Samurai Champloo

January 26, 2007

There are quite a number of samurai themed animes out there. One of the few popular ones would be Samurai Champloo. Since it was created by the same people who made Cowboy Bebop, those who have watched it may have noticed a few similarities such as the drawing between these 2 animes.
Although this anime is set during those feudal times in Japan, however the producers blend the series with some hip hop flavour. What does it mean? It means that you can see samurais rapping and warriors doing some fighting techniques which resemble break dancing. It’s really quite awkward at first but I got used to its ‘uniqueness’. Why, I read that they even enlisted the help of some real life Japanese rappers in the production of this show.
But I suppose that’s the main reason why I decided to watch the series in the first place. Yup, it’s the fighting which incorporates some break dancing moves. That short trailer clip was enough for me to watch the entire 26 episode series with approximately 30 minutes of running time. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there isn’t much of those break dancing fighting moves throughout the show. Just a few bits here and there as far I could remember. Bummer.
Besides having some action, comedy, adventure and drama element in it, there are some historical elements in it too. Yup, the fansubs have done quite a good and detailed job to pinpoint certain events which took place during a certain period and at a certain place in Japan that time. It’s like taking history classes but only thing is that you’re watching an anime at the same time. But even so, I didn’t remember nor understand most of it (heck, all of them), since my history sucks. Plus, even though the adventures in this series are fictional, some of the settings which it is based on are true and probably revolves around it.
Basically, the storyline revolves between these 3 people. We have Fuu Kasumi, a 15 year old girl working at some tea shop of her relative at first. She has a flying squirrel, Momo, who seems to inhabit in her clothes (?!) and sometimes helps her out when she’s in trouble. Then there’s Mugen (who looks like that guy in Cowboy Bebop), the rash, unrefined, loud mouth, ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn-about-anything-else’ kinda guy who wields some double edge katana. Mugen is the one with the break dancing moves which he incorporates into his fighting. Most enemies who fought him would be surprised at first of his unique battle style. Finally, Jin, a ronin samurai who posses a typical samurai sword and samurai code. Unlike Mugen, Jin is more stoic, quiet and calm. Thus, I wouldn’t say which of those 2 I prefer the most. That’s because I like Mugen’s break dancing fighting manoeuvres whereas I like Jin’s cool and enigmatic looks and character.
In the first episode, we see how these 3 characters are brought together. You can call it fate or coincidence. Fuu, as usual, doing her waitress job at the tea house, gets into trouble with the magistrate’s son who’s bothering her. Then Mugen comes in and offers Fuu to help get her out of her sticky situation for 50 dumplings. Though Fuu was reluctant at first, eventually she agreed.
And so Mugen starts off by cutting off the magistrate son’s arm and killing his bodyguards. Wow. It’s pretty gruesome and violent here. I admit I really enjoyed all that action there. He even broke 4 of his fingers and demands him to find some real challenge for him! This guy’s scary. Just then, Jin comes in and saw what was happening. Of course, Jin doesn’t approve of what Mugen’s doing and before you know it, the 2 started fighting each other. So far, I felt that this was the best fight scene in the entire series.
And during their fight, the tea house caught fire. Unfortunately, the magistrate’s son died during the fire and the magistrate himself is gonna hold Mugen and Jin responsible for it. Locking them up and deciding to execute them the next day. Fuu, then decides to go on a journey to find ‘the samurai which smells like sunflowers’. If you’re thinking about the anime Himawari, then you’re greatly mistaken. But anyway, she decides that she would need some help on her journey. I suppose she saw Jin and Mugen’s fighting ability and spirit. Most probably why she would choose them. Though, those 2 aren’t aware nor do they agree on it yet.
So we see how Fuu tries to come up with a plan to help Mugen and Jin escape from prison as she sneaks in there herself. She makes a condition for the both of them, that is, in exchange for their freedom and helping them escape, they must follow her on her journey. And those 2, unenergetically still want to settle their unfinished business with ‘that talk’ as they both languishing in jail. What a way to get to know your enemy. But they didn’t give an answer as some guards were coming and Fuu had to flee.
