi--Young shogunate ninja with a highly distracting facial mole, Yatsuha's underground counterpart. Before the story begins he apparently steals some of the forged koban to present as evidence, and is first seen in the "Pike in Kansai" segment running through the woods, Negoro ninjas in hot pursuit. Ditches the gold in the river (where it is later found by J) but gets caught and withstands torture to protect Yatsuha's cover. Rescued (inadvertantly) by M in a very painful state. Appears again at the end of the episode, leaning the unconcious M against a tree outside of town, and expresses disbelief at Yatsuha's taste in men.
Negoro and Associated Ninjas--Ginsa states their number as being greater than 20; remnants of a defeated mercenary group from the Civil War (Sengoku Jidai or "Warring States Era") Period that preceeded the ascendency of the shogunate, and are now carrying out a forgery scheme in a smithy beneath the brothel, which probably functions as a money laundering service. [Like the souhei from episode 9, these are warriors that have been rendered obsolete by the peaceful times, and, in that sense, indirectly related to J.] Appear both as deadly (but not quite deadly enough) ninjas and smithy workers. Ninjas are first seen in "Pike in Kansai", chasing Hankichi, and five of them are seen later attacking J [And getting royally TROUNCED, thankyouverymuch.] Smithy workers are seen in, well, the smithy, melting gold and moulding it into fake koban. Most get taken out by M and Yatsuha. A few are seen being led away in chains at the end.
Jin [Add fishing to the list of things he's no good at, along with cooking, holding liquor, and playing the shamisen.]

Stay-Puft[TM] Fuu--The latest demonstration of F's remarkable ability to morph her physical shape to hold every bit of food made available, and return to her natural form as she digests it. F predictably responds to the trio's sudden wealth by beelining for the nearest restaurant and gorging to total repletion, resulting in the shape seen here. Since the brothel thugs ordered to kill M, J and their companion are looking for a fat girl, she easily eludes them when she reverts to her usual svelte proportions. (And is almost instantly hungry again.)
Akabe--Negoro member in charge of aboveground operations (read: brothel boss), looks exactly like my biology teacher's pet toad. First seen greeting J and M at the door, then later reveals to Big Boss who brought the forged koban into the brothel. Seems to be one of the prisoners led away at the end.
Takegawa and Suyama--Pair of, um, less-than-appetizing courtesans offered to M and J. Appear briefly in the "acchi muite hoi" scene, when they get assigned to take care of J, and then again in the ninja scene, lying quietly on the floor, one of them massaging (fully-dressed) J's back with her feet. [People make SO many jokes about J's (ahem) stamina and sore back in this episode, but it's a somewhat ambiguous scene, in my opinion.](AND mine.)
Yatsuha--Delectable female ninja working undercover as a courtesan to break up the forgery operation; daughter of Imano Jinpachi, a member of the Shogun's personal guard. Came to the brothel a year ago, at the same time her partner, Hankichi, came in below. First appears as one of J and M's options for the night, and M wins the game and claims her. Overhears Ginsa in the next room and realizes she's been caught [Listens in on the conspirators by putting a glass against the wall--a very Mr. Wizard moment], so she knocks M out, switches into ninja mode, and tries to leave. He, however, wants what he paid for, and she tries to beat him into submission [Coming closer to that goal, I might add, than many a man has been able to...]. Switching tactics, she promises to do "something amazing" with him in exchange for beating up all the Negoro, and they rescue Hankichi and head down below. The forgers are understandably skeptical at being threatened by two people, but Yatsuha makes one more promise and M helps her take out the lot of them. Both perform impressive feats of ass-kicking, and Yatsuha delivers the death-blow to Ginsa. Yatsuha arrests the few survivors, gives M another good whack when he tries to get her to fulfill her promise, and then has Hankichi leave him on the hill outside town for his friends to find. As she walks away on the road to Edo, she announces that M is her intended husband, and Hankichi is somewhat dubious.
--As she looks when presented to M and J. Great camouflage, huh?
Momochi Ginsa--Ruthless Negoro boss, head of the forging ring, thinks of himself and his men as "peerless warriors"; enemy of Yatsuha's father; not a warm and cuddly guy. First seen when Akabe comes in to report that the missing koban have been found; orders the torture and murder of anyone who came to the operation at the same time as Hankichi (and therefore might be in collusion with him) by having molten gold poured down their throats, and wants M, J, and F disposed of, too. Also seen supervising the execution of the suspected, and then getting pounded by M and Yatsuha. It is he that Yatsuha addresses when she arrives below, and he scorns her threats. She tells him her real identity, and he mentions that her clan has come up against the Negoro before. When it becomes apparent that his men are no match for her and M, he charges her and she kills him spectacularly.
Kaikizou --Captain of the ninja contingent of the Negoro, who brings Ginsa the news of Hankichi's escape. Seen distinctively only in the conference with Ginsa and Akabe, although it appears from the dialogue that he was one of the ones pursuing Hankichi, and he accepts the man's escape as a personal failure. Is ordered to take out the two ronin (M & J) and the "fat girl" who's with them. I think he's one of the ninjas that J eliminates.
Unfortunates --Forgery workers suspected of treachery. Appear only in the forge scene. Rescued from having molten metal force-fed to them by the appearance of M and Yatsuha. At least one had already committed seppuku by that point--another of Yatsuha's agents?

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--Go on to Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai Champloo-- Episodes 16 & 17.