Zankuro Minazuki (壬無月 斬紅郎, Minazuki Zankurō) is the final boss in Samurai Shodown III. He continues to appear as a boss character throughout the series.
According to Gamest Mook, he was one of the potential candidates for the Samurai Shodown 64 lineup but was taken out due to time and modeling constraints.
He is a fearsome warrior who once traveled from village to village slaughtering people with no regard or disambiguation. During this time, he earns the title "the demon" in testament to his terrifying skill and battle prowess. He encounters a young girl who he couldn't bring himself to kill and realizes the error of his ways. He retires his massacring and enters hermitage, only drawing his blade to kill worthy opponents in duels.  The survivor, a woman named Shiori, was actually Zankuro's daughter, forgotten by him due to her father's killing intent. She meets the wandering Haohmaru and asks him to kill the "demon". 
Eventually, he is defeated by Shizumaru and his body is buried and sealed later by Gaira Caffeine.  In Samurai Shodown IV it's revealed that the dead body was carried away by Amakusa who revives him as an implement for destruction. In order to keep Zankuro's bloodlust under control, Amakusa kidnaps Hazuki from the Kazama ninja clan and used her ki and special life force to control Zankuro.  Zankuro would later be killed by Sogetsu Kazama while his brother confronts Amakusa.  His appearances after Samurai Shodown III continue to revive him as an un-lockable boss for the players to defeat.
In Samurai Shodown VI, his ending has Shizumaru bring Shiori to him with Haohmaru encouraging the estranged family to reconcile. Feeling himself beyond redemption, he refuses until Shizumaru convinces him not to submit to his inner demon. Realizing the value of life, Zankuro decides to live on for his daughter. He abandons the way of the sword and the two embark on a journey where he hopes to repent for his sins.
Zankuro was once a kind man who lived happily with his family. He eventually went blind with blood lust and started to slay others to compensate, unintentionally killing his wife in the process. When he regains his senses, he is a stern and honorable warrior. He is ashamed of his actions and willing to accept any punishment that will suffice for his crimes. His repeated deaths forged him to be a death bringer to the living, only creating enough havoc so a strong warrior will stop him.
- Energy Projectile - Zankuro can fire a projectile of energy from his sword. Said projectiles often have a wind motif.
- Energy Attacks - Zankuro can fuel his sword with ki energy.
- Sense: Zankuro can sense the presence of people nearby
Unlike Amakusa and Mizuki, Zankuro doesn't rely on sorcery or the dark powers of Ambrosia, being the first boss character to do so in the series. He wields a zanbatou fashioned in the style of a large katana fit for his frame which he uses to attack with amazing speed and strength. His skill revolves around focused singular strokes, including various other types of techniques such as a brute-strength focused punch and counter triggered by catching any slash attacks during one of his special animations.
In his first boss appearance, he could easily defeat his foe in three strikes. In Samurai Shodown IV, his strongest slash can take away half a lifebar. His strikes and grabs have a high priority, often overriding other characters in both range, strength, and counter percentage. He also has the ability to counter incoming attacks with powerful accuracy, an ability that his AI often abused in his first appearance more so than others. His main weakness lies in his recovery speed -though this is less noticeable in the third game- as wise players can evade or circle around his attacks to their advantage.
- Demon's Challenge - Samurai Shodown III
- Saigo no Yaiba (Final Edge) - Samurai Shodown III
- Mugen (Infinity) - Samurai Shodown III
- Tranquility to Movement - Samurai Shodown IV
- Hiroyuki Arita - Samurai Shodown III
- Enma Itō - Samurai Shodown IV
- Kazuhiro Nakata - Samurai Shodown V Special
- Akio Ohtsuka - Samurai Shodown VI
- Samurai Shodown III - final boss
- Samurai Shodown IV - final boss
- Samurai Shodown!
- Samurai Shodown V Special - possible boss
- Samurai Shodown V Perfect
- Samurai Shodown VI
- Samurai Spirits ~Kengou Hachiban Shoubu~
- Samurai Shodown Online
- Kingdom Story
- Samurai Shodown 64 - passing mention in Genjuro's ending
- Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidou Retsuden (Neo-Geo CD version only)
- Nakoruru: Ano Hito kara no Okurimono - passing mention
- Samurai Shodown (2019) - in Shizumaru's ending; also mentioned in some winquotes
- When asked "The path of the sword is?", Zankuro's response is "My slashes can rend the very heavens."