But I felt that Fuu really didn’t do much in helping them escape as it was mainly the both of them who did the job. You see, on the day of their execution, your usual blabbings from the magistrate, and as the executioners were gonna behead them, some slick move made them avoid the sharp blades and at the same time freed the both of them. Then it’s a killing spree. Yup, Jin and Mugen hack and slashed all of their opponents including the magistrate himself. Yeah, how ironic he died on execution day, which is supposed to be somebody else’s.
Just then, Fuu arrived and let loose some explosives which cause some distraction which allowed Mugen and Jin to slip away as more guards arrived. Once they’ve manage to get to some place quieter, Mugen and Jin decides to finish their unsettled business. A fight to the death. But Fuu interrupts them and decides to resolve things with a coin flip. Tails they stop fighting each other and follow her on her journey to find the sunflower samurai or heads they can continue what ever they’re doing. As she flips the coin, sound of the guards are coming closer to them. Looks like it’s tails then, as Fuu drags them as they ran away from the incoming guards and the start of their adventure.
So most of the episodes are like this, we have this uneasy tension between Mugen and Jin who wants to settle their score but due to some certain circumstances, they can’t. Like how Fuu always reminds them about their promise to be with her until she finds the sunflower samurai. So the are 2 like strange bedfellows and odd pair, following Fuu around on her quest. Unfortunately, Fuu doesn’t have anymore information on the sunflower samurai making their journey tougher. The only clue she has is a mini skull pendant that she carries. And as they go from one town to another to gather clues on the sunflower samurai, they somehow inadvertently got involve in other people’s businesses. Yeah, like ‘kay-poh-chi’, but it’s not like they wanted too. More like they’re drawn into it. And probably they would’ve gotten involved either way. That’s because they always have that money and food problem, so they have to work to get food for their stomachs.
Also, I find that after that particular episode finishes, the next episode starts off like as though nothing serious had happened in the previous. I mean, yes something did happened. But the way they start things off as though as there’s a gap between those episodes which may seem to suggest whatever problems unsolved at the end of that previous episode has been solved and we’re ready to start anew. So it leaves me wondering ‘hey, what happened to that’ or ‘hey, I thought he was like that so how did he turn out like that’.
In addition, I noticed in most episodes, there is at least a character who will die in the end, whether that character is the villain or some side character for that particular episode. Well, at least that way, you don’t have to worry what will happen to that character later on. Saves a lot of things. Maybe it’s not a bad idea killing off such characters. Plus, I find some of the sword fighting and action a little bit bloody and gory. So it may not be so suitable for younger audiences.
Like in episode 2 where Fuu gets kidnapped by some guy called Hotaru and his ugly ogre-looking henchmen Oniwakamaru. While Jin takes on a assassin hired by Hotaru, Mugen got poisoned and the poison is taking its effect on him during his duel with Hotaru. The episode ended with a sad tone when both Hotaru and Oniwakamaru died and the hired assassin backed out since he knew his employer was dead. So how did Mugen get cured? Dunno. Nothing in the next episode suggests that.
Uh-huh same thing in the double episode 3 and 4 where the trio got involved in some clan thingy which involves some debt and gambling. Uh-huh. Some guy, has his debts increasing and can’t pay them off. So the other gang leader who wants to get ultimate control then device some gambling thingy, either way he wins. So some drama unfolding, fight fight fight, the baddies dies, that guy and his family can live in peace, and Mugen having that squaring off with one of those reformed bad guys, but killing him in the end with the latter looking quite satisfied while he goes to the other world. See, it just ends there, nothing more than that.
I’m not sure whether or not whatever those historical notes involving some Vincent Van Gough paintings of sunflowers were actual or not. But in episode 5, some painter wants to use Fuu as his model. But actually it’s just some cover up as women who become his models usually disappear. That’s because they’re being kidnapped and sold off in some slave trade. Yup, Fuu nearly got sold off again, that is until Jin and Mugen arrived in time to save the day and exposed some old man and elderly women’s ploy (they’re running the slave trade under the guise of some painting and art display shop). Though that painter was reluctant and was actually forced into doing it. In the end he leaves the country to pursue his career in art.
