Tatsu Yamashiro (Katana)

Tatsu YamishiroAlso Arrow came back to our screens this week, and we have a couple of brand new characters to speak about. Ladies first, so we’ll start from the woman who Oliver Queen sees when he wakes up in Hong Kong during the flashbacks. Despite Oliver believing her to be Chinese, pretty understandable since he’s in Hong Kong, she tells him she’s Japanese. Since Queen is now forced to live in her house, she’ll surely have an important role in the following episodes. Portrayed by Rila Fukushima, this one is the first live action appearance of Tatsu Yamashiro, a character that comicbook readers should know pretty well, since she’s a DC superheroine since 1980s. Let’s see together who this young woman is in the comics.

Born in an unspecified village in Japan, Tatsu Yamashiro started studying martial arts since a very young age, encouraged by her parents and trained by the finest masters in the country. Smart, beautiful and graceful, as a young woman Tatsu attracted the attention of many young men of her age, especially the one of two brothers, Maseo and Takeo, who both claimed to love her. Takeo was stronger and more self-confident, but Tatsu could see a dark shadow in his soul (the young man would have entered Yakuza soon after), and she chose Maseo over him. Sure to be the best among the two brothers, Takeo reacted badly to the woman’s decision, and not only he decided not to attend to his brother’s wedding, but he also put his entire family against the two newly-weds. This was a hard period for Tatsu, as both her parents died for unknown reasons, and her new family life wasn’t exactly what she was expecting; she however deeply loved Maseo, and he loved her: there was nothing else she really needed. The katanacomics1couple managed to be happy despite Takeo’s jealous schemes, and when Tatsu found out she was expecting, they knew pure joy: Tatsu delivered a couple of twins, Reiko and Yuki, and the life of Tatsu and her family was perfect for some years. Unfortunately, Takeo came back with plans of vengeance still in mind: now a high-ranking officer of Yakuza, he arrived at his brother’s house by night, and challenged him to a duel for Tatsu. During the fight Takeo, who was wielding a pair of ancient katanas, accidentally set up a fire, and when Maseo tried to save his children, he killed his own brother: Tatsu woke up just in time to see her husband die. Furious, she attacked Takeo and disarmed him, forcing him to flee. When she tried to come back to the burning house to save Reiko and Yuki, a very familiar voice spoke to her from the sword Takeo had left behind: it was Maseo, who told her it was too late already to save their children, prompting her to escape with her own life.

Heartbroken, Tatsu obeyed to the voice from the sword, and took it with her: after some researches, she found out the katana was a long-lost mystical sword, the Soultaker, an indestructible blade with the power of trapping the souls of the ones it slayed in a dimension accessible only through it. With her husband still near her, sort of, Tatsu started traveling, looking for a master who could complete her training: she met an old samurai named Tadashi, who perfected her knowledge of martial arts and taught her the way of the sword. With her still impressive abilities and her new sword, Tatsu decided she would have fought for justice, in order to prevent anybody else to suffer the same way she had…but first, she had to track Takeo and to exact revenge from him. Since times had changed from the era of the lonely swordsmen, she decided to create a masked identity for herself, katanacomics2and she became Katana, a heroine taking the name from the weapon she wielded, the only thing that could remind her of everything she had lost. Hunting down some Yakuzas, she found the man who had sold Takeo the sword, General Karnz, and she followed him in a small Baltic country, Markovia. Katana engaged him in combat and succesfully killed him…but she found herself in an adventure she hadn’t ask for: she met another young gifted girl, Halo, and together they rescued a captive Batman and offered to help him in retrieving his friend Lucius Fox, abducted by the dictator of Markovia, Baron Bedlam. Not a member of the Justice League anymore, Batman accepted the girls’ offer, and gathered some other young superheroes, Black Lightning, Metamorpho and Geo-Force (who was the rightful ruler of the country): together, they formed the Outsiders, a brand new super-team who managed to defeat Baron Bedlam, to free Fox and to re-establish Geo-Force on the throne. Feeling responsible for young Halo’s life, Katana agreed to follow the team to Gotham City, with the only condition of being free of continuing her hunt for Takeo. Now, Katana had a new family to take care of.

Tatsu Yamashiro is a strong young woman forged by tragedy, a once sweet wife and mother turned determined avenger. Moved by a strong sense of justice and honor, Tatsu feels she’s committed to prevent anyone to suffer the same loss and pain she had to, and fights for the ones who cannot protect themselves. As Katana, she’s an extremely proficient martial artist, with a natural talent sharpened by a hard training; thanks to Tadashi’s training, she’s also a skilled swordswoman, able to adapt to any kind of battle. The sword she wields is the Soultaker, a mystic weapon that captures the souls of the ones it kills and stores them, allowing a limited communication between the wielder and the dead people inside it; since the blade is indestructible, she also uses it as a shield, even against bullets. Focused and resolute, Katana will stop in front of nothing to bring justice…and to obtain her revenge.

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5 Comments

  1. […] brother, Takeo, who he shared everything with. When they were still very young, they met a girl, Tatsu, who became their best friend. Growing up, however, Tatsu became a beautiful and attracting young […]

  2. […] of Bedlam) and Metamorpho (wanting to ask for Jace’s help with his powers) and new heroes Katana (who sought vengeance against General Karnz, Bedlam’s second) and Halo, an amnesiac girl […]

  3. […] spoken on Earth, reached them and acted as an interpreter (a role later taken by the Japanese-born Katana). Following Monitor’s instructions, Doctor Light led the heroes to the anti-matter universe […]

  4. […] to accept the offer, and joined Black Canary, the superheroine Batgirl, the haunted samurai Katana and the vengeful Huntress in their crusade to keep Gotham’s streets clean. This, of course, […]

  5. […] limit. When the Outsiders came to try and stop him again, he was simply invincible…until Katana managed to lock him in his magic sword, the Soultaker. Such a simple tool couldn’t hold him […]


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