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Samurai X

Season 1 Episode 4


Aired Saturday 10:30 PM Mar 20, 2003 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
45 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

While at the Akabeko, the group oversees a brawl between a man named Sanosuke and a couple of drunk guys. Aftwewards, he challenges Kenshin to a fight. However, he declines. Later, it is revealed that Sanosuke is the fighter-for-hire Zanza, and that he has been hired by Gohei to kill Kenshinmoreless

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  • Great episode, on which my second favourite character, Sanosuke first appeared

    This is the episode, on which, Sanosuke first appeared. Well at first there wasn't anything happening, but later, when they went to a pub, where some crazy drunk guys where chatting out loud and one unpurposely threw a cup of tea at Kenshin, and after that he pushed a waitress. Then Sanosuke came in and catched the waitress, later on he kicked those guys butt and wanted a match with Kenshin, although didn't knew he was the Battousai yet. Later the imposter from the first episode told him that the red haired guy was Battousai and he went to Kenshin to fight him, but the girls came in when they were about to fight and that was the problem, so they couldn't fight. Anyway this is a great episode and a must see to all the fans of this anime.moreless
  • Sword dude appears..

    Ok well the guy with the really big sword just appeared... woot. Anyway, he's really cool but definetly not as cool as Kenshin is. Kenshin could totally pawn him. Another thing is I don't understand why Kenshin always acts weak around Kaoru (ooh he totally likes her) but anyway yeah why didn't he just catch the cup but I guess it was to protect her (ooh). Yakiho wasn't that much of a brat in this episode, I hope he stays that way. Can't wait until later, and for sure it will be Kenshin and the guy who has to really huge sword fighting until the end! Muahaha.moreless
  • Sanosuke Sagara finally makes his appearance in the Himura saga. It becomes clear later on in the series for why he wears the symbol for Bad and why he hates the imperialists so much.moreless

    The true reasons for taking up the name Zanza is unknown in this episode. Sanosuke is truly a mysterious man because the name Sagara does not belong to him, rather to another. Though his true name is never revealed he does go through changes. This is also the second appearance of Gohei Hiruma, the false Battousai from the pilot episode. Gohei hires Zanza to fight Himura in order to seek revenge for Himura incapacitating his remaining thumb. Can Himura still hold on to his vow to never kill again while facing an opponent who hates the imperialists so much?moreless
  • A fiery-tempered young man impresses Kenshin and Yahiko with his brute strength... and later comes to Kenshin seeking a fight... (NOTE: this review was originally written after watching the subtitled version, with the Japanese voice actors)moreless

    Episode 4: Bad! Introducing Sanosuke


    EPISODE SUMMARY: The episode opens with a group of guys surrendering to a tall, slim male figure who carries a weapon casually over his shoulder a la Bankotsu of Inuyasha (man, if that thing is anything like Banryuu... =D).

    The man scoffs that they weren't worth his time, and weren't any fun. We get a pretty good look at him. He has spiky brown hair, wears white clothing and has a headband around his forehead. He seems to be a very strong, cocky and capable person. Then he mutters "Isn't there anyone strong around here?"

    After the title card, we see Kenshin and his posse. Kaoru is juggling potatoes, to Kenshin and Gensai-sensei's amusement. Yahiko drolly tries to pay her a compliment, but in calling her "ugly" yet again, he earns a solid forehead-beaning by the potatoes. They bicker back and forth like siblings and Yahiko waggles his tongue at her, causing her to give chase. Kenshin decides it's time he goes and prepares lunch, which distracts Yahiko and Kaoru. Kaoru asks what's the chow, and Kenshin goes over a rather drab sounding list. Yahiko whines that the food is boring and can't they go out more often. Kaoru calls him a freeloader. Then she brings up something that I imagine others have been wondering up to this point: where DOES their money come from? (After all, Kenshin is a wanderer, not a mercenary; and Kaoru doesn't have any paying students anymore.) Yahiko's reply is so brilliant it bears repeating: "You would only get dust from this poor school if you were to shake it out."

    This gives Kaoru an idea. She shoves Yahiko out of the way and runs to another building. While the others look on, she rummages around in what sounds like a helluva brawl. At last we see a cloud of either dust or smoke (I'm guessing dust, based on what Yahiko said just moments earlier XD) come wafting out of the building... and Kenshin stares in complete dumbfoundedness and says his trademark "Oro?" (Man, his expression is priceless, a sorta "What-in-the-seven-hells-is-going-on-in-there-no-wait-I-don't-want-to-know!"

