Samantha Nishimura is a character introduced in the 2013 Tomb Raider Reboot as Lara Croft’s best friend and roomate from Uni. She is a Documentary Producer and Translator.

Like Lara, Sam grew up in a wealthy family. Indeed, she is the daughter of the Japanese media mogul Hisao Nishimura and a Portugese model Antonia Nishimura.

Sam’s childhood wasn’t always easy. Due to her parents’ careers, young Sam never stayed too long in one place, making it hard for her to feel included. Feeling like an outsider, Sam becomes rebellious, trying to get attention from parents not always present (another thing Sam has in common with her best friend since little Lara felt alone and started acting out after Amelia died and Richard turned obsessive in his quest). Her bad attitude got her kicked out of schools until she finally enrolled in University College London where she and Lara met.

Sam and Lara’s first encounter at UCL forever changed these two, as if their meeting was meant to be.

Their encounter started when Sam asked Lara, a complete stranger at the time, if she could take a picture of her. The English woman declined but Sam didn’t let herself be deterred and offered Lara a deal to keep things light:  If Lara agreed to give her some Jaffa Cakes then Sam would agree not to take any pictures of her. After that, Sam introduced herself properly and asked her if she wanted to go dancing.

This was the beginning of a great friendship and quickly, the two women became inseparable, supporting each other and strengthening each other’s weaknesses.

Starving for adventure, Sam and Lara travelled the world together. Europe, China, Mount Kilimandjaro, no place was out of reach so long as they were together.

Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, comics, meeting
Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, graduation picture

During college, Sam told Lara about the story of her ancestors and Yamatai, unknowingly starting Lara on a new path, who then set her mind on finding the island and the truth of Sam’s heritage.

Fast forward to 2013, the two newly graduated University girls are ready to take the world by storm, still feeling this insatiable urge to go on another adventure.

It is unclear how Dr.Whitman, archeologist and Tv host ended up hearing about Yamatai but he determined that finding the island was his last chance at success. However, the studio producing his tv show removed its funding a few days before the expedition’s departure.

Thankfully, or so they thought, Lara was able to turn to Sam who offered to fund the expedition with her uncle’s money.

Sam happily joined her bff on the S.S Endurance and embarked upon this journey as a filmmaker, not only to record their discovery for posterity but also to make sure Lara’s work would be recognized.

In TR 2013

While they sailed toward the Dragon’s triangle, Sam started recording everyday life on the ship: Jonah showing Whitman how to gut a fish, Grim talking about the Loch Ness Monster, Reyes fixing the machinery, the crew discussing their plan of action and so on.

Though Sam quickly tired of Whitman’s attitude, she handled the shooting like a pro, proving that she is good at her job.

Of course, Sam’s favorite subject was Lara, filming her sometimes without the Englishwoman’s knowledge. On one of the recordings, Sam convinced Lara to take a break, showing once again the importance of their dynamic.

Later, Sam would confess feeling a sense of dread as they approach the island. She brushed it off, thinking it was just nerves, though as it turned out, Sam’s instincts were more than prophetic.

Sam Nishimura, TR2013
Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, game, TR2013

Soon a storm hit the Endurance and their troubles began…

After the ship started sinking, Sam reached the shore on her own, away from her friends and from Lara. She spent a day alone, wandering around the island until she encountered a man named Mathias.

Mathias tried to gain Sam’s trust by bandaging her injured foot. As they settled around a camp fire, Sam started recounting the story of Himiko. Lara stumbled across the two and after a tense introduction with Mathias, Sam continued her tale.

Sam’s voice lulled an exhausted Lara to sleep and while the Englishwoman dozed, Mathias took advantage of the situation to kidnap Sam,  determining she was the key to leave the island.

Later, Sam managed to pilfer a radio from a guard and contact her best friend. Lara promised to save her.

Interrupting her conversation with Lara, Mathias’s men dragged Sam away to another location while Lara listened helplessly.

Sam’s worst fear regarding the fire ritual she’d heard about turned into reality when she ended up tied to a pyre, Mathias intending to burn her. Her hope was renewed when she saw Lara step out of the shadows and fight the Solariis but it was short lived as the archaeologist was quickly beaten down. Mathias lit the pyre, while Sam called Lara’s name in desperation. Lara kept apologizing for not being able to help and told Sam to keep looking at her.

Miraculously, a gust of wind blew the fire out and Sam was saved at the last moment, but the event only confirmed Mathias’s idea that Sam was a true descendent of Himiko.