Also introduced in this episode is some chubby weird looking detective called Manzou Nokogiri AKA The Saw. Appearing in certain episodes (and also narrating that episode) as a detective investigating certain cases, he doesn’t really meet the trio nor gets involved with them. Even if so, it was probably for a short while. I’m not sure what his real purpose is (other than his detective work lah) other than to provide some comical relief. Yup, that’s what his results usually end up, humourous results. And because of that, his role wasn’t really tied up at the end of the series. I felt that he was just cast aside. Not that important, huh?
Episode 6 is the real start of their search. Yeah, the trio met some gay Dutch politician official named Jouji who wants to experience Japanese lifestyle by disguising as a commoner. They met him during an all-you-can-eat-competition. This part is quite funny. Mugen entered the competition by using his sword as a collateral and forces the same thing on Jin. The winner is the last one who hasn’t throw up or do the traditional gochisou-sama signal when they’re done. Of course the over confident Mugen now has to eat his words (haha) as he and both Jin couldn’t go on. So it’s down to Fuu (surprise surprise. This gal’s got a huge appetite) and Jouji. Just then, a fly was irritating Fuu and as she’s gonna squash it, she does so and the judges thinks it’s that gochisou-sama signal. Hahaha. So Jouji won the competition and got all those prizes other contestants gave as collateral, including Mugen and Jin’s swords.
Of course Jin and Mugen can’t live without their swords as they pleaded with Jouji to hand their swords back to them. Jouji said he would, that is, after they take him on a sight-seeing tour of the place. Bummer. Oh, this guy seems to fall in love with some opera actor who’s playing a role as a women. Wow, even gays do exists back at that time. In the end Jouji’s cover’s blown when officials surrounded the gang with some official documents asking Isaac Kitching (Jouji’s real name), the head of the Dutch East India Trading Company, to come back. Well, I suppose he reluctantly agreed.
So before he leaves, Fuu asked him if he knew anything about the samurai which smells like sunflowers as she lets him see her skull pendant. He then tells her to let only a few people see it and not show it around so freely. And if she wants to know the real reason or answer, she’ll have to go to Nagasaki to find out. Why, couldn’t he just tell her straight? It would save a lot of time (and probably lots of episodes. Haha. Just kidding). Yeah, or else maybe they won’t learn, huh? Like the saying, it’s what you learn on your journey that counts, not the destination.
Then I felt that the following few episodes (if not until right up before the last few episodes) were like the usual getting into other people’s businesses and doesn’t move an inch closer to finding out more about the sunflower samurai. Like how Mugen and Jin decides to track down some pickpocket who stole Fuu’s winnings in episode 7, or some hip hop style samurai named Nagamitsu wants to kill Jin because the latter killed their master Mariya Enshirou (who is also Jin’s master)in episode 8. At the same time, Fuu flirts with him with her new found popularity while Mugen and Jin too flirts with some sexy women, who happens to be Nagamitsu’s wife, whom she drags him away back home.
Episode 9 is one of the funniest and possibly one of my favourites. This episode is narrated by some old man who worked at some checkpoint 30 years ago as he told the story through a flashback when the trio arrived there then. Because they had no passport and in their haste bought a fake one, they’re detained by those checkpoint officials. And since it’s a serious crime, they’ll be executed. Of course, they made a deal with the checkpoint boss, Kinumasa, that they’ll be freed if they bring in the most wanted criminal. But Kinumasa sent Mugen to so the job with Jin and Fuu left behind as collateral, in case he runs away, they’ll both be executed. They’re doomed!
Of course, Mugen doesn’t care and in a way ‘escapes’. Until he stumbled upon some marijuana fields and some militant priest’s hideout. He got captured but manage to free himself before setting the hut he was in on fire, which spread to the marijuana fields. Yup, this is the funny part. We see some distorted psychedelic visions of Mugen fighting one of those guys while the field is on fire. They’re all high! And the winds blew the marijuana scent towards the checkpoint nearby and everybody there excluding Jin and Fuu became so high and merry that some even ‘did it’ with animals and among themselves! Orgy! Outrageously funny. Jin and Fuu used this opportunity to escape. I wonder why they didn’t get high? I mean, since the scent of the marijuana scent spread to almost the entire checkpoint. Can’t be that prison cell they’re in was so air-tight? Anyway, Jin and Fuu then found Mugen and the military priest happily sitting and smiling together. Hmmm… Come to think of it, don’t you think this is an effective way of stopping wars and make peace among each other. No doubt drugs are bad, but hey, everybody’s so happy. And they’re all so high! Hehehe.
