"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.
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 empathise 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!
Samurai Champloo is the latest work from Writer/Director Shinichiro Watanabe, who is most recognized for his work on Cowboy Bebop. One of the very few things Champloo and Bebop have in common is their great scores. Champloo mixes two subjects which would never be put in one sentence together, western hip-hop and eastern samurai swordplay. Yet the mixture comes out with a brilliant result. The fights scenes are hyped up with the speed and flow from the music and come out magnificent. But Champloo isn't all about fighting. Many things happen along the road for the
three main characters: Mugen, a rough mouth vagrant with a fighting style similar to capoeira with a sword. Jin, a quite and intelligent ronin who fights with deadly lightning speeds. And Fuu, the ditsy waitress that brings these two together in search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers. Between these three we see many moments of humorous antics, whether it's Mugen poking insults at her flat chest or Mugen and Jin’s constant attempts on each others life. Samurai Champloo is fueled by Action, Comedy, and Drama. Together with an original story Samurai Champloo has a unique spin on the old samurai era making it a great find for any fan of anime.
The story of Champloo is an original work from Shinichiro Watanabe. The story centers on Fuu’s search for a samurai who smells of sunflowers. As the wanders continue on their travel they encounter many problems, mostly dealing with how to make money for their various expenses some times causing trouble for the three. In the travels many humorous things occur like Mugen entering a beetle type cock fight, Jin and Mugen’s adventure in to the red-light district, or the three entering an eating contest. As the three get closer to the samurai who smells of sunflowers, things begin to unravel leading the three to the most trouble they have ever seen.
Champloo has crisp clean stylistic animation. Characters are draw clean and clear with many details. The landscapes of Champloo are filled with beautiful shots of Japan’s country side. There are even a few scenes were the animation becomes only black and white and seem as they where draw straight from sketches to add to the scene. There is also one part were the colors and animation becomes so lively that it gives the impression of a whacked out hallucination.
The score of Champloo is what sets its self apart from any other anime in its genre. The background music is filled with urban hip-hop to give it a loose free flowing fill to it. A big portion of Champloo is focused on its original sound and it shows. For action scenes we get a fast flowing sound that gives the sword fights a more stylistic feel to them. For the more dramatic scenes we get deeper sounding background music. There are even moments during some flash back scenes were the music that we get to hear a rich Japanese sound to give a deeper feeling to it.
Samurai Champloo focuses around 3 core characters. Mugen is a straight loud mouth anti-hero. Mugen is the wild one of the group, always flying by the seat of his pants. Mugen also seems to have a problem with authority. Mugen is the first to draw and the last to leave a fight. Jin is a noble ronin in the search of a purpose. Jin although quite and wise, he too has some distaste with authority like Mugen, although with different reason mainly because he sees the one’s in charge as waste. Fuu is a young girl in the search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers, she keeps these reasons to herself for some reason. Fuu is clumsy and some times naive. Fuu is constantly being kidnapped even though she has two strong bodyguards. And for some reason she keeps a flying squirrel with her to help out sometimes.
Any one who is a fan of samurai action will surely like Champloo. Filled with enough action to keep those hard core action fans at bay, Champloo sprinkles some comedy and drama on top. If you are someone who doesn't like the hip-hop aspect of Champloo, then at least give it a try, you may be surprised.
Historical anime don't usually interest me, but when it's as tongue-in-cheek and as full of anachronisms as this, I'm not sure it really counts as a historical anime anymore.
STORY - Like its predecessor Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo is a very episodic series, and it's perfectly safe to miss a few episodes here or there. Even the overarching story remains incredibly vague for almost the entirety of the series and the audience is sometimes left to wonder if there really is a point to all of that searching when they knew virtually nothing to begin with. There's something about the lack of details that makes this
story appealing though -- it never seems that important, so you just continue along, but deep in the back of your head, you remain curious about it. So it's the perfect situation; there's immediate gratification within each mostly-standalone episode, but there's also the thread that ties all of those little adventures together, and in the end, there is an ending.
CHARACTER - As with many other slice-of-life or episodic series, much of the entertainment relies on the characters, and herein is a very strong point for the series. All three of our protagonists are rich, interesting characters with backstories that don't seem to clash with their general personalities. As strangers that all met coincidentally in the first episode, their histories are gradually revealed throughout the course of the series in a perfectly paced, even casual way. Though this involves a bunch of chance encounters with figures from their respective pasts, none of them ever really seem to intrude upon the story for the sole purpose of explaining things, which is great. And their stories all actually do contribute to their personalities as a whole, making them all fully-rounded characters with an enjoyable amount of depth to them.
The characters also really contribute to the sometimes satirical nature of the series. Jin could be, at first glance, your stereotypical samurai. Or maybe he really just is, but the fact that they poke fun at him for it makes his whole stance all the more questionable. Mugen is just ridiculous; after all, his fighting technique is rooted in break dancing. And Fuu... well, I suppose Fuu is the least notable of them all, though I sort of feel like I can conclude her a mockery of typical women in samurai anime if I'd seen more samurai anime. Even given the normalcy of her character, she has enough emotion and perseverance to keep her from being called flat.
ARTSTYLE & ARTWORK - Given the time period of the series and all the anachronistic elements, Champloo's art style is very fun and unique. The opening and ending sequences are a great example already. The blending of modern ideas with such a traditional setting is brilliant and very interesting to see. One of the best examples within the series would probably be the graffiti episodes, where yes, there's totally a town in feudal Japan with a street graffiti problem and two rival gangs that won't stop tagging everything. The animation itself is of good quality throughout and it's definitely an aesthetically pleasing series.
MUSIC - The music in Champloo suits it perfectly with its clash of ancient and modern, traditional Japanese folk music and present-day hip hop. The opening and ending themes are also wonderfully appropriate to many aspects of the series.
VOICE ACTING - I've seen both the sub and dub, and I must say, both are quite excellent. While I wouldn't necessarily venture to say that the dub is better than the sub (as was certainly the case with Bebop), it definitely stands on at least the same level. Dub-wise, it might have been the easy choice to cast Steve Blum as Mugen, considering Spike Spiegel and Mugen not only had similar personalities, but also looked similar, but damn, the man sure does the job well. (Admission of bias: I love Steve Blum's voice.) Jin's and Fuu's English voices were also quite awesome and actually sounded rather similar to their Japanese counterparts. The characters introduced in each episode also maintained above average voices for the most part, with appropriately sinister voices for the sinister and bumbling voices for the bumbling. All expressed emotion well and were generally convincing all around.
OVERALL - Samurai Champloo was a very fun series. Almost all the episodes were excellent in themselves with a great story, as well as great technical aspects. But the overarching story, when it finally did come together in the end, was actually really nice too. And simple as the ending was, I liked it, was satisfied, and thought it was worth it.
