Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai Champloo
(all text written by and property of Neko-san.
Episode 19--Unholy Union
Any note you see in italics--like this one--is by me, Kyuketsuki/Paula, the proprietor of this site.)
(all text written by and property of Neko-san.
|Momo--First appears sitting with F in the abandoned farmhouse, then again when she’s been captured by the gunrunners. F ties a message around its neck, and sends it off to fetch the guys. Plasters itself to M’s face, is forcibly removed, and then says J’s name (Jeez, I knew Momo was bright for a squirrel, but talking?) as it launches itself onto his shoulder.|
|Yuri--(“Lily”)[The name is appropriate as the flower is a Christian symbol of purity and virginity.] —A young Christian woman; she and her father, a gunsmith, hid out on Ikitsuki island, with Kasumi Seizou, until the authorities caught up with them and they fled north towards Aki. Her father was executed by Xavier for knowing too much, and she fled once more. First appears at the door of the farmhouse, begging F for help and then falling unconscious. F hides her from the thugs, and Yuri asks her about the skull charm on her tanto (the one that made Isaac nervous in episode 6). She explains that it symbolizes the cross of Golgotha, and seems on the verge of revealing something big when the thugs return and, despite F’s best efforts, knock her out and carry Yuri away. Next seen in Xavier’s, um, museum-boudoir, asking him why he’s perpetrating this outrage [Giving the villain a chance to rant unpleasantly being necessary to the balance of the universe in Champloo...] and refusing to let her silence or her love be bought with his disgusting riches. He threatens her, slaps her around, and then drops her in the cell with F to await either her wedding or her execution. She is understandably confused by F’s presence, and F asks to hear everything she knows about the sunflower samurai. Yuri replies that she and her father were part of the secret Christian community on Ikitsuki Island, near Nagasaki, of which Kasumi Seizou was also a part. They were betrayed, and the village was raided and burned. [This is a REALLY persistent theme in the series—Mugen and Okuru both have memories of village massacres, and Mukuro’s pirates use them as recruitment.] She last saw Seizou in the confusion of the raid, after which she and her father fled to the mainland. Her father was killed to keep the gun-running plot a secret. Then the guards come and drag her out to the grotto to marry Xavier [Wearing a suspiciously modern-looking bridal veil, also a symbol of purity.] but at F’s encouragement she refuses him, and he is about to kill her when M and J walk in and provide a fortuitous distraction. Yuri draws a gun on Xavier, reveals his crimes, fires…and misses. [Is this her way of expressing Christian forgiveness, or was it just a bad shot?] He tries to kill her again, but only manages to blow himself up. Appears in the last scene discussing the future journey with F, and asks God to protect the three travelers.|
|Gunrunner Thugs--The yakuza working with Xavier to sell the weapons his flock produces. Two of them come after Yuri, and, in despite of F’s alleged kendo skillz, carry her off back to Xavier. Next seen in the grotto chapel, accosting F, and then J witnesses their arms deal with the daimyo going down. When Momo shows up, J and M track down the thugs on the way back from the arms deal, and force them to lead them to the grotto, where the rest of the gunrunners attack them with the weapons produced by the congregation. Most of the thugs appear to be killed off by M in his gleeful rampage. [Yay.]|
|Line of Suspects—-A large group of people being forced to step on the fumi-e. [An image of the Crucifixion used to identify Christians.] One poor old lady falls to her knees, crosses herself, and begins to pray. Two guards ominously haul her away. When Xavier makes his big entrance the crowd seems equal parts puzzled, impressed, and frightened. Appear only in the inquisition scene.|
|Daimyo officials--The by-now-very-usual gov’mint suits, who first appear overseeing the inquisition. They try to force M to step on the fumi-e, but he’s too contrary to do so until J practically double-dog dares him to. Appear again as the daimyo’s proxies, paying off the gunrunners.|
|“Francisco Xavier III”—-Supposedly the grandson of Francisco Xavier, the Jesuit priest who introduced Christianity to Japan. [The Catholic clerical vow of chastity would seem to argue against this…] Appears Portugese…sort of…with a really ugly lazy eye. He is using a local Christian community to produce guns to sell to the daimyo, by telling them that heaven is too full and that they must earn their way there by serving him. [There is an implication that he’s also planning on turning them over to the daimyo for a reward whenever they’ve outlived their usefulness.] First appears in the inquisition scene, charging the daimyo officials on his horse, and firing a primitive sort of bazooka randomly. Appears again in the grotto F discovers, preaching to the Christians, and then showing off his disgustingly ostentatious collection of art and memorabilia to Yuri while he lectures her on the persuasive powers of money. When she initially refuses his advances, he slaps her, taunts her about “turning the other cheek”, and threatens to kill her if she does not marry him. Drags her in front of the congregation for just that purpose, but gets interrupted by first F, who he claims is possessed by a demon, and then by the noisy arrival of M and J. Yuri reveals his treachery, (Her words are confirmed when his false beard and nose fall off, revealing that he’s Japanese.) and the grotto’s giant cross falls, missing him by inches, and then Yuri shoots at him but misses. (It’s not clear whether the miss was deliberate.) He takes this as a sign that divine justice has passed him by, and pulls out a bazooka-type thing. [Guns are NOT my area of expertise.] He aims it at Yuri, pushes the trigger, [It’s a very strange sort of gun.] and manages to blow himself to bits. Arcs of smoke trail across the serene face of the Christ statue.|
|Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”)—The secret Christian community created after the religion was banned by the shogunate. Yuri, her father, Kasumi Seizou, the congregation of Ikitsuki Island, and the entire population of the village where the trio spends the night are all Hidden Christians. The old woman arrested at the fumi-e checkpoint is also one.|
|Daimyo-—Appears briefly in the scenes where the gunrunners and the government suits meet up to talk business. Looks exactly like every other second-rate despot daimyo in the series. [If you want a different view of authority figures, read the Champloo manga—volume 1 chapter 2.]|
|--Kasumi Seizou (passim)—F’s father, the Sunflower Samurai. Yuri recognizes him from F’s (really vague) description. Seen in her flashbacks to Ikitsuki, praying in the chapel and then preparing to defend the fleeing congregation. He’s a relatively young, imposing, good-looking man, and Yuri speaks much more respectfully of him than F has.|
|Yuri’s father (passim)—--A Christian gunsmith who discovered Xavier’s treachery and was killed to keep it a secret. Seen only in a flashback to his firing squad execution.|
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--Go on to Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai Champloo--Episodes 20-21.