Back to the usual stuffs in episode 10 with Mugen battling some terror samurai killer named Shouryuu, and managed to kill him in the end after a gruelling life and death battle. And in episode 11, Jin pities and helps a women named Shino from her brothel life. Is he in love with her? Dunno. But in the end, he puts her on a boat to escape somewhere while killing her unfaithful husband. And what’s with that episode 12, which is a recap of the trio’s adventures up to now from Fuu’s point of view recorded in her diary. It’s quite funny to see Jin and Mugen criticizing it. I guess this is the only thing which I enjoy in this episode. And since Mugen’s illiterate, Jin has to read it out.
But it’s all not just getting involve in other people’s businesses. You see, Jin and Mugen too had a dark past of their own, and it’s catching up to them. So some of the second half of the series see how these 2 face up to their past and how they have to deal with the inevitable once more.
Like in episode 13 and 14 where Mugen’s brother (not blood related), Mukuro and Kouza (Mukuro’s little sister). We now know why Mugen’s character’s such. Yup, he’s an ex-pirate along with Mukuro and the rest of his gang back then. Long ago, their forefathers were criminals and they’re sent to some island where all hardcore criminals are placed. Uh-huh, Mugen was breed and grew up there. It’s like hell on Earth. Of course some fight between the 2, you know that kind of love-hate relationship. Soon Mukuro then forces Mugen to join him to raid some ship containing large amounts of gold after Mugen lost out to some chicken match (?!).
True to Mukuro’s nature, he betrayed Mugen during the raid and left him to die by blowing up some raft Mugen’s in. But Mugen’s a survivor and a tough one too. Yeah, that near death experience must have given him some will power to come back to life. Plus, he hasn’t settle things with Jin yet. Meanwhile, Jin confronts Mukuro and decides to kill him because Jin told him that he was the only one who is allowed to kill Mugen (his whereabouts are still unknown) and killed Mukuro. Only then Jin and Mukuro realized that it was all a setup and ploy by Kouza as she used him to get rid of her brother. Yup, Kouza and one of Mukuro’s accomplice, Shiren, who’s also a Shogunate official, planned it all along.
As the 2 walk along happily, they met an injured Mugen. Shiren was surprised to see Mugen’s till alive as he prepares to attack him with his sword. Just then, some terror slicing and hacking from Mugen which leaves Shiren dead instantly. Too fast to see anything happening. I was like ‘wow’. But Mugen didn’t kill Kouza as he just limped pass her, though she’s begging for him to kill her. Now she’s left with nothing as Shiren’s the last person left who knows the hidden location of the gold they raided from that ship. As good as dead.
It’s Jin’s turn in episode 16 and 17. The trio had an argument and decided to split, each heading their own way. While Mugen meets and American Indian dressing guy named Okuru (too bad, Okuru vanished before Mugen could ask him to apologize for mistakenly shooting an arrow which misses Mugen by a few inches earlier on), Jin squares off with a young samurai named Yukimaru. He is another one of Mariya’s students hunting down Jin because the latter had killed is master. Some sword fighting skills between the 2 as they trade some blows here and there. But Jin is reluctant to kill him, saying that he isn’t worth killing, that it would only make his sword rusty. So their battle ends when Jin dives down a cliff into the waterfall stream below.
Meanwhile, Fuu fell off a cliff as she tries to catch Momo and is picked up by Okuru who found her floating in the river. Some dream of the sunflower samurai by Fuu but it isn’t too clear either. When she comes 2, the both of them had some chat. At the same time, Mugen’s got his own problems when some government troops cornered him and thought he’s their wanted man. Some cool break dancing moves there before they realized they’ve got the wrong guy. The guy they’re looking for is of course Okuru who has killed one of their officials and they’re hunting him down. The reason why Okuru did that was because his village was reduced to a pile of corpse while he was away. An epidemic swept his village leaving no one alive, which is supposedly caused by that government official, fearing that the epidemic might spread, they burned down the whole village too.