    Then Kaoru appears out of the dust and lets out the single creepiest, funniest wicked chuckle I've ever heard from a Japanese voice actress playing a protagonist... it is so incredibly priceless...

    And Yahiko nails it with "D..did you hit your head or something?" XD He's hilarious in this episode. Kenshin can be a sweetheart and a badass by turns, but Yahiko has the clowning-around down solid. ANYWAY, I digress....

    Kaoru says she remembers a painting her grandfather painted.... Kenshin calls it a doodle and she yells that it's an ink painting. Gensai-sensei muses that he thinks Kaoru painted that when she was younger, but Kaoru ignores him and says her grandfather was a renown painter, and that if they sell this painting, they can get some quick cash. Then she decides they should all go to the beef hot-pot place. (Kenshin looks a little apprehensive about that).

    So they go to town and go to the beef hot-pot place (I guess she was able to sell the painting?) where Kaoru plays Big Sister to Yahiko again, while Gensai-sensei, Kenshin and the girls look on in amusement. They are interrupted by a group of inebriated democracy flunkies across the aisle way, who are arguing heatedly about democracy. Gensai-sensei and Kenshin take turns explaining to Yahiko what the drunkards are talking about Yahiko nails it on the head once again (three times in five minutes! the kid is on a roll!) by saying "To me they're nothing but a bunch of drunks."

    Kenshin chuckles and agrees, but gets a bad feeling as he reaches for some of the hot-pot food. He freezes into place, and Kaoru and Yahiko pick up on his vibes, wondering.

    Then we see a sake bowl go flying (with a comic "Fwing!" sound effect!) and in nearly-slow motion we see it strike Kenshin in the back of the head, just at the base of the skull (just above his pony-tail, ironically). He gets this hilarious look on his face (it's less of a "OMG it hurts!" and more of an "OMFG I am so teh SKROOD!" which makes it even funnier) and emits the most amusing screech. He appears to faint away at the blow (warbling "Oro!" as he does so), but I imagine he's actually hamming it up. ;) It's cute listening to the girls call him "Ken-nii" (Big-Brother Ken).

    The camera angle changes and we see that a seat or two down from the drunken brawlers is the man who was terrorizing the hapless idiots at the beginning of the episode. He has just witnessed the drunken brawlers throwing the sake bowl at someone for no good reason. Ironically, the drunkards just keep arguing as if nothing happened.

    Yahiko gets his noble hero-pants in a knot again and yells at the bastards to apologize for what they did to Kenshin. They tell him kids should not talk smack to democracy desperadoes. He retorts that he doesn't give a damn about age. They demand to know who he's calling a drunk, and he lands a FOURTH nail-on-the-head comment (he's on a roll!) when he yells "When you get sloshed, you're a drunk!"

    A waitress tries to intervene, asking them not to cause a scene in the store. The drunkard tells her to shut up and stay out, and backhands her across the face. The waitress -- Tae-san -- falls backwards, to be caught by a strong arm.

    It's the mysterious fighter we saw at the beginning of the episode and saw again just now. He appears to be a good guy, giving the drunkards a thorough lambasting. (When the camera frames him, I swear he looks like a character from Yu-Gi-Oh!...) He makes sure that Tae-san is okay, before turning back to the idiots and sizing them up. He announces that he hates abusing the weak, and hates watching others do so (hehe, is he saying Kenshin looks weak?) And he ends it with a zinger by calling the drunkards hypocrites, which brings them to pick a fight with him outside.

    So, outside we go... Kaoru marvels at the sudden turn of events; Kenshin wonders if they should try to stop the fight; Yahiko says to let it be, they're the ones who want it (doood! From the mouths of babes! WTF? When did he become so damned wise? He's just a little punk kiddie! XD j/k he's got street smarts. Incidentally, this is Yahiko Zinger #5 for the ep. He's really sparkling!)

    So one of the guys charges the newcomer, who asks them to give him all they've got. The charging guy unleashes a hidden dagger. Kaoru is outraged at the hidden dagger, but one of the other thugs says that that's what you do with a dagger -- you hide it until you're ready to use it. Kenshin says that that's true, but that in this case it didn't do any good. We see the thug standing with his arm extended and the as-yet-unnamed (though we can guess he's Sanosuke, based on the episode title ;)) warrior is still standing with his hands in his pockets, his face entirely blase.

    The thug's fingers begin to bend back out of shape and then so does his arm (this still doesn't make any sense to me...) and the white-clad warrior grumbles that the thug is too weak. He says that if he were to give his best, he'd be abusing the weak, so he offers to fight with just one finger..... and he FLICKS the thug in the forehead! FLICKS! XD Now, granted, getting flicked like that ain't exactly a lover's caress, but holy shit! He KNOCKS the thug back as if he'd just thrown him an uppercut.

