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Samurai Champloo is a Japanese anime series, developed by Manglobe, that featured a production team led by director Shinichirō Watanabe, character designer Kazuto Nakazawa and mechanical designer Mahiro Maeda. Samurai Champloo was Watanabe's first directorial effort for an anime series after the critically acclaimed Cowboy Bebop. The series premiered in Japan on Fuji TV from May 20, 2004 to March 19, 2005. Samurai Champloo's musical score predominantly features hip hop music produced by Tsutchie, Nujabes, Fat Jon, and Force of Nature.

Like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo was critically acclaimed and the series was dubbed in the English language in 2004. The English dub aired on Adult Swim's Toonami block from January 2, 2016[1] to July 9, 2016. The series was rated TV-14-DLSV on Adult Swim.


Mugen is a ferocious, animalistic warrior with a fighting style inspired by break-dancing. Jin is a ronin samurai who wanders the countryside alone. They may not be friends, but their paths continually cross. And when ditzy waitress Fuu gets them out of hot water with the local magistrate, they agree to join her search for the samurai who smells like sunflowers.


Samurai Champloo employs a blend of historical Edo period backdrops with modern styles and references. The series relies on factual events of Edo-era Japan, such as: the Shimabara Rebellion, Dutch exclusivity in an era in which an edict restricted Japanese foreign relations, and Ukiyo-e paintings. However, fictionalized versions of real-life Edo personalities like Mariya Enshirou and Minamoto Musashi were also featured. The exact placement within world history is questionable and is likely somewhat distorted by artistic license. For instance, the appearance of a six shooter in the episode of "Misguided Miscreants Part I" suggests that the story takes place after 1814, which is when that style of weapon was first invented, yet in the episode "Stranger Searching" it is explicitly stated that trade relations between Japan and the Dutch East India Company exist, the latter of which went defunct in 1798. Also, the samurai who smells of sunflowers is said to have taken part in the Shimabara Rebellion, which historically occurred between 1637 and 1638. Incorporated within the series are signature elements of modernity, especially hip hop culture, such as rapping, bandits behaving like "gangstas," censorship bleeps replaced with record scratching, and much of Mugen's character design.


Mugen — A brash vagabond from the penal colony Ryukyu Islands, Mugen is a 19-year-old wanderer with a wildly unconventional fighting style. Rude, lewd, vulgar, and nihilistic, Mugen is something of an antihero. He is fond of fighting and has a tendency to pick fights for petty reasons. It is implied in a few episodes that he is also a womanizer, with his libido sometimes getting the better of him. He wears metal-soled geta and carries an exotic sword on his back. In Japanese, the word mugen means "infinite".

Jin — Jin is a 20-year-old reserved ronin who carries himself in the conventionally stoic manner of a samurai of the Tokugawa era. Using his waist-strung daishō, he fights in the traditional kenjutsu style of a samurai trained in a prominent, sanctioned dojo. He is pursued by several members of his dojo as he killed their master in self-defense. He wears glasses, an available but uncommon accessory in Edo era Japan. His pair of glasses is purely ornamental, as Mugen later found out after getting a chance to peer through them.

Fuu — A spirited 15-year-old girl, Fuu asks Mugen and Jin to help her find a sparsely described man she calls "the samurai who smells of sunflowers." Her father left her and her mother for an unknown reason. Without her father around to support them, Fuu and her mother led a difficult life until her mother died of illness. After a not-so-successful stint as a teahouse waitress/dancer she saves Mugen and Jin from execution and recruits them as her bodyguards. A flying squirrel named "Momo" accompanies her, inhabiting her kimono and frequently leaping out to her rescue.

Voice Cast

Character English Voice Actor Japanese Voice Actor
Mugen Steve Blum Kazuya Nakai
Jin Kirk Thornton Ginpei Sato
Fuu Kari Wahlgren Ayako Kawasumi
"Sunflower" Samurai Doug Stone Kouji Nakata
Mariya Enshirou Peter Spellos Makio Inoue
Inspector Manzou Sakami Michael McConnohie Unshō Ishizuka
Oshaberi Ichiemon Dave Mallow Isshin Chiba
Sasaki Ryujiro Dave Wittenberg Otoya Kawano
Nagatomi Rikie Michael McConnohie Fumihiko Tachiki
Daigoro William Frederick Knight Katsuhisa Hōki
Osuzu Karen Strassman Sayuri Yamauchi
Kawara Sōsuke Darrel Guilbeau Mayumi Yamaguchi
Kawara Heitaro Simon Prescott Hidekatsu Shibata
Ishimatsu Paul St. Peter Ryūzaburō Ōtomo
Zuikō Bob Papenbrook Shōzō Iizuka
Ukon Jeffrey Stackhouse Shō Hayami
Mukuro Kim Strauss Kiyoyuki Yanada
Koza Stephanie Sheh Ai Maeda
Shiren Erik Davies Ken Narita
Jinpachi Yatsuha Michelle Ruff Noriko Hidaka
Okuru Richard Epcar Akio Ohtsuka
Yukimaru Steve Cannon Nozomu Sasaki
Sara Megan Hollingshead Sakiko Tamagawa
Matagi "Johnny" Joey Lotsko Bon Ishihara
Heike Shige Tony Oliver Kōji Totani
Denkibou Derek Stephen Prince Keiichi Nanba
Umanosuke Doug Erholtz Takehito Koyasu
Kariya Kagetoki Steve Kramer Takayuki Sugō
Hotaru Wendee Lee Masako Katsuki
Shinsuke Johnny Yong Bosch Shigeru Shibuya
Tomonoshin Shibui Derek Stephen Prince Masahito Yabe
Matsunosuke Beau Billingslea Daisuke Gōri
Isaac Kitching Paul St. Peter Hōchū Ōtsuka
Nagamitsu Tony Oliver Kōichi Yamadera
Xavier III Lex Lang Jūrōta Kosugi
Yuri Kate Higgins Megumi Toyoguchi
Ginsa Momochi Abe Lasser Jouji Nakata
Suzukichi Chris Kent Ken Yamaguchi



