15 March 2005 | Ryojin20
Absolute Anime Brilliance!
I was at Best Buy one time checking out the anime section, there I found Samurai Champloo for sale. I am a big fan of samurai anime so I took a look at it. Two things made me want to buy it: the dream team of director Shinchiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop & The Animatrix), designers Kazuto Nakazawa (Kill Bill Vol. 1: Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren), and Mahiro Maeda (Last Exile & Blue Submarine No. 6), and an awesome, hard-hitting hip hop soundtrack! There aren't many animes that have rap soundtracks, so I had to check this out. Samurai Champloo is one of the best new animes. Brilliant animation, memorable characters, laid-back kinetic atmosphere, great music, and kick-ass Hong Kong, Akira Kurosawa style fight sequences. The story revolves around two highly skilled ronins and a girl: Mugen, a violent, buck wild swordsman whose style emphasizes one hand kendo and Capoeira. Jin, a mysterious, calm gentleman swordsman that masters traditional, straight-forward Japanese Swordsmanship. And Fuu, a young, beautiful ditzy waitress. After Fuu saves them from being executed, Mugen and Jin agree to temporarily set aside their differences and help her in her quest to find the "samurai who smells of sunflowers. Jin and Mugen are the perfect examples of the yin-yang concept. These unstoppable, independent warriors are complete opposites, but their skills are equal to each other. Fuu plays a perfect mediator between the two. This series has strong ties to Watanabe's previous classic, Cowboy Bebop: same style action and atmosphere, but with a hip-hop soundtrack instead of Jazz. And Mugen, Jin, and Fuu could be compared to Spike, Jet, and Faye. But what makes this series original is the hybrid combination of a feudal Japan setting and philosophy with modern fighting, urban street flavor personality, and off-beat comedy, hence the title "Champloo", meaning stir-fry. The verbal exchanges between the three heroes are amusing and great to watch. They series also utilize rap DJ record style scratching to switch between scenes perfectly. Overall, Samurai Champloo is an anime bond to be a classic, and raises the level for anime. If you are a major anime fan, check this out, it will be an excellent addition to a collection.
***** (5 stars) Ryojin20 favorite!