    Kaoru and Yahiko stare in amazement, but apparently Kenshin is faster on the uptake, because one of the other thugs starts to draw a sword... but Kenshin stops him by ramming the pommel of Sakabatou against the middle of the man's back and speaking harshly to him. His words also bear repeating: "I was patient with your drunken uproar, but if you're going to pull that out here, I won't show any mercy. Democracy is fine in itself, but for people like you, improving oneself comes before improving the government. Now pay your bill and go." (Dooood.... the extreme closeup of Kenshin's eye during that last line is.... creepygood.)

    So the thugs leave without further incident. The white-clad warrior makes small talk, and inquires after Kenshin's head-bop. Kenshin says it's nothing. The warrior commends him for his honor and credibility -- saying that had he dodged the bowl, Kaoru's face would be a mess of blood, and that Kenshin purposefully froze and used his own head as a shield. Kenshin grins sheepishly and says that he thinks too highly of him. The other tells Kenshin that he belittles himself. He then says "I like you." as he holds up his fist as if to deck the hell out of Kenshin. Kenshin holds up his hands in a pacifying gesture. The warrior asks him to accept a challenge, and Kenshind declines. The warrior tells them where to find him if Kenshin ever changes his mind, and away he walks. They notice that on his back is a single kanji/hirogana (I don't know which it is XD) word: "Wicked" (actually, it's "Aku" which fundamentally means "Evil" but they amount to the same thing)

    Then Tae-san realizes something.... that man left without paying! Kaoru and Yahiko do classic prat-falls and Kenshin's voice hits a very peculiar note. It's a cute scene ^_^

    Then we see what looks like an itinerant monk (he resembles Ungai-sama from Inuyasha episode 162! XD My favorite episode.... Sesshoumaru versus the monks and their office sticky-notes...er...ofuda........and again I digress! Bad SBL! Bad!) muttering about the fighter-for-hire Zanza, and how if he uses that fighter, he'll be rid of "that annoying guy."

    Later we see Zanza the Fighter-For-Hire (uh, mercenary, anyone?) being commissioned to whack someone by the itinerant monk, whom we soon enough see is in fact Hiruma Gohei (the fake Battousai from episode one). Gohei wants Zanza to knock off none other than the Hitokiri Battousai, Himura Kenshin.

    Gohei asks him if he thinks it's time he raised his name by knocking off the Battousai, but Zanza speaks rather to the effect of "The heck with that, I just want someone I can play with" and he picks up his weapon. (For what it's worth, he calls it his partner, which is the same nickname that Bankotsu in Inuyasha calls his mighty halbeard Banryuu, which is what this weapon kinda resembles... ooooh XD)

    So Zanza walks down the street to fighting music. We see Gohei recalling his fight with Kenshin and how much he hates Kenshin.

    We then see Ayame-chan and Suzume-chan (this is, I believe, the first time they are actually named in the show) asleep on their grandfather's lap.

    Gensai-sensei is dozing as well when he hears a gong (meaning midnight maybe?)

    Yahiko offers to walk them home, but Kenshin gets a bad vibe and stands up abruptly, indicating they have a visitor, who isn't bothering to conceal himself...

    Outside, they see him: Zanza. They exchange "pleasantries" in which Kenshin reminds Zanza that he declined the challenge, but Zanza says he can't accept that because he's under contract. Besides, Zanza adds, he's facing an Imperialist opponent, and the Hitokiri Battousai at that. Kaoru asks where he learned that (though I don't think Kenshin has ever denied it; he just doesn't go around proclaiming it wherever he goes.... like he said in episode one, he didn't really want to tell Kaoru about it if it wasn't necessary)

    Zanza starts to recite what he knows about Hitokiri Battousai, mentioning the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu. Then he says that there are things about Kenshin he wants to know, like what exactly the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu is, and why a brutal manslayer became a harmless wanderer who refuses to kill. Then he offers a challenge with "no strings attached" and he smirks. Kenshin has an immediate Very Bad Feeling.

    Kenshin stalls for time, trying to feel out about Zanza, as to why he wears the character "Wicked" on his back, and why he works as a mercenary.

    Zanza then decides to get serious. He proclaims to want to destroy the strongest of the Imperialists (that is, Hitokiri Battousai)

    Belatedly, he introduces himself as Sagara Sanosuke (gee, was there any doubt?) and that he is known as Zanza the Mercenary (fighter-for-hire) in the underground.

