Anime Review: Samurai Champloo
Samurai meets modern Hip-Hop is the best way to describe this highly stylish and beautifully directed anime. From the director of Cowboy Bebop spawns a fresh concept using skilled swordsmen in feudal Japan with a twist.
Mugen, a rough, street fighting, elusive swordsman encounters a young girl called Fuu who is in a spot of bother. The local gang has her captured ready to be punished for spilling tea on the boss. After Fuu strikes a deal which involves free food for Mugen, he defeats them all in a flash. Meanwhile in another location, Jin also defeats his enemies effortlessly only for fate to bring the pair together. Like mixing water and oil together the characters offset one another superbly with only Fuu keeping them from killing each other.
The three of them set off on a journey to find “The Sunflower Samurai” and thus the adventures begin scaling Japan meeting various characters on the way. From entering an eating contest, graffiti tagging to travelling with a gay Dutchman, this anime continues to provoke, surprise and entertain throughout with its blend of Hip-Hop styled edits and wonderfully crafted music.
The animation is beautifully rendered in 2D with the fight scenes flowing with artistic quality. Everything about Samurai Shamploo just feels fresh and with superb style which is testament to the director. The episode where one of the supporting cast provides the backing beat with a microphone for the boss to hit on Fuu via lyrics was a highlight for me, just showing the diversity of the series.
Comedy is used in great effect with visual gags and in-line jokes. While predominately not a comedy series, it has healthy amounts of it as much as the darker, gorier fight scenes. The voice acting also deserves mentioning as the Japanese actors fuse with the main characters so well with ranges of emotions and performances.
In all this is one of the modern anime series that you cannot afford to miss. Available to import on DVD (with box set) and available here in the UK for £19.99 it is well worth the investment. Just but it already!
- Modern, fresh, stylish, merging hip-hop with samurai action like never before
- Funny, provocative, dramatic and beautiful fight scenes
- Wonderful music suiting the anime perfectly
- Great mix of main and supporting characters
- Ending is a bit “Meh”
- Some episodes not as good as others
You can buy Samurai Champloo from Amazon UK for £22.99.