Friday, April 11, 2008

Samurai Champloo

Full Title: Samurai Champloo
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Episodes: 26
Uploaded By: Mavrik
My Age Rating: MA (Language, Graphic Violence, Adult Situations, Sexual Themes)

The series takes place during Japan's Edo period, the golden age of small villages, open air markets, and wandering warriors known as samurai. At some point during this tumultuous timespan, three unlikely companions set out on a long journey to a certain location for a reason only one of them knows. One of them, Jin is a "by-the-book" samurai. His fighting style is of a traditional nature, and he is an extremely skilled swordsman, using refined sword strikes to down his foes. The other male of the group (and also Jin's foil) is Mugen who learned the ways of the samurai as a means to survive. He uses vast sweeping and unorthodox movements to keep himself away from his opponent's weapon and to better align the strike of his own. His reckless style of fighting is very reminiscent of break dancing. The last of the three is a young girl by the name of Fuu. She is the one who knows where the three are going and why. On top of directing the other two, she also occasionally has to stop them from killing each other, deal with various issues that crop up from her unusual escorts' dark pasts, and figure out exactly what it is that's driving her to search in the first place...

Samurai Champloo is an incredible series to behold. It combines historical facts, altered historical facts, and completely random happenings that might slightly have something to do with historical facts to become one of the more impressive anime ever created. The fight sequences are this show's key points, but it may surprise you how slow and contemplative it gets when it's not being combative. Despite its hip and cool, break dancing, flashy sword fights, this series greatly idealizes the concepts of friendship, love, loyalty, and coming to terms with yourself for who you are. The way this anime comes to an end may not be to your tastes, but I found it fitting for a show of this nature (very well executed).

Production-wise, the anime is very well done. The series draws influences from modern day hip-hop and beatboxing, so the music itself is incredible. The opening sequence is one of the best ever devised; the ending is a bit slower but has a nice slow song accompanying it. The art style used is fresh and interesting. The animation itself is always silky smooth especially around the fight scenes as these look fantastic. The dialog and the voice acting are always spot-on. If there is one thing that bothers you it will be the broken storyline, the series could almost be watched out of order if one excludes the two episode storylines, the beginning, and the end. However, there is enough story connecting the episodes that the "one storyline per show" stunt is not as annoying as it could be. This is a classic series and many devoted anime enthusiasts will claim this one as their all time favorite. I recommend it to everyone. It is a definite must-see...

My Rating: 8.9/10 (Excellent)

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