A young woman named Fuu is working as a waitress in a tea shop when she is harassed by a band of samurai. She is saved by Mugen, a mysterious rogue, and Jin, a young ronin. Mugen attacks Jin after he proves to be a worthy opponent and they begin fighting one another and inadvertently cause the death of Shibui Tomonoshina, the magistrate's son. For this crime they are to be executed. But with some help from Fuu, they escape, and Fuu asks them to travel with her to find "the samurai who smells of sunflowers."
Setting and style
Samurai Champloo employs a blend of historical Edo period backdrops with modern styles and references. The show relies on factual events of Edo-era Japan, such as the Shimabara Rebellion ("Unholy Union;" "Evanescent Encounter, Part I"), Dutch exclusivity in an era in which an edict restricted Japanese foreign relations ("Stranger Searching"), Ukiyo-e paintings
("Artistic Anarchy"), and fictionalized versions of real-life Edo personalities like Mariya Enshirou and Miyamoto Musashi ("Elegy of Entrapment, Verse 2"). The exact placement within world history is questionable, however, and is likely somewhat distorted by artistic license. For instance, the appearance of a six shooter in the episode of Misguided Miscreants Part I suggests that the story takes place after 1814, which is when that style of weapon was first
invented, yet in the episode Stranger Searching it is explicitly stated that trade relations between Japan and the Dutch East India Company exist, the latter of which went defunct in 1798. Incorporated within this scheme are signature elements of modernity, especially hip hop culture, such as rapping ("Lullabies of the Lost, Verse 1"), bandits behaving like gangstas"
(both parts of "Misguided Miscreants"), censorship bleeps replaced with record scratching, and much of Mugen's character design. Samurai Champloo's musical score predominantly features hip hop music produced
by Tsutchie, Nujabes, Fat Jon, and FORCE OF NATURE. Shing02 and MINMI are also featured in the opening and ending themes, respectively.
Main article: List of Samurai Champloo characters Samurai Champloo tells the story of three strangers in the Tokugawa era (also known as the Edo
Period) who come together on a journey across Japan.
Mugen: A brash vagabond from the Ryukyu Islands, Mugen is a 20 year old wanderer with a wildly unconventional fighting style. He wears metal-soled geta and carries an exotic sword on his back. In Japanese, the word mugen means "infinite" (literally, "without limit" or "limitless").
Jin: is a 20 year old reserved ronin who carries himself in the conventionally stoic manner of a samurai of the Tokugawa era. Using his waist-strung daishō, he fights in the traditional kenjutsu style of a samurai trained in a prominent, sanctioned dojo. Jin wears glasses, an available but uncommon accessory in Edo era Japan. Spectacles, called "Dutch glass merchandise" ("Oranda gyoku shinajina" in Japanese) at the time, were imported from Holland early in the Tokugawa period and became more widely available as the 17th century progressed. Although pictured in advertisements as smoking a kiseru, he was never depicted with one in the series. He is named after one of the seven virtues of the samurai in Bushido, "Jin" (Benevolence).
Fuu: A feisty 15-year-old girl, Fuu asks Mugen and Jin to help her find a sparsely described man she calls "the samurai who smells of sunflowers." A flying squirrel named "Momo" (short for momonga, "flying squirrel") acompanies her, inhabiting her kimono and frequently leaping out to her rescue. Her name, Fuu, is the character for "wind". Apart from this trio, other characters tend to appear only once or twice throughout the series.
Main article: List of Samurai Champloo episodes
The episodes of the anime series Samurai Champloo were produced by Manglobe and written and directed by Shinichirō Watanabe. The first episode premiered in Japan on Fuji Television on May 20, 2004 where it ran for 26 episodes until its conclusion on March 19, 2005. The series chronicles the journey of a young woman named Fuu and her two traveling companions, Mugen and Jin, as they travel across Edo era Japan in search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers that Fuu wishes to find. Click here to watch episodes of Samurai Champloo.
Samurai Champloo is considered to be an example of the popular chanbara film and television genre(samurai style). Trademarks include the Edo setting, a focus on samurai or other swordsman characters, and lots of thrilling, dramatic fights. Chanbara was used in the early days of Japanese cinema (when government political censorship ran high) as a way of expressing veiled social critiques. The word champloo comes from the Okinawan word chanpurū (as in gōyā chanpurū, the Okinawan stir-fry dish containing bitter melon). Chanpurū, alone, simply means "to mix" or "to hash."
Director: Shinichirō Watanabe
Chief Writer: Shinji Obara
Character Design: Kazuto Nakazawa
Chief Animator: Kazuto Nakazawa
Weapon Design: Mahiro Maeda
Opening Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Opening Animation: Takeshi Koike
Art Director: Takeshi Waki
Color Design: Eri Suzuki
Director of Photography: Kazuhiro Yamada
Editing: Shuichi Kakesu
Dubbing Director: Tsutomu Kashiwakura
Music: Tsutchie, Fat Jon, Nujabes, Force Of Nature