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Edition 11: Samurai Champloo

» Articles, Features, The Watcher (Previews) | posted by Piro^kun on 02/28/2006 [Discuss]

Mugen is a fierce animal-like warrior with a unique break-dance inspired fighting style. Jin has a more traditional style but don’t think of this as a weakness because his skills are amazing. The two contrasting samurai warriors are far from friends, yet their separate paths seem to cross anyways. Mugen is wandering aimlessly through the city when he stumbles upon a teahouse where he meets Jin and Fuu (A ditzy waitress, but don’t think she doesn’t have anything hidden up her sleeves). Fuu convinces them both to come with her in search of a mysterious samurai that smells like sunflowers and their journey begins. This modernized hip-hop tale breaks the barriers of the common, historical, samurai anime.

http://www.samuraichamploo.com/ - Japanese Official Site

http://www.fujitv.co.jp/b_hp/samurai/index.html - Japanese TV Station Official Site

Licensed by Geneon Animation at AX 2003.

Director: Hayato Date
Original Manga: Masashi Kishimoto
Character Design:
Hirofumi Suzuki
Tetsuya Nishio
Art director: Kinori Takada
Animation director: Atsuho Matsumoto
Director of Photography: Atsuho Matsumoto
Color Coordination: Takuya Kawami
Editing: Seiji Morita
Fine Arts Supervision: Shigeru Takeda
Music: Toshiro Masuda
Producer:
Akiko Gujima
Hiroshi Hagino
Series Story Editor: Katsuyuki Sumizawa
Sound Producer: Yasunori Ebina
Supervision: Isamu Noboru
For more information check out ANN’s detailed staff and cast list.

Thoughts:

Piro^kun: Samurai Champloo combines the flashy and bold attitude of the 21st century with old world style of Edo era Japan. It is a really sassy and offbeat anime, as it combines traditional samurai action with hip-hop and that unique Watanabe style. It has a similar feel to Cowboy Bebop in its laid-back and cool atmosphere punctuated by moments of lightning-fast and exquisitely-animated action. The music, like the art style, is groovy and funky, and the scene transitions are also really nifty.

The characters are entertaining, especially in their interplay. Some may not like the character Fuu, but I rather enjoyed her, from what I have seen. She is comic relief and does end up as a hostage, but she’s at least somewhat competent and not too annoying.

This show reminded me strongly of what an animated Blade of the Immortal could look like. It’s got the reluctant ronin accompanying a young girl on her quest, with scattered anachronisms, cool fight scenes and gorgeous art.

Groovy, cool and stylish, Samurai Champloo is a breath of fresh air from all the rehashed stuff out recently. If you loved Cowboy Bebop and Read or Die, pick up Champloo, you’re bound to like it.

:Dark Wind
You know that guy that directed Cowboy Bebop? Yeah, Shinichiro Watanabe. He’s also responsible for directing Samurai Champloo. That alone should be enough to get anyone excited about Samurai Champloo’s iminent DVD release in the States on January 5th. Bebop was directed with panache and style, something that Champloo seems to also have in spades. A tale of two samurai and the girl travelling with them, Champloo is a mix of old-school samurai-fighting with new-age hip-hop music and badassedry.

Your two samurai are Jin and Mugen, two samurai’s of very differing ideals. Jin is a serious-minded ronin who fights with honor but apathy. Mugen is a hot-headed rogue who’s fighting style is a wicked mix of breakdancing and swordplay. Seeing these two fight in wonderfully animated fight scenes looks like a real treat judging from the clips I’ve seen. And don’t worry about the music being hip-hop. It works extremely well with the style and presentation of the show and is unlike anything I’ve heard in an anime since…well…Bebop. Noticing a trend? I don’t really understand the premise beyond a girl named Fuu asking both Mugen and Jin to accompany her across Japan to help her find a samurai that smells like sunflowers (if you know anything about samurai/Japanese history, you’ll get this). Fuu is a ditzy waitress as far as I can tell, but apparently there’s more to her than meets the eye, or so I’ve read.

Despite all of this, we come back to the same point as before: Bebop was amazing, and Champloo is directed by that same guy. Who wouldn’t get excited? It’s like not seeing a Steven Spielberg film even though Saving Private Ryan was incredible. A must-try.


Stikz:

I’m gonna come at this from a totally surprised viewpoint. Five minutes ago I had no clue what Samurai Champloo was. Just from the name, I thought it was another cutesy show. After actually giving it a look, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. The show has an ultra cool style to it, similar to Cowboy Bebop. It to know ones surprise that the same director is behind both shows. I could not give you one flaw in the character design or presentation of the show at all. Everything about it just screams COOL!
This went from off the radar straight to my must have list. My anticipation couldn’t be higher. If the characterization is on par with Bebop, then this could be the best new anime this year. There’s a good chance that this may be broadcast on the Cartoon Network too. They recently ran a poll on there site and Samurai Champloo was a choice. A second season is already underway in Japan for a Jan. 2005 release. Sounds like it’s all prepped and ready to be a massive hit! ^_^

:Alpha
First off I would like to thank Anime News Network for providing the in-depth information on Samurai Champloo. It has been a life saver. Anyways, onto what I think of this new Shinichiro Watanabe directed title. Samurai Champloo is a great action packed piece, along with comedy. Watanabe-san does a nice job in relating his works with some form of music. The last one I can remember was Cowboy BeBop, which was jazz influenced. Now we have this hip-hop / samurai title; they blend so well together like Coolaid and water! Alright, that was corny, but I tried :).

Samurai Champloo was licensed by Geneon Animation during AX 2003 (I was supposed to attend this expo, but circumstances erased that trip). Sigh… this title upon viewing it at one of my anime club meetings on campus was surprising to many of the members. They seem to be in love with it. I certainly liked what I saw on the screen. I am a sucker for cute female characters and Fuu-chan is certainly the one that makes the show so fun. Without her, this show will be nothing but a normal samurai anime. You know, kill kill and kill? On a second though… eh… maybe not. Shinichiro Watanabe titles are too well thought out before being put together, hence I have tremendous confidence in the potential success all his titles can reach. Here, Samurai Champloo, is another example of a series with some serious potential by Shinichiro Watanabe!

Samurai Champloo Screen Caps:


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