English: Samurai Champloo
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: May 20, 2004 to Mar 19, 2005
24 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.531 (scored by 92292 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action adventure comedy samurai
SynopsisMugen's a buck wild warrior - violent, thoughtless and womanizing. Jin is a vagrant ronin - mysterious, traditional, well-mannered and very strong as well. These two fiercely independent warriors can`t be any more different from one another, yet their paths cross when Fuu, a ditzy waitress, saves them from being executed when they are arrested after a violent swordfight. Fuu convinces the two vagrant young men to help her find a mysterious samurai "who smells of sunflowers." And their journey begins. This is a story about love, friendship and courage... NOT!
Related AnimeAdaptation: Samurai Champloo
Characters & Voice Actors
I caught Samurai Champloo as it aired back in 2004, and though I liked it enough, it didn’t impact me as much as I hoped it would. Though maybe that’s not entirely true, as the soundtrack did indirectly change my life, thanks to the composer Nujabes introducing me to instrumental hip hop and providing a soundtrack to my life for the next few years.
I recently re-watched the show and felt compelled to write a retrospective/review of the series. While watching Jin, Mugen and Fuu traipse around 19th century Japan getting into ridiculous adventures, I realised Shinichirô Watanabe’s follow up to Cowboy Bebop is one of the most subversive animes ever made. Taking a staple genre, dressing it up in anachronism, but continually tackling subjects often avoided by the medium.
It takes 25 episodes until a character literally says “I was born in the wrong era.” Champloo is basically saying Japan’s lofty samurai era was actually a shit place to live for common people like us actually thank you very much.
It’s a divisive show that tested the patience of many viewers, drove others away entirely after a few episodes, and frustrated people who were too used to watching a plot move characters forward for 26 episodes. Champloo doesn’t even have characters who move the plot forward. The hook of how the three disparate characters end up travelling together through Edo period Japan is just that, it’s a hook to draw you in.
Samurai Champloo is about, and also not about, three characters hunting a samurai who smells of sunflowers. There’s an episode late into the series which features two street gangs having a graffiti battle across town, and though somewhat amusing also served no benefit towards the journey of the three characters. So if you hop into any forum thread you’ll see a multitude of complaints about it. However, the point of the episode is the same as the theme running throughout the entire show: people from a bygone era rebelling against authority and social norms in a way 21st century people do: through counter-culture.
I’ve gained a new appreciation for this show. It’s been so so long since I saw it, but rewatching it I realise how the story is about how incompatible Tokugawa era Japan is with our way of life; all the things we take for granted were rare luxuries back then. This is an obvious fact for anyone with a remote understanding of Japanese history, but still, the show rams it home with stark contrasts. Each episode highlights a 21st century aspect of our lives, a form of freedom (creative, sexual, geographical, etc) that characters in the 19th century yearned for despite the odds.
It’s set in an era ruled by rigid order, social rules and hierarchies. Stifling to the point of causing grief among the downtrodden populace. Yet a populace we should not treat as foreign aliens. The show asks us to emphasise with them; they were just like us. Some of them had our modern spirit and ultimately struggled to exist in such a society as a result. Our heroes are a ronin, vagabond, and an orphan. Fighting against their era’s rules with a modern spirit.
One of the things I love about this show is how the three characters hate each other for the majority of the 26 episodes, but their hatred gives away inch by inch. They initially try to break apart, to run away from each other, but situations conspire to brig them back together, until a turning point where they actively make a choice to stick together, grudgingly recognising that they are of the same fiery rebellious soul. This is infinitely more satisfying than characters who automatically stick together from the outset. Another theme of Champloo is that travelling a journey with strangers can bring you together like family.
Champloo is more known for its scenes that are juxtaposed with modern quirks such as people beatboxing to humorous and surreal effect, and scene transitions that look like a DJ playing with their deck.
Episode topics try to cover every area that is barely explored by other samurai-era anime that are more concerned with traditional ‘fight evil’ plots (or even movies for that matter) from the prevalence of the yakuza co-existing with samurai, the tragedy of women forced into prostitution to pay off their husbands’ debts, human trafficking in the art world, existence of homosexuality, persecution of Christians and Ainu, and graffiti gangs with too much time on their hands. There’s even a hilarious baseball game with members of an American expedition that predates Commodore Perry’s by a few years.
