Samurai Champloo Review


Samurai Champloo is a beautiful anime. The manga originally released in January 2004, and its anime adaptation released soon after in May 2005. Shinchirō Watanabe directed the show. Watanabe is well known for his work on Cowboy Bebop, a wildly famous anime from 1998 that many regard as the greatest anime of all time. 

Samurai Champloo is well known for its unique hip-hop theme orchestrated by Nujabes. Nujabes is a relatively underground producer famous for redefining hip-hop, and pioneering what is now known today as lofi hip-hop. Unfortunately, he passed away in February of 2010, but he left his mark on the world with his amazing work.

The show takes place in Japan’s Edo period — a period of peace in Japan from 1603-1868. The Edo period was the last period of Japan’s history with samurai. However, this Edo period has a twist to it that heavily involves hip-hop culture. Beatboxing, graffiti tagging, and even sports like baseball are all fair game in the show.

The title of the show, Samurai Champloo, comes from the word chanpurū, which means “to mix”. This goes along with the crazy mix of personalities in just the small trio of main characters in the show, as well as the crazy mix of hip-hop culture into an ancient period in Japan.

Two out of the three main characters in the show are samurai — Mugen and Jin. Mugen is a very unorthodox samurai: He grew up on a prison island and obtained his skills through fighting for survival. He is very impulsive, unorganized, unintelligent, and quite funny. On the other hand, Jin is a well-put-together samurai that trained in a dojo. His skills are very polished, as is his personality. He is very calm, organized, and well-mannered. The final main character is Fuu. Fuu is a waitress with no particular skills and is rather dramatic, but she is the one who holds their group together.

They meet in rather odd circumstances, where both Mugen and Jin are sentenced to be executed but fight their way out of it. Fuu attempted to help — although her efforts amounted to almost nothing — and claims that because she helped them, Mugen and Jin need to help her find the man she is looking for: the samurai who smells of sunflowers. The only issue with this request is that Mugen and Jin have no idea who this person is, and Fuu refuses to tell them which causes a lot of confusion and frustration.

Throughout the entirety of the show, Mugen and Jin try to kill each other to determine who is the stronger fighter, but everytime Fuu steps in and stops them. Although they swear they are enemies, they grow a mutual respect for each other and by the end of the show they declare their friendship.

The trio go on many crazy adventures. Some are short and sweet, while others are long moving adventures that delve into the pasts of the characters. Each episode has an effective balance of action, comedy, and storytelling. The beautiful animations backed by amazing music production by Nujabes creates an unforgettable anime. 

The action scenes are awesome as almost all of the fighting is done with swords. The fighting is very fast paced, and unlike a lot of other shows it is rather realistic. For the most part, the characters are not given any crazy plot armor, none of them mystically unlock some crazy power in the middle of the fight, and the fights are not long and drawn out with tons of dialogue. The characters go in for swift nail-biting combat until one of them is declared the victor.

The show has racked up some amazing reviews. It racked up an impressive 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and a phenomenal 97% audience rating. It also received an 8.5/10 on myanimelist, which is remarkable since the highest rated show on that website has only received a 9.1/10.

Samurai Champloo is a beautifully crafted show. Its unique theme, engaging episodes, and lovable characters blend together perfectly to provide an unforgettable series. It has received awesome reviews, which are very well deserved. Watanabe and Nujabes did a phenomenal job creating this show, and hopefully more people continue to watch it so their hard work will never be forgotten.


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