Mugen's a completely wild, uncontrollable warrior - deadly with his blend of capoeira-style swordsmanship and short temper. Jin is the epitome of the stoic samurai, lightning-quick, cool and always in control. And Fuu? Sh... more »e's an adorable (and somewhat airheaded) girl who manages to rein these two in to help her search for a mysterious "samurai who smells of sunflowers." Hopefully, she can keep them from killing each other and stay out of trouble along the way...Now own the entire journey of Mugen, Jin and Fuu in one complete set!« less
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 08/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mugen is a cocky, rebellious, bandy-legged fighter who incorporates break-dancing techniques into his unorthodox fighting style. Jin is more your typically calm and stoic samurai (or ronin, to be more precise), steeped in martial tradition, who finds satisfaction in the perfect execution of his warrior craft. Mugen and Jin aren't friends - in fact, they are contentious and want to test their skills against each other - yet they find themselves joining forces, thanks to Fuu, an insistent and kinda quirky waitress who inveigles the two into helping her search for the Samurai Who Smells Like Sunflowers. For 26 episodes, the discordant trio undergo many adventures, some serious, some hilarious, some just plain out weird. The only constants are the bickerings amongst the three, the scrounging for food, and the intrusion of modern day sensibilities. Oh, and the rampant butt kicking as done by Mugen and Jin.
On the heels of his popular Cowboy Bebop anime series, Shinichiro Watanabe decided to put a new spin on the samurai anime with his irreverent, hip Samurai Shamploo. Shamploo means "stir fry" or a mix, and this is certainly what this series is about, as it fuses the traditional samurai credo and decorum with the unexpected modern day incursions of hip hop attitudes, beatboxing, street tagging, and baseball. The episodes are supported by cool Japanese hip hop music soundtracks and blazing hip hop scratches for scene segues. Watanabe also makes beautiful use of visual metaphors, thereby adding more depth to the shenanigans. The ripping animation and dynamically constructed fight scenes are guaranteed not to disappoint.
Kudos, too, to the voice actors, especially Steven Jay Blum (aka Daniel Andrews, who also voiced Cowboy Bebop's Spike) as the bestial Mugen. Kirk Thornton as Jin and Kari Wahlgren as Fuu are both excellent. The voice actor for the sometimes series narrator Policeman Sakami Manzou ("the Saw") is also very good.
These episodes are definitely rated PG-13. This anime series doesn't hesitate to throw in scenes of drug use and graphic violence. Some episodes even contain mild sexual scenes.
My favorite episodes are "The Art of Altercation" (for the rapping samurai and his beatbox backup), the atmospheric "Cosmic Collisions" (where the trio fight the undead), the hilarious "Baseball Blues" (where the American pitcher couldn't find the strike zone with the dog at bat, and he ends up inadvertently hitting the mutt - not to worry, no animated dogs were hurt in the making of this anime), and the concluding 3-episode arc "Evanescent Encounter" (where Mugen and Jin are challenged to their very limits, resolve their rivalry, and Fuu at last catches up to the Sunflower Samurai).
Here are the 26 episodes (American titles first, with the original Japanese titles in parenthesis):
"Tempestuous Temperaments" ("Storm and Stress") Episode 1 "Redeye Reprisal" ("Veritable Pandemonium") Episode 2 "Hellhounds for Hire" Parts One & Two ("Tacit Understanding") Episode 3-4 "Artistic Anarchy" ("Utter Indifference") Episode 5 "Stranger Searching" ("RedHeaded Foreigner") Episode 6 "A Risky Racket" ("Surrounded on All Sides") Episode 7 "The Art of Altercation" ("Self-Conceit") Episode 8 "Beatbox Bandits" ("Evil Spirits") Episode 9 "Lethal Lunacy" ("Fighting Fire with Fire") Episode 10 "Gamblers and Gallantry" ("Fallen Angels") Episode 11 "The Disorder Diaries" ("Learning from the Past") Episode 12 "Misguided Miscreants" Parts One & Two ("Dark Night's Road") Episode 13-14 "Bogus Booty" ("Through and Through") Episode 15 "Lullabies of the Lost" Verses One & Two ("Idling One's Life Away") Episode 16-17 "War of the Words" ("Pen in One Hand, Sword in the Other") Episode 18 "Unholy Union" ("Karma and Retribution") Episode 19 "Elegy of Entrapment" Verses One & Two ("Generous Elegy") Episode 20-21 "Cosmic Collisions" ("Anger Shot Toward Heaven") Episode 22 "Baseball Blues" ("Heart and Soul into the Ball") Episode 23 "Evanescent Encounter" Parts One - Three ("Circle of Transmigration") Episode 24-26
Stylish and enjoyable...
M. Miller | TN | 05/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For those unaware, Samurai Champloo is basically what happened when Shinichiro Watanabe finished Cowboy Bebop, and had some money to try something new. That said, those Cowboy Bebop fans out there will be probably be interested in the show.