Champloo features one of the best soundtracks ever, brought to you by Nujabes, whose life was tragically cut short in 2010. Instrumental hip hop might bring to your mind a certain perception of what to expect, but the soundtrack is a mixture of traditional beats with Japanese influence, floating ephemeral sounds constantly conjure a feeling of melancholy, or ‘mono no aware’, the fleeting transience of things.
The appeal of the show is ‘style over substance’, however that is a great discredit to what Champloo accomplishes. All the modern quirks in historical context are not just there to make the show stand out visually. The show is about entertaining this idea, this hope, that even back in Edo era Japan there were open-minded people fighting for creativity, individuality and basic human rights. Sure, most of them didn’t last long, but they didn’t die without a fight. Banzai! read more
"Samurai Champloo" may not have the same ring to it as "Cowboy Bebop," yet it is a title that has a similar function: to illustrate a combination of multicultural pulp fiction sensibility. Where Cowboy Bebop was a past + future fusion of jazz, rock, and blues, spaghetti western, kung fu, and noir cinema genres, and a setting equating outer space to the great frontier, Samurai Champloo is a more wildly anachronistic mélange of Edo-period history and contemporary hip-hop and bohemian culture. "Champloo" itself comes from the word "chanpurū," Okinawan for "something mixed," and a source of Okinawa's pride in multicultural acceptance. Cowboy Bebop was a trend-setting marriage of anime traditions and Tarantino-inspired cultural hodgepodge — it could be said that Pulp Fiction influenced Cowboy Bebop as much as Cowboy Bebop influenced Kill Bill — and Samurai Champloo continues in this meta style, taking it even further.
Of course, Cowboy Bebop was not Shinichiro Watanabe's first foray into resonant crossover in anime: Macross Plus was a monolithic amalgamation of Top Gun's hot-headed romantic drama and sci-fi tropes including a pop-idol hologram version of 2001: A Space Odyssey's HAL, in turn influencing the famous cyberpunk writer William Gibson to write Idoru, a novel about a Japanese virtual idol and her marriage to a real-life rock star. Of course, all of this was before the invention of the Vocaloid, though I suppose the future imagined by Watanabe and Gibson was, in a way, not so far off.
Anyhow, now that I've finished my little history lesson — which I feel is relevant, as having such a perspective may deepen your enjoyment of Samurai Champloo as much as it did for me — let's continue on to the review. In light of all the prescient futurism found in Watanabe's other works, it's rather interesting that he decided to shift his focus to the past and present. Of course, the world's future is always in its past... and what we have here is, in a nutshell, Edo-period Japan: the remix. Baseball, tagging/graffiti, Van Gogh, zombies, and Catholicism are tossed into the "chanpurū" with a whole lot of revised Japanese pseudo-history. As such the medley of influences and tangential tale-spinning occasionally smacks of filler, but one would do well to understand that this show is simply all /about/ the filler — and this is all for the better, because Samurai Champloo is at its freshest and most hilarious when it's veering off the rails. It even has the single most entertaining recap episode I've ever seen. Even with all this episodic improv, Fuu's journey in search of a "samurai who smells like sunflowers" provides a compelling core to the story, much like a steady hip-hop beat giving structure to the mix of samples and freestyle verses. Her ronin traveling companions Mugen and Jin mingle like oil and water, and there we have the perfect cast for hilarity and drama.
Samurai Champloo is one good-looking show, with its thick linework giving an impression of manga blended with graffiti style. One episode even takes a quick trip into the psychedelic, with a sudden burst of colorful hallucination, Mind Game style — courtesy of episode key animator Masaaki Yuasa, of course. A wide variety of such notable animators were brought on board and thus the style occasionally varies slightly from episode to episode or even scene to scene, but it's always pleasing and completely in tune with the show's theme. Rural Japan has never looked so urban; almost any given scene in Samurai Champloo would be right at home spray-painted on the side of a city building or underpass.