For anyone who has watched Cowboy Bebop, they know that director Shinichiro Watanabe loves blending completely disparate elements together, be it science fiction, physical comedy, spaghetti Western, bebop jazz, or space epic, all into the same story.
As diverse as "Cowboy Bebop" was, it has nothing on the sheer schizophrenia of "Samurai Champloo", Watanabe's most recent effort. On the surface, it's a mixture of comedy and samurai epic about Japan in the mid 1600s. However, that doesn't do the series any more justice than calling "Cowboy Bebop" a space western.
One episode is a Shaolin Soccer-esque comedy about a baseball game. Another is a zombie horror story
which doubles as an allegory for World War 2. The series presents historically accurate facts about the spread of Christianity in Japan side-by-side with rocket launchers, talks about Edo-style painting and Vincent Van Gogh in the same episode as punks with switchblades and green mohawks.
There are young street gangs painting graffiti, near-invincible blind warriors modeled upon Zaotichi, honorable samurai warriors, arrogant fashion designers, mid 17th century Japanese beat boxing rappers, and eating competitions.
Hip-hop and rap music is as prominent as traditional Japanese and Aina-style music.
Most directors attempting such a crazy mix would be met with failure and ridicule. However, Shinichiro Watanabe manages to succeed, and he does so thanks to several different elements;
1. Comedy- Samurai Champloo might well be the funniest anime series I've ever seen. Whether it be over-the-top action scenes, great situational comedy, or the absurdity of so many different elements in the same time period and place, there are certain moments in the series that will have one gasping for air.
2. A hard, brutal, uncompromising story- The above works especially well because of how gritty, bloody, and tragic the majority of the story is. Most of the characters die. There is rarely a happy ending. Even in the instances when the good guys "win", it's not clear whether they're better off than they were originally.
3. Misdirection- In every series or movie, a director can leave lots of minor hints and clues about what's going to happen. Most of the time they are fulfilled. In this series, though, Watanabe does the exact opposite of what one is expecting.
A small example of this is when an old man is giving one of the samurai protagonists, Jin, a lecture about going with the current to catch a fish. The man is clearly wise, the music becomes serious, and like lightning, his hands dart through the pristine, blue river. His hands rise above his head, clenched hard, golden in the light of the sun.
Suddenly, the record scratches, the man opens his hand, and it turns out there's no fish.
"Well, sometimes they get away, anyhow!" the man exclaims with a laugh.
There are dozens of such examples throughout the series. The ending is probably the best case of misdirection, being the complete opposite of what I expected.
4. Memorable characters- While the former pirate and violent vagrant Mugen is probably the star of the show, and the source of most of the laughs, he does not completely outshine straightman, and traditional, honorable samurai Jin, who is every bit as interesting of a character, and provides plenty laughs of his own. Even Fuu, the girl guiding them, isn't the typical annoying Japanese anime heroine, and is a great set-up and comedic foil for the two mismatched warriors.
This series is an absolute classic, my favorite anime ever.
The premise is simple, three complete strangers drawn together by fate to embark on a long, very parlous journey across unfamiliar territory. However, it's not the plot which makes Samurai Champloo note worthy, but rather the characters themselves. There is a very strong relate-ability present in the main characters Jin, Mugen and Fuu; no matter who the viewer happens to be it's a more than safe bet they will instantly find common ground with at least one if not all three. This element within it's self is the very one which drives the series forward, it offers added interest and added suspense as each of
our three travailing companions find themselves in some rather tense situations quite regularly. The true paradox in Samurai Champloo is that it's actually the main characters' normality which makes them so extraordinary.
Jin is a quiet, very strong willed, mysterious man of few words and it shows through greatly in his swordsmanship. Gin fights the same way he lives, with decisiveness, with great resolve, and with honor. Jin is a man of tradition, and a man of respect. It comes as no surprise he isn't one to allow someone under his skin during the heat of battle, he remains un-rattled and content with his abilities even in times of great adversities.
Mugen can easily be considered Jin's polar opposite; unlike Jin, Mugen has no concept of reserve, always speaks his mind despite the outcome, he is an extremely reckless individual who is easily the most cut throat free spirit in existence. Mugen inadvertently thrives off of defying the laws and 'order' around him, but in reality he's simply seeking an opponent who he feels would prove as a worthy match for his skill and ability. There are some who claim they'd laugh in the face of death, Mugen would beat each and every one of you to it.
Fuu is unlike either of the two samurai who accompany her. Although she's a bit of a klutz and slightly clueless at times, Fuu proves to be a lot more cunning and determined than first impressions are willing to let on. Fuu is the type of girl who once her mind is made up, nothing except death could stop her from chasing and attempting to reach her goals and aspirations, but like everyone, some times she just needs a bit of motivation.
Samurai Champloo is able to excel where most other series fail, it's ability to balance both comedic elements with serious, very deep subject matter is a direct result of the characters themselves. Nothing seems forced, every line of dialog is believable, everything seems to fit with the personality, actions and dominate traits Jin, Mugen and Fuu possess; although most would think this should be expected, it's not an easy feat to accomplish. The multi dimensional perspective of Jin, Mugen, and Fuu's outward actions, as well as inner feelings more than make up for the lack of complexity in the story's plot. After all, who here hasn't seen an anime about samurai?
Most importantly this series left me fulfilled, it didn't leave any questions unanswered, and to me the ending, although somewhat anti climatic was in my opinion a more than suited one to close the final pages on what is one of my favorite animes of all time. You'll laugh, maybe even cry and through it all you'll enjoy every minute of it, and chances are you'll want to experience it all over again in the not to distant future.
Samurai Champloo is frequently compared to Cowboy Bebop, but there's one thing that really sets it apart: the action. There wasn't anything bad about Bebop's action, but Champloo's action is among the best of any anime out there, especially among TV series. Though the main characters both use swords, they fight with wildly different styles (Mugen's use of shoes is particularly brilliant), and the fights against enemies with various weapons throughout the series all manage to make themselves interesting and different. Even if the rest of the series were terrible, it would be worth watching simply for the action.
But the rest of the series manages
to be entertaining as well. The main story's not anything special, but the stories told in individual episodes range from hilarious to heartbreaking. Each story is genuinely unpredictable due to the bloody nature of the series, and you can never tell whether the encounter's going to end well or not. That's not to say that the show revels in violence for the sake of violence, as conflicts are frequently solved peacefully as well.
The main characters themselves are all solid, but where they truly shine is in their interactions with other characters. The series is never content to just follow one character's story. All three of the characters will often split up, meet separate characters, and go through development of their own while the tertiary characters develop as well. Sometimes the stories will all be related, while other times they share only thematic links, but this structure keeps the show interesting and fast-paced at all times.
