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US cover art shown



Title:
  Samurai Champloo vol 6

UK Distributor:  MVM (DVD Only)

BBFC Certificate:  12

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  £19.99

Episodes:  21-23 (of 26)

Audio Options:  English 5.1, Japanese DTS, Japanese 2.0

Subtitles:  English

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

 

The last volume of Samurai Champloo really ended on a massive cliffhanger.  A deadly new opponent had appeared and if anything is stronger than both Jin and Mugen!  Someone doesnít want our intrepid trio to get to Nagasaki but the reasons why are yet to be revealed.  The tension and drama ramp up to near unbearable levels as an emotionally charged story reaches its climax, the big reveal is fast approachingÖand then they have a baseball episode.

Say what you want about Samurai Champloo, but itís anything but predictable.  The story is gripping as hell in episode 21, you are really on the edge of your seat as Mugen faces the first opponent he has no chance of defeating.  Both Mugen and Jin find out a lot about themselves in this episode and their conflicts and struggles keep you glued to the screen.  You canít wait to see where the story will go next, but you are not expecting it to pay homage to George Romero and baseball films.  Still, it says something about the series that a necromancer who looks like a rock star and a fly local challenging an arrogant American Commodore to a game of baseball donít seem out of place.

Itís a bizarre strength of Samurai Champloo that even completely anachronistic stuff like this just seems natural.  The zombie episode, in which our heroes end up in a timeless place digging for hidden treasure, may be weird but itís surprisingly well done.  The sinister and charismatic necromancer is a good character, whilst the zombies are suitably creepy.  Itís got some good ideas too, I especially like the suggestion that the whole thing may just be a mushroom-induced hallucinationÖ

The baseball episode is completely weird though.  Itís a riff on an actual historical event, where a small American fleet led by Commodore Perry forced open Japanese ports to international trade, setting in to motion a series of events that eventually ended the rule of the Shogun.  In Samurai Champloo the story follows a fictional American Commodore who came with the same aim years before, but was challenged to a game of baseball by a group of plucky Japanese villagers.  The episode is hilarious throughout, and although it is more a parody of sport anime anyone who has seen a film about sporting underdogs will find plenty to laugh at.  I would love to know how this episode was received in America though - the depiction of the Commodore and his crew isnít exactly complimentary!

Samurai Champloo vol 6 is one hell of a weird mix, going from the sublime to the ridiculous in just three episodes.  The first episode on this volume is easily the seriesí strongest, with plenty of action and drama and some really tense moments as Mugen and Jin face a deadly assassin.  However, the other episodes are stand alone side stories and take the series in completely new directions.  The zombie episode is a bit weird but itís quite clever and pretty creepy in places, but funny as it is the baseball episode wonít appeal to everyone.  It is pretty jingoistic for one, showing the super-strong Mugen and Jin facing outplaying their ugly and extremely arrogant invaders, and the sketchy Kill Bill-esque art style used for the Americans seems a little out of place.  Itís intentionally dumb though and one thing is for certain, there isnít a dull episode on this disc at all.  This volume may be weird, it may jump from serious drama to slapstick and silliness, but thatís Samurai Champloo for you - a mixed bag, but an entertaining one as always!

Extras

Sam old, same old.  Trailers and a gallery.

Ratings

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