The music, likewise, blends hip-hop, rhythm & blues, and traditional Japanese shamisen. Music often plays second fiddle to the look and quality of the animation when it comes to my enjoyment of anime, but in some cases it becomes just as important. This is one such anime, where the music contributes so greatly to the feel of it that it defines it and sets it apart from other anime — much like the soundtrack by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts did for Cowboy Bebop. It's also worth mentioning that rap and beatboxing sometimes enter the dialogue, and it's always amusing. Admittedly, most younger people these days are far more familiar with hip-hop than they are with the jazz, blues, and big band genres; nonetheless, in the realm of anime this feels a bit groundbreaking, especially with the theme songs featuring Japanese rap lyrics. The world is getting bigger and smaller every day.
Samurai Champloo is a show for everyone. Plenty of great sword-slashing action, clever comedy, and a good share of moments that will tug at your heartstrings — often all at once. If you enjoy anime, this is one you can't miss. read more
Same style, same director, same type of characters.
Spike -> Mugen (whimsical and wild)
Jin -> Jet (level headed)
Faye -> Fuu (charming but deadly)
What the people above me said :D Adding to that; similar in storytelling, often episodic but in a good way.
The music is a big influence for both animes. Hip Hop and Jazz. Same director, completely diffrerent settings. But they match up very well. You can't watch one without the other.
Same type of feel when it comes to all the random stories, etc..
Animes from the same directors. What Cowboy Bebop is to Jazz music is the same as Samurai Champloo to Hip Hop. Beautiful animation in both and very episodic.
Just read what the guys above me write.
If you like Cowboy bebob then you will also like Samurai
Champloo for sure.
Same Director, pretty much the spiritual successor to Cowboy Bebop,completely different world/story, their main similarity is...the awesomeness of the music, other than that, it's totally different.
Although set in opposing eras, both have a strong musical theme weaving through the engaging journey of a group of accidentally travellers (for Champloo) / bounty hunters (for Bebop). Both series may seem episodic but every one is highly enjoyable. Plus all the characters have fascinating deep/dark backstories.
The same director is enough to put these series together, because Watanabe's way to create is somehow the same with Miyazaki, who share many ideas in his works. The crew contingent is almost the same, a woman and two men (with some exceptions). The story contingent is also almost the same, one episode - one story, with a great story line which has resolution in the end. You'll find moments to laugh yourself to death and to burst into tears. Besides all the above listed you'll enjoy an awesome work with music in these series. It isn't just a background for the main performance, but a very integral part of the creation.
similar climate... but SC is better ;)
Same director, same story, same characters and very similar style.
Samurai Champloo is like Bebop taking place in the 'Edo-Era'. Both are made with the same style of animeation, and both have their own music themes, Bebop(Jazz/Blues), Champloo(DJ-Mixing/Rap.) Both are highly entertaining filled with action, drama, comedy, ect.. all in the right parts at the righ time. You can't like one without the other.
here are 2 good what i call 'old', 'classic' animes. cool stories and cool characters a must watch for any anime lover
In both there is one episode in which the characters get high ;]
Both were created and directed by Shinichirō Watanabe.
has the same creator, and is a great follow up (new story). Not as great as the Cowboy Bebop but still head and shoulders above the rest.
Both anime include a group of odd characters, who eventually develope a relationship. The have the same writer and basically the same style. Samurai Champloo : Cowboy Bebop :: Hip-Hop : Jazz.
Same director, so a very similar style. EXCELENT!!!
same guy behind the direction and story (shinichiro watanabe) with the same idea of fusing a music culture with a genre ( retro hip-hop and rap + historical samurai setting = samuraichamploo, Jazz, blues and old rock + sci-fi space cowboys and bounty hunters = cowboy bebop )
Of course, Cowboy Bebop is very much related to Samurai Champloo. Both Spike and Mugen are very much alike, and it also has very many humorous/serious moments, exactly like Bebop.
Samurai Champloo is pretty much an inverted Cowboy Bebop. One's a futuristic show about the past, the other's a historical one about the future. They definitely seem like two parts of a whole to me.
They both have great story lines and both were created by the same person (name escapes me right now).
They're both made by Shinichiro Watanabe, and they both share his unique flare. Instead of Jazz in Space meets Western, though, Samurai Champloo is Feudal Japan (Edo Period, I believe) with hip-hop stylings. It makes for a very unique anime, and the characters are awesome.
