Fuu is a young girl working as a waitress at a small tea house. Things are peaceful until one day she spills tea on a customer and finds the samurai harassing her. Calling for help, a thuggish young rogue by the name of Mugen steps in only to pick a fight with another tightly wound samurai named Jin. In their fight, they end up destroying the shop and getting arrested. After saving the two fighters from their execution, Fuu hires them as bodyguards to help her find a samurai that smells of sunflowers.
A beloved favorite and first anime of many fans, it you like the stylish East-meets-West influences of Samurai Champloo, then it is time to try out these anime recommendations.
For Fans of Fast-Paced Samurai Fights
When he was a boy, Afro witnessed his father cut down by a man known only as Justice. After killing his father, this man took the number one headband and cast the number two aside. Years later after working his way up to the number two headband, Afro is granted the right to challenge the number one, the man who killed his father.
Both Samurai Champloo are the definition of East-meets-West culture in anime. Samurai Champloo features a hip hop soundtrack while Afro Samurai features a black samurai. Both have the fast-paced sword fighting mastered and reinvent what we think the samurai genre can be.
In Edo era Japan, Shichika Yasuri practices one of the most unique sword styles among a culture of unique sword styles, a technique that uses his own body as a blade. As the seventh head of the style’s school, he lives in exile with his sister Nanami until the ambitious Togame barges into his life. Togame tries to recruit him on her mission to collect the twelve unique swords known as the Deviant Blades for the shogunate. Interested by the girl more so than her mission, Yasuri accepts, only to later find the challenge in collecting these swords is defeating the legendary swordsmen that wield them.
In both of these series, the fighting is the real treat to watch. While Katanagatari is all about being beautiful in every respect, it does take itself pretty seriously. However, Samurai Champloo is more laid back and saves its best animation for where it is needed most – the fight scenes.
During Japan’s Warring States period, several powerful warlords rose up and fought in both politics and the battlefield to try to unite Japan. This is the story of those men.
Both shows are, in their own ways, about over-the-top samurai sword fights. However, while Samurai Kings often leaves reality and physics behind in its flashy battles, the battles in Samurai Champloo are infinitely more plausible and steeped in reality, but no less flashy to watch.
For Fans of Western Influences
In the distant future, humanity has, for the most, part abandoned Earth and colonized several different planets in the solar system. In order to keep peace in the galaxy, the Inter Solar System police was established, but they often rely on aid for bounty hunters, referred to as “cowboys,” to bring criminals on the run to justice. This is the story of Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, a pair of cowboys that end up with a rag-tag crew of other misfits as they travel the galaxy trying to keep food on the table and their own dark pasts at bay.
Made by the same guy, Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo are like brothers. They both feature cool guy main characters, have a strong emphasis on music to set the mood, and any time someone fights, it looks amazing. The only different here is in the setting.
Michiko and Hatchin
For the fourth time, hardened criminal Michiko breaks out of South American prison in order to search for a man from her past. This search leads her to the young Hana, a girl trapped under the thumb of her abusive foster family. Breaking her out as a key in her search, the unlikely pair set off on their search, only to be embroiled in everything from betrayal to gang warfare.
Like Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop, Michiko and Hatchin is also made by the same mind as its brothers. However, this time you have a female main, but she is no less cool than Spike or Mugen. However, instead of high-paced sword or fist fights, this series is more about the gun fighting. However, in this series there is less emphasis on music, but it still has that groovy sort of feel to it.
Rage of Bahamut
Thousands of a years ago, ancient dragon Bahamut terrorized the world. However, when gods and demons allied themselves to prevent the world’s destruction, they sealed him away, splitting the key among them so he would be eternally imprisoned. After the dragon was sealed, humanity returned to normal. However, things are about to get very abnormal for bounty hunter Favaro when he meets a mysterious women that holds half the key to Bahamut’s seal.
While Samurai Champloo is more tied to the east through its setting, like Rage of Bahamut, both shows are more palatable to western audiences because of their western-inspired themes. However, they both feature stunning animation and stories that can really draw you in.
For Fans of Cool and Quirky
Nicholas Brown and Worick Arcangelo work as handymen, mercenaries that will do anything for the right price. Working for the mob and police alike, they delve into the underbelly of the city, a place that was once haven for Twilights, people who were augmented by a special drug.
Let’s be real, we like Samurai Champloo because Mugen was a thug. He was the coolest character and had the most unique style of fighting. Gangsta is the same way. While it doesn’t do its source material justice, it is about thugs with general good hearts, but also have some pretty hard fists. If you like the laid back style of fighting, this can be an excellent show to follow up with.
Average business man Rokurou Okajima found his life turned upside down when he was captured and held hostage by a mercenary group in Thailand called Black Lagoon. In order to survive, he ends up joining the mercenaries. Now he must adapt to the lifestyle, or die.
Like aforementioned Gangsta as well as Samurai Champloo, Black Lagoon is all about badasses that occasionally need to be the thugs and the bad guys. As mercenaries they do any job, and they do it with a certain amount of insanity that makes it a pleasure to watch.
Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann
Simon and Kamina were living boring lives in their deep underground village when, on an excavation dig, they find a mysterious object that turns out to be the ignition key to an ancient war machine. With their new weapon, the pair are able to fend off an attack from above, but upon catching a glimpse of the sky, they set off on an adventure that will take them out of this universe.
Both of these series are a parody in their own way. Samurai Champloo somewhat parodies and reinvents the samurai genre while Gurren Lagann is all about parodying that 80’s mecha that always went so over the top in everything it did.
You got more styling samurai anime recommendations for Samurai Champloo? Well, let us hear them in the comments section below.