A young man with a hot temper finds himself in a teahouse where the son of the village prefect is eating. The prefect’s son threatens one of the waitresses and she strikes a deal with the man to protect herself. The man, a wanderer named Mugen, launches into action.
Another man, a swordsman named Jin, saves a peasant from being executed by the prefect’s bodyguards. Jin arrives at the teahouse and is pulled into the fight after Mugen deems him a suitable opponent. In the ensuing chaos, the teahouse is set on fire and both Mugen and Jin are captured, before being sentenced to death.
The waitress, Fuu, makes it her responsibility to free the two men so they can help her find someone: a samurai who smells like sunflowers.
So far, I like the art style of this series. I find a lot of anime released in the mid-2000s haven’t particularly aged very well, so I’m pleasantly surprised. The fight scenes are animated excellently, and have the same fluid motion found in Cowboy Bebop, which is what I expected from a studio that was founded by former Sunrise producers. I’ve seen a couple of Manglobe’s works – my favourite of the two being Gangsta – and I think Samurai Champloo has the potential to become a series that I love.
At this point in time, I’m not sure if the rewinding and fast forwarding is off-putting or genius… probably the latter once I’m used to it. Also, it’s not my usual music style, but it works. Shinichiro Watanabe knows what he’s doing.
Cowboy Bebop – Both are Shinichiro Watanabe series with an unconventional use of music, where two unlikely partners team up.
Afro Samurai – Both are anime combining black culture with traditional Japan.