DC Animated Universe

"Day of the Samurai" is the fifty-fifth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on February 23, 1993. It depicts the return of Kyodai Ken.


Kairi Tanaga and Kyodai Ken fight

The two top students, Kairi Tanaga and Kyodai Ken fight one another.

In Japan, at the dojo of Yoru Sensei, his star pupil, a young woman named Kairi, is practicing late at night. She is suddenly interrupted by a ninja, who knocks her unconscious and carries her away, leaving behind a ransom demand for Yoru.

Yoru telephones Bruce Wayne in Gotham City, saying he needs his help. After he and Alfred arrive in Japan, Bruce goes to meet Yoru, wondering innocently how he can be of service. Yoru says that hopes he can pass along his request to Batman, whom Bruce "must know".

Bruce explains to Alfred the particular nature of Kyodai's ransom demand: Yoru is the last living descendant of an ancient master who developed the fighting art, Kiba no Hoko ("The Way of the Fang"). It proved so dangerous that the master never taught it to anyone and hid the only copy of the art's manual in a secret place known only to his family, who have kept it secret for five hundred years. Since Yoru has no sons, when he dies, he takes the secret with him. Kyodai wants the scroll, believing the knowledge will enable him to defeat Batman and Bruce Wayne, now knowing they are the same person, having fought both of them.

The next morning, Yoru receives instructions from Kyodai. He is to receive a map of the scroll's location in exchange for Kairi. Bruce suggests giving Kyodai a false map, but Yoru says doing so would violate the code of Bushido. Bruce respectfully volunteers to deliver the map.

At the ransom drop, Batman brings the map. He tries to rescue Kairi without giving it up, but Kyodai kicks her off the building's roof, forcing Batman to save her while Kyodai grabs the map. Batman then tries to stop Kyodai, but he escapes.

Kyodai Ken finds the ancient scroll

Kyodai finds the ancient scroll containing the Kiba no Hoko technique.

The map guides Kyodai to a cave on the side of a volcano called Mount Kajiiki, where he finds the scroll hidden in an ancient box. The moment he touches it, however, the aged scroll crumbles to fragments in his hands. Initially distraught, he looks closer and pulls out one intact fragment, which he figures is all he needs.

Later, Batman investigates the cave, and returns as Bruce with the fragments to Yoru, who examines them, and finds that the missing piece gives instructions for the o-nemuri attack – a death touch. Unfortunately, Yoru never read the scroll, so he cannot tell Bruce where the fatal point is, meaning it could be anywhere.

For the next phase of his plan, Kyodai kidnaps Alfred and calls Bruce, ordering him to appear for their final match. Bruce traces the call to Kyodai's hideout, finding it empty, and that Kyodai has destroyed the scroll fragment.

They meet on the slope of Mount Kakiiki, Kyodai apparently not knowing that the local authorities have noticed it becoming active and evacuated the surrounding area. Before they duel, Kyodai compliments Batman on his mastery of stealth, saying he would have made a fine ninja. Kyodai then removes his mask and Batman returns the favor.

Kyodai Ken uses the Kiba no Hoko technique on Batman

Kyodai jabs Bruce in the fatal spot.

They spar, Bruce trying to avoid contact, even as the volcano begins to erupt, and lava flows down the side of the mountain. Then Kyodai lunges and jabs his fingers into a spot-on Bruce's chest. Bruce groans and falls, apparently dead.

As Kyodai turns away, however, Bruce rises, saying the ancient technique doesn't work. The fight continues but is interrupted when a lava flow splits the ground between them. Kyodai is left trapped on a little islet of rock. Bruce throws a line on a Batarang to Kyodai, telling him to use it to spring over the gap. Silent, Kyodai kicks the Batarang into the lava, then bows to Bruce with the utmost respect. Another surge of lava hits the rock, throwing up a cloud of smoke between them. When it clears, Kyodai is gone.

Bruce and Alfred make their way to safety. When Alfred asks how he survived the death touch, Bruce pulls a small armor plate from under his costume and explains that he examined the practice dummy in Kyodai's hideout and found a soft spot that Kyodai had jabbed with his fingers many times.

