For many, anime is a passion. But for some, anime is something that gets passed by. A lot of people are only exposed to what they see in mainstream media, with the likes of classics such as Cowboy Bebop and Trigun, or current faves like Death Note, and Bleach. Here at Nerdlocker, we want to help the unexposed, become the exposed with Anime Avenue.
First up is Samurai Champloo. Don’t let the name fool you. While this is a story about samurai, it’s also about friendship, finding one’s path in life, and oddly but awesomely enough, hip-hop. I know a lot of people out there aren’t in love with the idea of travelling break dancing ronin, but it’s totally awesome.
Samurai Champloo follows the story of 3 travelers that happen upon one another in a tea house. Fuu, a teenage, orphan waitress is working in the tea house when local thugs threaten to cut her hand off for spilling tea on them. Enter Mugen, travelling rogue ronin and all around cool guy, offering to save her for a small fee of 50 orders of dumplings. In the midst of saving Fuu, he incites a brawl. Meanwhile across town we meet Jin, travelling ronin and all around square. Based on Jin’s mighty principles as an upstanding samurai he saves the life of a townsman who is about to be killed by the mayor for no other reason than being too poor to pay his taxes. He then enters the tea house in the midst of Mugen’s brawl. As all extremely talented samurai do, Jin and Mugen begin to test one anothers skills. Upon discovering the prospect of a worthy opponent they vow to fight to the death, meanwhile managing to get the tea house burned down, captured, and sentenced to death. With no hope in sight for survival the unlikeliest of saviors emerges in the image of, Fuu. She manages to help rescue both samurai after getting them to promise to help her on her journey in search of a mysterious samurai who smells of sunflowers.
The show takes place in the historic Edo period but incorporates a lot of modern themes. The main theme being many aspects of hip-hop culture including: break dancing, rapping, beat boxing, graphiti, and over all style. The show does a great job of poking fun at historical people throughout history like the famed swordsman Musashi, and even what I think might have been Andy Warhol. They did a fantastic job of taking random historical or famous things from this period and throwing our three travelers into mix.
Some other pluses include the shows length. It’s only two seasons long which makes having a SC marathon quite easy. It’s conveniently on Netflix Instant Queue for your viewing pleasure. Finally, it’s got a great dub for those out there that don’t like watching an anime and reading it simultaneously.
Overall Samurai Champloo has some seriously awesome animation, a great soundtrack, and tells a great story. It’s not overdone or drawn out. There’s no back story that forces you to have to watch a movie or five hundred other episodes. It’s just a great show that you can pick and let go when the final episode ends.