More fighting between Jin and Yukimaru before the former lands a final killing blow on the latter. Meanwhile, Mugen finally meets Okuru as the 2 fight each other. But their fight’s interrupted when those government troops found them and launches some flaming arrow attack on them. Jin and Fuu were also there. It ended when Okuru managed to kill the government troop’s leader as he too was engulfed in flames, before diving down into the waterfall below. So is he alive? Well, that’s up to viewers to think. And before you know it, the trio are reunited once again and returned back to their original journey.
Then there’re those really weird and wacky episodes. Like in episode 15, Fuu gets really really fat after eating too much (I wonder how she slim down after that. And also, why didn’t she bloat up like this in that all-you-can-eat-contest?), while Mugen inadvertently gets involved with a female ninja, Yatsuha, who’s under-covering as a geisha, in exposing some counterfeiting operation masked under the guise of a brother. Yeah, we could see how perverted Mugen is too. And he always seem to fall for that naked women line. Pervert. Funny thing is, Yatsuha in the end says how she fell in love in with Mugen and decides to make him her husband. Funny taste she’s got. But that’s the last we’ll ever hear from her for the rest of the series. 
Or that scribbling or graffiti episode 18 with the ever squabbling Niwa brothers who’re trying to outdo each other by using calligraphy and drawing and painting on the buildings and homes in town. So graffiti originates from Japan? Don’t think so. But the Niwa brothers seem to look up to Jin as their older brother. Yeah, some flashback about the Niwa brother’s dad asking Jin to take care of his idiotic sons before committing suicide. So as a final competition to settle things once and for all, they decided to see who can draw the best graffiti on some castle. Unfortunately, Mugen beats them as he draws that infinity symbol (which is also the meaning of his name). So that’s how the infinity symbol came about. Don’t think so either.
And that comical baseball episode 23 with the trio and some Japanese villagers (even Manzou’s there) team up to play baseball against some American navy. Yeah, a lot of comical moments here and there. Is this why baseball is so popular in Japan these days? Don’t think so. And there’re moments of those Americans speaking in English and I even heard them say the F word! Really! Maybe Japanese viewers don’t really know that word. But then again. In the end, Mugen delivers the winning blow for the Japanese side with some super-dooper fastball destroying the entire American team, forcing them to leave Japan.
The crapiest and really-make-no-sense episode 22 is about the trio meeting some guy, Shige, at some mine shaft, who’s been digging for 5 years for his forefather’s hidden treasure. You’ll noticed that they’re all zombies as their limbs keep getting loose or they still act like normal when they lose one. Then in the final few moments as those zombies were overwhelming them and eventually Shige himself (after finding out that Shige’s not really a descendant and that they all may have been on a wild goose chase) some giant comet crashes into the site and causes a huge explosion. The end of them? What the?! Is this all real? And it seems nothing of this aftermath really affected the trio in the next episode. Crap. 
And that cult episode 19 where some fake Japanese guy disguising as a typical European looking priest, cons the villagers that the way to Heaven is by making more weapon and arms for them. Well, I guess people at that time were quite naive. As usual, the trio got involved and exposed their scam and that priest guy died with a heavy slab of concrete falling on him. Ouch. Besides that, a little information about the sunflower samurai from one of the Christian followers, Yuri. Like the sunflower samurai’s name is Seizou Kasumi (at least that’s what everybody’s assuming) and they need to go to an island called Ikitsuki Island near Nagasaki to find him. That island is supposed to be a place where Christians take refuge. Back at that time, Christianity and those practising it were persecuted, therefore Christians had to practice their religion in secrecy. Plus, the sunflower samurai is supposed to be Fuu’s father and the reason why she wants to find him is to find out why he left her and her mom alone and went away.
Mugen and Jin met their match in episode 20 and 21. The trio met a blind but beautiful musician, Sara, on their journey. Sara requests one of them to accompany her to claim her son. Fuu sends Jin knowing that Mugen may do something perverted on her. But it seems that Sara isn’t what she seems to be. She’s a highly skilled assassin and has been ordered by the government to take out Mugen and Jin. Furthermore, they are holding Sara’s son as a collateral, and if she fails, her son too will die. No choice. Sara manage to ambush and critically injured Jin while they’re crossing the bridge as they both fell towards the stream below. Fuu and Mugen found out through a passer by and saw Sara in the river before pulling her out from the water.
