Samurai (Super Friends)
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Samurai on Super Friends
|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) — This allows Samurai to turn invisible. The phrase translates to "transparent man/human".
- Igo Moen (囲碁もえん) — 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.
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 13th century, 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 from lava monsters. 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.
- A teenage female version of samurai named Asami "Sam" Koizumi appears in Young Justice: Invasion, voiced by Janice Kawaye. After running away and being abducted by agents of the Light, Asami was sedated and flown to Bialya, where Queen Bee gathered strays and runaways for the Partner. She was part of a shipment that arrived after the Team had already departed.Atlantic OceanMarch 24, 03:17 EDT. Asami's pod was kept aboard the Manta-Sub, and readied for transport to the Partner. Pacific Ocean, March 30, 18:28 HAST. For a little under a week, Asami was experimented upon in the Reach base in the western Pacific. They wanted to see if her Meta-Gene could be triggered. When the Team infiltrated the base, Robin, Batgirl and Bumblebee liberated the kids and brought them back to the Bio-Ship. Asami made it safely aboard the ship, but several heroes and one abductee were trapped on the ship, delaying their escape. They eventually managed to get all their people aboard, and set off. Taos April 1,17:23 MDT, the liberated abductees were gathered in STAR Labs for a debriefing. Asami waited until it was her turn. Asami refused to provide any information about her background other than her name and nationality. Taos, May 13, 13:05 MDT, Up until this point, Asami was confined to STAR Labs Taos as a test subject. She maintained a stoic face and her politeness despite rigorous testing, a punishing schedule, and seeming captivity. She joined three of her fellow abductees when they plotted to escape that night. When the alarm was raised by an uncooperative Neut, Asami helped subdue the responding guards. A fortuitous power outage allowed the quartet to make their escape.Taos, May 13, post-20:52 MDT. The four made their way into the bus depot in an attempt to escape. Asami was the first to notice that they had been found by STAR Labs personnel, and warned her fellow abductees. When they didn't understand her—she was communicating in Japanese—she grabbed Eduardo and showed him their pursuers. Tye, who was sleeping at the time, somehow sensed danger. Manifesting a gargantuan astral form around him, he attacked the responding Blue Beetle and scattered the pursuers. Still unconscious, Tye gathered up the abductees in his arms, and escaped. Upon reaching some woodland, the astral form dissipated, and Tye regained consciousness. Despite making good distance, Blue Beetle managed to track them. He revealed to them his true form as Jaime Reyes in order to gain his trust. The four were unwilling to continue as STAR Labs' guinea pigs, but they had nowhere to go. Asami asked him, in Japanese, whether he could help them. The others were started when he replied in Japanese "Yes", as the scarab translated. He proposed that the four seek out Green Beetle, who was close by. After walking some distance, Jaime received a summons from Nightwing when Red Volcano had attacked STAR Labs Taos, and he was the only one who could respond. Reluctantly acquiescing, Blue Beetle told the four to stay put while he responded. They had no intention to stay put however—Eduardo's father was in peril, and they wanted to help. Asami had no idea what was going on, but would stick with the others. When the four arrived at STAR Labs, it was initially quiet. Then they saw Red Volcano subdue Blue Beetle. While Tye stayed outside to help, Virgil, Ed and Asami made their way inside. They made their way to the storage room where Red Volcano threatened to kill Ed's father. Ed teleported himself and his father away, while Asami launched herself—futilely—at the android. Tye, having rescued Beetle, intervened by using his astral form to grab Volcano. Outside STAR Labs, as Beetle unleashed a sonic attack on Red Volcano, Virgil noticed the STAR building was to crumble. He mentioned this fact to Blue Beetle, but was ignored. With no other option left, he directed the others to rescue everybody inside. Asami pulled Dr. Wolcox out of the building. After the four got everyone out, Volcano trapped them in fists of earth and demanded that Blue Beetle stand down. Blue Beetle pressed his assault, forcing Asami and the others to free themselves. After defeating Volcano, Beetle demanded the four come with him to meet Green Beetle, rejecting Tye's protests. When reporters arrived to talk to Beetle, Asami and the others left the scene. Taos, May 14, post-13:05 MDT. They returned to the bus station, with Virgil telling the others that