- 2 Seasons
Samurai Champloo is a twenty-six episode anime revolving around the social group of erratic swordsman Mugen, calm and collected samurai Jin, and the playful and the naive female Fuu (with a pet squirrel named Momo). The group find themselves teaming up on a quest for the "samurai who smells of sunflowers." Jin and Mugen decide to aid Fuu in finding this person, later revealed to be Fuu's father as well as a Christian (which would be a heretical belief in Japan during the era which this series takes place). However, the original agreement includes that after finding this samurai for Fuu, that Jin and Mugen will finally battle to the death. When this eventually does occur, the two warriors are spent and exhausted, with their blades shattering and their bodies collapsing in an almost yin-yang formation. Mugen's fighting style is mad, manic, and heavily improvised. Not only does it involve sword strikes with a single blade, but he also tends to employ break-dance style maneuvers, letting him kick heads with his thick and durable wooden sandals. His name means "infinite" in Japanese. Jin's fighting style is more of a traditional focused method, relying on nothing more than precise sword strikes from a pair of blades with the occasional feint. His name means "benevolence" in Japanese. Fuu doesn't really have a fighting style, yet her wits and the occasional access to explosives ensures that she's far from helpless. Her name is a shortened version of the Japanese name for a type of bird, fuukinchou. The series contains several noteworthy and awesome episodes. These include battles between two sons of a martial arts master who battle with graffiti instead of martial arts, an eating competition, an episode focusing on Mugen overcoming his illiteracy of even basic kanji (initially he only knows the character "No," which means "and" in Japanese), a baseball match against the American Black Ships that gets downright violent, and even an impressive battle with some rebelling warrior monks against the background of a burning marijuana field. The music and soundtrack of the series is heavily influenced by hip hop and rap, obviously spoken by Japanese singers. However, the opening theme "Battlecry" has an excellent grasp of how English should sound and is quite enjoyable.