The style of the show likewise contributes to making everything more interesting. The artstyle is gorgeous, and the animation is always pretty. More important is the way hip-hop themes are integrated into the show. I'm not a fan of hip-hop in general, but the style here is absolutely perfect, contributing greatly to the humor of the show. It never dominates an episode completely, but it provides little touches that make otherwise ordinary characters and scenes special. A rumor might be told as a rap, and the episode might otherwise be completely devoid of hip-hop references. The music does have some hip-hop influences, but they never dominate the score, so don't worry that you'll dislike the music if you don't like hip-hop.
The humor of the show in general is likewise top-notch. The comedy episodes are some of the best in the show, partly because they tackle serious themes (such as Japan being invaded) in very comical ways. These episodes are also just as violent as the rest of the show, and include the same hip-hop styling to make things stay fun. Mugen is frequently the source of most of the laughs, but Fuu and Jin also frequently amuse, as does the side cast. Even the serious episodes often have jokes at very inappropriate times, and because of the style of the show, those jokes work.
I watched Samurai Champloo for the action, but every other aspect of the show completely surpassed my expectations. While I wouldn't call it perfect, as one or two of the episodes aren't very good and only a few are truly exceptional, I will say that I was never bored, and I usually had a smile on my face. Samurai Champloo is just plain fun.
Fuu is a young orphaned girl doing her best to survive while working in a teashop. But her world as she knows it begins to unravel the minute a wandering Okinawan swordsman by the name of Mugen slouches into the shop while the daikon's abusive son and his rude cronies are also having some fun. When Fuu becomes the victim of their nasty games, she immediately offers Mugen fifty dango if he saves her from them. At the same time, a masterless samurai named Jin bears witness to the daikon's cruelty and quickly intervenes, easily dispatching the daikon's "best of the best" guards. Mugen also
beats everyone in the teashop up, starting with cutting off the arm of the man threatening Fuu, and demands better opponents from the daikon's son.
Jin wanders in after the lordling threatens Mugen with his father's elite guard, unaware that Jin has already taught them all a lesson. Mugen mistakes Jin for the "really strong" warriors but is quickly corrected. It makes no difference because Jin is now the strongest opponent available. To Fuu's chagrin, the pair of them immediately decide to duke it out in her teashop. The fight, however, ends abruptly when the man whose arm Mugen has just chopped off sets the place on fire.
That is how the story starts, and how three strange, wildly different people get together. Due to a strange series of events, Fuu has contracted both Mugen and Jin tol help her find the mysterious "samurai who smells of sunflowers". But how long can a young girl keep a pair of battle-crazy swordsmen under control, and how can they find a samurai by his scent alone (especially when Mugen doesn't even know what a sunlower is)?
Samurai Champloo is Shinichiro Watanabe's next great animated venture that came right on the heels of Cowboy Bebop. It's quite funny and insane and just as initially apparently plotless as Bebop but once again proves to be a masterpiece in character studies. Unlike Bebop (which I can't help comparing Champloo to), there isn't much of an overarching plot. Though Fuu's quest to find the mysterious sunflower samurai is the main plot point, it isn't as heavy or deep or as present as the Spike/Vicious conflict throughout Bebop. Most of the time, it's just Jin, Mugen, and Fuu wandering across Japan, getting into trouble, starving, almost dying, and fighting with random people for no true purpose. It is occasionally dramatic, sometimes gory, and frequently violent, but it is never too heavy. It's more entertainment than actual story, although there are several stories and themes that intertwine.
The art is breathtaking, of course. The landscapes and backgrounds are so amazingly beautiful and complete while animation is dazzlingly fluid. The fight scenes are absolutely excellent and exciting. The music appears inappropriate in theory but sounds perfect in actuality. Hip-hop and lounge music in a samurai anime? Was the director on crack? Not really. Just brilliant. With artists such as Tsutchie and NUJABES on board, the soundtrack is unexpectedly fitting and over-all quite good.
My final verdict is: it's a good and entertaining anime but lacks the depth that made Cowboy Bebop a masterpiece. Still, I wouldn't pass Champloo up. The characters and setting are just too awesome and realistically done. However, some aspects of the stories and humor may be hard to grasp, as they are much too deeply rooted in Japanese history to easily translate or understand. And if you're one of those people who think that, after seeing one samurai anime, you've seen them all - trust me. You haven't. Samurai Champloo has it faults, certainly, but it is most definitely unique.
Cowboy Bebop is one of my favorite anime of all time, but what about Bebop's little brother, Samurai Champloo? Honestly...I felt that Champloo was a crushing disappointment and really isn't that good in comparison. I know that isn't a popular opinion to state, but it is truthfully how I feel. Now I am going to analyze this series in depth to further elaborate.
The story is that a little girl named Fu is wandering around trying to find a mysterious samurai that smells of sunflowers. On her journey, she meets the cool headed Jin and the Wildman Mugen. Jin fights with a traditional kenjutsu style,
while Mugen integrates hip hop break dancing into his fighting style. Basically, he fights like Eddy Gordo from the Tekken series when some n00b is just mashing buttons. The plot is largely episodic much like Bebop, but the episodes aren’t nearly as interesting as the ones from Bebop. The main storyline is also quite a large leap backwards for Watanabe when compared to Bebop’s main story. Champloo tries to integrate chunks of Japanese history and traditional Japanese culture with American pop culture, especially rap and hip hop culture. This was a very ambitious and bold idea that could have worked, but I didn’t think it was executed in this series very well. The anime also touches on Christianity and its impact on Japanese history. Christianity is certainly handled by Watanabe with a LOT more care and respect than some other anime directors. I’m looking at you Anno!
The characters are really pretty bland compared the memorable cast from Bebop. Jin and Mugen simply aren’t as cool or as likeable as Spike, Fu isn’t as awesome as Ed or Fay, and there is no villain with anywhere near the level of badass that Vicious brought. Having said all that, the characters aren’t terrible when compared to the average anime. They just can’t match up with the ones Watanabe created in his previous work. I did like how Jin and Mugen had the classic Red Oni/Blue Oni dynamic going on. Other than that, the character relations really didn’t interest me to a great degree. Even Fu’s relation with her father just didn’t feel that interesting.
The art is actually very good. I would say the art is by far the highlight of the series. The animation looks smooth and the series has aged quite well. No complaints here!
One major difference between Bebop and Champloo is the choice of soundtrack: Jazz vs. rap. This is obviously a matter of personal taste, but I like Jazz in general more than I like rap. This is amplified quite a bit when the Jazz and Rap in competition is Yoko Kanno’s masterful Jazz OST vs. some very mediocre J-rap. Whereas Kanno’s use of big band Jazz in the style of Duke Ellington was highly impressive, the rap in Champloo is only a notch above the skill and quality of Mike Jones. If you don’t know who Mike Jones is…just type it into youtube. You can hate me later for introducing you to his “music”.