True, this is clearly not Cowboy Bebop, but it is equally exciting and unusual. The story is set around three travelers: Mugen, Jin, (both Samurai's) and Fuu. Fuu, after coincidentally meeting Mugen and Jin, roped them into helping her find the "Samurai that smells of sunflowers."
Little of the story actually centers on that Sunflower Samurai, except to keep them going from one unusual place to another. And the story is a bit different, because the whole story has hip-hop built into the show, from the rapping fighter, to Mugen's break-dancing fighting style. (Similar to the jazz/blues feel of Cowboy Bebop.)
More then that though, the three travelers encapsulates a lot about what we'd like our `anti-hero' characters to be, and that fact helps push this show, as it pushes the envelope, (even if only slightly.) So, buy the set, and see whether they ever find that Samurai, or just watch or it for their funny squabbles."
One of the Greatest Pieces of Entertainment Ever Made!
B. S. Burford | 02/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, my drug of choice is cinema and I began watching anime because of the recent films that have made use of concepts from the genre. The first anime I ever watched was Ghost in the Shell, which for anyone who has seen the Matrix, there are a few striking similarities. From Ghost in the Shell, I watched Blood, Vampire Hunter D, Ghost in the Shell 2, Appleseed, Akira, and then I just happened to come along Samurai Champloo. Now anime purists will gasp but I had never heard of Watanabe and I bought the series on sheer impulse because I absolutely adore Asian action films (especially samurai ones). Hence, I began my journey into Samurai Champloo.
The first night I began watching the series, I promptly lost five hours of my life becoming engrossed in the characters. As other reviewers have mentioned, the story is really all about the characters and their interactions with one another. Odd stories (baseball games, graffiti wars, living dead, eating contests, secret police, kidnappings, bounty hunters, drugs, Dutch rulers, femme fatales, cults, evil monks, and more) are masterfully stitched together to create a world where the traits of the characters can become amplified and investigated. I love ever single character that this series had to offer. No lie: every single one of them. Some anime has left me feeling empty because secondary characters seemed boring or even the main character was lacking a certain "realness". Not this series. Watanabe and the other geniuses he works with created deep characters that you root for and cry for. Just like any good film, the audience needs to care about the characters for the story to be good and Watanabe hit this nail on the head. You'll find yourself constantly laughing or on the edge of your seat because these characters will remind you of a good friend or someone you would like to have as a friend.
I finished the whole series in two days because I couldn't get enough of it. It has been 5 months since I watched it and I am seriously going through withdrawals. I've watched other anime series and films to see if they quench my thirst, but nothing like this series. Based on this work, I made another impulse buy and bought the Cowboy Bebop series. I'm about to make anime purists gasp again but this series is better than Cowboy Bebop. Many people seem to be calling this Watanabe's "anime leftovers" from Cowboy Bebop but they must be crazy. Watanabe took his almost perfect genre-bending Bebop series, amplified everything that was great about it, cut out all the rough parts, and created this masterpiece.
You are doing yourself a great injustice if you don't buy this set. If you don't want to lay down the hefty sum for this version, I own the "bootleg" version of it too and that is just fine (only costs about $25-$30). I have about 750 movies in my collection (I told you cinema was my drug) and NOTHING compares to the level of fun and enjoyment I got out of this series. I feel like writing Watanabe a letter and asking him to write Samurai Champloo 2 just so I can watch these characters and their stories some more. If you like action movies, drama, period pieces, artsy films, comedies, anime, rap being blended into a storyline, fantastic fight scenes, amazing animation, or just something entertaining to put on the tube for an hour or two, Samurai Champloo is the right choice. This series really is a beautiful piece of artwork that you owe to yourself to check out. ~Mr. B"
One of the best shows ever made
Katherine Anthony | Eugene, OR, USA | 05/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was skeptical about this series when a friend handed it off to me. I thought, "Oh goody, another wandering samurai series. That's never been done before." I was dead wrong. Because while the genre is packed, this is something totally different. It wanders between being very historically accurate, relying on folktales and legends, and being just totally off the wall.
The main characters are not heroes at all in a traditional sense, but they're almost more endearing for it. You grow to like them because as terribly flawed as they are, they're true to themselves and their own sense of what is right in the world.
All in all, this series made me laugh, gave me the creeps, made me cry, and really inspired my own creative endeavors. By far one of the best shows I've ever seen."
Film Fan | Behind you... | 01/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Absolutely great show. No typical contrived anime fantasy garbage here. Most of the series is grounded in fact and history, with just a little room for fancy and fiction to jazz things up. Despite the rating, I would not call this very kid friendly. Remember Cartoon Network does censor and edit its Adult Swim content. There is a lot of stuff that got the cut. Otherwise very solid, very fun. I would have liked to see some bonus/behind the scenes/concept art etc, but I'll take the set as is."