The story of Samurai Champloo focuses on two equally skillful, but very different samurai, who get mixed up with one another in a brawl at a tea-house. A girl working at the tea-house where the brawl occurs helps them to avoid the law, and in return she asks them to accompany her on a long journey to find a samurai that smells of sunflowers. What ensues are episodic stories of comedy and action. The title of the anime series ‘Samurai Champloo’ is called that for a reason. The word ‘Champloo’ means to mix or mixture. It is first after i finished Samurai Champloo that i realised that it fits this anime perfectly, a mix of good and bad.
Almost everyone that comes into contact with Samurai Champloo will be thinking they are going to get another Cowboy Bebop series. While it has many similarities, the story line and character direction of the show are completely different on a big scale from that of Shinichiro Watanabe’s masterpiece due to the flaws and shortcomings in the this anime. The rewatch value for the series and my own overall enjoyment are lowered beyond the maximum. The story is by no means bad, but a lot of episodes were spent dawdling around just a bit TO much, without there being any sort of interesting plot at all. Watanabe Shinichiro did very well with the material he had, and this is why, even when the storylines weakens quite much that he makes full effort to heighten whatever else he possibly can. As a result, this series is much more likable with him directing, than what I imagine it would be like without him. Even the completly bizaare and almost pointless zombie episode episodes are made watchable thanks to his creativity.
I do think that the quality and execution of the swordplay is really great and of top quality and approaches other great samurai series, such as Rurouni Kenshin. Jin and Mugen have their own unique and different styles of fighting, Jin fights with a traditional technique, while Mugen uses a very sporadic and random fighting style full of wild movements wich looks more like break dancing. What i like more is that even characters that is just in for one episode have their own fighting style. This makes every battle really fun to watch. Even though there is such outstanding action it is a shame the overall feel of the series is mediocre.
The animation in Samurai Champloo is the same style that was used in Cowboy Bebop. It is very fluid, with basically no still frames at all. The characters have their own unique faces and hairstyles wich is very well animated. Action scenes in particular are very well done, with the fights flowing in a way that you can understand.
The musical score in Samurai Champloo will get a big plus as it is well suited to this series, despite the first impressions. I would never have thought Hip-Hop and Samurai could be any good together, but now it seems wierd to consider them apart. the sound goes hand in hand to create a good atmosphere. The opening song is what sets the tone for the series.
My conclusion is that when it comes to swordplay and action, Samurai Champloo is a cut. Samurai Champloo is not really a bad anime, do not go into it expecting it to the be the next Cowboy Bebop.