Sometimes, you can’t wrap your brain around any more intellectual analysis or esoterica, and instead find yourself considering simpler questions.  Who’s stronger?  Could Cable defeat Qui-Gon Jinn?  Would Godzilla overpower Jet Icarus?  Is Captain Kirk a better brawler than Nick Fury?  And who would win if Lana Kane battled Shego?  (Answer: The reading public.)  Thanks to recent viewings, I got to wondering what might happen if Ben Kenobi, Connor MacLeod and Zorro were locked in a room together with only the victor guaranteed a way out?

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) does not think that word means what you think it means, asking: Who is the most skilled swordsman in all the worlds of fiction?

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  1. RAM_evilspaceknight
    April 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm — Reply

    Taran from the black cauldron – all kinds of awesome.

  2. Arbor Day
    April 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    I don’t think you’d use a lightsabre like a real sword, on the basis of it being able to cut in any direction, so the type of weapon matters. I don’t think Kenobi could use a regular sword any more than regular swordsmen could use a lightsabre, the fighting style would be too different.

    And then if you just went by swordplay alone, disregarding any secondary skills or powers, like Highlander’s immortality, or Leonardo’s kung-fu.

    I guess either Beatrix Kiddo or Sephiroth.

  3. Allen
    April 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm — Reply

    I’m voting for John Carter – Warlord of Mars!

    • April 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm — Reply

      Right, the greatest swordsman of TWO worlds!

      • Allen
        April 21, 2013 at 10:23 am — Reply


        • April 24, 2013 at 3:38 am — Reply

          Make that three! He went to Jupiter in his final novelette. But you’re right … no one can weave a glittering web of steel like John Carter.

  4. April 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm — Reply

    Zatoichi – a blind guy kicking all kinds of butt two years before Daredevil.

    • gary
      April 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm — Reply


      • AED
        April 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm — Reply

        Aye to that!

  5. April 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm — Reply

    I have to go with Ogami Itto, the former shogunate executioner. Too many feats of skill to list here.

  6. Ricco
    April 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm — Reply

    A LIghtsaber is pretty useless as a sword, low weight, no guard (which is pretty vital, specially since on the movies they use them as medieval swords), uses a “dead man’s switch” (ever notice how they go off line when not in the Jedi’s/Sith hand?) meaning you need to keep pushing a button at all times which screws up the way you hold the weapon pretty badly…

    On to the actual question, Cyrano De Bergerac.

    The man fights a hundred men in a single night and comes home with a few scratches, also he has some of the most beautiful/bad-ass quotes in recorded history.

    « Que dites-vous ?… C’est inutile ?… Je le sais ! Mais on ne se bat pas dans l’espoir d’un succès ! Non ! non, c’est bien plus beau lorsque c’est inutile ! »

    “useless you say? I know it! But one does not fight in hopes of victory! Oh no, it is far more beautiful when it is pointless!” (not the actual translation you’ll find in books, but it conveys the message far better)

  7. April 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm — Reply

    I’m going to go with Methos from “Highlander: The Series”. He is the oldest of the Immortals (roughly 5000 years old), so he obviously has to have the skill to keep his head.

    • Shush
      April 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm — Reply

      Methos is my favorite Highlander character, by far, but sadly was not the best swordsman on the show. It was even stated canonically that he wasn’t the best. He’s good, certainly; he has to be, but he got to be as old as he is by being crafty, and perfectly willing to run away to live another day as well as being good with a sword.

      For Highlander, it’d be hard to say who was the best swordsman on the show as Duncan, who by all accounts was very good, still had a few wins over a couple of opponents that were ostensibly better than him.

      Of course, if you count in sneakiness and underhanded tricks as part of ‘skill’, then certainly Methos was the best!

      • April 21, 2013 at 8:28 am — Reply

        I do figure sneakiness has to count for something. There are sword moves that are solely to misdirect and make your opponent think you are going to do one thing when you actually aren’t, so I really can’t be picky and say “Well, he used trickery” when just about every swordsman does to some degree.

  8. B.V.K.
    April 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm — Reply

    Mad Martigan of course. He is the greatest swordsman who ever lived.

  9. Shawn
    April 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm — Reply

    I’m voting for Roanoa Zoro from One Piece. Santōryū, three sword style! Two in the hands, one in the mouth! Swords, that is. I regret that sentence already. Still, dude cuts -trains-, homoerotic phrasing aside. For know, at least.

  10. Oldcomicfan
    April 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm — Reply

    Any samurai played by Toshiro Mifune. Nobody could match his sword work.

  11. Dan
    April 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm — Reply

    Robin Hood, as played by Errol Flynn.

  12. April 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm — Reply

    I have to second ogami itto. Especially if the battle takes place near any body of water, that underwater sword attack is the slickest in Kung fu cinema. Not to mention the fact that he defeats ninjas, shoguns and the most brutal and deadly lady Kung fu masters I’ve ever seen all while watching over his son. i on the other hand find it difficult to shave while watching my 2 year old daughter. On a side note, you guys discuss a lot of Kung fu flicks but most are Bruce lee types or more modern movies. Do you guys enjoy the older films like shaw brothers period pieces?some of my favorited are kid with the golden arms and crippled avengers.

  13. SpiderLover
    April 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm — Reply

    Jack from Samurai Jack. The main was the best in the times of Yore and the times of the future.

  14. Shush
    April 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm — Reply

    Yang, from the movie ‘Warrior’s Way.’

    In the opening scenes, there is a caption under Yang’s Opponent. It says: ‘The Greatest Swordsman in History.’

    After Yang defeats that guy, easily, he too gets a descriptive caption which lets you know that he is ‘The Greatest Swordsman in History. Ever.’

    The movie wasn’t a spectacular hit, but I have to give him the title for the gumption of his caption alone. Otherwise I, too, would vote for Samurai Jack, as I like him better.

  15. comicfan1974
    April 21, 2013 at 12:07 am — Reply

    A captain in Cleopatra’s bodyguard (at least according to the Doctor)

  16. April 21, 2013 at 12:19 am — Reply

    How about Miyamoto Mushashi?

  17. April 21, 2013 at 12:27 am — Reply

    Totally missed the fictional part….
    Perhaps Driz’zt?

  18. allenbt1
    April 21, 2013 at 8:03 am — Reply

    Westley, of Princess Bride.

    • AllenBT
      April 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm — Reply

      OK, now I feel dumb. I looked at this QOTD on my cell phone and the mobile version of MS doesn’t show the screen shot headers. So I threw out my suggestion. So I come to look at the full version and what screen shot did Mathew choose … Grrrrr….

  19. April 21, 2013 at 11:41 am — Reply

    Darth Maul gets my vote, even though he dies, he held off two trained Jedi for a long time, and killed the more skilled of the two.

    • April 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm — Reply

      If you follow Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he didn’t die on Naboo, but survived and went mad. Years later he got taken to Dathomir and got new cybernetic legs and even took over Mandalore for a little bit.

      It was actually kinda cool, if a bit gimmicky.

      • Ricco
        April 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm — Reply

        He lost his dual light saber, he’s still dead to me…

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.