From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
- If you were looking for the other character whose Japanese name is Sanpei, see Steveland.
Sanpei (Japanese: サンペイ Sanpei) is a recurring character who appeared in the Pokémon anime. He is a ninja from Ninja Village.
Sanpei first appeared in A Rush of Ninja Wisdom!. As Ash was training with Froakie, their training was criticized by Sanpei, who had concealed himself behind a veil on a tree. Sanpei revealed himself, but quickly disappeared with his "leaf concealment" technique. Startled, Ash and Froakie tried to look for Sanpei but weren't able to spot him anywhere, until they noticed a Frogadier in a tree. Sanpei then joined with the Frogadier and he introduced himself to the group. Ash quickly challenged Sanpei to a battle with Froakie against Frogadier, which Sanpei accepted as he was also looking for a battle opponent.
Although Froakie tried many attacks, Frogadier proved to be too quick. As Froakie tried Water Pulse, Frogadier disappeared in a flash. Concentrating on finding Frogadier's current location, Froakie thought it had found it, only to find out it was a decoy. The real Frogadier appeared out of a nearby pond and the fight went on with both using Water Pulse. Sanpei then ordered Frogadier to use Quick Attack, which was too fast for Froakie to keep up with. Ultimately Frogadier landed the hit and Froakie was defeated.
Sanpei helped Froakie recover by giving it medicine. As Sanpei was about to leave, Ash asked him to help Froakie learn Quick Attack. Sanpei accepted Ash's request, but assured him his teachings are strict. Sanpei had Froakie go through various stages of training, such as jumping from spot to spot and running across the surface of the water. After this, the group and Sanpei decided to have a meal together. Sanpei then told Ash more about his background.
As they continued their training, Team Rocket suddenly appeared in a giant ninja robot. They managed to grab Frogadier and Pikachu. As Froakie now tried to battle Team Rocket on its own, the training with Sanpei pulled off and Froakie managed to execute Double Team. With a Water Pulse, it managed to free Frogadier and Pikachu. Ash and Sanpei then blasted off Team Rocket together with a double Water Pulse from Froakie and Frogadier. Now showing more respect for Ash than when they met, Sanpei said his farewells to Ash and the group as he went on his way.
In A Stealthy Challenge!, Sanpei met up with Ash again, in the process revealing his Frogadier had evolved into a Greninja. Ash first found both Sanpei and Greninja unconscious and injured in a river. Sanpei told him he was given a mission by his mentor Saizo to deliver a secret scroll to a mansion by sunset, but during his quest he and Greninja got attacked by a masked ninja with a Barbaracle who wanted to steal his scroll.
Suddenly, the masked ninja appeared and challenged Sanpei for the scroll again. Ash tried to fend the Barbaracle off with Pikachu and Froakie, but Sanpei, knowing they wouldn't be able to defeat the masked ninja, used his ninja techniques to escape with Ash and his friends. Continuing their journey to the mansion, the group entered a cave full of Golbat and got separated leaving Sanpei with only Ash. At that moment, the masked ninja appeared once again to battle Sanpei for the scroll.
Suddenly, Team Rocket appeared and tried to steal Pikachu, but Sanpei and Ash, with unexpected help from the masked ninja, managed to blast them off. Sanpei questioned the ninja why he helped them, but he didn't answer and wanted to continue their battle. They did, with Ash teaming up with Sanpei. Barbaracle eventually managed to hit Pikachu, Greninja and Froakie with Mud-Slap blinding the former two in the process and sending the latter flying into a rock. Just as Barbaracle wanted to finish Froakie off, it evolved into a Frogadier and managed to weaken Barbaracle. The ninja then decided to let Sanpei continue to the mansion and left.
At the mansion, Sanpei and Ash met up with Serena, Clemont and Bonnie again and encountered the ninja once more. However, the ninja was revealed to be Sanpei's mentor Saizo, who claimed he was only testing Sanpei. Following this revelation, Ash challenged Sanpei and Greninja with his newly evolved Frogadier, although the outcome of the battle remains unknown.
In The Legend of the Ninja Hero!, Sanpei met Ash and his friends while they were having lunch. He took them to his home village, where a festival honoring the passing of village leadership was about to take place, and Ippei was to become the new chieftain. They were welcomed by the village's chieftain, Hanzo, and Sanpei's brothers. He and Greninja then had a battle with Nihei and his Venusaur. Despite the type-disadvantage, Greninja managed to make good use of its speed and held its own, but Sanpei eventually lost the battle.
Sanpei then showed Ash and his friends his room and explained that he was going to remain in the village to protect it. When Dedenne and Squishy fell through a hidden door in his room, he and the group followed them. This hidden exit led to the shrine which told the history of the heroic Pokémon that had defended Ninja Village long ago. He and his brothers then showed Ash and his friends the shrine depicting the tale of the hero Greninja, and he and Ippei admitted they had chosen their partners because of the legend. They were then alarmed when a group of villainous ninjas attacked. Sanpei attempted to defend Hanzo, but the opposing ninja managed to take him prisoner. Sanpei and Ash chased after Hanzo's kidnappers, but they were stopped in their tracks by Heidayu, who sent out his Bisharp for battle. In the next episode, he and Ash battled Heidayu, but their Pokémon got easily overwhelmed by the Sword Blade Pokémon. When their Pokémon were about to be finished off, they got saved in time by Saizo and his Barbaracle, who proceeded to defeat Bisharp.
After the ninja army had retreated, Sanpei joined the others to hear Saizo tell about Kagetomo, the leader of the ninja army. After discovering Hanzo's location, Otori Mountain, everyone decided to go there and save him. Upon arriving at Otori Mountain, they got attacked by Heidayu and several ninjas. As Ippei and Saizo continued to the mountain's summit, Sanpei and Ash faced off against Heidayu again. Again, Bisharp was able to overpower their Pokémon and Greninja was swiftly beaten by it. Sanpei then witnessed how Ash's Frogadier evolved into Greninja and battled Bisharp. Ash's Greninja was able to battle Bisharp more evenly than Sanpei's, and eventually defeated Bisharp using a form similar to that of the Hero Greninja. After the conflict was resolved, he congratulated Ash and his newly evolved Greninja and bade farewell to the group the next day. Afterwards, Sanpei and his brothers mused that the Hero Greninja had returned.
He appeared in a flashback in Facing the Needs of the Many!.
- The names of Ippei, Nihei, and Sanpei are a play on the Japanese words for one, two, and three: "ichi" (一), "ni" (二) and "san" (三).
- He shares his name with the surname of his Japanese voice actor.