Color Season Episodes Toonami Premiere Toonami Finale
1 26 January 2, 2016 July 9, 2016

Geneon licensed the series for distribution in North America in 2004[2] and began releasing the series on DVD in January of 2005.[3]

After Geneon ceased distribution in 2007, Funimation acquired the rights to distribute Samurai Champloo and, in association with Geneon, re-released the entire 26-episode series in a box set in June 2009 and on Blu-ray in November 2009.[4] As of November 26, 2010, Funimation has fully licensed the series and once again released the series under the Classics line on May 24, 2011.

Broadcast History

Samurai Champloo premiered in Japan on Fuji TV from May 20, 2004 until it was pulled from the schedule after the 17th episode aired on September 9, 2004.[5] The series returned to the schedule in January and the final 9 episodes aired until March 19, 2005.[6] An edited English dub of the series, licensed by Geneon, premiered in the United States on the Adult Swim anime block Adult Swim Action on May 14, 2005[7], with foul language replaced with record scratches, in addition to cutting out blood and nudity. The final episode premiered on Adult Swim on March 8, 2006. However, the final 6 episodes actually premiered 6 days before they aired on Adult Swim on "Friday Night Fix," an AS online streaming block that premiered on Friday, February 3, 2006.[8] Reruns then continued to air on Adult Swim through March 7, 2008. The series made its return to U.S. television on the FUNimation Channel in 2011 and then returned to Adult Swim, in HD, in 2016 on the Toonami programming block.

Samurai Champloo debuted in Canada on December 24, 2006, on the digital station Razer. The series has also aired in the United Kingdom, France, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Germany. The series aired in Brazil on PlayTV's Otacraze programming block in 2007.

  • Japan (Fuji TV) — May 20, 2004[9] - September 9, 2004[5]; January 22, 2005 - March 19, 2005[6]
  • United States (Adult Swim) — May 14, 2005[7] - March 7, 2008; January 2, 2016[1] - July 9, 2016
  • United States (Funimation Channel) — March 21, 2011 - 2012
  • Australia (SBS) — 2006[10]
  • Canada (Razer) — December 24, 2006[11] - June 17, 2007
  • Cartoon Network (Latin America) — 2006 - 2007
  • Brazil (OTACRAZE) — March 5, 2007[12] - 2007

Toonami Broadcast History

Samurai Champloo premiered, in HD, on Adult Swim's Toonami block on January 2, 2016 at 1:30 AM, replacing Michiko & Hatchin. On June 4, 2016, the series was moved to the 1:00 AM time slot, where it stayed until it completed its run on July 9, 2016. It was replaced in the lineup the following week by One Punch Man

  • Toonami (United States) — January 2, 2016[1] - July 9, 2016
  • Toonami (Latin America) — 2006 - 2007

Toonami Marathons

Samurai Champloo only had one marathon appearance during its run on Toonami, the Samurai Champloo Marathon.

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Samurai Champloo Joins Toonami ". December 13, 2015. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  2. "Geneon Announces Licenses ". June 18, 2004. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  3. "Anime Expo - Geneon Entertainment ". July 19, 2004. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  4. "FUNimation Entertainment to Distribute Samurai Champloo ". December 31, 2008. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Japanese TV News ". August 20, 2004. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Samurai Champloo Second Season ". October 22, 2004. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Upcoming Adult Swim Anime ". March 25, 2005. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  8. "Samurai Champloo on Friday Night Fix ". January 25, 2006. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  9. "Samurai Champloo Date set ". March 19, 2004. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  10. Hayward, Jon (December 15, 2005). "Wai-Con 2005 Madman Entertainment ". Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  11. "Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo to Air in Canada ". December 16, 2006. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
  12. "Brazil Welcomes Late Night Anime Block ". February 3, 2007. Retrieved on December 13, 2015. 
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