Though the series takes place in the 17th century. Modern references are often merged with historic ones throughout. The time period is expressed through the artwork shown within the series, also the use of the dealing within that time frame. For example, in episode six, the issue of Japanese seclusion during the 1600’s was shown by having  a foreigner visit Japan.

Modern themes are mainly expressed with the use of hip hop by means of beat boxing, slang, and the record scratching that is use to either transition from scene to scene or to cover vulgarities. An other example of modern references would be in episode eight when a Japanese carrier was referred to as a lowrider and a comment was made on the customization of it. Many know that in hip hop music videos, mostly in California, there was often the use of lowrider cars.

Characters & Themes

There are people who stand up for justice and those who do not care to. Some people act because of there sense of duty, some choose to neglect it. In Samurai Champloo majority of the characters stand for justice and their sense of duty. Making these themes along with honor, responsibility, and loyalty the main themes presented through this anime. 

Although most of the characters express the main themes, the three main characters express them the most. Though they are all different from each other, their morals make them the same and this becomes more apparent as the series moves along. The three main characters are Jin, Mugen, and Fuu. Fuu hired Mugen and Jin, two samurais,  to help her find the Samurai who smells of sunflowers. They met after an incident in Fuu’s hometown. At the beginning they known very little of each other but as the series progresses more is exposed. 

At the beggining of the journey the characters did not get along. Jin and Mugen even ran away a few times but their willingness to come back with the intention of honoring their promise to Fuu shows that they believe in fulfilling ones duty. Although they are on the same journey their stories are quite different form each other. They meet with different foes and challenges. People from their past seek revenge and events happen to one that do not happen to the others. The things they go through together strengthen their relationships and understanding of each other over time.  By the end of the series they become very close. They begin to see there similarities.

Fuu - She is a fifteen year old girl in search of a man who smells of sunflowers. She is the one who brought the three main character together in order to reach her goal. At the beginning it is unknown why she is so desperate to find the man. Fuu is the peace maker of the group but is sometimes part of the reason of conflict. Although she made Jin and Mugen promise to help her she often causes touble for them. Fuu often gets into situation where she needs rescuing. Not much is known about her besides the fact that her mother died. In fact it wasn’t until the nineteenth episode of the series that it was reveiled that the samurai who smells of sunflowers is in fact her father.

Mugen- He is rough and blunt. He acts as though he has an ‘I don’t care’ attitude but his actions often show otherwise. Her has very little respect for authority and is proud of his ungraceful attitude. Also he has very little control over himself. This is very much apparent at the beginning of the series when he fought in the teahouse Fuu worked at. Mugen enjoys fighting people who appear to be stronger than him. It seems as though it’s a way of making a name for himself. His attitude changes over time. Later in the series he shows his dislike for injustice. Mugen has a strong sense of responsibility and friendship which can be seen when he saves Fuu from her many troublesome situations. He often acts without thinking which sometimes causes more trouble for the trio.

Jin - He is calm, refined, and almost seems regal. He shows his respect for the way of the samurai but is sometimes not quick to help others if it is not convenient. He does not fight when it’s unnecessary and does not kill if he does not want to. He is the quiet one in the trio but as the series progresses he begins to express himself more to Fuu and mugen.  He is usually the main earner within the group and this helps them pay for food and lodging. Not much was known about him at the beginning of the series but it was later revealed that he is an orphan and was raised at a dojo. It was also revealed that he killed his former master and is now a ronin. 

Although the characters are so different form each other they become friends. They begin to show they care for each other and enjoy each others company. For example, Jin and Mugen often help each other out when fighting. Thye also fool Fuu together, have conversations together, and even go to the red light district together. They also begin to know each others traits and personalities. At one point Jin even killed the guy he thought killed Mugen.  Even after having a fight with each other the characters showed that they worry about each other. Though Mugen often complains about having to find a samurai based only off of the fact he smells of sunflowers he continues to help Fuu and becomes somewhat fond of her. Jin doesn’t say much but he does fight to protect her as well. Fuu doesn’t have any bad feelings toward her male counterparts at the end of the series. Actually during the series there were many times she was jealous of the relations the boy had with other women. Their friendship is most apparent at the end of the series when Jin expressed that Fuu and Jin were his first truefriends.

the hero's journey : summary of the steps 

Anime review: samurai champloo 


A cultural give and take