This series is made by the same people and also has the same great action and comedy elements which are in samurai champloo but the storyline can be confusing at times.
they are from the same creater but samuria champloo is about a furture ferdal japan and cowboy bebop is about space and bounty hunters aka cowboys
Champloo offers the same kind of artistically edgy depth as the masterpiece that is Bebop. While the two do not share similar story types nor art styles, i believe that there is a certain unspoken class of anime these two are filed under. We all i know how diverse anime can be in terms of art style as well as theme. Though i like to believe there was a resurgence in the popularity of anime in the West with animes in this class im talking about. In my opinion, this is where it truely got started folks. These animes turned a lot of us into the Otakus (geeks) we are today. Do not miss this amazing Series! You will not be disappointed friends.
Basically a group of people that travel around place to place. There's a similar feel in atmosphere in both of these animes. Of course, Fighting Scenes are awesome! Although one has to do with samurais and the other is more futuristic. A bit of comedy as well :]
Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo were both done by the same guy, and so both are based around music concepts. While Cowboy Bebop centers around the free-form of Jazz (Spike) versus ordered form (Jet), Samurai Champloo centers around hip-hop (Mugen) vs. classical music (Jin).
Same creator, makes them very alike although Samurai Champloo is using hiphop instead of jazz.
their directors are same and both include travel-actions
They're by the same director and one incorporates hip-hop music and culture with samurai, while the other incorporates jazz with cowboys (well, space cowboys). Both are episodic with an overarching plot, and the main characters are somewhat similar.
The two are mostly an episodic series with an interesting main story to tie it all together. Although different in atmosphere both have a good balance of humour and action. There are definite differences between the two but if you have watched Cowboy Bebop (or vice versa) you might notice the style reflects that of the director Shinichirō Watanabe.
Both series are made from the same creators so if you liked the style and "coolness" of Bebop, you'll probably like the edgy and cool style of Champloo just as much. Plus the voice of Mugen is the same voice actor who did Spike, Steve Blum!
Champloo is another gem from Shinichiro Watanabe, director of Bebop. On the surface that's about the only thing that could be listed as similar. Shinichiro Watanabe has a knack for juxtaposing two well tread ideas to create something completely new and interesting. Bebop can be described as a futuristic, retro 70's, wild west, space cowboy story with a bit of noir sprinkled in for good measure; Champloo can be described as a hip-hop samurai journey. Even though they aren't similar they do compliment each other perfectly.
Same director, same vision... different setting. Cowboy bebop is on some futuristic cowboy era bounty hunters with a jazz/blues undertone. Samurai Champloo is on some edo period samauri sword swingin drifters with that real hip hop finish.
The character development progresses in the same "bits and peices" style. Spike from cowboy bebop has the same badass smooth tough guy tip as Mugen in Samurai Champloo. I give them both 9's in my animelist... check em out
By the same creator as Cowboy Bebop. Fantastic soundtrack like C.B.
I'm not going to beat this into the ground. Both go hand in hand perfectly. Each similar in their own unique ways, musically and character wise. If you loved one your going to love the other.
Same creator, same animation, different setting.
-Each episode has its own small story.
-Major plot end ties up everything and wraps up the series.
-Interesting cast of main characters, all having a generally vague backstory.
-Side characters are very interesting as well.
-Stylistic action with subtle humor mixed in (not mostly slapstick)
-The characters act very similarly (Spike-Mugen, Jet-Jin, Faye-Fuu)
-Both directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, which explains the similarities.
Both are created by the same people. Champloo is essentially Bebop with samurai.
The main characters, Spike and Mugen are very similar if not related. What I mean by similar might come out strange for some but I believe it'll present itself after more study. The voice actor is the same and the same people worked on both. Both fun to watch and I suggest watching both.
Aside from the fact that they were both directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, the two are chaotically fun cultural mishmashes with amazing art, music, and fight scenes. (Of course, Bebop has a lot more substance...)
Same director, similar protagonists, similiar humor, good action sequences, music based.
Both are great cultural mashups that involve completely different music styles from the era presented and yet work wonders.
Cowboy Bebop takes western culture, space travel and jazz and blends them perfectly creating quite the energising experience.
Samurai Champloo takes the Edo period and hip-hop and surprisingly it works, especially due to the amazing soundtrack.
A key features that is seen in both is the pacing. Both are episodical but not to an extremei. They take different routes and breaks but still you feel like they're getting closer to the main path thanks to the way above average character development.
