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Review
Show: Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)  
Review by: Animetique
This summary/review is provided by animetique.com and used under the Creative Commons License.
Story:

My Rating: 4 out of 5

After 4 Episodes
Samurai Champloo is a hip-hop samurai anime with a lot of style from the creative brains behind Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe. The story takes place sometime after the Warring States period - though it does not try to be historically accurate - when Lords of noble families ruled over defined territories.

Those not of noble origins make their living as merchants, often times living in fear of the Lords, who could be just or ruthless depending on their mood. Upset the wrong Lord and you could find yourself and your family in hot water. The penalties can range from daughters being forced into prostitution to high taxes to death of family members.

Outside the cities, there seems to be little rule. Travelers wander from place to place, picking up odd jobs for food. Swordsmen commonly become mercenaries for a Lord or assassins for an unseen avenger with deep pockets.

It's in this setting where we meet our main characters. Mugen is a womanizing vagabond who lives for the excitement of swordplay. A thrill seeker at heart, he picks fights with anyone with exceptional swordsmanship. He's scruffy around the edges and has problems with authority.

Jin dresses and fits the role of a ronin. He comes across as an intellectual, and is a man of few words. He works from his inner code of ethics which guides him to help those in need.

Tying these two opposites together is damsel in distress, Fuu. Fuu is the least interesting of the three main characters, but she fulfills her role in creating a common objective for the three. She's looking for a samurai that smells like sunflowers and needs the other two to help her find him.

That's the extent of the common element tying these first episodes together. So far, each episode has been self contained, with 3-4 being a two parter. Exceptional plot is not this anime's strength.

Where it does shine is in the action, mixing jazzy melodies and percussion with vivid fight sequences to make it feel like these characters are engaged in combat. There's no standing around, powering up, summoning something from another dimension, or capturing someone in a technique. We get to watch the realistic action, complete with clashing swords, blood and violent deaths.

This is a beautifully done anime well worth checking out if you like samurai flicks with lots of action.

Animation:

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Created in 2004, this anime is absolutely gorgeous, with smooth movements and lush backgrounds. There are some beautiful dusk settings with oranges and purples offsetting the characters.

Music:

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The music adds to the hip-hop, bad-ass samurai showdown style of the anime. The opening theme is 'Battlecry' by Nujabes feat. It's a rap song with a funky beat with English lyrics. There's some jazzy piano intermixed. Throughout the show, the action scenes are filled with hip-hop and percussions to add to the feel.

Character Design:

My Rating: 4 out of 5

There hasn't been a lot of character development so far. The two swordsman are extremely stylized, with Mugen resembling Spike from Bebop in a lot of ways. Many of his movements are reminiscent of the way Spike always managed to dodge his oncoming attackers.

Jin complements his character. Just by looking at the two side by side, we can see why they'd want to fight each other. Both are exceptional swordsmen with virtually opposite personalities.

Fuu is the weak link of the three. Playing the feisty damsel in distress who won't take no for an answer, she can't do much by way of defense, but she sure can annoy those she's with. I hope they develop her in upcoming episodes.
Last Updated: 3/6/2008
Other Reviews by Animetique
1) FLCL (Updated: 1/18/2007)
2) Ah! My Goddess! (Updated: 1/18/2007)
3) The Animatrix (Updated: 1/18/2007)
4) Chobits (Updated: 1/25/2007)
5) Parasite Dolls (Updated: 1/25/2007)
6) Noir (Updated: 1/25/2007)
7) Martian Successor Nadesico (Updated: 1/25/2007)
8) Gasaraki (Updated: 1/25/2007)
9) Fullmetal Alchemist (Updated: 1/25/2007)
10) The Vision of Escaflowne (Updated: 1/25/2007)
11) Neon Genesis Evangelion (Updated: 1/25/2007)
12) Scrapped Princess (Updated: 2/8/2007)
13) Escaflowne (Updated: 2/8/2007)
14) Metropolis (Updated: 2/9/2007)
15) Howl's Moving Castle (Updated: 2/9/2007)
16) Spirited Away (Updated: 2/15/2007)
17) Tenchi Forever! (Updated: 2/15/2007)
18) Blood: The Last Vampire (Updated: 4/4/2007)
19) Paranoia Agent (Updated: 4/23/2007)
20) Perfect Blue (Updated: 5/10/2007)
21) Elfen Lied (Updated: 5/17/2007)
22) R.O.D the TV (Updated: 6/5/2007)
23) Read or Die (Updated: 6/5/2007)
24) Elfen Lied (Updated: 6/29/2007)
25) The Twelve Kingdoms (Updated: 7/9/2007)
26) Love Hina (Updated: 8/17/2007)
27) Samurai Champloo (Updated: 3/6/2008)
28) Texhnolyze (Updated: 3/12/2008)
29) Tsukihime Lunar Legend (Updated: 9/2/2008)
30) Full Metal Panic! (Updated: 2/2/2009)
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