Sam was then led to the throne room and away from Lara.

When Mathias joined Sam, he explained once again that she was the chosen one and that she should view it as a great honor. Sam denied being anything special and called Mathias a lunatic. The Solarii leader became angry and grabbed Sam by the throat, telling her she didn’t have a choice before throwing her to the ground and leaving Sam with a guard to take care of the fire in the building. Lara who was watching the scene, quickly killed the lone Solarii guard and rescued Sam.

The two friends hugged in relief before Lara grabbed Sam’s hand and made for an exit. Unfortunately, they stumbled into Whitman and Mathias and retreated back into the main chamber as the fire around them continued to spread.

Lara urged Sam to keep going when falling debris from the burning building separated them once more.

Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, game, TR2013
Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, game TR2013

Sam reluctantly agreed to escape ahead of her. As she made her way out, she encountered several Solarii, who attempted to recapture her. Cornered, Sam shot at least one of the Solarii with a gun she had taken off a dead guard before fleeing. Sam finally managed to reunite with the other members of the Endurance crew.

Sam watched helplessly as the helicopter transporting Lara and Roth crashed in a storm and rushed with the other survivors to the impact site only to find Roth’s dead body lying next to a grieving Lara.

Sam quickly made her way to the Englishwoman to comfort her friend and fiercely defended the archaeologist when Reyes lashed out in anger at Roth’s death.

The Endurance crew arranged a funerary ceremony for Roth. Lara requested some time alone to mourn. As the survivors began to make their way back to the beach (where Reyes wanted to fix a boat), Sam hugged Lara and told her to join them when she was ready. Before Sam left, Lara gave her one of Roth’s pistols so she could defend herself, showing us that Lara trusted Sam and knew she could defend herself.

Sam found an old copy of Robinson Crusoe to read while waiting for Lara to join them. Upon Lara’s return, Whitman arrived on the beach screaming for help as if he was being pursued by the Solarii. Lara was instantly suspicious of him and after a brief confrontation, she decided to go to the wreck of the Endurance to find Alex as Sam helped Reyes and Jonah repair the boat.

Lara returned after sunset with Reyes’s tools but without Alex. Sam sadly realized their friend was dead.

While they ate around the campfire, Sam confessed she didn’t want to hear about her heritage or Himiko ever again.

After another fight between Lara and Reyes, Sam assured Lara that she wouldn’t leave without her, no matter how long it would take Lara to find the reason behind the storms.

Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, game TR2013
Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, game, himiko soul

During Lara’s absence, Sam tried to get some rest but the Solarii attacked the group, wounding Reyes. Whitman took advantage of the confusion to kidnap Sam and hand her over to Mathias.

Mathias forced Sam into a ceremonial gown before taking her to the Monastery, where he planned to offer Sam’s body as a vessel for Himiko’s soul, Whitman dying at the hands of the Oni in the process.

At the shrine, Mathias summoned Himiko and suddenly the decaying corpse of the Sun Queen came to life. Her soul was slowly transferred into Sam’s body as Lara battled hordes of Solarii and Oni in a desperate charge to her friend.

After a brief struggle, Lara killed Mathias and stabbed Himiko in the heart with her torch, effectively destroying her remains.

Sam slowly regained consciousness as Lara held her close and reassured her that everything was okay. Sam thanked her, telling her she knew Lara would save her to which Lara replied by saying she had made her a promise.

With Himiko’s apparent death, the curse surrounding the Island was gone and the mysterious storms dissipated.

Unable to walk in her weakened state, Lara carried Sam down to the boat. The surviving Endurance crew finally left the island and were later picked up at sea by a passing freighter.

Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, TR2013 ending

After Yamatai

Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, comics, return to yamatai

The unwelcome return to Yamatai

In the weeks following Yamatai, Sam seemed to experience nightmares.  After a particularly vivid dream, Sam woke up with a hand shaped bruise on her arm. Lara, worried about her friend, tried to talk to her but Sam snapped at her.

Later that week, Sam got kidnapped by a cult worshiping the Solarii as she returned home from grocery shopping. The cultists brought Sam back to Yamatai, using her as a bait to lure Lara to the island because they knew Lara would stop at nothing to save her friend, as Sam confirmed when she threatened them.

The cultists’ goal was to bring Mathias back to life by sacrificing Lara. Sam fought back and attacked Matsu, their leader but inadvertently caused Mathias’ resurrection by drawing Matsu’s blood over the ceremonial seal.  Mathias’ soul possessed Matsu but Lara killed him again before Sam and her left Yamatai for good.

