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A Friend in Need Part I
Xena Gab Pinch AFIN.jpg
Xena tries to teach Gabrielle everything she knows, such as the pinch
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 6
Antagonist Yodoshi
Setting Jappa
In-Universe Date Year 32
(with flashbacks to year ????)
Production # V1424
Filming Dates 8 March to 19 March 2001
Original Air-Date 11 June 2001
Story By R.J. Stewart & Rob Tapert
Teleplay By R.J. Stewart
Directed By Robert Tapert
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 133 of 134
Order in Season 21 of 22
Order in Franchise 302 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Soul Possession"
Next Episode in Series "A Friend in Need Part II"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Soul Possession"
Next Episode in Franchise "A Friend in Need Part II"
Title Image
Afin title cap.jpg

Summoned by a long-lost former student, Xena heads for Japan with Gabrielle for what may be her greatest- and perhaps final- battle.


Xena and Gabrielle consider their future

On a normal night, Xena and Gabrielle are camping as usual while Gabrielle looks up to the cosmos and wonders about where they've been and where they're going. Xena ponders as to whether Gabrielle wants to continue to travel Greece and suggests that they head south to the Land of the Pharaohs because she heard that "they need a girl with a Chakram."

The evil Samurai ghost Yodoshi

A young Japanese monk named Kenji staggers into their campsite one night holding an exotic looking sword called a katana. Revealing he has come to deliver a message from Akemi, Kenji launches into the terrifying story of his narrow escape from a horrendous death at the hands of the evil Samurai ghost Yodoshi, a fate met by his unfortunate traveling companion Saburo.

Gabrielle learns about Xena's past with Akemi

The hair-raising events he describes unfold in a teahouse outside the city of Higuchi, inhabited by three beautiful ghosts who have been forced by Yodoshi to seduce souls into his grasp. Akemi secretly facilitates Kenji's escape, urging him to take her sword and find Xena, the only warrior powerful enough to keep Yodoshi's general Morimoto from destroying Higuchi and enslaving 20,000 more souls.

As they set sail for the Land of the Rising Sun, Xena, Gabrielle, and the Monk float along. Gabrielle and the Monk spar with staffs. The Monk says something about Akemi being forced to help bring souls to the Dark Lord.

Xena with dreadlocks in flashbacks

Gabrielle asks Xena about her relationship with the mysterious Akemi and learns that the two met in Chin when Xena was still with Borias. Akemi, who had been captured by pirates and sold to a Chinese warlord named Kao, impressed Xena so much with her courage and honesty that Xena tried to buy her from Kao. When her offer was refused, she put "the pinch" on the greedy warlord.

Evil Xena

Eager to claim both a ransom for Akemi and a foothold on the island of Japan, Xena convinced Borias they should take Akemi back to her family. As they traveled together, Xena became a mentor to Akemi in the arts of war, while Akemi began teaching Xena about the peaceful arts of Haiku. Along the way, Xena won possession of a brand new katana in a battle against Samurai warriors and showed Akemi how to do "the pinch."

Xena and Gabrielle swim ashore to save a burning village.

Back in the present, it's nighttime and the city of Higuchi is burning. The ship's captain informs Xena, Gabrielle and Kenji that he can't get any closer to the city, which is now surrounded by an army and navy. The three swim ashore and make their way through the burning streets as firebombs explode all around them.

Xena and Gabrielle at the city save the town

When Xena and Gabrielle realize that access to the water tower has been cut off by the army, Xena asks Gabrielle to show her how she would handle the situation. Gabrielle uses an old circus act she saw and the two are able to release enough water from the tower to fight the inferno. In the past once again, Xena's history with Akemi is further revealed. What Xena could never have anticipated was that Akemi would kill her own father who turned out to be none other than Yodoshi.

Akemi performing a ritual.

Akemi explained that her father had murdered her entire family and she had barely escaped. Even so, she knew she had to die for having killed her parent and before Xena knew what was happening, she committed seppuku, a Japanese ritual suicide used by the samurai class as honor killings, beginning in the 12th century and continuing occasionally into the 20th (the female version, jigai, is faster and less painful, as well as performed by stabbing oneself in the neck and severing the main artery. It should be noted that Akemi performs the male version).

