Warning! Contains spoilers for The Elusive Samurai Chapter 100!In many Shonen Jump series, the protagonist receives cool powerups to make them stronger, but The Elusive Samurai just proved that a hero can be cooler by not getting an upgrade. The Elusive Samurai by Yusei Matsui is a Shonen retelling of the Kenmu Restoration of Japan’s history, following the story of young lord Hojo Tokiyuki. Despite being based on real characters and events this hasn’t stopped the series from using classic Shonen tropes, but often it will put a spin on these clichés to better fit its narrative.
In chapter #100, the legendary swordsmith Masamune makes special weapons for Tokiyuki’s retainers which will upgrade their fighting abilities. This isn’t the first time The Elusive Samurai has shown off unique weapons. However, when Tokiyuki asks for a new weapon, Masamune refuses saying that Tokiyuki is a monster who hasn’t realized his full potential yet. He continues on to say that Tokiyuki’s fate is too great for one of his weapons to handle and as the boy leaves he hopes that the young lord will live long enough for Masamune to improve enough to produce a blade to match it. This is a great subversion of the typical Shonen trope that actually makes Tokiyuki look even cooler than if he had received a new weapon.
Tokiyuki’s Future Potential Is More Exciting Than an Upgrade
In many ways, this twist makes sense as Tokiyuki has never fought his battles in a typical manner. He is a master of escape who often doesn’t fight directly, instead dodging enemy attacks and inspiring his troops and retainers. Thus, he doesn’t really need a weapon, although he has used them in the past, even killing one of The Elusive Samurai‘s biggest villains, Shokan, in a sword fight. Most of the major fights in the series focus on his retainers or generals, who all have a more straightforward fighting technique. However, while Tokiyuki doesn’t receive a weapon here, Masamune’s ominous prediction implies that he will need one later in the series.
Tokiyuki has been leading a rebellion against the current shogunate that has been pretty successful thus far, but now major enemy fighters are starting to take notice and get involved. He has even attracted the disturbing attention of the main antagonist Ashikaga Takauji, who is an incredibly powerful fighter. Against these enemies, merely escaping and inspiring troops may not be enough and Tokiyuki will likely have to enter the battle himself instead of just copying Naruto and using Talk no Jutsu. This would be a perfect point for him to unlock his full potential and receive an awesome upgrade that may enable him to win.
The Elusive Samurai Uses Its History To Foretell Tokiyuki’s Potential
If The Elusive Samurai stays true to history, then Tokiyuki will eventually be executed by the Ashikaga forces. This may be the fate that Masamune foretells, but Tokiyuki’s monstrous potential for fleeing may even allow him to escape historical accuracy. No matter what Tokiyuki’s potential actually means, it was only revealed by his lack of a new weapon, which shows that sometimes Shonen Jump heroes can actually be more interesting when they don’t receive upgrades.
The Elusive Samurai Chapter 100 is available to read from Viz Media.