Samurai Champloo: Review


Samurai Champloo


-In India: on Animax
-Followed by (in the sense that the anime inspired the manga, and not in the sense of sequels) a manga, licensed in English. Anime also licensed and dubbed in English.
-26 episodes
-Rating: 3*

As always, highlight to reader spoilers, and all fanfic recommendations are based purely on my own shipping preferences. Feel free to add any gems I may have missed.

Samurai Champloo focuses on the lives of three travellers – ex-waitress Fuu, the classically trained samurai Jin, and the rebellious Mugen – who are on a journey seemingly across Japan to find a ‘Sunflower Samurai’. Because Fuu needs to find him, and she saved Jin and Mugen’s lives, so now they owe her.

And perhaps because Jin and Mugen are bored. Perhaps.

L-R: Jin, Mugen and Fuu.

My thoughts, let me show you them


Little things like plot, timelines, authenticity, accuracy – and even genre – have nothing to do with Samurai Champloo, where both characters and creators seem to do whatever the hell they want – 17th century samurai play baseball against Americans, graffiti artists battle to outdo one another in tagging the Shogun’s palace, cultist monks grow weed and get high on it, zombies look for buried treasure – and most famously, hip-hop and record scratching accompany every segue into another segment or scene change.

But it works! Somehow, the show is enjoyable and funny and entertaining, despite the fact that the plot – and its big twist – was somewhat predictable.

The main characters in the show are Fuu, Jin and Mugen, with each episode slowly revealing their past and how and why they come to be on this journey, with cameos and walk on roles from people from each of their pasts and several recurring minor roles.

Coming to the soundtrack, while I enjoyed the opening theme and the different ending ones, I liked the regular ED the best of all.

OP: Battlecry by Nujabes and Shing02 (26 episodes)
ED (primary ED theme):Shiki no Uta – Song of Four Seasons – by Minmi
ED (episode 12): Who’s Theme by Minmi
ED (episode 17): You by Kazami
ED (episode 23): Fly by Azuma Riki
ED (episode 26): San Francisco by Midicronica


Why You Should Watch It

One word: Jin.

He is so, so pretty it hurts to watch him when you know there aren’t any real men like this, dammit. And he wears glasses.

And a slightly spoiler-y pic:

I rest my case.

The plot itself wasn’t very unique or twisty, but the show made me laugh, and it was something I looked forward to every week, which makes it a winner in my book. =)


Fanfic Recs

I am a Jin/Fuu shipper, so here you go, have at them:

Nenju by 3Jane
Ship: Fuu/Mugen/Jin, 36 chapters, complete
Rated: M, Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance
Summary: Where do happiness and ever after intersect? Post series, complete.

A wonderful look at how Fuu might choose between Jin and Mugen, with very real-world consequences for all their actions over the course of the series.

Kitsune in Koshu by SevenSamCham
Ship: Jin/Fuu, Rating: M, 39 chapters so far, Work in Progress
Summary: Jin, Fuu, Mugen assist ‘Manzou the Saw’ on a case, and an adventure ensues. It’s a time of political transition, which will have life-changing consequences for the trio. Historical mystery/romance novel with a touch of supernatural/science-fiction elements.

This is quite an intriguing story, and I’m quite enjoying how it’s playing out. The central focus isn’t romantic, but the main ship is Jin/Fuu.

As Lovers Go by Arabesque05
Rated: T, Words: 8,087, Complete
Summary: There is no perfect love story. But he tells her, whimsical and smiling, they would have what happily ever after there exists because this is easy as lovers go. Or something like that.

A believable look at how Jin and Fuu might end up together – without bypassing Mugen.

Playing Pretend by Youkai no Yume
Rated: M – English, Words: 11,124
Ship: Jin/Fuu, Complete
Summary: There were very simple rules to their game. As long as they followed them, they could both keep pretending and nobody would get hurt. But when Jin finds himself breaking all of the rules, he realizes he has much more to lose than a game.

