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) — 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 (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.
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 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. 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.
- 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)
- OAFE - DC Universe Classics 18: Samurai review