I enjoyed some episodes a lot more than I enjoyed others. I appreciate what the series was trying so hard to do, but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually enjoy it, no matter how much I wanted to.
Overall: 6/10 (7+7+8+3+5)/ 5 = 6
Samurai Champloo is by no means a bad anime series that you should avoid watching at all costs. That is NOT what I am trying to say. What I am saying is that it isn’t a particularly good series and it is a HUGE let down for fans of Bebop. If you want an anime with samurai, lots of rap, and a cross between Japanese and American hip hop culture, I would go with Afro Samurai. It is far superior to Samurai Champloo.
Substance over style, style over substance? Pretty visuals, or powerful plots? Glamorous production, or memorable themes? Sometimes it feels like writers and producers often ask themselves this question as a way of deciding what part of the show to sacrifice in service for another—a tightly written, genuinely complex narrative or brilliant visuals, dizzying cinematography and a high-flown music backing? Sometimes as a viewer it feels like we have to ask ourselves the same question—what I just watched, did I enjoy it superficially or was it something deeper than that? Why does one matter more than the other? Sometimes I have to ask myself if I
simply liked the way a show looked, or did it affect me on a more personal, genuine level?
But sometimes I’m left asking myself... was it both?
Samurai Champloo is one of these rare, no-compromise, all-inclusive anime experiences that leaves you feeling every conceivable emotion. It leaves you feeling warm because of its sincere themes, it leaves you inspired by the gorgeous, vivid visuals and it leaves you entranced by the dazzling soundtrack. It’s a show that you can enjoy in any capacity, in any mood, and under any lens. Do you like audiovisuals? Do you like action? Poignancy? Romance? Satire? It’s all there. If there was ever a show to embody the concept of universal enjoyment, in theory Samurai Champloo would be it.
A show can only go as far as its characters, so how far does Samurai Champloo go? The three main cast members were all treated fairly (although admittedly Mugen was given more treatment, being the main, main character) and they all had contrasting personalities. It's hands down one of the best use of character foils I've personally seen in anime; Mugen the big-mouthed and rogue criminal; Jin, the ice-cool and disciplined ronin; and Fuu, the brave yet petite teenager. Each of the characters are polar opposites of one another and because their personalities are written so consistently, their interactions are spectacularly entertaining to watch. The fashion in which they all bounce thoughts, dialogue and emotion off of one another is always enjoyable, but most importantly, natural as well. While as an anime emotions are dragged out and overplayed, it still feels oddly authentic—the characters are always true to how they are written so it never feels superficial.
Following the characters was the plot; it was kept simple: look for the “sunflower samurai” and in the process embark on an action-packed, treacherous adventure of smiles, laughter, tears and blood. The core theme of the narrative is the notion that the journeys we travel in life are more often than not more enjoyable and important than the destination or goal we arrive at. The emphasis is on important, because, if our trio of a cast simply found the Sunflower Samurai without their arduous journey, none of them would have progressed as characters like they did in the original story.
This is truly a special theme because of how easily it can be extrapolated to our lives—we all have dreams, ambitions and aspirations that we one day hope to achieve and while we fantasize and drool over the thoughts of achieving them, more often than not it won’t be the end goal itself that will give us the gratification. No, it’s something much more deep and sincere than that—it’s the shaky, uncertain path that you took to get there. The work, the emotions, the doubts, the failures, the small successes, everything that made reaching the end goal seem so impossible and difficult, that is what is truly gratifying. And like the show conveys to you… sometimes the end goal itself isn’t that special after all, and what is actually valuable, and what you actually take away from that long, exhausting journey… is the journey itself.
In terms of format, Samurai Champloo is episodic, and it uses that format to its advantage. By making it very obvious that the events in each episode were self-contained tales, the show was able to drastically change its tone from suspense, action, poignancy, etc. without seeming jarring. It was able to tell tales of heartbreak, tales of redemption, tales of hilarity, all without seeming like it didn't know what it wanted to be, and in the process take you on a roller coaster of emotions that leave a lasting mark.
The soundtrack of Samurai Champloo is phenomenal. It’s the part of the audiovisual experience that has to be addressed. Some of Nujabes’ best work, with low-fi beats and subtle hip-hop influences that juxtapose brilliantly with the traditional and orthodox Edo setting of the show. The ED song of Samurai Champloo, "Shiki no Uta", is also one of my favourite ED song of all time.
Maybe the story is not the best out there or is not the kind of art style that i usually like but it is good despite if i like it or not and the story even if it's not what i was expecting it was kind of good because it was episodic for the most part (which i don't like that much but if it's well made i will like it) and it's good, entertaining and enjoyable for the laughs and fight scenes.
We follow the story of a girl named Fuu who wants to find a samurai that smells like sunflowers, she brings Mugen
and Jin together after she met Mugen who triggered someone to burn the teahouse she worked as a waitress and Jin entering by coincidence and fighting with Mugen and therefore ''saving'' them from decapitation, they will find people that has relation with the plot but for the most parts are side stories, dealing with mature situations and that was good and entertaining although there is a thing forgotten later, maybe that only bothered me (a little) and it was that old ''mercenary'' samurai that was fighting against Jin who was really powerful and because of his power i wanted to see him again, just like he said himself that he had a feeling they will meet again and i was expecting him to appear in every ep. why? because he said so, but he doesn't appear again and ep. 22 and 23 are big fillers, they ran out of content and put a bad ep. like 22 with no relation whatsoever to the plot and a funny yet useless ep. 23 and why put those ep. why not put two ep. with the the before mentioed guy that fighted Jin and was about to kill him untill his contract ended with the dead of his contractor, it would be better in my opinion, the ending was fine, i didn't get why she wanted to make the journey if she didn't do anything in the end (looked to me she didn't do anything more than being a plot device), didn't liked it but i understood that their journey ended when they made the promise come true, but in general the story was good.
[b][u]Art & Animation[/u][/b]
This kind of art style is not something that i like a lot but it was good i guess, i liked the design of certain characters but not all of them, but yeah it was good.
The sound is very good, tho i like hip-hop, i don't see how it fits in anime, it does something mediocre like in Tokyo Tribe but in Samurai Champloo is kind of an exception for the little times the music is played, and when is played is properly done; The OP is good, the ED gives a vibe of being dramatic for the videoclip in general; The VA is great.
I liked a lot the characters because they have something, a chemistry that makes them work together and for their development through all the anime, they change a little, more for Mugen.
-Mugen might seem like a cocky douche that only thinks on himself and wants to pick on anyone but there's depth in him, he can be kind sometimes without knowing he's being kind, his back story was really good.