Bruce bids goodbye to Yoru, who asks him to be sure to pass his respects along to Batman. In a moment of self-doubt, Bruce says that Batman is as much a ninja as Kyodai, but Yoru tells him that because Batman showed mercy to his enemy and resisted the temptation to use the knowledge of the death touch, he is a true samurai. Bruce thanks his old teacher and departs.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • Bruce Timm directed this episode as a result of the network not wanting to pay for an extra director, leading to the two splitting seven episodes that weren't previously assigned to anyone, and adding them to their normal workloads.[1]
  • Bruce Timm was reluctant to stage the final act as called for in the script. "I really have a thing about showing Batman in costume with his mask pulled down," he said. "I've always hated that in the comics. I don't mind knowing it's Bruce Wayne as Batman. But to see him half-and-half like that just makes him a guy in a suit. With the mask on he has this mythic quality. Michael Reaves figured out a way that he absolutely had to have his mask pulled down during the final fight. It just bugged me that I was the guy who had to direct that [episode]! Not only that, I had to board that sequence."[2]
  • La Piz Azul went broke during production of this episode. Bruce Timm noted, "you can see the scene where it happens. They're in the volcano and bang: 'Oh my god, they ran out of money! This is garbage.' I couldn't bear to watch it, my heart was broken." This led to Jade Animation being hired for re-takes.[2]
  • Bruce Timm has noted that Kyodai Ken's death was intricately snuck past the censors. "Michael Reaves and I were very careful about setting it up from the script to the boards. We had to give him a getaway, just to get it past BS&P. There's a rock behind him, he could have jumped to. But he's not going to run away. He's committing seppuku."[2]
  • Shirley Walker has stated she assigned this episode's music to Carlos Rodriguez specifically due to his passion for research.[3]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • When Bruce is tracing Kyodai's phone number, the number reads as an American number (555-0311), though the episode takes place in Japan and should read as a Japanese number (03-9999-9999).
  • Bruce's mouth doesn't move when he says, "It was not good news".
  • When Yoru and Bruce are talking outside about enlisting Batman's help, Bruce is just wearing a suit. Then, after he says, "We've met," the next shot shows him wearing a raincoat.
  • When Bruce is first seen meditating, a small dragon sculpture is seen giving off smoke for him to breathe. However, as soon as Alfred enters the room, the sculpture disappears completely.
  • Kairi's shirt changes color when Bruce tells her, "Batman does as he will".
  • During the final fight, when Kyodai says, "It ends now", his mouth doesn't move.


  • Last appearance of Kyodai Ken, who was killed in the explosion.
  • Goh Misawa replaces Chao-Li Chi as the voice of Yoru Sensei.
  • After the phone number trace, the machine displays "563 TEZUKA", a reference to Osamu Tezuka, the "Godfather of Anime". His name was also seen in "Moon of the Wolf".


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Robert Ito The Ninja
Julia Kato Kairi
Goh Misawa Sensei Yoru


Kairi: (in wonder) Komori no kami.
(English, "Spirit of the Bat")

(Kyodai has learned where the fatal point is)
Kyodai: (in Japanese) Ah, who would guess it was there...

Kyodai: Once again, you approach unseen, dark one. You would have made a good ninja.
Batman: I would prefer to be a samurai.
Kyodai: But you are like me, a warrior of the night.

Bruce: This was a poor choice for a battleground, Kyodai. The volcano may claim us all.
Kyodai: It does not matter. Ninja do not fear death!

Kyodai: Sayonara, Batman.

Yoru: If you see Batman, tell him I have great respect for him.
Bruce: Why? He's as much a ninja as Kyodai was.
Yoru: Not so. Batman offered to help his adversary, and a lesser man would have used the knowledge of the o-nemuri touch against his opponent. Batman is the essence of samurai, Wayne san. You would do well to remember that.


  1. "Knight Vision: That Master of Dark Deco, Eric Radomski, Looks Behind the Mask of the Animated Batman" by Bob Miller - Comics Scene #43 (June 1993)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Episode Guide" - Cinefantastique Vol. 24 #6/Vol. 25 #1 (February 1994)
  3. "Composing Music for Animation" by Bob Garcia - Cinefantastique Vol. 24 #6/Vol. 25 #1 (February 1994))