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SAMURAI CHAMPLOO #3 -- Watch & Learn

Wherein we bring up the Bebop... again.

Seeing as how this was Watanabe’s first effort after COWBOY BEBOP, and it also shares a couple VO actors, it fits to draw a little (just a little!) ongoing comparison between the shows. And the biggest point I want to compare and contrast about, all ready, concerns the relative pluses and minuses of doing one-off episodes or extended arcs in a serial like this.

BEBOP had such a solid premise - - bounty hunters in outer space. BAM! It could easily set-up good standalone adventures. I’d always roll my eyes whenever it even hinted about bogging that fun down with the “mythology” episodes concerning Vicious. Those parts were so disinteresting, they brought the series down to “75% good” score (with the less-than-inspiring 25% being clearly partitioned off.)

We’re only three episodes in SAMURAI CHAMPLOO, so it’s maybe a little early to make conclusions (snap judgment on the internet? Noooooo...) but I’m already feeling like my preference is going to be reversed on this series. I already want these assorted sword-swinging situations to start coming together in some significant way - - and I don’t know if this multi-part arc's going to be going toward that.

I can totally dig how the crew wants to play this fast and loose and focus on just the cool stuff instead of slowing things down for any explanations. However, so far, the big difference is that the whole set-up of Fuu saving Mugen and Jin so they can hunt down this “samurai who smells of sunflowers.” It was hopped over a little too quickly in the first episode, and it's not as "modular" as Bebop was for putting our heroes into any situation.

The whole gag where the guys ditch Fuu seemed like it would’ve felt a lot funnier if we’d seen them working together as more of a unit already. Instead, we’ve gotten a handful of one-off bad guys who don’t seem to relate to this larger mission, so it’s like trying to change steps before you’ve even established a base rhythm. (Or something. You get the idea.)

I’m, of course, totally prepared to eat my words about all of this as the show unfolds.

Watch this episode, "Hellhounds for Hire, 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 July 9, 2012 at 7:45 a.m.

Whenever there is a short series (26 episodes) I dislike the idea of one-off episodes. In my mind I am thinking "How dare you put filler into a 26 episode series!? You have not earned the right to filler."

Yeah, there will be more episodes like this.

No_name_here staff is online on July 9, 2012 at 12:09 p.m.

@Lurkero: Did you feel that way about BEBOP?

Lurkeroon July 9, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk said:

@Lurkero: Did you feel that way about BEBOP?

No, for Bebop the plot was loose enough to allow me not to worry about Vicious. He was part of Spike's backstory and would appear throughout the series.

I don't want to spoil too much, but I got a different feeling from Champloo. They are supposed to be looking for a Samurai who smells of sunflowers. Although it is mentioned throughout the series, I didn't feel like enough info was spread between the episodes to let me know that they were actually trying. In Champloo there is a goal in mind while Bebop was more aloof about how it was supposed to end.

Rxanaduon July 9, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.
@Lurkero: This talking about Bebop actually got me thinking about how it ends.  To be plain about it, would you have wanted to follow the exploits of Jet and Fey even after Edward left and Spike died?  It just makes me scratch my head when they ended the series by following only one of the characters to their end.  
 
I personally wouldn't want to see where the rest of the Bebop crew ends up after that event, as Jet and Fey didn't mesh together as characters to begin with.  And bringing back Ed wouldn't do anything for me. 
zaldaron July 11, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.

For bebop if they were going to make it more the story of Spike then they needed to focus on him more...in samurai however there is NO real ongoing story at all...maybe if you can go into it with that mindset you can get some enjoyment out of it but don't be looking for any or you will be as sorely disappointed with the series as I was. It isn't there.

AgentJon Aug. 10, 2012 at 9:55 p.m.

Huh, I thought that Wolf's Rain was after Bebop for Watanabe.

Dig Deeper into Samurai Champloo

Two samurai's and a girl go on an adventure in search of a Samurai smelling of Sunflowers. Along their adventure they keep running into trouble every inch of the way.

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