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SAMURAI CHAMPLOO #22 + DEADMAN WONDERLAND #5 -- Watch & Learn

Freaky smiles all around.

I can’t help wondering if this was intended to be some oblique tribute to “Thriller.” There’s no funky beat, of course, but somewhere in the staging of zombies, in the Vincent Price-like narration and in Fuu’s repeated shrieking, I started thinking of MJ’s classic video. Hell, the one zombie who gets his arm cut off even looks vaguely like John Landis with his anachronistic glasses and bushy beard. I’m not saying there’s anything explicit, nor meaningful, about such a tribute, but it definitely feels like it’s there.

Hell, maybe this episode was guest directed by John Landis? The freaky, off-kilter tone was definitely already a change of pace. Then, they dealt with some supernatural phenomena and fourth wall breaking that seemed rather removed from the usual level of fantasy that we’ve come to expect from the show. Honestly, I was expecting this whole thing to turn out to be some bad mushroom-induced nightmare that Fuu was experience after her growling gut got her to make a spurious choice in on-the-field cuisine.

I mean, the last scene couldn’t have been real, right? Whether it’s a chillingly prophetic vision of Nagasaki’s fate or not, there’s no way this trio of characters just got nuked in Edo era Japan.

Watch this episode, "Cosmic Collisions” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Seriously, what were some of you lunatics thinking? Ganta isn’t whiney. Without any doubt, the kid’s proven himself to be the most assertive teen hero I’ve seen in any of the shows I’ve ever watched for this column. Where, say, Shinji would shrink into a corner about his blood powers, Ganta gets over the weirdness pretty quickly and just owns these freaky abilities. Where Renton would’ve allowed even his friends to push him around, Ganta throws his weight about and tells a dangerous, homicidal convict to stop calling him a kid before subsequently dropping the bastard.

None of that sounds especially whiney to me.

There’s something else to complain about, though. As I alluded to in the last write-up, this show’s attempts at staging so much of its action in the dark has proven to be a really clumsy misfire. There are big chunks of the episode where I honestly can’t tell what’s going on - - and that’s an even bigger drawback during Shiro’s jail break from G Block. Instead of just getting hit with a visceral surprise regarding this girl, I had to sit back and logically suss out how the image of her standing in the fires related to her power levels.

Or is complaining about that a type of whining to you guys?

Watch this episode, “Carnival Corpse” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk<

Lurkero is online on Aug. 19, 2012 at 6:24 p.m.

I wasn't sure what to think about that episode of Samurai Champloo. Honestly, it was odd and didn't add much to the series. I wasn't sure how the show wanted me to react. Episodes 22 and 23 are honestly confusing and I felt like they could have used those episodes to flesh out the plot and characters more rather than playing around.

As for Deadman Wonderland, I'll be the first to admit that I only watched the first few episodes. Perhaps "whiny" is not the word for Ganta. The situation he is in is very scary. It just felt odd that at some points he would be determined and at others he would be dependent. His personality switched between the two and I didn't like it. It worked in FLCL because that show was meant to be goofy, but Deadman is pretty serious.

yllekkramon Aug. 20, 2012 at 5:34 a.m.

@Lurkero said:

Episodes 22 and 23 are honestly confusing and I felt like they could have used those episodes to flesh out the plot and characters more rather than playing around.

I can't offer any defense for episode 22, but I didn't think episode 23 was confusing so much as misplaced. Had it occurred earlier, rather than before the final arc, it would have fit in pretty well. As it stands, though, I assume were both just meant as breather episodes before the final arc.

Darokion Aug. 20, 2012 at 6:31 a.m.

I think that watching the show subbed and watching the show in English, that the scripting and voice acting in the English version gives Ganta a LOT more backbone and resolve than he had before. I keep meaning to go back and watch the subbed version again to see if it's just time passing or what, but he seems to be more assertive in the Funi dub than he ever was before.

Top8caton Aug. 20, 2012 at 2:41 p.m.

In sub he is a lot more whinny....I do mean, A LOT...this is definitely a runner for a dub vs. sub debate. Also, I'm curious to see how dub handles the last episodes, because no amount of dubbing can fix that.

zaldaron Aug. 20, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.

Hmm if the dubbing is changing the show so much that a rather fundamental aspect of his character changes that is not a good thing...got to keep the art they way it was intended...

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Deadman Wonderland is about a kid named Ganta who is wrongly imprisoned for murders he did not commit. When he discovers he has the power to manipulate his own blood, Ganta finds he must now escape the Wonderland...

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