Classics: Samurai Champloo Review

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“The Journey beats the Destination”

Shinichiro Watanabe made himself a legend (in the anime world of course, but his works were famous in America too) by making the series called Cowboy Bebop which detailed the life of Spike Spiegel and his job of bounty hunting onboard the ship, Bebop.  Go to Google and type in “Cowboy”, the words “Bebop” will most likely be your Number 1 most recommended answer.  Now type in Samurai in Google.  Right after Samurai Jack, should be Samurai Champloo, and it is a well deserved spot

Cowboy Bebop was influenced by American Jazz and Blues era of the 40′s to 60′s.  Samurai Champloo follows the tradition of strange mixups.  This time Rap and hip hop blended with Samurais

Samurai Champloo takes place in the Edo period of Japan (Roughly the 1600′s all the way to the 1800′s) but more earlier than the 1800′s.  Anyway, our main character which happens to be a girl, works in a small teashop in a town owned by a feudal lord, or Magistrate.  Fuu (our main character) and her employers are having a lack luster day.  The shop is currently occupied by a group of misfits.  Another mis fit man with an (more or less) afro enters the shop.  He calls Fuu to him and whispers into her ear that he will get rid of all the misfits here for some food.  Fuu refuses the offer but when some complaints arise from the misfits and when an uproar seems iminent, she agrees to our afro-ed friend.  The afro man literally starts beating the misfits with a array of dazzling display of break dancing and sword mastery.  While hes in the middle of killing, another man enters the teashop and hes wearing glasses.  The dude with the afro already killed the dudes who were causing a ruckus, and now he decides to kill the man with glasses too.  The two get in a fight and with some epic fighting, the two accidentally burns the teashop down.   they are arrested for the murder of the magistrate’s son, who happened to lead the band of misfits the afro dude killed.  The two are about to get executed, only that they escape with Fuu’s help and soon meet up in an alleyway.  Before the two samurais being to kill eachother, she proposes a bet.  She will flip a coin, and if it lands heads, they follow her on her personal journey to find a mysterious man, dubbed, “the samurai who smells of sunflowers.” If it comes up tails, the two men can start killing eachother.  Oh yeah, the 2 guys names are Mugen (the afro) and Jin (glasses).  Mugen tosses the coin, pretty hard and it takes a while for it fall down.  Eventually, it lands and Fuu yells Heads and the new trio dash off while being chased by the magistrate’s army.  And the epic journey filled with awesomeness begins.

Characters

  • Mugen: An ex-band of rogues and was an ex convict (he has rings around his ankles).  Mugen has escaped to the life of a wandering warrior whose main problem being his hunger for food and his hunger for fighting.  Mugen carries an oversized Sai like weapon and fights in an unpredictable manner, using his feet and break dancing skills.  He’s brash, vulgar, yet turns into a more calmer person in the end
  • Jin: A former student of a dojo now on the run because he killed his former master(not on cold blood though).  He swore to never serve a master because of human nature of greed.  Jin also wears glasses, yet they are only an accessory.  Jin unlike Mugen fights in single style he has mastered and also is a lot more calm.  In the end, Jin becomes less tense about his life.
  • Fuu: Fuu is the glue that holds this trio of unlikely heroes.  There is nothing special about her, only that she can eat an enormous amount of food.  Fuu is just a regular girl who has not fighting abilities.  Through her journey, she learns to become a more patient and less complaining lady. She’s also accompanied by a small flying squirrel.

So let me sum up why this anime was amazing

  • First of all, it has a plot, unlike most animes and manga nowadays, this has a obscure (wonder if i spelled that right) yet linear storyline
  • Second, although secondary characters last no longer than 3 episodes, the main characters, even with their archtyped natures go really well.
  • Some animes focus solely on romance, Samurai Champloo summed up a huge romantic subplot in one episode, and it was great.
  • Mugen gets high on weed once, and its definetely a memorable scene.
  • The battles are amazing, Mugen’s break dancing was always fun to watch.
  • THERES DUDES RAPPING
  • The blend of music are a nice thing to listen too, the ending songs are great

Out of most of the anime series i will ever review, this is one of my favorite series.  A nice story packed into 26 episodes and most of the time, the events of a the past episode rarely leads up to the next one.  The series is filled with comedy, action, and for each small arcs of episodes mirror some other genre of anime.  Go watch episode 11, a nice romantic story summed up into 1 episode.

So is it good?

Well, no shit its good.  Although it ain’t the new “Bebop” the show is a funny and action packed piece of art.  It also has a decent dub, which is very rare.

The music, is fine, although i find the opening credits not as good as the ending themes.

Best ending song….ever. A beautiful song with beautiful images

Another great song

SPOILERS BELOW

Highlight to see

The ending, was kinda the best ending i would have hoped for.  The ending is realistic (compared to other anime, i’m looking at you Angel Beats, but hey, we didn’t even cover the ending of that one yet.) and ends in a nice tone of reassurement.

In the final episodes, the trio finally tracks down the “samurai who smells of sunflowers” and learns that they need a boat to cross to a small island.  While trying to gain money, a wandering bounty hunter and a band of pirates Mugen defeated from his past surface and fights with Jin and Mugen respectively.  The battle is worth seeing, one is realistic (seriously, its a damn swordfight, it shouldn’t take an entire episode.) and one happens to be less realistic, a scythe that cuts rock, hmmm.  Fuu manages to glimpse at the “SWSOS” and it reveals to be her father.  Her reason was that he abandoned her and her mother and she wanted some explanation.  However, her father is bedridden and she can’t really do anything now.  An old couple who were taking care of him tells her, that he never once forgot about his wife and daughter. 

The ending, spoilers

Oh man, i still feel kinda sad, and damn do i love the song.  Words cannot describe this perfect ending

Go watch it dammit

2 responses »

  1. All hail Fuu and her spunkiness. Mugen and Jin are cool too. The ending was very appropriate to me for some reason. I mean, that was the first time I had ever seen a group who promised to break up after their main objective was accomplished…and keep their word. No Mugen and Fuu pairing as was hinted, no Jin and Mugen teaming up to kick more ass, no Fuu pulling a fast one, just a done deal and they all went their separate ways. Awesome stuff.

    • I plan on doing another piece of writing for this series, my less eloquent writing style from back then doesn’t do this series enough justice

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