-Jin is a relaxed dude, he takes the things seriously and is really a good person despite his story (at first) makes you think he's somehow bad but at the end we get to know detailed his great deceiving back story.
-Fuu is a kid hearted girl that wants to find herself and the samurai that smells like sunflowers for a big reason (for her) she's funny at times and other times she's creating trouble for both of them or herself.
Well in this anime there are a lot of characters that are really great, the characters are the best from the anime, they succeed in being interesting and great in general.
It was very entertaining, tho i wouldn't say i enjoyed eps. 22 and 23 that much (23 was hilarious i give that) but i had a very good enjoyment from this with the comedy and the fight scenes.
The story has a main central plot. Two samurai (although I think Mugen shouldn't really be considered a traditional samurai) and a teahouse waitress meet and the swordsmen end up accompanying her on a journey to seek out the samurai who smells of sunflowers. However, each episode, or occasionally every two episodes, really has its own story, but still falls into the main storyline perfectly because these episode stories are really the stories of their travels.
In the beginning the whole sunflower samurai thing was somewhat vague and unexplained, but the truth of it becomes revealed throughout the series. I think it was a great story
that was well developed and the ending was actually pretty good in my opinion. It really didn't leave you hanging at all because the main storyline was entirely resolved (despite what the idiots who believe it wasn't resolved say.)
This story takes place in Japan's Edo Period (1603-1868,) however is really a revisionist historical series, meaning that the makers added some modern day elements that are anachronistic, predominately because the show contains hip-hop cultural attributes (i.e. break dancing, turntables, graffiti, Mugen's style, etc.) Also baseball did not arrive to Japan until 1878, ten years after the end of the Edo era, but the episode that contains a baseball game does fabricate a story that would make it possible. On the other hand, it does still actually show a lot of Edo historical aspects (such as the persecution against Christians, the nation's restriction of foreign affairs, Ukiyo-e paintings, and even a fictionalized version of a real life samurai (Miyamoto Musashi.) This blend of historical traits mixed with some modern themes makes the show very enjoyable.
Superb. The art style was very cool and the animation was nicely done. Consistently, throughout the whole series that is, the art was great, showing that they didn't slack off and really wanted to do a good job with this. The fighting scenes were brilliantly animated and always fluent, and the variety of camera angles and movements made it all very exciting.
Yes, outstanding, definitely. The music is meant to reflect the hip-hop genre, and it does so very well. The OP is a cool song that fits the style as well as the samurai theme of the series. The ED is also a nice song for the show, and on several episodes there is an alternate ED, and then it goes back to the main ED, so the changes every once in a while are nice.
The background music is top notch, especially during the action sequences. The music gets you so into the feel of the battle and makes it quite exciting. The sound effects are awesome. In the middle of the episodes when that screen shows up that says Samurai Champloo (where like a commercial would usually be,) as well during the actual episodes when one scene changes to another, there are cool sound effects like turntables and such that further add to the hip-hop feel.
There's all this talk about the hip-hop, but maybe you don't like hip-hop. However, trust me, it makes the show so enjoyable and adds greatly to the overall feel of the show, generating a remarkable outcome.
The show primarily revolves around three characters: Fuu, Mugen, and Jin.
Fuu is a 15 year old girl who lost her mother to illness and was always told she never had a father. Thus, at the start of the show, she was alone working as a waitress at a teahouse. It is her goal to find the samurai who smells like sunflowers, for a reason I can't disclose because I believe it'd be considered a spoiler. She loves to eat despite her small stature often bickers primarily with Mugen.
Mugen is a swordsman who really helps give off the hip-hop feel. His fighting style incorporates a break dancing like art with swordsmanship, making it very cool, original, and enjoyable to watch. At the start of the show he's displayed as a lone wolf sorta guy who is a troublemaker always on the hunt for a tougher opponent. Anything about his parents or family is basically unknown to him, however the focal point of his history is revealed, which is enough to satisfy the viewer.
Jin is more of a classical, orthodox, and traditional samurai. He remains as a rather cryptic and sophisticated type of dude. Always being more calm and quiet, he differs greatly with Mugen, which is great. However, their sword skills are equal, and thus they agree that after their journey with Fuu is complete they would kill each other. Jin's history, like Mugen's, isn't given to you in its entirety, however I think more than enough is given about him, telling you basically what you need to know.
The contrasting personalities and styles of this trio makes the story extremely enjoyable because it always creates great comedy and humor. I think everybody could come to love these characters due to their separate traits. The supporting characters are usually pretty interesting and perform their roles nicely, all that is needed for a supporting character really.
Unique and top-notch samurai sword fighting mixed with other weapons such as kusarigamas and the occasional firearm. Great humor produced by three significantly different characters. A story that every episode keeps you occupied and drawn in. A wonderful soundtrack and magnificent artwork that boost the quality of the show.
What more could you ask for in a shounen series? It's a great action show that shouldn't be passed up, if anything simply for how incredibly enjoyable it is.
This show could have been something special on the same page as such classics like Ninja Scroll(NOT THE TV SERIES), Samurai X OVAs, Rurouni Kenshin, or Basilisk.
Samurai Champloo could have been great like the classics above, but it ended up like Samurai Deeper Kyo. Just average, nothing special. There was nothing really special about the show. The characters were interesting, but not compelling. By the end I didn't really care that much about anyone of them. The mix of comedy was the one pretty good part of the show. The music was just bad, no make that terrible. The action never got me excited.
The animation was very good I'll give it that everything about that was great.
Now for the worst part the story throughout the 26 episodes were a big let down. The story had no real drama or drive, it never gave the characters any real emotion, and the ending was just plain anti-climatic. I like when shows end without no real resolution. It happens a lot in romantic anime, but even their character evolve and come to some sort of ending when the series ends. Samurai Champloo just ends without any king of resolution.
Overall a decent anime series, but also a disappointing series.
I cannot rate this show highly enough. Unlike many I found it more enjoyable than Cowboy Bebop. Although I think Cowboy Bepop is overall a better story this just had a great feel to it, something which is not tangible or easy to describe.
First of all the music is brilliant throughout. It shouldn't work yet Old School Hip Hop blends seamlessly into Edo Japanese culture, it's extremely well delivered.
I think this is a rare anime. Each episode, whilst technically linked, is almost independent from the rest. The plot of each episode has no real purpose in the grand scheme of the story but brilliantly allows
us to see the characteristics, personalities, motives and history of the three main protagonists. Other than cowboy Bebop I have not seen another anime like this, it is exceptional.
I'll try not to make this too long so you can go watch Samurai Champloo asap.
