Series Review: Samurai Champloo

It's hard to argue if the series had any real plot, because the bulk of the series are story arcs that doesn't really have anything to do with the main plot, which is also the reason why this three unlikely characters are traveling together; to find Fuu's target, the "Sunflower Samurai". Not to mention that we have zero clues on who this guy is until the very last part of the show. But there are few series out there that are just plain enjoyable for it's style, and Samurai Champloo is definitely one of them.

Samurai Champloo had plenty of funny and cool moments that mostly comes from Mugen's erratic, violent character and Fuu's incredibly cute and witty personality. I guess most people, like me, doesn't appreciate Jin's character much as he is the quiet (and arguably boring) guy in the trio, but he does balance the mood out a bit and prevent the series from becoming an all-out gore comedy. Jin had his own romance arc and I like how that help brings an emotional touch to the story.

Half of what made the style of Samurai Champloo so awesome is that amidst the fun and jokes, there's a very serious note in the story that is painfully obvious each time the cuteness and humor wears off. I'm talking the bloodshed, the chaotic era and the death of the characters in the arcs, especially the good guys. And you can see it when a little girl like Fuu can quickly get used to the death of the character she was chatting with happily a few minutes ago. I think that tells you a lot about the maturity of the story.

And the other half would be the "don't care" attitude throughout the series. Mugen doesn't care about what happens to the other two as long he gets the fight he wanted. In fact, Mugen doesn't care about anything else at all. Fuu doesn't care about what the other two wants as long she gets to get "Sunflower Samurai". The arcs doesn't relate to each another. Nobody cares why Jin is tagging along on the journey even when he was against it earlier. The show doesn't care if the characters made any progress in the main plot. The show doesn't care if the audience know nothing about the "Sunflower Samurai". All you need to know is that three (or two) awesome characters are travelling together doing awesome stuff while being awesome.

The only flaw I find is that the main characters are overpowered and too difficult to die. I know it's not in the series's best interest to let one of them die, but their overwhelming vitality undermines the quick and brutal deaths of so many characters in the series, and especially, the crude reality in the show. That's a step towards being more like a regular shounen series I rather not see Samurai Champloo take but oh well. It's also a bit sad that the trio left each other the way they did, but well, this is how they roll.

The hip-hop soundtrack for the OP was an unlikely choice for a samurai show, but it fits the whacky style of the series marvelously well. The ending theme became one of my favourite songs too.

I've seen many comparisons between this show and Cowboy Bebop. I haven't seen that show myself (damn) but if it could achieve the legendary status it has, I think Samurai Champloo would be at least somewhere close.

Plot/Concept: Awesome!
Story Style: Awesome!
Audio/Visual: Excellent!
Value: 10
+ One of my favourite series of all time!