Remembering Love: Samurai Champloo and the Walks of Life

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Remembering Love: Samurai Champloo and the Walks of Life

Samurai Champloo aired on the 20th of May back in 2004 and while it is not a Sunday, this will be the 3rd post for the May Project. I watched this series when it reaired on AdultSwim and after my unattentive nights of playing just videogames, I had forgotten to finish it. With the internet, I was finally able to accomplish that endeavor. That was around 5 years ago and here I am watching it again

From 3 different backgrounds and memories, 3 strangers would meet on a fateful day at a certain tee house where the ropes of fate would intertwine them as they set out on an adventure across the country to find a samurai who smelled of sunflowers. Albeit loosely tied together, the trio of Mugen, Jin, and Fu would always end up together again at the end of each misadventure; whether it be escaping the authorities, shooting down rumors, eating competitions, falling in love, or evading assasins, the trio would always reunite at the end of each escapade

WRL Departure

But when the journey ends and their pasts dealt with, our trio part ways. After revealing that their entire adventure started off from a lie, after all they have been through, the three part ways as the ending theme San Francisco by Midicronica tunes up. Our three man crew walks away, each scene a different landscape, each step moving farther away from each other. Fu only leaves with the confession that their pact was a lie, and the samurai duo only revel in their reasons for helping her and without turning back, they start to walk away as well.

WRL Jin

You could imagine my reaction when I first watched this. I was stunned, I kept thinking that our lovable trio would say something or maybe at the end of the song, would turn around and walk back to find eachother. It is like Cowboy Bebop’s ending, where Spike’s fate is  up for debate and the fate of the Bebop’s Crew remained a mystery to us. It’s a bittersweet ending. Only after all the adversity and triumphs do our heros finally seem to be the same wavelength as the other and then leaving each other.

WRL Mugen

To this day, I cannot stand to hear San Franciso. Not that because I hate the song (it’s made all the more wonderful actually), but it is because I’m reminded of this sad, but hyper-realistic ending. The journey ended like it started, with three strangers meeting and then parting. Champloo’s score and feel gives us the modern age of technology and the advancement of communcation, but all that disappears like an elaborate guise that suggested that connections are eternal. Relationships are never eternal. We all walk the road of life on our own. Maybe we’ll find someone else or even many others who walks it with us but ultimately, they will find their own path and leave us. It’s about taking solace in our fleeting memories of happiness with those we cared about. Life is much more about the journey to our goals than our actual goals themselves.

WRL Farewell

8 responses »

  1. Samurai Champloo is among the very best anime I have seen. I love your analogy at the end about the journey being more important than the destination. That’s life in a nutshell. In fact, I just ordered the show on DVD last night. Can’t wait til it arrives!

  2. -Friendships don’t last forever.
    -You can find friends in the most unlikely of people, places and circumstances.
    -Jazz and hip-hop continue being awesome.
    -Samurai can look cool wearing flannels too and flannels are chick magnets.

    these are the life lessons Samurai Champloo have taught me.

      • Meh. It’s better to leave it as it is and not hope or demand something similar. In fact, it’s a good thing that these shows have the uniqueness they both emanate. I suppose you could place them on some kind of anime hierarchy pedestal that anime of today should try and achieve or replicate, but frankly, it’s best for other shows that get critical acclaim to craft their own legacies rather than try to emulate legendary shows such as these two…and Samurai X.

      • I’m only wondering if Shinichiro Watanabe is still kicking to make another series that combinbed the different but fitting styles of jazz in space and hip hop and samurai’s

  3. You can see the influence of Zen in Samurai Champloo’s ending. All things are impermanent. Every meeting will have a parting, but also every parting will have a meeting. You can see at the end just how the journey changed each character even as they walk away. That change, and the memories as you phrase it, is what matters. I agree that goals are not as important as the path to the goal.

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