Samurai (Super Friends)
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|Alter ego||Toshio Eto|
|Abilities||Wind manipulation, fire manipulation, invisibility, illusion casting|
Samurai is an Asian superhero in the Super Friends animated television series. His real name is Toshio Eto, and he is of Japanese descent. He was one of the later additions to the team along with other ethnically diverse heroes in an effort for the show to promote cultural diversity. His voice actor is Jack Angel. In addition to being a prominent figure in several other animated shows, Angel also did the voice for The Flash and Hawkman.
Samurai appears in The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Super Friends, Super Friends (1980), Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. Besides being inserted to create diversity, Samurai, in a sense, took the place of Red Tornado with whom he shares similar wind-based abilities. After sporadic guest appearances, Samurai grew into a prominent team member in the series' later seasons.
Samurai appeared in the DC Comics Mini Series Super Powers. He also had an action figure in the Super Powers Collection line produced by Kenner. A character resembling Samurai appeared in a double page spread in the Infinite Crisis hard cover trade collection. The actual Samurai made his first appearance in the comics several years later during the Brightest Day event.
Fictional character biography
Although not outwardly resembling a traditional samurai, Samurai upholds the code of the Bushido, sometimes relating everything he or someone else does to the ancient tradition. Although he displays a good number of powers, the one he relies on most often is the ability to manipulate wind. He can fly by creating a small tornado around his lower body and can conjure powerful gusts from his hands that can knock back even large objects.
In addition to controlling wind, Samurai can also call upon other abilities he learned during his years of training in the ancient arts[clarification needed]. He invokes them by speaking a phrase in Japanese:
- Kaze no Yō ni Hayaku (風のように早く) — The most frequently used of Samurai's powers. All of Samurai's body (except sometimes his head) becomes a powerful tornadic wind that allows him to travel at superspeed and use his winds to pick up objects or blow them around. In later episodes of the series, he would frequently appear with only his lower body transformed into a tornado. The phrase translates to "swift as the wind".
- Tōmei Ningen (透明人間) — The second-most frequently used of Samurai's powers and used twice (Journey Into Blackness). This allows Samurai to turn invisible. The phrase translates to "transparent man/human".
- Igo Moen — Only used once or twice throughout the series (Journey Into Blackness), Samurai engulfs himself in flames. The first half of the phrase is not proper Japanese, but the second half can be read as "great fire/flame".
- Hi ga Moe (火が燃え) - Also used only twice. This allows Samurai to cast illusions in order to fool an enemy. Both times, he created the illusion of fire to frighten his captors.
He first appeared in The All-New Super Friends Hour and then he mostly appeared in the Challenge of the Super Friends series as a fully active member of the team. He later made sporadic appearances in the later The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians series.
His real name is Toshio Eto, and he was a history professor prior to becoming a superhero. One day, Eto was struck by a beam of light sent by the New Gods of New Genesis, who were trying to create more superheroes to defend the world from Darkseid. Although Eto briefly ran wild with his new powers, the New Gods explained their intent to him and he vowed to become a superhero.
The Samurai made DC comics appearances during the Justice League/Justice Society of America crossover featured in the Brightest Day event. Toshio appears as one of the heroes driven insane by Alan Scott's Starheart powers, and is shown using his winds to destroy the city of Tokyo. He is defeated and knocked unconscious by Jesse Quick and Congorilla.
Prior to Samurai's appearance in Brightest Day, an alternate version of the character named Toshio was introduced into the DC Universe in the Justice League of America 80-Page Giant one-shot. This version was an actual samurai from Japan in the 1200s, who was granted mystical abilities by a sorceress. After a brief battle with the time-displaced Superman and Doctor Light, Toshio teamed up with the heroes to defeat Steppenwolf.
