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SAMURAI CHAMPLOO #24 -- Watch & Learn

Such deadliness lurks behind so bushy a mustache...

Oooooooooh yeah…! We’re getting down to nitty gritty (as Randy Savage would’ve said).

I wanted to try to be bigger and avoid turning this into one long comparison between CHAMPLOO and BEBOP, but it’s really hard to when nearly every episode demonstrates how much Watanabe’s grown in executing a show like this. When BEBOP started its multi-part series capper, I sighed like a kid whose in-class horseplay was interrupted by the teacher insisting on finally setting everybody down for the lesson plan. I really can’t understate how profoundly disinteresting the long-arc plot thread with Vicious was in comparison to all the inventive one-off episodes.

Here, Watanabe’s found just the right tension. He's tying the show together into some greater tapestry while still keeping the threads loose enough so as to preserve the anarchic, flippant tone. The revelation that the government’s been tracking this trio for their various offenses is out-of-left-field enough to be an exciting turn, but still sensible enough to fit in with the scattered clues we’ve gotten throughout the series. Indeed, for “boss characters” who’ve been introduced in the last eighth of the series (or so), the unrelated master assassins exude the proper "menace of the unexpected" you'd expect from thieves in the night. Their arrivals are sharp and horrifying on a truly visceral level.

Indeed, “visceral” is a term I’ll probably be using a lot more when I look back on this series, in full. Granted, there’s plenty of calculated abstraction to this show, but there are also plenty of scenes that feel almost startling authentic. I’m specifically thinking about the part where Fuu pushes Mugen and Jin away with her spurious, stumbling fancy cakes pretext. Like I’ve said, you’ve got to appreciate a show that's smart and composed enough to allows its characters to act as awkwardly and stupidly as actual people do.

Watch this episode, "Evanescent Encounter, Part 1” 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

Lurkeroon Aug. 22, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.

The government revelation was certainly a surprise to me. I was not expecting that. I did like that twist though.

jj_jacksonon Aug. 22, 2012 at 10:21 a.m.

LOL man tom i happen to enjoy the vicious episodes of bebop i enjoyed the one offs just as much as you but i think the opposite with out the vicious story i don't think it would have idk complete. the one offs are like outside of the pop tart and the vicious part is the filling. And be prepared in champloo there is still more twist and awesomness to look forward too!

Turambaron Aug. 22, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
On the topic of Spike and Vicious, I give Watanabe more credit than that.  Personal preference of the plotlines aside, Spike's contradicting characterizations of one who is running away and yet at the same time cannot leg go of the weight of the past is the point.  Jet didn't stop him because he knew he wouldn't be able to.  Faye begged him not to go.  And viewers (you as well) wished his wandering days could continue.  
 
We'd rather he complete his transformation into Andy than obsess over a dead woman.
 
But Spike has never been one to act for the sake of another other than Julia.  While we can't help but look at him as one who is kind hearted, the sad truth is he is uncaring until events makes things personal for him.
zaldaron Aug. 22, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.

Well everything you like about this show is why I hate it. Not surprising I guess really...

Username_Undefinedon Aug. 22, 2012 at 11:21 a.m.

The fact that the government is tailing them wasn't a surprise this episode because they already told you back with Sara (who I'm convinced was blind, not putting up an act, and had disability superpowers that let her fight). When she was dying, she said that she had been sent by the government. The assassin trio was new, though I don't know who the old man is. He might me Fuu's dad, but I can't figure out how they'd explain that.

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