Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo is an anime series in the Samurai Champloo franchise
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After a chance encounter, Fuu hires two samurai, Mugen and Jin, to assist her in her search for the samurai who smells of sunflowers.


Two fighters in Edo-period Japan develop an instant dislike for one another, but keep crossing paths nonetheless. Mugen is a hick from the far south, while Jin is a self-styled noble-a literal odd couple with different class backgrounds, or at least, aspirations. All that unites them is their lack of interest in each other, and their indubitable fighting skills, leading Fuu, a waitress, to hire them to find a missing man-her father. The plot might sound like a thousand other samurai dramas, but SC's play for originality comes in its unique style, in which the entire drama is framed with modern-day assumptions and music, as if a focus group of 14-year-old mallrats were obliged to recount a Kurosawa movie, and did so in their own distinctive argot.

As with his earlier Cowboy Bebop, itself a deliberate mix of disparate musical and story genres, director Watanabe combines self-conscious cool with a tale of nobility fallen on hard times. His heroes are rake-thin free lances with hearts of gold, railing against institutions run by fat, pampered old men-the story not only of SC, but of conditions in the modern anime industry itself, and of its attitude towards its fellow samurai TV serials.

SC makes a fine virtue out of what could have been a terrible vice. It is, at heart, a crushingly old-fashioned show, with a studied punkishness dating back to the Vietnam-era Monjiro (*DE). Nor is its irreverent anime attitude anything new: Samurai Gold was mixing up Edo period stories before SC's target audience was even born. It dresses itself up with scratch editing and self-consciously anachronistic hip hop, perhaps less in the hope of attracting modern youth than in ensuring the censure of their elders-the ultimate test of cool, of course, is that your parents hate it. Sadly, its showy use of oh-so-20th-century music will cause it to age faster than it deserves; compare to similar faddery in Bubblegum Crisis.

However, SC also successfully reclaims the samurai drama for modern teens-a bold affirmation that stories about Japan's past do not have to be boring, staid Sunday night NHK epics for Dad. It boasts of its Internet generation's disrespect towards history, with onscreen cards that proclaim no interest in period accuracy, but while it may feign ignorance, it is made by people with a genuine and deep-seated appreciation of samurai lore. It steals ideas and setups from kabuki, TV, film, novels, and comics, uniting them all in an extended glorification of everything that ever made samurai worth pastiching in the first place. It mixes the thuggery of "Beat" Takeshi Kitano's 2003 postmodern Zatoichi with the sedate travelogue of Manga Mito Komon and all points in between, named after an Okinawan dish that is a mash-up of everything: champloo. Like Pink Floyd's The Wall (1976), it is a very smart, well-schooled product, which brags to an impressionable audience that it doesn't need an education. It is only in one episode, when a Japanese village takes on brutish American invaders in a symbolic baseball match, that the extent of the anachronisms and stereotypes are more likely to become obvious to a non-Japanese audience.

Its use of comedy is also sneakily subtle. Mugen and Jin might bicker like Tarantino hit men, but their odd-couple pairing is a timeless play-off between high and low culture, not dissimilar to other mismatched buddies like those in Samurai Deeper Kyo. Their humor is also often subtly directed at their underclass audience-Fuu is looking for a man who "smells of sunflowers," but Mugen, like most urban viewers, doesn't actually have a clue what a sunflower smells like.

The design work is heavily stylized, a cunning recognition of the fact that mismatched elements of period dramas and B-movies have established a wholly un-Japanese "samurai norm" in foreign countries, distracting us from the fact that the various episodes of this road movie don't really hang together. The show is so stylish, so maniacally energetic, and so involved in its own mythology that it's easy to forgive its lack of substance, but it is an interesting experiment rather than a complete success. In years to come, it may be seen as a bridge that unites old traditions of Japanese TV and film with postmodern pastiches like Afro Samurai. LV


Main Characters

Mugen (ムゲン(無幻))

Voiced by: Kazuya Nakai(Japanese) Steve Blum (English) David Nathan (German) Ettore Zuim (Portuguese)

19-year old Mugen was born in penal colony on the Ryukyu Islands and once imprisoned for Piracy he is often rude and vulgar. Mugen has no problem fighting often causing fights with mouth. He tends to make up his fighting style as he goes taking bits and pieces from others styles. He displays dislike for Jin bothi claiming to be the only one going to kill the other protecting each other until the end where after their sword's clash and break they both agree neither wanted to actually kill the other.