In other media
- In Justice League Unlimited, the character Wind Dragon (voiced by James Sie) is based on Samurai. He is the leader of a government-sponsored superhero team called the Ultimen. As leader of the Ultimen, Wind Dragon serves as both their field commander and their spokesman to the public. While he appears very clean-cut and moralistic, he is actually quite an egotist, and doesn't object at all to "selling out" his team's image for money. His power is the manipulation of wind to allow flight (for himself and multiple people) as well as creating gusts of wind to knock back opponents or lift heavy objects. He remembers idolizing Superman when he was growing up, and says that he was inspired by him to become a superhero. In the Ultimen's first appearance (during the episode "Ultimatum"), Wind Dragon got his chance to fight alongside his lifelong hero while saving an oil platform. Even though he made a crack about Superman being old, he still acted respectful for him. However, his obligation to his benefactors disallowed him from joining the Justice League, despite pleas from his teammate Long Shadow. During the fight, Wind Dragon was able to create a cyclone of chilling wind to freeze the lava monsters attacking the platform, a power he had never exhibited before. Concerned, but not willing to dwell on it, he turned his attention back to the media, giving them a speech that even made Superman himself groan. Maxwell Lord, concerned over Wind Dragon's newfound ability, gathered him and the rest of the Ultimen for testing. During this test, Long Shadow overheard Lord talking about certain experiments and decided to investigate. The team then realized that they were actually clones created by Project Cadmus with imprinted memories and actors playing their parents. Even worse, their lives were about to end due to a fault in the cloning procedure. They further learned the implanted memories and actors part when Wind Dragon used his powers to abduct Maxwell Lord. Disillusioned, Wind Dragon ordered the Ultimen to find Maxwell Lord's boss Amanda Waller. But when the Justice League intervened, he got a new idea: if they could take down the Justice League, the world will never forget them, regardless of the context. He then set his sights on Superman, almost killing him by creating a powerful whirlwind to suffocate him, but was stopped at the last minute by Long Shadow, who told him that killing his idol would go against everything he once stood for. Wind Dragon realized his mistake and stood down. Afterward, he and the rest of the Ultimen (except Long Shadow who stayed with the League) were taken into Cadmus's custody to await their eventual death. An army of Ultimen clones were later created by Cadmus in an attempt to finish off the Justice League once and for all. They were eventually defeated. In particular, three Wind Dragon clones working together faced off against Red Tornado, whose power from a single hand dwarfed the full might of their powers considerably.
- In Young Justice: Invasion, Asami "Sam" Koizumi (voiced by Janice Kawaye) is based on Samurai. She first appears in the episode "Beneath", where she is seen as one of the captive teens being sold to the Reach by Queen Bee. In "Before the Dawn", she and several of the other survivors are rescued by the Team and subsequently turned over to S.T.A.R. Labs in "Cornered". In "Runaways", Asami developed the ability to focus her chi (which covers her in a glowing aura) which she can use project it outward to break through solid rock, to leap at a superhuman level, and to soften landings leaving a trail of concentric circles. Sam and the other children escape from the STAR facility after growing angry over the constant tests being done on them by the staff. This episode also reveals that she can only speak Japanese, making it difficult for her and others to communicate except for those who understand Japanese. She and the other runaways are stopped by Blue Beetle (who reveals himself to be Tye Longshadow's friend Jaime) convincing them to listen to him. Asami and the other runaways return to S.T.A.R labs to help Blue Beetle battle Red Volcano (who's after the disassembled Amazo) saving the scientists and staff. When Blue Beetle ignores the potential harm he is causing during the battle and tries to forcibly take them with him, Asami and the others escape. The group return to the bus station they had destroyed in their earlier escape (alluding to Static's hideout) and are met by Lex Luthor (who can understand Japanese when he addresses Asami) who recruits them to become the Light's own team of enforcers. In "The Hunt", Asami and the others destroy everything in sight relating to the Reach. She joins his friends in the attempt to rescue the Team (whom have been captured and imprisoned in Warworld which is now under Reach Control) and battles both the ship's enforcers and Black Beetle. After everyone is rescued thanks to the intervention of Arsenal, Nightwing offers the runaways a place on the team and plans to kick off Arsenal for his recklessness despite his saving the abductees, but the latter refuse and leave. After Arsenal convinces them that Lex Luthor is no good, Asami is the one who destroys the Father Box and the laptop that Lex Luthor has been speaking to them on. Then she and the others depart on their own with Arsenal. In "Endgame", she teams up with Black Canary to destroy one of the Reach's magnetic field disruptors. Later, she's offered to join the team, but refuses. At the end of the series, it's revealed that Asami moved in with Tye and his family and is now dating Tye.
- Samurai makes a cameo in the television film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon along with other Super Friends and Hanna-Barbera characters.
- Samurai was included in Wave 18 of Mattel's DC Universe Classics along with several other Super Friends-themed figures.