Slightly sappy, but good. =)


[mood| Sleepy]
[music| Sounds of the TV – ‘Bones’ S5]


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1 Comment

  1. Kawtar says: Reply

    Rating Mugen is a cocky, rebellious, bandy-legged fegthir who incorporates break-dancing techniques into his unorthodox fighting style. Jin is more your typically calm and stoic samurai (or ronin, to be more precise), steeped in martial tradition, who finds satisfaction in the perfect execution of his warrior craft. Mugen and Jin aren’t friends in fact, they are contentious and want to test their skills against each other yet they find themselves joining forces, thanks to Fuu, an insistent and kinda quirky waitress who inveigles the two into helping her search for the Samurai Who Smells Like Sunflowers. For 26 episodes, the discordant trio undergo many adventures, some serious, some hilarious, some just plain out weird. The only constants are the bickerings amongst the three, the scrounging for food, and the intrusion of modern day sensibilities. Oh, and the rampant butt kicking as done by Mugen and Jin.On the heels of his popular Cowboy Bebop anime series, Shinichiro Watanabe decided to put a new spin on the samurai anime with his irreverent, hip Samurai Shamploo. Shamploo means stir fry or a mix, and this is certainly what this series is about, as it fuses the traditional samurai credo and decorum with the unexpected modern day incursions of hip hop attitudes, beatboxing, street tagging, and baseball. The episodes are supported by cool Japanese hip hop music soundtracks and blazing hip hop scratches for scene segues. Watanabe also makes beautiful use of visual metaphors, thereby adding more depth to the shenanigans. The ripping animation and dynamically constructed fight scenes are guaranteed not to disappoint.Kudos, too, to the voice actors, especially Steven Jay Blum (aka Daniel Andrews, who also voiced Cowboy Bebop’s Spike) as the bestial Mugen. Kirk Thornton as Jin and Kari Wahlgren as Fuu are both excellent. The voice actor for the sometimes series narrator Policeman Sakami Manzou ( the Saw ) is also very good.These episodes are definitely rated PG-13. This anime series doesn’t hesitate to throw in scenes of drug use and graphic violence. Some episodes even contain mild sexual scenes.My favorite episodes are The Art of Altercation (for the rapping samurai and his beatbox backup), the atmospheric Cosmic Collisions (where the trio fight the undead), the hilarious Baseball Blues (where the American pitcher couldn’t find the strike zone with the dog at bat, and he ends up inadvertently hitting the mutt not to worry, no animated dogs were hurt in the making of this anime), and the concluding 3-episode arc Evanescent Encounter (where Mugen and Jin are challenged to their very limits, resolve their rivalry, and Fuu at last catches up to the Sunflower Samurai).Here are the 26 episodes (American titles first, with the original Japanese titles in parenthesis):- Tempestuous Temperaments ( Storm and Stress ) Episode 1- Redeye Reprisal ( Veritable Pandemonium ) Episode 2- Hellhounds for Hire Parts One Two ( Tacit Understanding ) Episode 3-4- Artistic Anarchy ( Utter Indifference ) Episode 5- Stranger Searching ( RedHeaded Foreigner ) Episode 6- A Risky Racket ( Surrounded on All Sides ) Episode 7- The Art of Altercation ( Self-Conceit ) Episode 8- Beatbox Bandits ( Evil Spirits ) Episode 9- Lethal Lunacy ( Fighting Fire with Fire ) Episode 10- Gamblers and Gallantry ( Fallen Angels ) Episode 11- The Disorder Diaries ( Learning from the Past ) Episode 12- Misguided Miscreants Parts One Two ( Dark Night’s Road ) Episode 13-14- Bogus Booty ( Through and Through ) Episode 15- Lullabies of the Lost Verses One Two ( Idling One’s Life Away ) Episode 16-17- War of the Words ( Pen in One Hand, Sword in the Other ) Episode 18- Unholy Union ( Karma and Retribution ) Episode 19- Elegy of Entrapment Verses One Two ( Generous Elegy ) Episode 20-21- Cosmic Collisions ( Anger Shot Toward Heaven ) Episode 22- Baseball Blues ( Heart and Soul into the Ball ) Episode 23- Evanescent Encounter Parts One Three ( Circle of Transmigration ) Episode 24-26

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