12 October 2005 | J5iftY5iveXtreme
"Samurai Champloo" is perhaps one of the best shows in the animé genre that I've ever seen. It is the masterpiece born from the artistic mind of Shinichirô Watanabe (famous for his work in "Cowboy Beepbop"), Kazuto Nakazawa, and Mahiro Maeda.
Set in Japan's Samurai Era (1200's-1800's), this show tells the tale of three people: Jin, Mugen, and Fuu. Jin is a ronin (wandering samurai). Calm, cool, and skilled in the art of the sword. Mugen is hot-tempered and has a short temper, the exact opposite of Jin. When these two warriors are nearly executed, they are saved by a tea shop waitress named Fuu. In return for her help, the two warriors promise to help her find "the samurai with the smell of sunflowers." The two agree with Fuu, and they go on this journey, beginning an exciting adventure as well as long and fateful friendship.
"Samurai Camploo" is one of the best animations taking place in Japan of olden times, not to mention among the best in its genre. The animation is gorgeous. The lightning and shading is mesmerizing. Also, the painted backgrounds are lush and draws the viewer in. Watanabe really shows his skill as an animator in this one. The animation is one of the best features in this show. It has one of the best stylizations in anime. The atmosphere rocks.
The story lines, too, are great. Set in feudal Japan, this show does a great job of showing the life and times of ronin samurai at that time. From the the peasants, to the prostitutes, to the gangsters, to just about everyone, this show has a graphic depiction of Japan during its Samurai Era, when the warrior was the dominant force in everyone's lives. The show even goes to show what type of clothes they wore, what houses they lived in, and what food they all -- all accurately. Only the Japanese know how to portray their history graphically.
Speaking of graphic, this show in realistic in terms of real. It includes some profanity (although minor) and goes deep into the underground world of the brothels. In Japan, animation is for everyone, not just kids, and this show in very mature. Its story lines are very complicated. Its issues are deep and meaningful. At times, some episodes are dark, even showing death scenes and bloodshed, but this is exactly what makes this show cool.
Now, the soundtrack. "Samurai Champloo" features a hip hop and RnB soundtrack and incorporates some traditional songs. What makes "Champloo" so unique in anime is that it combines the modern with the olden, and this is why the show is cool. The hip hop beats in this period piece are nice to listen to and blends in with the Fuedal Japan setting. The word "Champloo" means mix, and this anime mixes the modern with the olden, from Jin having glasses, to the language of the characters; the people here (in the English version) speak in modern American slang and vernacular. And rather than downplaying the ancient feel of this show, this show still retains its olden times aspects.
"Samurai Champloo" is a must-see for all fans of this genre and animation in general.