Samurai Champloo is a beautifully made anime that shows us the power of fate and will also make you laugh your ass off at times. Fuu, an accident prone waitress, Jin, a mysterious ronin and a badass Mugen all cross paths in the first episode, and after a series of comical mishaps, they begin their adventure together to find the Samurai "who smells of flowers" that Fuu is looking for. The journey that comes ahead will truly grip you and cause you to become attached to the characters and
the story, i highly recommend you give it a try, especially if you like Hip-Hop and Samurai themes both in the SAME anime. Feel free to read the rest, overall this is one of my favourite animes, beautifully done, and i hope you enjoy it!
read my little summary up there ^ and that should give you the main gist of it, but if you're looking for a laugh, cool fighting scenes, interesting and moving character histories/pasts and an overall great story, here is your stop my friend.
Bearing in mind that this was released in 2006, the art in my opinion is very good. It also has a unique feel to it that i personally haven't noticed as in this one in many other animes.
Soundracks are f***ing great. Come on, Hip-Hop and Samurais in one anime. Sweeeeeettttttt.
Characters are all very different and very interesting, but they also share some things in common. Not to mention that they all also have interesting pasts/history.
I found it very difficult to take a break from watching it since the story is so gripping, and you won't find many if any boring parts as there will always be something funny or exciting happening to keep your attention and want to see more.
Don't really have much else to say off the top of my head, other than it was amazing, please watch it and i highly doubt that you will regret it! Enjoy!!!
Story: Well the fact that the whole thing starts off with them looking for a Samurai that smells like Sunflowers is kinda weak, but what it grows into is something that only happens in a couple of shows. One thing about this story is it kept me guessing until the end of the series at what would happen.
Animation: Personally I loved this style of animation it was very original and I have never seen a style like this again. But some people wont like this style so if you dont like it oh well.
Sound: Although I am not a big fan of hip
hop music I do love this hip hop style. I don\'t know why. I think it is because they mix the action and sound together so well.
Character: The two main characters are just great. They are both pretty funny and and girl that they are traveling with just adds to the formula.
Enjoyment: Great fights, very funny parts and some very series parts that fit in perfectly.
Overall: If you like swords and swordsmen then this is a must.
I promised to some friends that some day I would do a review on Samurai Champloo.
And well, since the dough for the Nikuman is still rising, I might as well do this now. So, where to start?
First of all, if you visit my profile you'll find out rather quickly that I'm not a big fan of Watanabe Shinichiro. Or his works. Still, I try to rate it as objective as possible. So, lets get started already.
The first point on my list would be the story aspect, which I split up in three sections (something I'll do for every category, be prepared): The actual story, the
setting used, as well as the execution of said story.
Story 2/3: As you know from the synopsis, Fuu is searching for a 'samurai that smells like sunflowers'. Why she does that is left in the dark at first, but is a pretty promising start. It leaves a lot of options where to go with the story, and grabs your attention. On the other hand, this plot isn't anything special either, we have seen this plot before, and I can guarantee, we will see it again.
Setting 1/3: I am a weaboo. And I f'n love japan, I love the Sengoku era, I love the Meiji era, so what could possibly go wrong, right? To be honest, while I like this time setting, I never felt like Watanabe made much use of it. It might as well have played in renaissance europe, or in space, or in medieval america or parts-unknown. It wouldn't make any difference to the story except the samurai being a knight, panther warrior, astronaut or whatever.
Execution 1/3: Just like in Cowboy Bebop Watanabe nearly spends no time on developing his characters or story, but instead focusses on pointing out the differences between that time depicted and our own time, which he describes as better (Sidenote: Our time is not better than the past, each time has its own problems to tackle. But this is a discussion for some other time).
The story is mostly episodic, with moreoften than not episodes, which absolutely do nothing to the overaching plot. So overall, lots of episodes felt to me like a total waste of time.
So the overall story score is 5/10 (No, this is no error)
The Art. This section contains the character designs, the Backgrounds, as well as the fluency of animation (especially in battlescenes).
Character designs 1/3: To be honest, the character designs are the worst part of this anime, because quite frankly, they look unproportional. Especially Fuu's and Jin's heads.
I feel like Jins head is way too thin for his body, while Fuu on the other hand has a rather broad head. Your typical head would be like 1/3 of the shoulders, but Fuu's head is big enough to fill over half of her shoulders. Jins head on the other hand is thin enough to only take 1/4 to 1/5 of his shoulders. This looks really weird (for reference, I took ep 25 7:17 as example).
Also, in contrast to the background the characters are quite pale, with their skin being nearly white. The characters are (thats hard to describe, I hope I can get this across correctly) outlined pretty sharply, so they look like cut-out figures running over a paining. Which is a rather good transition...
Background 2/3: ...because the background seems like a drawn painting which uses oil colors. Well, I'm not much of an artist though. Why is it not full score? Because I miss some clear contures. Even on distances like 10 meters or so, most objects are depicted as rough outlinings.
Animation 2/3: This is probably the point I pondered on the most. So I will start the simple part. Outside of battlescenes the animation is just as good, as you'd expect. It isn't mindblowingly good, but it does it job. But now the fightingscenes... (again, I took ep 25 as reference) For some of the scenes I were pondering whether this is 2 or 3 points, and for some I were pondering whether I give 1 or 2 points... First of, the battle scenes are rather americanized. What does that mean, you wonder? The battleanimations certainly look flashy and all, but to a point where they sacrificed realism for action. Pretty much the same way as Hollywood does on a regular basis. As a kendoka myself, I obviously disliked that fact. Scenes I remember clearly are for example running on the sides of buildings, cutting whole stones with a kama, or single animated strikes with 3 or more after images of attacks. Don't get me wrong, other anime do this, too. But those aren't set in a (pseudo)realistic Meiji-era japan.
Thats not too shabby for the art works at least, 6/10.
The soundscore is pretty obvious. Voice acting (since I nearly never watch dubs, I'm just rating the japanese ones), BGM/OST, and OP/ED.
Voice acting 2/3: With Saber as one of my favorites one would think, that I throw all rationalism out of my window right now, but unfortunately I dislike Kawasumi Ayako in her role as 'Damsel in distress'. It doesn't really fit her image, but obviously she's a good enough voice actress to make it at least work. Nakai Kazuya on the other hand is just as great as always. I mainly remember him from Gintama (Hijikata), and well... there is absolutely nothing I could criticize here. He hits the role of Mugen perfectly. Period. Sato Ginpei on the other hand is rather unexperienced, and for his particular role he works pretty well. He doesn't seem to emotional, but I can't remember Jin having emotional lines to begin with... Same for the rest of the cast, they definitely do their job good enough to not drag down the anime, but they don't blow off my head either.