The soundtrack is amazing for both series, mainly due to the fact that even if they're utilizing one style they can freely add elements from the time periods they're refering to.
Both are must watch shows and leave quite the impression.
same creator, same atmosphere and feel of the characters. samurai version of cowboy bebop
Character driven, with sarcastic fun characters on group adventures.
They are both directed by Shinchiro Watanabe. They are built on a similar premise: Cowboy Bebop is space bounty hunters set to a mostly jazz soundtrack while Samurai Champloo is samurai set to a hip-hop soundtrack.
Samurai Champloo's main character is as skilled as Spike and both have afros. The same director created both shows. Cowboy Bebop is a show that mixed the future with past whereas Samurai Champloo mixes the past with the future.
Both groups are in search of something, and in the process, they live day by day trying to find food and money to get by.
Excluding Ed (regretfully), the characters are pretty similar. Spike=Mugen, Jet=Jin, Fey=Fuu, and (kind of, in the sense that they are both supporting animals) Ein=Momo.
Both groups don't start out being great friends and all, but as time and adventures go by, they end up warming up to each other which makes it hard for them to go their own ways.
There are other great recommendations on these anime, so i just want to talk about their great use of music.
Although they have different styles of music, both are very music centric, using it to mould the scenes and give a great sense atmosphere. Both are rightly praised on their music and they are used in similar ways which are accompanied by familiar settings. You will own both soundtracks before you know it.
Very stylized action sequences. Both are samurai themed. Each has a very serious samurai as well as a more laid back, energetic samurai.
Sword Fighting and plaine awsomeness
Both of these have high level samurais shed alot of blood, also the animes contain blood, violence and a sex scene.
Afro samurai is more like a mixture of samurai champloo and samurai Jack, with a darker tone.They both offer a completely different take on the samurai genre as well as the action. Afro's action is a lot more exaggerated while samurai champloo's goes for more realistic sword fights. They're Recommended to anyone looking for some great samurai action
They both have a unique hip-hop flair that, somehow, coincides with the samurai theme. They also both contain amalgamation of the past and present (like monks with rocket launchers, beat-boxing peasants). It's a weird little niche that both of these titles somehow fell into, and we haven't really seen anything like them before or after.
Nice music, nice fight scenes, similar atmosphere, but AS is obviously more EPIC
Both the shows are about samurai! But the most common and rare thing the shows have in common is their Hip-Hop inspired theme!
Both are Samurai action series. Both have a Hip Hop theme. Both have badass action scenes.
Afro Samurai has Samuel L. Jackson.
Samurai Champloo has Mugen.
surreal fighting; samurais with the unexpectable devices
Both are samurai shows that have a hip hop theme. The action scenes are good in both, but I think Samurai Champloo had a lot more comedy.
Afro Samurai and Samurai Champloo are both about rogue samurai warriors and the way they overcome any appearing problem, always with a based-on-the-tip-of-their-sword attitude. They both have a nice blend of bumpin' hip-hop tracks and samurai action that leads to a unique experience. The fight sequences are stylish and entertaining and the characters in both series are well developed and you won't forget about them the minute you start watching a new anime. If you enjoyed watching one of them then you should definitely check out the other.
Estilo veloz com espada com um clima meio que street .
They each have the elements of hip-hop music fused in samurai themes mixed within the context of each other.
Wandering nearly unbeatable samurais looking for one man. Going through a great number of people to get to him. They both give the same feel due to the hip-hop music and the fight scenes.
Same ninja , samurai shit if u like one u will love the other one , simple
both of the animes have this "American" styl, some times same animation
Both series have some really good fighting scenes in them, which make up for the weaker story aspect. With Mugen from Samurai Champloo being the badass, rough gem of a fighter in contrast to Jin, the uniform, well practiced rounen, and from Afro Samurai you have Afro, who is the "number two" of the fighting world, who's so focused on his past that nothing else matters to him at all.
Opening Theme"Battlecry" by Nujabes feat. SHINGO2 (eps 1-25)
Ending Theme#1: "Shiki No Uta" by MINMI
#2: "Who's Theme" by Minmi (ep 12)
#3: "YOU" by kazami (ep 17)
#4: "FLY [SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS]" by Tsutchie & fat jon (ep 23)
#5: "San Francisco" by Midicronica (ep 26)
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