The slow possession of Sam by Himiko

Sam and Lara were astonished to receive a ransom tape from a Mexican gang called Las Serpentes Que Caminan in which their friend Grim -thought to have been killed on Yamatai – was being held hostage.

Since the women didn’t have the money to pay the ransom, Sam came up with a plan for them to travel to Mexico, using the cover of shooting a documentary about the Chupacabra (along with Jonah and Alex’s sister Kaz). Sam also asked two of her friends to pose as herself and Lara while they were away to avoid drawing suspicion.

On her way to the Island where Grim was supposed to be detained, Sam started to act strangely, snapping at Lara when she wasn’t suffering from moments of absence. As a storm rose, Sam jumped into the water and came face to face with a shark. Unfazed, she stabbed it  in the eye with her necklace until Lara dragged her out of the water.

They reached a village and started shooting the documentary about the Chupacabra as part of their cover, at which point, a local woman realized Sam was possessed.

Lara became increasingly worried after Sam passed out and tried to question her friend about her behavior but Sam once again snapped at Lara, telling her to stop treating her unfairly like she had been ever since they returned from Yamatai.

As Lara went to find Grim, Las Serpentes Que Caminan captured Sam, Jonah and Kaz. Lara and Cuddy Grimaldi – who was in fact Grim’s twin brother and not the dead helmsman – rescued them, but in the middle of the fight, an enraged Sam suddenly grabbed a machete and killed one of her captors. Much like the incident with the shark, Sam had no recollection of the incident.

As the team left the Island, Sam settled in a room on the boat. In a near catatonic state, she stared at the mirror but instead of her reflection, Himiko was grinning back at her. Despite Lara interrupting the ascension ceremony, Himiko had been able to transfer a small but growing part of her soul into Sam’s body.

Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, trip to Mexico, comics
Sam Nishimura, comics, himiko
Sam Nishimura, Lara Croft, comics, mad

Himiko’s vessel

Back in London, Sam became cold and distant. Every attempt from Lara to help her friend ended in a fight. As Sam went out for a run, she assaulted a man asking for directions. She was arrested and placed in a mental institute because the authority considered her a risk to herself as well as to others.

When Lara went to visit her, Himiko revealed herself to Lara’s horror. After their conversation, Sam decided to cut ties with Lara and her friends, refusing to see anyone even her parents.

Due to her mental state, the assault charges against Sam were dropped  and she was  transferred to Sweden’s Halburg Institute by her mother’s order. Sam seemed to do better for a while, even befriending one of the nurses (to whom she talked about Lara) but Trinity soon took over the Institute and experimented on Sam, allowing Himiko to deepen her hold of her. Late one night, Sam escaped from the asylum along with five other patients.

Sam seemed to be aware of Himiko’s actions, but the powerful control the Sun Queen had over her prevented her from stopping her evil plan.

Breaking Free of Himiko

Himiko’s plan to return to Yamatai was delayed by Trinity’s attacks. Lara tracked the Sun Queen down and tried to reach Sam, begging her friend to fight back against Himiko’s control.

Himiko escaped again but Lara was able to capture her. With ‘Samiko’ unconscious, Lara used the legendary Mirror of Wei, which was the only item that could purge Himiko’s soul from her friend.

‘Samiko’ began to gain consciousness and the Sun queen immediately fought for control over Sam’s body. Sam fought back and in desperation, used a knife to stab herself in the stomach.

When the sun rose, the mirror did its magic and slowly absorbed Himiko’s soul. Lara rushed to Sam’s side, asking her to open her eyes as it was the only way for her to free herself of Himiko.

Finally free of Himiko’s control, Sam was rushed to the hospital where she was treated for her stab wound.

Upon awakening, Sam found only a box of Jaffa Cakes that Jonah had left on Lara’s behalf. She stared sadly out the window in silence as out in the hospital hall, Lara asked Sam’s mother to take Sam somewhere safe, where Trinity wouldn’t find her.

Sam Nishimura, comics, himiko, fight

The end?

Sam’s last appearance in the comics is bittersweet. After what she has been through with Lara during Yamatai and their subsequent adventures, it is hard to believe Lara would leave the most important person in her life behind, even if she wants to protect her.

Sam deserves better than disappear quietly into the night. She has a place in Lara’s life and we want her back.

#SaveOurSam