BGM/OST 0/3: I think I should mention this first - I.am.not.a.Hip-hop.Fan. Now it's out. Nonetheless. Anime like Peace Maker Kurogane prooved for me that Hiphop-Meiji is a viable combination, if used correctly. And as you already can guess from 'if used correcty' I don't think that Samurai Champloo did a good job with it's OST. Rather than supporting the themes or situations of the anime, the OST just went off and did its own thing. To put it simply, I felt like watching an anime, while at the same time having a random Hiphop CD in my CD Player. The music and the pictures were never in sync, at least thats what I feel like. Especially as fighting themes the BGM used felt really misplaced (I don't even need to write this anymore, but again ep 25).
OP/ED 1/3: As mentioned earlier, Hiphop and Meiji is viable. Unfortunately I seriously disliked the OP 'Battlecry'. So much, that at some point I started skipping it. However, even though it is not my taste, I feel like it fits the anime. The EDs on the other hand are more to my taste, even if just by a small margin. Still, I rarely listened to any of those, so I won't dwell to long on this.
Of course, the score went a bit down because music taste is subjective, but I think I tried my best to stay more on the objective side of things. Overall 4/10 for the Sound.
Next is the characters-section... Short spoiler, I never came to like any of those characters.
However. I rate for the initial character design, their development (both characters and relationships), as well as the relation/interaction between the characters.
Initial character design 2/3: The anime starts with a cast of three completely different characters. Ditzy Fuu, mysterious Jin, and wild Mugen. They all have their points of interest, vived backgrounds, and are overall well rounded. Again though, without blowing your head off of excitement. The same goes for the introduced side characters. the episodes in which they appear deliver adequate information on their backgrounds, as well as reasons etc.
Development 1/3: I... just wanted to write something witty, but I can't come up with anything! To be honest, if I compare the start and end traits of the characters and relations I reach just one conclusion: Next to nothing changed. Don't get me wrong, they definitely developed, but I don't feel like they would act different from before.
Relations 2/3: Well, I already mentioned that all of the maincharacters act and think completely different. This obviously ends up in pretty interesting interactions as well. Unfortunately those interactions are as old as anime. Or even older. None of the situations are new or groundbreaking, but they are not bad either.
So overall, its 6/10. (I don't want to compare the cast of Champloo and Bebop, which is pretty much identical)
Finally, my Enjoyment. This is the only section which is, and always will be, completely subjective. I decide on how much I liked what I saw, how much I want a continuition (or in ongoing anime how much I look forward to the next episode), whether or not I would recommend it to friends, and whether I would woatch it again (and how often i would watch it again).
So, much ado about nothing...
Did I like it? No.
Do I want a continuiton? No.
Do I recommend it? Depends on who asks me, but I wouldn't recommend it to most people I know at least.
Would I watch it again? Please.
So, Enjoyment ist pretty much 1/10. I can't remember myself even smiling once during this anime.
But here's the point. I don't really feel like rate something bad, just because I dislike it.
For the overall rating I won't use my own Enjoyment, but an average of 5 pts.
Just for reference, an enjoyment of 1 would result in an Overall score of 4.4, the maximum enjoyment would result in an Overall score of 6.2.
As usual I appreciate feedback to improve my reviews.
And now, my dough is done, time to eat.
Story 5/10 - Mediocre story of a girl searching a certain person.
Art 6/10 - Fluent animation with unrealistic movement
Sound 4/10 - Good voiceacting, but no synergy of sound and picture
Char 6/10 - Well round cast, without much development.
Enjoy depends on watcher.
"Can't really think too much of anything right now because I'm still reeling from Nujabes news...I'll try though.
Don't bother comparing it to Cowboy Bebop - it's inferior to CB. It's a nice series but nonessential. Fu is not Faye (don't even think about it) - fufufu. The ending was meh. If you try to compare it to CB; I'd say "Bang!"
No problem with beginners taking on this one. It's peopled by colorful characters and even more colorful palette. Being Manglobe, it's an eye candy. Some are saying the dubs are very good but I've only seen the subs." - TsukikageRan
really liked Samurai champloo because it had great animation a good storyline and some really good back n forth fights which a couple of times were like oh Sh**" - Redhydoken7
"what i have to say is the ending was a let down but the fights were good i have seen better but i have seen worse out there. Mugen was my favorite because of his non normal fighting style that is probably one of the best parts his fights weren't all run in head first sword clash, sword clash back off finishing blow." - dynamo_electron
"It was a good series, good drama, good action, unique style, and characters that are well developed and lovable. You can't really go wrong watching this series." - tigerz
"I'm still a compassionate fan after so long! Mostly, because it gave me the best impression of anything animated I ever saw back then. I just loved the weirdness of the main characters (i.e. I don't know anybody's last name) and the others like the painter, detective, old fisherman...the undead people. And I love Jin...I never liked an anime character that much before. D=
Oh and I actually liked the ending, since I can't really think of anything that I wished was changed." - zewho
"some "arcs" are interesting or funny, some "arcs" are terrible (*cough mushroom cough*).
It isn't a consistant anime. It has an average main plotline and average background stories. Storytelling was above average.
However, it does convey its own style through characters and music quite effectively. (Even though those characters and that style isn't the sort i like.)
Action was good too - reasonably fluid and somewhat realistic movements.
Essential? I wouldn't exactly say that, but if you've seen a decent amount of anime, it is highly recommended for you to watch it to appreciate its unique style and to some extent the animation.
Compared to cowboy bebop... well i'm not exactly a fan of cowboy bebop, so i preferred samurai champloo over it. But they are similar. They both use a genre of music rarely used in anime and convey their own style. They're also both inconsistant in that some parts are exceedingly entertaining (well... maybe not in bebop) while other parts are like applying chloroform to yourself. Samurai Champloo's characters are probably slightly more exaggerated than those in Cowboy Bebop.
I would also say that Samurai Champloo's popularity far exceeds its quality (though not as much as bebop)." - dxthegreat
"Aww helll naaaaw. The greatness of Bebop cannot be duplicated no matter how hard one tries. This anime said exactly one thing to me "I wanna be like Bebop."
If this came before Bebop, I probably would have liked it more. Think of it like this, there is a really awesome old brother who gets laid 24/7 and has lots of money, and there's the nerdy younger brother who still lives with his parents and has no friends." - LV69_Squirtle
"i hate to criticize but when you start to compare one anime to another you just can;t enjoy it as much. i watched samurai champloo before cowboy bebop. just ,my humble opinion though" - apocalipse369
"First of all, sorry for my english. -_-'
I really enjoyed this anime. There was an entertainment ,truly sad, awesome struggle and just beautiful moments. Champloo is very colourful and rhythmic. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. But story goes the way it should.
