Monday, February 13, 2012

Samurai

Samurai is a fictional superhero in the Super Friends cartoons created by Hanna-Barbera. 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: 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.

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. He invokes them by speaking a phrase in Japanese:

Kaze no Yō ni Hayaku — The most frequently used of Samurai's powers. All of Samurai's body (except sometimes his head) becomes a powerful tornado of 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 — The second-most frequently used of Samurai's powers and used twice. This allows Samurai to turn invisible. The phrase translates to "transparent man/human".
Igo Moen — Only used once or twice throughout the series, 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".
Higa Moay - 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.

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