    As he introduces himself, Sanosuke rips the covering on his weapon, and the wind carries it away in pieces... Kaoru identifies the big leviathan weapon as a Zanbatou, the largest sword ever made, capable of bringing down a war-leader, horse and all, and is said to be unmasterable because of its sheer weight. (*beats head against keyboard* It is SO not like Banryuu! It's ugly!) Sanosuke promptly cocks the blade up over his shoulder and tells Kenshin that he'd better rescind his no-killing belief post-haste if he wants to live. Then he charges Kenshin, who doesn't flinch but leaps effortlessly out of the way.

    Gohei is spying from the fence, and seems a little annoyed.

    Sanosuke then tells Kenshin to draw his sword. Kenshin puts his hand to the scabbard, but hesitates. (He really, REALLY doesn't like using it, even if its very build makes it difficult to kill with it, which is the whole idea of it)

    Kenshin is just reaching for the hilt of the blade when we hear Ayame-chan and Suzume-chan calling for their "Ken-nii." Kenshin looks pretty well worried now, having heard the voices of the two little girls, afraid no doubt that Sanosuke may use them against him.

    Kaoru and Yahiko rush to shepherd the girls away from the scene of the fight. But Sanosuke postpones the fight by saying that a real fight shouldn't be witnessed by women or children.

    Gohei, meanwhile, gets flattened by a falling tree-branch. Serves him right, the twerp XD.

    Sanosuke ignores the noise caused by the falling branch and warns Kenshin that he won't give up on his prey so easily.

    Kenshin asks Sanosuke's retreating back why he hates Imperialists so much. Sanosuke declines to answer.

    Kenshin resigns himself to fighting Sanosuke soon enough, realizing he has little choice. He seems saddened by the realization (since he's trying to escape his violent past, this isn't a surprise).

    The girls run gleefully to their "Ken-nii" Kenshin kneels down and gathers them into his arms and scoops them up, offering to walk them home. But even amongst the outpouring of love from the two little sprites, Kenshin can't forget that retreating symbol that says "Wicked"

    oooohh... cliffhanger? XD Niiice!

    THE GOOD: Sanosuke is very, VERY intriguing. I'm a little spoiled in looking at websites, so I know he joins the Kenshin-gumi, and thus his entrance is rather like Sango's from Inuyasha -- starting out trying to kill the title character, but eventually becoming one of the cherished allies. Except that Sanosuke is under no false pretenses about Kenshin. Unlike Sango, who is tricked into thinking Inuyasha slew her tribe and thus she seeks his death in revenge, Sanosuke is only out for a fair fight against the best of the best. I wasn't the least bit surprised to see Hiruma Gohei back so soon, either. Baaad Kenshin. You really should'a killed him when you had the chance. I know you hate killing.... but honestly.

    THE BAD: Zanbatou is a HUUUUGE disappointment. After seeing the awesomeness of Banryuu, I was expecting this thing to be pretty nice, considering how well animated the show is. But sheesh. What a gargantuan let-down.

    THE UGLY: Zanbatou. See above comments as to why I say that. Grah.

    THE PRETTY: Kenshin's eyes as he stops the second thug from attacking Sanosuke. Woo.... intense.

    THE CUTE: Ayame and Suzuke wander around calling for "Ken-nii" and interrupt the fight. My god but they are cute. And he clearly absolutely adores them, because, immediately upon Sanosuke's departure, he kneels down and gathers the girls into his arms. The man will make a very, very fine father when he settles down (and gee I wonder who he settles down with... ^_^)

    OTHER GOODIES: No wonder Kenshin is a little dismayed whenever someone suggests a beef hot-pot! He always ends up with a head-bump! XD

    BEST MOMENT: Hands down, Kaoru's evil chuckle as she emerges with the painting in hand.moreless
Philece Sampler

Philece Sampler

Misao Makimachi

Wendee Lee

Wendee Lee

Yahiko Myojin

Derek Stephen Prince

Derek Stephen Prince

Beshimi, Gekki, Cho Sawahimojo

Lex Lang

Lex Lang

Sanosuke Sagara

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn

Shura/Soba Waitress (English)

Richard Barnes

Richard Barnes

Yohei Senbonya

Derek Stephen Prince

Derek Stephen Prince

Gohei Hiruma

Guest Star

Kirk Thornton

Kirk Thornton

Hajime Saito

Recurring Role

Wendee Lee

Wendee Lee

Yumi Komagata

Recurring Role

Beau Billingslea

Beau Billingslea

Gohei Hiruma

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions