Review: “Samurai Champloo”

An action packed animated series, with three main characters that don’t even seem to like eachother.


Manglobe Studios

Samurai Champloo Featured Image

by Haylee Hampton, Reporter

“Samurai Champloo” is a 2004 Japanese anime series written by Masaru Gotsubo, and was the debut production of studio Manglobe. The series has 26 episodes, with each episode being 23 mins long. The story follows the three main characters Fuu, Mugen, and Jin, who live in a fictionalized version of Edo period Japan. (Content Warning: The show does depict violence, sexual content, sexual assault, and sexual harassment)

Fuu is a 15 year old girl who works at a tea shop, where she meets Mugen, an outlaw vagabond from the Ryukyu islands, and Jin, a former student of a kenjutsu dojo. (Everything discussed from now on could be considered spoilers, continue reading at your own risk) Fuu recruits both Mugen and Jin to help her find the samurai who smells of sunflowers, which is the main overarching plot point throughout the show. Each episode goes through the different adventures they get into throughout the journey to find the samurai that smells of sunflowers. The overall plot doesn’t start developing until episode 24, which is when Mugen and Jin find out that the man they’ve been looking for is Fuu’s father.

For the majority of the show, the plot is driven by character development, which helps the audience understand how these odd characters get along. Most notably, the difference between Mugen and Jin’s characters; they are the hot and cold, loud and quiet duo, which work as well together as they do against each other. The glue that holds the trio together though is Fuu, who is idealistic and strong willed in her nativity.

The show develops its themes through the character driven plot structure , and adventure side-plots. The overarching message that Samurai Champloo delivers is that it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. Fuu’s expectations on what it would be like when she finally finds her father are nothing like it’s reality, however throughout their journey she has grown immensely, which is way more important than whatever will come of her finally meeting her father. As for Mugen and Jin they too develop in ways which will impact them for the rest of their lives; whether that be honing their martial arts skill, or finally finding purpose after wondering for so long.

Overall, the show excellently portrays characters that you can grow and sympathize with. As well as a great hip-hop lofi soundtrack, and action packed adventures. I would recommend the show to anyone who likes adventure stories, and character driven plot.