Jin (ジン(仁))

Voiced by: Ginpei Sato(Japanese) Kirk Thornton(English)

20 year old Jin had spent most of his life training in a dojo under his sensei, Mariya Enshirou but when his sensei tries to turn the dojo into a training academy for assassins Jin strongly opposes this causing his sensei to try and kill him in his sleep. His kills Mariya instead horrified that his trusted sensei would do that. Believing the lords of that time have no sense of honor, only caring about themselves he lived on only for his sword and under no one's rule but his own. Normally calm and held together he fights with precision and grace using swift, refined, moves of the Mujushin Kenjutsu, opposite of Mugen's fighting style. He thaws as the series goes on and Jin later claims Fuu and Mugen as his only friends.

Fuu (フウ(風))

Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (Japanese) Kari Wahlgren (English) Mariana Ortiz (Spanish) Corinna Dorenkamp (German) Alessia Amendola (Italian) Chantal Baroin (European French) Jeong Hwa Yang (Korean)

A year after her mother dies 15-year old Fuu Kasumi's only mission is to find the man who smells of sunflower seeds who is later revealed to be Kasumi Seizō her father. She try's to act more worldly than she truly is and often gets herself in trouble with her trusting and accident prone ways. She carries around a flying squirrel by the name of Momo who often saves her even changing a bet so they win. She must split Mugen and Jin from fighting until she finds the man who smells of sunflowers.

Other Characters

Kasumi Seizō
The Samurai who smells of sunflowersa a christian samurai and the man that Fuu hires the two samurai to find is later revealed to be Fuu's father . He left her and her mother to save them from the anti-Christian persecution as he was a major player and supporter of Christianity.

*Most other characters where in no more than one or two episodes

Season/Ep# Name Airdate
1 - 26
Evanescent Encounter (Part 3) - Circle of Transmigration III
1 - 25
Evanescent Encounter (Part 2) - Circle of Transmigration II
1 - 24
Evanescent Encounter (Part 1) - Circle of Transmigration I
1 - 23
Baseball Blues - Heart and Soul Into the Ball
1 - 22
Cosmic Collisions - Anger Shot Toward Heaven
1 - 21
Elegy of Entrapment (Verse 2) - Generous Elegy II
1 - 20
Elegy of Entrapment (Verse 1) - Generous Elegy I
1 - 19
Unholy Union - Karma and Retribution
1 - 18
War of the Worlds - Pen in One Hand, Sword in the Other
1 - 17
Lullabies of the Lost (Verse 2) - Idling One's Life Away Second Verse
1 - 16
Lullabies of the Lost (Verse 1) - Idling One's Life Away First Verse
1 - 15
Bogus Booty - Through and Through
1 - 14
Misguided Miscreants (Part 2) - Dark Night's Road II
1 - 13
Misguided Miscreants (Part 1) - Dark Night's Road I
1 - 12
The Disorder Diaries - Learning from the Past
1 - 11
Gamblers and Gallantry - Fallen Angel
1 - 10
Lethal Lunacy - Fighting Fire with Fire
1 - 9
Beatbox Bandits - Evil Spirits of Rivers and Mountains
1 - 8
The Art of Altercation - Self-Conceit
1 - 7
A Risky Racket - Surrounded on All Sides

View all 26 episodes »

Series Credits
Person Name Episode Count
Shinichiro Watanabe
Kazuto Nakazawa
Takeshi Koike
Masaaki Yuasa
Jun Nakai
Takahiro Tanaka
Naoyoshi Shiotani

To edit the cast, go to an episode page.

Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Samurai Champloo
Name: サムライチャンプルー
Romaji: Samurai Chamupuruu
Publisher Manglobe
Start Year 2004
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