Title: Samurai Champloo vol 6
BBFC Certificate: 12
Suggested Retail Price (SRP): £19.99
Episodes: 21-23 (of 26)
Audio Options: English 5.1, Japanese DTS,
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!
Sam old, same old. Trailers and a