I love "Battlecry" and "How you feel" tracks ))
Comparing to Bebop, Champloo isn't better but... You know even thinking of Spike doing me so sad. Bebop more serious, more adult I guess." - freakylem
"Samurai Champloo became one of my favourite series when I watched it. I loved the characters (especially Jin:3) and the incredible action scenes among with the great animation. Storytelling was ok what I remember.. Also I payed attention to the funny, sometimes subtle facial expressions that the characters showed, just like in Cowboy Bebop.
The thing was, I actually didn't know that Bebop was Champloo's predecessor or something until after I had watched the series (meaning Champloo). So, I didn't end up comparing the series with one another while watching Champloo, which was a good thing. ^^
In my opinion, this series is a must-see at least for those who like anime with action and samurais.. I recommend this for beginners too ;)" - chibber
I am probably one of the very few people that have watched Samurai Champloo before Cowboy Bebop. I find this great as I don't end up comparing the two as they are directed by the same person, Shinchiro Watanabe. Because Cowboy Bebop is highly acclaimed as one of the best Anime out there, it would not help out Champloo's case as it would be frowned upon for not being as good as Cowboy Bebop. Anyways, onto the Review!
Samurai Champloo is a 2004 anime directed by Shinchiro Watanabe and produced by studio Manglobe, which follows the story of 3 main protagonists; Mugen, Jin, and Fuu as
they "coincidentally" run into each other and set off on Fuu's goal of reaching the "Samurai that smells of Sunflowers." This anime is set in a Fictional Edo period of Japan, with many hip hop elements mixed in with traditional Japanese culture.
Even though Champloo does have a main goal, this series is mainly episodic, focusing on the actual journey than the goal itself. This does hurt the story a bit as it feels like the end goal is just a plot element to keep the story going. However, each episode, though rather formulaic at times, is very intriguing with the various people they meet on the way and the various struggles they have. There are also many comedic elements in Champloo, which are for the most part hit and miss. There is one scene in all of Champloo that is pretty hilarious, and you will know what I'm talking about.
As someone who has been watching more recent titles, it is hard to judge Champloo as it is a 2004 anime, and production quality has soared since that time. However, you can easily tell that the quality on the animation was top notch at it's time. All the fight scenes are absolutely beautiful, with everything being so smooth and captivating. There are few times when you can notice the quality of the animation drop during less action-oriented scenes, but are fairly rare.
Soundwise, Samurai Champloo does something completely different that I personally have never seen in an anime. It's main genre of music is hip hop, with some "Traditional" Japanese music thrown in. I myself am not a big fan of Hip Hop, but it does go well with the show, and I did enjoy it for the most part. The opening took a while to get used to, but I now regard it as one of my favourites. The ending is also very catchy, and could even be better than the opening track if Hip Hop isn't in you're musical tastes.
The characters of Samurai Champloo are it's weakest element. You have Mugen, the badass samurai that fights in a completely unorthadox style and takes no shit from nobody. Then we have Jin, who is basically the polar opposite of Mugen, where he is a more traditional samurai and doesn't talk
as much, and acts a lot more calm and collected. Then we have Fuu, a girl who gets kidnapped a lot, eats everyone out of house and home, and is completely depended on Mugen and Jin. This is ironic because Fuu is the only one that gets any character development. There is also very little backstory for all of the main protagonists, which is pretty disappointing. I do however like the contrast that Jin and Mugen have with each other, and provides a sort of balance. And even though Mugen's character is static throughout the series, it is just plain fun to watch him spew out profanity and watch his obscure way of fighting.
Overall, this anime is just cool. It has many flaws in itself, but the sheer badassery of it all just makes it a fun experience. The whole historical fiction thing might throw a few people off, but I do recommend this quite highly. Thanks for reading my first anime review, I hope you found this helpful!
I just finished watching Samurai Champloo, and a few things come to mind. One, I originally watched the series because of a profound enjoyment of Shinichiro Watanabe's other directorial effort, Cowboy Bebop. On the surface, Champloo seems a lot like Bebop - a stylized fantasy view of a typical genre mixed with a contemporary and unique soundtrack.
For Watanabe's shows, music plays a vital role in expressing the atmosphere and character of the setting, and is very much a character in and of itself. Such was the case in Cowboy Bebop, and Samurai Champloo attempts to do the same. Only, this time, Champloo comes short of
Bebop's example, and fails in a few ways.
Story: This is the story of three wanderers who meet up and join forces to search for a "samurai who smells of sunflowers". I won't give away much here, but I found the plot to be incredibly disjointed and hollow. The only real antagonists make themselves known within the last 6 or so episodes of the series, and most of the preceding episodes are pretty much filler. This is a series that could have benefitted from a shortening in length to perhaps 13 episodes to preserve plot integrity. The last handful of episodes redeem the plot somewhat, but a handful of awesome doesn't quite make up for the bucketful of yawns that precede it.
Art: I found the artwork in Samurai Champloo to be pretty good as a whole. The swordfighting scenes specifically are fantastic, and motion is fluid and exciting, particularly when Mugen fights someone. Thumbs up here.
Sound: As mentioned before, Watanabe's previous work, Cowboy Bebop, successfully married jazz music with sic-fi to create something altogether unique and creative. Champloo attempts to do the same with samurai and hip-hop, but the end result doesn't impress as much as one would think. A much better effect could be had by just watching the fight scenes of this show while playing a Wu-Tang CD. Sometimes the music does not fit the scene, and sometimes the music for a dramatic scene is a bit too subtle. Hip hop as a genre really shouldn't be subtle, and the high hopes promised by the opening theme are not lived up to by the background music. Also, should the ending theme have been a sappy J-pop song? If you were gonna do the whole hip hop thing, go the whole way.
Character: The three main characters are interesting, but I cannot give too high a score here because there really isn't a lot of development of any antagonists. All of the character-moments of the series involve the three heroes, and while they are fairly developed, it seems as though some questions are left unanswered. Each main character had a serviceable background story, but their pasts seemed glossed over a bit. Some funny moments are had at the expense of Mugen particularly, and the different natures of the protagonists lead to some memorable scenes. However, as I mentioned before, these characters are the ONLY ones that are developed. Some characters appear for an episode or two and are never explained or developed in the time that they're there (the secret policeman comes to mind)
Enjoyment: After all the nitpicking, I enjoyed the series, mostly because of the few awesome tense moments and the sword fighting. This series has a lot of flaws, and is overall a disappointment for those expecting another Cowboy Bebop, but low expectations and a taste for fluid fight choreography can garner a good bit of enjoyment out of this series.
Overall: I'd say rewatchability is about medium. I wouldn't mind watching some of the major fights again, but unlike Cowboy Bebop, there are definitely skippable episodes upon rewatching for this show. Although enjoyable, Watanabe van do better - which leaves me still searching for the perfect samurai anime.