While Jin is recuperating at some fisherman’s hut, Mugen and Sara have a fierce battle as the former realized Sara’s true identity. Yup, even Mugen’s no match for her. He too got wounded and fell into the stream. I guess streams are convenient for escaping fights and not letting a character die, don’t you think? Later when Sara finds out that her son had already died (when her contractor asks her to continue finishing her job but the way he said things indicate that her son has been done for), during the second battle with Mugen, Sara allowed Mugen to kill her as she has no reason to live. And Mugen’s regretting it? This guy, regretting that he killed someone?
So in the final 3 episodes, the trio have finally reached Nagasaki and have to take a boat to Ikitsuki Island. Unfortunately, there’re gonna be some obstacles as there’re are assassins closing in on their tail. Fuu decides to head to the island herself first, leaving Jin and Mugen back on land. To cut things short, those 2 encountered an assassin Kariya Kagetoki as he fights them both at the same time. Looks like another tough opponent for them. And looks like Kariya’s having the upper hand. Realizing that Fuu may be in danger the way Kariya says things, Jin asks Mugen to head for the island and asked him not to die as Jin takes on a one-on-one duel with Kariya.
Meanwhile, Fuu who is already on the island and wandering through the sunflower fields, got kidnapped and is being taken hostage by a guy wearing an eye-patch, Umanosuke, one of the 3 brothers who’re plotting some revenge on Mugen. So Fuu’s the bait to lure Mugen. Meanwhile, as Mugen takes a boat ride to Ikitsuki Island, he is ambushed by the ferrymen, Denkibou (reminds you of Toad from X-Men), who’s also one of the 3 brothers. He looks like the crazy kind who wants to kill people for the thrills. Anyway, Mugen manage to kill him when they both fell off the boat and fighting underwater.
So as Jin and Kariya are still at each other (some flashback of why Jin killed his master, but I couldn’t remember the reason. But it wasn’t that Jin had any bad intentions), then a final blow from Kariya which sends Jin falling off the dock and into the sea. Is Jin dead? I wouldn’t bet on it. At the same time, Mugen manages to swim ashore towards Ikitsuki Island. Still recovering from that fight, Mugen gathers up his strength and climbs the rocks up to a ruin church where Fuu is being held captive. As Mugen fights Umanosuke, the latter says that he wouldn’t want to kill Mugen straight away as he wants him to suffer real badly first. By the way, that chain sickle scythe of Umanosuke’s quite deadly but quite cool too.
Then we hear the reason why the 3 brothers want their revenge on Mugen so badly. Something like back then, Mugen and Mukuro raided their ship and crippled one of the brother’s, Toube’s legs. And their hopes of promotion was ruined, so were their lives. Ever since, Toube’s been confined to a wheel chair and looks senile. Thus, their reason to live was nothing more than to seek revenge on Mugen. But Umanosuke got real mad when he found out that Mugen had killed Denkibou. During the fight, Mugen manage to cut loose Fuu’s bounds and told her to run. As Fuu escapes, the 2 continue their battle. While an exhausted Fuu reaches a cabin on a cape and stumbles upon an old man there, Kariya is rowing his way to Ikitsuki Island.
In the cabin, Fuu finally meets with Seizou, who seems to be weak, partially blind and lying on his death bed. Some talk here and there. And the reason why he left Fuu and her mom was because he didn’t want them to be hunted and persecuted because of their religion, that’s why he came here alone though he wanted to bring them both along at first. And after hearing him out, Fuu just said to him that they won’t be able to see each other again and wishes him goodbye before rushing out of the cabin.
Just then Kariya arrives calmly and enters the cabin. He told Seizou that he’s gonna kill him and asks if he has any last request. Seizou says he can kill him and that he doesn’t have any regrets. Yup, Kariya has been given an order to eliminate Seizou, his entire family and his followers as he slashed Seizou. Fuu watched in horror as Seizou said his final words how he didn’t deserve forgiveness but he never forgot about the 2. Then Kariya turns to Fuu, which is his next target. She ran away. Oh well, what a way to go after just making a short appearance. I felt that his role was just to explain and tie up things, and nothing more. Swoosh. He’s gone.
