Anime Review: Samurai Champloo

samuraiGenre: Historical/Comedy

Studio: Manglobe

Distributor: FUNimation, also streams on Hulu.

No of Episodes: 26

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating:  9/10

Summary: A waitress named Fuu hires two samurai named Mugen and Jinn to protect her as she looks for the “samurai who smells of sunflowers.”  There’s a small problem: They both can’t stand each other!

Review: When I first saw this series on Adult Swim, I did not get what I expected.  I expected a typical samurai-themed anime and I was way off.  As they warn you in the first episode this is not an accurate representation of the feudal era.  In one episode, we see a swordsman whose attendants actually rap about his prowess (he even uses his sword like a microphone.)  Another episode has the main trio participate in an eating contest, complete with commentators acting like modern sportscasters.  There’s even an episode with a baseball game!  I doubt very seriously baseball was even around in the US back then.

Fuu is a great woman.  Yes, she does occasionally fall into the perpetual damsel in distress trope, which normally annoys me profusely. But here, I can tolerate it because she has backbone.  She doesn’t take crap from anyone.  She’s certainly not as good a fighter as Mugen or Jinn, but she can hold her own.

Mugen is both funny and awesome.  He’s often down on his luck, and when Fuu finds him, he’s penniless.  He’s unruly, uncouth, and just generally a jerk.  But you definitely don’t want to fight this guy. He can fight just as well with his feet as with his sword, even if his technique seems more like breakdancing than actual fighting.  He’s the denser of the group, but he’s still pretty good.

Jinn is the brains of the group, complete with glasses (tiny spoiler: They’re just for show).  Unlike Mugen, Jinn is more reserved.  He’s mostly a silent type, preferring to let his sword speak for him.  But his harshest actual words are towards Mugen.  He’s quite brutal with his wit. Of the three, I like Jinn best.

Overall, this is one of my all-time favorites.  The action is well-choreographed.  The characters are believable, even with the intended inaccuracies.  If you like Saiyuki or Rurouni Kenshin, check this out.

Sub/Dub: The dub is fantastic.  Steve Blum plays Mugen, and is again in top form.

Music/Score: I love both themes.

Violence:  (8/10) Being a samurai-themed story, expect some blood.

Language: (2/10) Mugen curses a lot!

Nudity: (3/10) There’s a hot springs episode and an artist tries to con Fuu into posing nude for him in the second episode.

Sexuality: (4/10) In addition to what I mentioned in the nudity section, there are also a few scenes where Fuu is molested.

Religion (1/10) SPOILER! In a late episode, Fuu meets a woman who belongs to a hidden Christian society. (Turns out the anime actually got this one right, including the location.) She is quite kind to Fuu. Later in the same episode, a con artist is masquerading as a priest.

Related Media: There is a manga based on the show.

 

 

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  1. #1 by aghammer99 on April 9, 2013 - 11:48 pm

    9/10??? Whaa… clearly a 10/10! 🙂 One of my favorite animes… so much fun. My wife didn’t like it but she doesn’t do well with anachronisms although I love the blend of the old school and the new (glasses, etc) along with a really cool beboppy soundtrack. I also like the arty art and the storyline rocks… thanks for the review bro

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