nobody would think to look for them there. They were confronted by Lex Luthor, who told them he was suspicious of the Reach, that he had the resources to protect them and to allow them to control their own destinies. Taos,May 29, 20:08 MDT. Asami and the other runaways vandalized items related to the Reach. They were interrupted by a call from Lex Luthor: he offered them a chance to strike the Reach where it would really hurt. Taos, May 29, 20:36 MDT. At a safehouse, Asami and the runaways received a Father Box, which Luthor, who communicated via a laptop, said they could use to transport themselves into the Warworld to rescue the captured Team members. The others were hesitant, but Virgil convinced them to go, saying they owed the Team for rescuing them and they have the element of surprise. After instructions from Luthor, Asami activated the Father Box. A boom tube suddenly opened directly underneath, transporting the surprised runaways to the Warworld. The Warworld, May 30, post-03:36 UTC. The four fell into the middle of a group of Reach soldiers, who immediately tried to capture them. Asami and the others feigned surrender, and took out the soldiers with a surprise attack. When Reach reinforcements arrived, the Runaways retreated. They were ultimately able to take down their pursuers, and Father Box guided them to where the Team members were being held captive. There,they found the Team members being held in stasis cells, but were confronted by Black Beetle. The runaways attacked him, but their efforts were ineffective. Fortunately, Arsenal arrived and instructed them to keep Black Beetle off balance. As a distraction, Arsenal released Mongul from his stasis cell. Upon awakening, the conqueror attacked the Reach soldier. As the two aliens battled each other, Arsenal and the runaways freed the Team members. They prepared to face a squadron of Reach soldiers that Arsenal had earlier locked out, but when the door was opened, they found that Nightwing, Miss Martian and Sphere had taken down the soldiers. Everyone retreated to the Bio-Ship as Mongul and Black Beetle continued to battle. At the Bio-Ship, Nightwing remarked that the runaways might have a place on the Team, given their success despite little training. However, after Nightwing publicly dismissed Arsenal from the Team for putting other Team members in danger, Asami and the runaways sided with Arsenal, arguing that his orders allowed them to survive. They asked Arsenal to join them, and he accepted. The five travelled back to the Taos safehouse via boom tube. Taos, May 30,00:33 MDT. Upon returning to the safehouse, Arsenal recognized Luthor on the laptop and told the runaways that Luthor was responsible for his missing arm and being kept on ice for many years. Arsenal deduced that Luthor had used the runaways as a distraction to allow the Light to secure the crystal key to the Warworld. After Asami tossed the Father Box onto the laptop and destroyed them both, Virgil declared that the group would not abide by Luthor's promises any longer. Metropolis, June 20, 08:16 EDT. When Magnetic Field Disruptors planted by the Reach threatened the Earth, Asami Koizumi joined 39 other heroes of Earth in a briefing in Metropolis. The heroes would use a computer virus provided by Lex Luthor to safely disable the devices. The heroes were paired off with another into twenty squads: one member would run interference against Beetle-tech Drones guarding the disruptors, allowing the other to get close enough to plant the virus. Asami was assigned to Theta Squad and worked alongside Black Canary. By the time she successfully defused the Reach device, all squads had already succeeded in their mission. The operation took only thirty minutes. After the invasion ended, Asami Koizumi received an invitation to join to the Team. She declined the honor preferring to stay with Tye Longshadow and his family as she and Tye secretly started a relationship.
- 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 makes an appearance in The Lego Batman Movie as one of the dancing partygoers at Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
In Lego Dimensions, Samurai is mentioned by Batman if he and Lloyd Garmadon are both in play.
- In the 1980s, Samurai was released as an action figure as part of the third wave of Kenner's 1980s toyline the Super Powers Collection.
- Samurai was released in a 3 pack along with Black Vulcan and Apache Chief in the Justice League Unlimited action figure line.
- Samurai was included in Wave 18 of Mattel's DC Universe Classics along with several other Super Friends-themed figures.
- Volcano (Season 2, Episode 9), Video Victims (Season 6, Episode 8)
- Samurai Archived 2007-01-01 at the Wayback Machine.
- Justice League of America (Vol. 2) #46 (August, 2010)
- Justice League of America 80-Page Giant #1 (2009)
- Doomsday Clock #6 (July 2018). DC Comics.
- OAFE - DC Universe Classics 18: Samurai review