Honor, Blood and Sacrifice: a Retainer for the Ages

The Samurai, the noble class of the feudal Japan era, much like it’s medieval counterpart of the knight in ancient England, the samurai has stood the test of time in our popular media today. Appearing in countless articles, animated shows, videogames and it has even inspired watch series like the Seiko Samurai. In this article we explore the different iterations of the samurai  and its weapons in popular media of today.

Video Games

Samurais have carved a significant niche in the gaming industry, offering players an immersive experience of the ancient warrior lifestyle.

Ghost of Tsushima (2020)

Sucker Punch Productions’ “Ghost of Tsushima” is a recent standout that captures the essence of samurai culture. Set during the Mongol invasion of Japan, players control Jin Sakai, a samurai who must abandon traditional methods to protect his homeland. Playing both as a samurai and the first steps of being a shinobi (ninja) The game’s detailed depiction of feudal Japan, coupled with its focus on both honor and innovation in combat, has earned it critical acclaim.

Nioh Series (2017, 2020)

Team Ninja’s “Nioh” series blends historical samurai lore with supernatural elements. Players navigate a war-torn Japan filled with mythical creatures, blending skill-based combat with a rich narrative. The games are known for their challenging gameplay and deep immersion into Japanese folklore.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019)

FromSoftware’s “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” places players in the shoes of Wolf, a shinobi with samurai training. The game’s emphasis on precise combat mechanics and the protagonist’s journey for redemption highlights the resilience and honor associated with samurai culture.

TV Shows

Samurais have been featured prominently in television, both in animated and live-action formats, bringing their stories to a global audience.

Shogun (1980) (2024)

“Shogun,” a miniseries based on James Clavell’s novel, introduced Western audiences to the intricacies of samurai culture. The story, set in the early 17th century, follows an English sailor who becomes embroiled in Japanese politics and samurai life. The show’s detailed portrayal of samurai customs and philosophies was groundbreaking for its time.

Samurai Jack (2001-2017)

Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Samurai Jack” is a beloved animated series that follows the titular character, a samurai displaced in time, battling the evil Aku and finding a way back to his life before Aku. The show combines stunning visuals, engaging storytelling, and a deep exploration of the samurai code, making it a classic in animated television.


Anime has been instrumental in popularizing samurai culture, often blending historical accuracy with fantastical elements.

Rurouni Kenshin (1996-1998)

“Rurouni Kenshin” follows the story of Kenshin Himura, a wandering samurai seeking redemption for his past as a deadly assassin. The anime’s exploration of themes such as atonement, peace, and the impact of violence resonated deeply with audiences, making it a staple of the genre.

Afro Samurai (2007)

In collaboration with the legendary Samuel L. Jackson, the story revolves around afro’s quest f being the “number 1” and avenge his fathers death. With some gory visuals and well played voice acting making this show an instant classic

Hell’s Paradise (2023)

One of the dark 3 in anime today, Hell’s paradise is the story of Gabimaru, a shinobi of the stone village and his samurai retainer named Sagiri in their quest to find the elixir of life in the paradise islands. With other criminals and samurai along for the quest, this bloody show proves to be one of the most anticipated Seinen today.


The samurai’s journey from historical figures to pop culture icons reflects their enduring appeal and the universal themes they represent: honor, sacrifice, and the struggle between tradition and change. Whether through the interactive worlds of video games, the serialized narratives of TV shows and anime, or the epic storytelling of films, samurais continue to captivate and inspire audiences around the globe.

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