As the name suggests, this anime is all about Samurais and sword fights. But don’t mistake it to be just that. Samurai Champloo is a plot that takes place in the Edo period of Japan. But the world it takes place in isn’t the ordinary Edo Japan. You see, the Japan that this story takes place in is an alternative world. With the fusion of Hip-Hop, the story takes an amusing turn as a waitress in a tea shop asks two amazing fighters to help her locate a Himawari Samurai”.
Fuu chan is a waitress in a tea shop when she meets Mugen, a vagrant traveller from Ryukyu (also known as modern-day Okinawa). Taking any chance to fight, Mugen saves Fuu from some drunks with his unique fighting skills, who apparently had a high status in their locality. Jin, a straightforward ronin encounters Mugen in the tea shop after killing a few highly Skilled (yagyu) Samurai. Their encounter soon turns into a duel.
Both being of equal skill are not able to injure the other, and in a turn of events the tea shop burns down. They lose conscience. Long story short, they are captured by the officials and Fuu helps them escape the executioners’ block. The three start their whirlwind of an adventure as they scale the country searching for a samurai that smells like sunflowers. They trek through Edo to Nagasaki working petty jobs, starving, duelling and making new bonds.
Even without the Hip-hop factor, Samurai Champloo would not be a normal historical anime. With the amusing scene shifts, compelling character introductions and language that couldn’t even be imagined of in the Edo period, the anime has everything an action-packed story needs.
Now that we covered the story, let’s move on to the characters this story revolves around.
Mugen is an Okinawan pirate who can’t wait to pick a fight. He cares less about morality than the other two. His fighting skills include all sorts of elements. His unexpected use of breakdance in duelling leaves a samurai from dojo flabbergasted.
Whereas Jin is an honourable ronin who was wronged by his own master. He takes his fighting seriously and treasures his katanas. While he can understand that the world is cruel he can’t condone the victim to his or her fate. Not if he can do anything about it. Though he fights using perfect dojo techniques that are trademarks for a samurai, he is at par with Mugen’s swordplay.
Then there is Fuu who is a quirky waitress from Edo who binds this unlikely group of three together, even if the two boys are always ready to duel one another, she manages them both. Her enlistment of these men to help her find the Himawari Samurai is shrouded in secrecy and mystery. Brave and courageous she jumps first and asks questions later. This tends to get her in trouble quite often. Her pet squirrel adds an amount of humour to the anime. It appears only when Fuu is in trouble from underneath her clothes making us wonder just how long it had been hiding in there.
Even as it doesn’t add much to the ultimate plot the squirrel makes the anime just as fun.
The simple comedy of their bickering keeps the anime fresh. Even if there was a good response on initial the anime had its share of controversies.
But do I recommend it? For sure. It is a good choice for a short fast anime to distract yourself with.