Xena, with short hair (only time in the entire series) mourns Akemi.

Distraught by this shocking turn of events, Xena had to summon all her strength to carry out Akemi's dying wishes, the last of which was to have her ashes taken to the family shrine in the town of Higuchi. When Xena tried to do so, she was stopped by the townspeople. Ignoring them, she tried to press on, but the urn was quickly smashed by a rock hurled from the crowd and Akemi's ashes wound up in the gutter.

Xena teaches Gabrielle to listen to the sounds of armies around her.

Xena became so enraged that she grabbed a torch and soon the whole city was up in flames. As Xena comes to the end of her tale, Xena asks Gabrielle to listen. Gabrielle says she heard a horse. Xena asks her to really listen. Gabrielle listens and sees an army. Xena says at least three armies are gathering. Gabrielle goes to warn the others.

Xena learns 40,000 people died because of her.

A ghost killer who's family name is Harukata informs her that 40,000 people died trying to fight the fire, which Xena had not known before. He reveals that she was responsible for Yodoshi becoming the Lord of the Dark Land. Possessed by the worldly passion in which he died and doomed to be a wandering spirit, Yodoshi gobbled up the 40,000 lost souls he now holds enslaved inside him. Harukata confirms that in order for the 40,000 souls to be freed, Yodoshi must be destroyed.

Xena teaches the pinch to Gabrielle

Inside, Xena is on her knees. She talks to Akemi. She says she knows that what is done today may not be undone. Gabrielle comes in and wants to know why Xena isn't ready for battle. Xena asks Gabrielle to come to her. She takes Gabrielle's hands. She puts them on her neck and tells her to feel the life force. Gabrielle objects: she says she knows why Xena doesn't show her the pinch. Xena pushes Gabrielle's hands and Xena is under the pinch. "If I only have 30 seconds to live, this is how I want to live them, looking into your eyes. Always remember I love you," Xena says to a very confused and distressed Gabrielle. Xena releases the pinch. She tells Gabrielle she just wanted her to know everything she knows. Gabrielle looks really confused.

Xena sets off on her final battle...

Vowing to stop Yodoshi at all costs, Xena dons Japanese armor at dawn the next day. Gabrielle, Kenji and the soldiers step out of Higuchi and Gabrielle tells them that Xena wants them to lead a contingent to the east plain. As Gabrielle and the others move off, Xena steps out behind them and watches them leave. Xena moves off in the other direction, to face three huge armies that have gathered on the battlefield.


Xena and Gabrielle's Flying Circus & Amateur Fire Brigade will be arriving in your town soon.

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

Key Events[]

  • This is the final episode of the series to be set in Greece, since Part II is set entirely in Jappa.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Borias.
  • Gabrielle finally performs Xena's superflip in this episode.
  • The flashback in this episode takes place between "The Debt II" and "Adventures in the Sin Trade," as Xena is not crippled and not pregnant.

This episode marks the final appearance of the lengthly flashbacks of Xena's past.

  • This episode reveals how Xena got the scar on the inside of her right breast, from a Japanese blacksmith pushing her into a spiked wall.
  • Gabrielle didn't use her Sais in either episode.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of both Greece and Chin.
  • This is the last episode as well as the last season to feature the opening credits.



  • Xena used her chakram to set off an atomic-like explosion due to the contents of the barrels on the wagons.
  • Many parts of this episode are Robert Tapert's homage to, “倩女幽魂" (A Chinese Ghost Story). A female chinese ghost works for the ultimate evil to capture the souls of human beings as its food. One day, a young guy appears in the temple where the ghosts resides, but she let him go because she fell in love with him. The only difference is Akemi did not fell in love with Kenji. The existence of the ghost killer also resemblence the Taoist in the movie.
  • The scroll Akemi gave Xena is written in Chinese, "黄花散足雷似淹音"; and the description Akemi told Xena has no direct meaning to what is written, but it may have literature references in Japan.
  • All the scrolls that Akemi wrote in this episode are all written in Chinese, and the technique of her writing is known as Chinese Calligraphy. Throughout most periods of Japanese history, a woman of Akemi's rank would be fluent in Chinese and be familiar with Chinese classics, and would have written Japanese using Chinese characters.
  • Friend In Need is an acronym for "Fin" which is French for "End".

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