Neko-san's Guide to the Characters of Samurai Champloo
Episode Seven--A Risky Racket

(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 Seven--A Risky Racket
This is my annotated character list for episode 7. 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.[Note: Many supporting characters' names are never given in the episode, but have been posted to the show's official website,, thanks to which they appear here.]

Shinsuke--Cute young man forced to steal to support himself and his mother. First appears bumping into F on the street, later revealed that he picked her pocket. His next victim happens to be the head of a band of drug smugglers, yielding a packet of opium powder. Takes the drugs to Hikoichi for resale (Shinsuke doesn't have the connections to sell it safely), but gets ratted out. Meanwhile, the doctor is telling him that it would take a hundred times his current funds to cure his mother's illness, and his mom is getting antsy because he won't tell her what he's up to. F corners him at the same time the gang tracks him down, he takes her hostage and holes up in a warehouse. He was injured by the gang, and F binds the cut and gets him to talk about his problems. The police announce they will storm in at sunset if he doesn't give himself up, the gang crawls in the window looking for the drugs, and M comes in raging after he realizes that the kidnapper robbed him. In the ensuing chaos, Shinsuke slips out the window and runs across the roof. When he drops to the ground he is killed by a policeman.
Lookalikes #1 and #2 --Men dressed like Shinsuke mistakenly pursued by J and M. [J says "Excuse me" even more than usual in this episode.] Appear only in pursuit scene.
The Gang (Kogoro and his 3 Idiots)--Bunch of low-level drug dealers. First appearance in pursuit scene, when Kogoro (that's him at left) is demonstrating the proper way to carry a stash, and Shinsuke steals the goods. Torture Hikoichi to find out who was responsible, corner Shinsuke at the same time F does. Climb into warehouse through a window to get the drugs before the police come, but Shinsuke throws the packet in their faces, and Kogoro is left vainly trying to sweep up the scattered powder.
Shinsuke's Mother--Ailing older woman with sad eyes. Appears for the first time when J and M burst into her house on a tip, she denies even having a son. Shinsuke arrives home much later, and she tries to get him to tell her what kind of business he's mixed up in but fails. Finds F hanging around the house the next morning and assumes she's his girlfriend; they talk and F bonds with her. At the end of the episode, F returns to speak with her but can't bring herself to say that Shinsuke is dead. His mother guesses anyway, and says it's justice brought down upon him for having turned to crime. She weeps for her son. (F says in episode 12 that she wants to write his mother a letter at some point to try and explain what happened.)
Hikoichi --Shinsuke's fence. First seen telling him what to do to get rid of the opium. Wants a seventy percent cut of the profits, and Shinsuke agrees reluctantly. Later tortured by the gang into revealing who gave him the goods. [This episode says several things about the hierarchies of criminals and the differences in personality and motivation between the various levels.]
Fuu's Mother --Seen only as a corpse in F's dream scene (episode 12 confirms who it was). F tells Shinsuke that she died about a year ago, and that her father hasn't been around for a long time. There is a good deal of regret in the way F talks about her mother.
Doctor --Capitalistic meanie. Seen only in Shinsuke's consultation scene. Tells the boy that with the paltry amount he has to spend his mother will never get the medicines she needs--but that's just business.
Cops --Generic local policemen. Seen during the hostage-taking and standoff at the end. Attracted by F's scream, they cause Shinsuke to retreat into the warehouse, and they threaten to storm it at sunset if he does not surrender. M beats some of them up for preventing him from entering the house. One of them kills Shinsuke as he jumps down from the roof. [I swear, Yatsuha, Manzou, and Yamane are the only official figures that have been even halfway decent in this series.]

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