Meanwhile, back to the action between Mugen and Umanosuke. A lot of fighting here and there. But Mugen doesn’t seem to use his break dancing moves. Probably too tired. The fight ends when the 2 were struggling, Mugen bit Umanosuke’s crotch. Yes, that’s what he did! As Umanosuke manages to break free and is on top of Mugen (no perverted thoughts here), Mugen grabs the scythe which then retracts, cutting off Umanosuke’s head. Gross. What a way to die.
Kariya catches up with Fuu, who is now cornered on the edge of the cliff. He tells her that the reason why he’d followed her here was to lead him to Seizou and kill him. But before Kariya could proceed, he’s surprised to see an unkempt Jin slowly emerging from behind. See, told ya Jin’s not dead yet. Some flashback of some final technique thingy and some talk. As the 2 clashed swords again, Jin used that final technique of letting his opponent stab him first from behind as a decoy before Jin stabs him back with his other sword. The 2 fell down the cliff then.
Meanwhile Mugen heads towards the Toube but the latter lits up a dynamite he has on his wheelchair. Mugen, seeing this, kicks the bottom panel of the wheelchair which dozens of dynamite fell out. Mugen lurched back as all the dynamite goes off with one big explosion. What a way for that Toube guy to die too.
When it’s all over and Mugen and Jin comes to, only to find Fuu sitting next to them on the beach. Would you believe it, after all those stabbing, fights and injuries, these 2 guys are still breathing. Some tough cookie they are. But they’re less energetic, a little exhausted from their battles. Oh well, but you know these 2, it isn’t over yet as they draw their swords to settle their business. But as they rushed towards each other and their swords broke into 2 when it clashed. Looks like they have to postpone their match again as the 2 pass out.
The 2 opened their eyes again and found themselves wrapped in bandages in the cabin while Fuu and that old guy prayed at Seizou’s grave. Yeah, and they’re still talking about wanting to kill each other. Haih… Well, it’s been a week they’ve slept already and they must be real hungry. But if you think about it, the 2 are quite similar in a way to each other.
In the final scenes we see the trio standing at a crossroad (how ironic, just like their lives now) and Jin asked if they should meet again. Just then Fuu confessed that she had lied to them about the coin flip back in episode 1. It was actually heads, much to the other 2’s disbelief and shock. With that Fuu walks away. As Jin says that they’re tricked into it, Mugen asks what was that journey all about then? But they both just smiled and head their own separate ways. Nothing much as the ending credits were rolling as you could just see them individually walking along. So Mugen and Jin decided not to kill each other anymore? Yeah, maybe they’ve seen to much blood and gore and killed too much enough to last for a lifetime. And they didn’t want to stick with each other after all these times? Probably they had enough of each other too? What will they do? Beats me. Since Fuu has already achieved her goal, I suppose she doesn’t need those 2 around anymore.
Overall, I find this anime to be quite okay. If you don’t mind all those gory action and blood, that is. Also, most of the scenes here are quite grim and dark. Sometimes, you can’t see anything. Perhaps during that era, there isn’t much to light up. Just kidding. As I have mentioned before, I like those break dancing moves by Mugen. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many of them. The other fight scenes are okay which is enough to keep me glued to the screen.
I didn’t particularly like the music of the series, even the opening and the ending themes. That’s because it’s rap and all those kind of music. It was just one kind to mix rap with such a feudalistic theme but funny too in a way. The voice acting is nicely done. The voices perfectly suit the characters and their personality well, especially Mugen’s.
Of course, as the story progresses, so did the character development for Jin and Mugen. Though there are many other characters in the series, I felt that each encounter brought them closer to knowing themselves and how they break free of their past. I guess the producers did a good job pairing the trio together. With such weird and contrasting personalities and the obstacles they faced, who would’ve thought that they would stick with each other right till the end (whether they like it or not).
And probably because of that, that’s why they could expand the storyline and perfectly mix it with all sorts of crazy stuffs which sometimes don’t make sense. Or else it could’ve been over after several episodes. The way they place certain humourous antics was probably to get your mind off the grim violence once in a while. Some of them are quite memorable, though. I’ve glimpsed the manga art of the series which is shown at the end after each episode is finished. Looks like I like the anime drawing better. Mugen just looked horrible in that manga drawing.
%d bloggers like this: