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Samurai Champloo [TV]
After accidentally killing a government official’s son in a fight, Mugen and Jin are seized, and are sentenced for execution. Fuu successfully saves the two warriors, and hires them to accompany her during her search for a samurai “who smells of sunflowers” which may lead to her father.
The story follows this trio’s journey through a hip-hop influenced Edo-era Japan, and the challenges they encounter along the way.
About the Show
Samurai Champloo is an anime adaptation of the action adventure manga series written by Masaru Gotsubo. The anime series was directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, who was also responsible for directing the acclaimed Cowboy Bebop series. Produced by studio Manglobe, Samurai Champloo aired a total of 26 episodes (divided into two seasons) between May 19, 2004 and March 19, 2005. Grasshopper Manufacture developed a PS2 videogame based on the series, entitle Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked.
Mugen (His name also means “infinite or without limit” in Japanese.)
Formerly a pirate, Mugen is a brash vagabond who spends most of his time picking fights and causing trouble. On top of his rude nature, he is a womanizer, gambler, and a sore loser. Just like his personality, Mugen’s fighting style is unconventional, erratic, and unpredictable, closely resembling the moves of breakdance. His weapon of choice is also unique, a curved blade with two prongs, which he usually carries on his back. At the end of this weapon’s scabbard is a small tanto, concealed for emergency situations.
Jin (His name also means “benevolence” in Japanese.)
Unlike Mugen, Jin is a calm and disciplined ronin, who is on the run after killing his master in self-defense. He wears ornamental eyeglasses, and carries himself in a stoic manner similar to a samurai from the Tokugawa era. Being formally trained in kenjutsu and star pupil of a prominent dojo, Jin’s fighting style can be described as traditionally precise and technical. Due to focusing his attention with improving his skills as a swordsman, he had spent little time developing relationships, thus he greatly treasures Mugen and Fuu’s company despite never expressing it.
Fuu (Her name also means “wind” in Japanese.)
Fuu is a clumsy young girl who worked as a teahouse waitress shortly before meeting Jin and Mugen. She was abandoned by her father for unknown reasons, and her mother died sometime after leading a difficult life. After saving both Jin and Mugen from an execution, Fuu hires them as bodyguards during her search for a “samurai who smells of sunflowers”. Despite her small stature, she is surprisingly a voracious eater. She has a flying squirrel as a pet which she named “Momo” that protects her whenever Jin and Mugen are not around.
Episode Summaries (Season One)
Episode 1: Tempestuous Temperaments
The series starts with Fuu, a clumsy waitress who accidentally spilled tea on a customer. The customer turns out to be the local magistrate’s son escorted by some samurai’s, who proceeds to harass and threaten her. Fuu asks for help from the vagabond Mugen, who defeats the samurais with ease using his wild fighting technique. Shortly after, the stoic ronin Jin arrives at the teahouse, and was mistaken for an elite guard by Mugen. Mugen engages Jin who is also skilled in sword fighting, and somehow burns the teahouse down after their fight. They both pass out from the suffocating smoke leading to their capture, and were sent to execution.
However, moments from certain death, Fuu arrives and rescues the two warriors and they all escape. With no place to return to, Fuu decides to hire Mugen and Jin to accompany her during a journey. She reveals that she is searching for her father who abandoned her as a child, and that the only clue she had was a “samurai who smells of sunflowers”.
Episode 2: Redeye Reprisal
The trio sets out and starts their search for the samurai who smells of sunflowers. However, danger swiftly catches up to them. Sasaki Ryujiro, one of the bodyguards of the now dead magistrate’s son, seeks revenge on Mugen after losing one of his arms in their first encounter. He hires two individuals; first a well-mannered but deadly assassin to fight Jin, and second, a huge ogre-like man tasked to take care of Mugen. While the two warriors are occupied with defending themselves, Ryujiro takes advantage and kidnaps Fuu.
The assassin acknowledges Jin’s skills, and admits that if they were in a dojo, he would easily be defeated. In an attempt to somehow defeat Jin, the assassin uses the forest to his advantage.
Fuu manages to escape, and comforts the ogre-like man after hearing about his terrible past. After the death of the ogre and Ryujiro, the skilled assassin halts his assault, saying that his contract is now null since his boss is dead.
Episode 3: Hellhounds for Hire (Part 1)
Annoyed by Fuu who always gives them an earful, Mugen and Jin decide to part ways after arriving at a fork in the road, leaving Fuu behind. The trio arrive separately in the same town, where Mugen and Jin are hired by two gangs involved in a conflict. Fuu gets abducted, and is forced to become a harlot and dice dealer in a gambling house. The two gangs’ quarrel eventually lead to the trio’s reunion, where Mugen and Jin are reminded of their promise to Fuu.
Episode 4: Hellhounds for Hire (Part 2)
The conflict between the gangs grow even more intense. In order to settle the matter, the two parties decide to gamble with dice to decide the winner.
Episode 5: Artistic Anarchy
After ridding themselves of the gang, the trio continue their journey, where they find themselves requiring to travel through boat. Having no means to pay for their boat fare, they decide to search for a job in town that will earn them money. Fuu gets hired as an ukiyo-e model, but once again gets abducted, as it turns out that the job was a trap set by a kidnapping group.
Episode 6: Stranger Searching
After rescuing Fuu from her kidnappers, the trio continues their search. They stumble upon an eating contest, where anyone can join provided that they bet something valuable. Hungry and desperate for food, Jin and Mugen’s sword are wagered so that they can join the contest. Despite Fuu being on their side who is an extremely voracious eater, the trio lost the contest to a mysterious man. Being nothing without their weapon, Jin and Mugen set out to retrieve their priced swords.
Episode 7: A Risky Racket
Fuu’s purse is snatched by a thief.
Episode 8: The Art of Altercation
Fuu crosses path with an eccentric swordsman looking for Jin. The hunter was provided with only the description that his target was a samurai wearing glasses, causing him not to recognize Jin, who was not wearing glasses at the time of their meeting as he had to pawn them.
Episode 9: Beatbox Bandits
The trio find is led by journey to a border. Unable to continue due to not having any border passes, they resort to buying smuggled ones. Unfortunately, they are caught, once again seized and sentenced to death by the authorities. However, Mugen is offered a chance to save his friends, given that he succeeds in delivering a package through a dangerous forest and returning in time.
Episode 10: Lethal Lunacy
Mugen crosses path with a skilled Shaolin swordsman.
Episode 11: Gamblers and Gallantry
Jin falls in love with a troubled lady, and decides to save her from the cruel life she faces. Meanwhile, Mugen gets busy training his rhinoceros beetle, which he expects to win him a lot of money in a bug-fighting match.
Episode 12: The Disorder Diaries
After having acquiring a considerable amount of money, the trio decide to treat themselves in a fancy spring establishment. After Fuu goes to take a bath, Mugen snoops around her things and finds her diary. Being unable to read, he brings the diary to Jin, and both discover Fuu’s opinions about them since the beginning of their journey.
Episode 13: Misguided Miscreants (Part 1)
After meeting the people from his past who took Mugen for dead, an unpleasant backstory is revealed.
Episode 14: Misguided Miscreants (Part 2)
Mugen is betrayed and was almost killed, but manages to exact his revenge.
Episode 15: Bogus Booty
Mugen’s libido gets the best of him as he meets the shogun’s most beautiful ninja.
Episode 16: Lullabies of the Lost (Verse 1)
The trio once again gets into a quarrel and separates ways.
Episode 17: Lullabies of the Lost (Verse 2)
Jin’s backstory is revealed, and he ends the life of someone he had hoped to spare.