LOLI vs. Samurai Champloo

LOLI vs. is entertainment from a tween-age girl’s point of view.

The rules are simple:

  • If LOLI wins–It means the object of entertainment was crappy, thus not worth her time.
  • If the opponent wins–It means that the object of entertainment is worth pursuing, even if you’re a tween with limited money.

Swords clashed, blood flowed, and passion was every where. This could only mean one thing–I was watching an action show. More specifically, a hip-hop themed action show. Even more specifically, the one that isn’t Gurren Lagann. I was watching Samurai Champloo.

This is a show about samurai. Nothing cooler than that. A girl named Fuu was working at this tea shop when a couple of hooligans started messing around. A freelancing, breakdancing samurai, Mugen, offered to take care of the punks for some free grub. As he’s hackin’ and slashin’ away the show’s stock stoic character, Jin, comes waltzing in and decides to join the brawl. So now Mugen and Jin are fighting, and then suddenly–like in all good fights (here’s lookin’ at you Full Metal Alchemist and The Lion King)–the building catches fire.

They two of them get knocked out from the fumes. When they wake up, they find out that the son of the magistrate died in that fire, thus both of them are being executed. As their heads are about to roll, Fuu (rememeber Fuu?) throws some smoke bombs (which were cleverly hidden in her shirt, making her have some mobile melons), and the two samurai are rescued. Afterward, the three of them team up for a 26 episode trek to find the samurai “who smells of sunflowers.”

As a native Philadelphian, all the hip-hop elements were great. I especially enjoyed the baseball episode, during which in my mind was the Phillies against the Rays (2008 World Series champions, baby!). There are tons of historical references, such as the Shimabara Rebellion, no foreigners policies, and Ukiyo-e paintings. We even see some Commodore Perry and Musashi Miyamoto. But modern elements are mixed in as well. We got hip-hop, break dancing, rap, beat-boxing, graffiti, baseball, and even a little bit of Nagasaki thrown in there.

I loved the fluid movements and the beautiful backgrounds. The fights were so clean and crisp, every move taking a life of its own; although, I’m upset that Fuu did not fight as much as I initially hoped. Character designs were fabulous, and you never saw the same one. The narrator (Manzou, the Saw) was great and he even showed up in a couple episodes, which added an extra boost of comedy in an already pretty funny show. The voice acting (English) was phenomenal. Great lines were everywhere and everybody had the right tone of voice. Jin specifically had some wonderfully hilarious line, which is something characters like him don’t typically have. Mugen even got deep at times, something I have no personal experience of a B-Boy ever doing.

I can not give this show enough compliments. Hell guys, if you like hot soundtracks, sweet action, and funny dialogue, then just watch this show already. This is close second to the rap-theme of Gurren Lagann; in fact, I can safely say that what Cowboy Bebop did to jazz, Samurai Champloo does to hip-hop.

So enjoy your crazy samurai with glasses, steal-plated sandals, and a longing for sunflowers. But don’t let the bridge get cut on your way out.

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