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Samurai Champloo Box Set

Samurai Champloo – Complete Collection
Release Date: July 04, 2006
Released By: Geneon Entertainment
DVD SRP: $199.98 – 650 Minutes
Video: Widescreen (Anamorphic) – 1.85:1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (DTS), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1) & English Subtitles

Directed by Shinchiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Animatrix) designed by Kazuto Nakazawa (Kill Bill Vol. 1) and Mahiro Maeda (Last Exhile, Blue Submarine No. 6), and powered by da1 fresh sounds from Tsutchie, fat jon, Nujabes and Force of Nature, Samurai Champloo is off da’ hook animation!

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INTRODUCTION
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Shinichiro Watanabe is back in the game with his directorial follow-up to the universally acclaimed Cowboy Bebop. Featuring a cast of memorable characters and a plethora of fresh sounds from some of Japan’s finest DJ’s; Samurai Champloo is a series worth investigation from all novice and dedicated anime fans alike!

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STORY – Rating: 10 (out of 10)
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Shinichiro Watanabe is an exceptional director. His previous series (Cowboy Bebop) was so stunning in every single aspect that it was hard to believe it was done by the hands of man. It was a series so perfect that it felt impossible to believe that it was not a part of our own reality and that it did not resemble life itself. Sometimes there are things that are just brilliant. In the case of Cowboy Bebop – everything about it made it perfect. Everyone who worked on it contributed their own special gifts to make it the best anime series of its time. It could quite possibly become the best anime series of all time. Those are mighty high standards for anyone. How could Watanabe’s next series possibly live up to such a title? The story may not be up to par as “the best anime series ever” but it would be a complete and total lie to say this isn’t one of the best anime series ever made. This show will definitely go down as a classic example of the art at its highest form and as a most satisfying mold of entertainment. The characters and the crazy situations more than make up for any small qualms. Everyone who approaches this new series with an open mind will find themselves giddily enjoying it and the many qualities it has to offer to everyone. Different can be better. In the case of Samurai Champloo there is a fair amount of familiar and unfamiliar grounds to make this roller coaster ride as much fun as possible.

Over the course of the series following Mugen, Jin, and Fuu only gets all the more enjoyable. We learn as an audience to love their characters. We appreciate the little quirks about them, their mystery to each other and to themselves, the path that each member of the group must take to meet each others individual goals on the journey to find the samurai that smells of sunflowers. There are episodes of pure hilarity (like when they play a game of baseball), of horror (zombies, anyone?), and intense unfolding action/drama (the undeniably brilliant and moving series finale). If that sounds like your cup of tea then it probably is. Some people may say the show falls short, that it is not up to the challenge creatively, yet they are perhaps viewing it with too judgmental an eye. This series does not really try to break new ground yet it still does. There are always series relating to samurai in anime. Some are more unique than others. This one is certainly the most original, with amazing episodes featuring stunning craftsmanship, and hip-hop music that helps the flow. Those are just a few reasons to watch Champloo. The main reason to is that when all is said and done the episodes joyously fit inside Watanabe‘s brilliant vision.. The end result? Something beautiful, wonderful, glorious, delightful, enchanting, brilliant, and emotional captured on film through the glorious medium we all know as animation.

This DVD Box Set Contains ALL 26 Episodes

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ANIMATION – Rating: 10 (out of 10)
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The animation featured in Samurai Champloo is amongst the best that I have ever witnessed. It is essential and serene in all of its beautiful wonders. The mere possibility of missing out on this show seems ridiculous when such glorious sceneries are used. The work is gritty, realistic, and action-packed (even by anime standards). With genius character designs and artistic styles that will warp the mind this is a must see series for its art alone. The animation is better here than it was is Cowboy Bebop and that is most definitely saying something amazing.

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AUDIO – Rating: 10 (out of 10)
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There are no complaints to be made about the audio featured on these releases. Geneon has once again delivered what they do best. The sound is perfectly in tune and the voice acting that accompanied is spectacular. There are more than a few returning voice actors from the time of Cowboy Bebop. Wonderful performances are given in both the English and Japanese Dubs. The work of these VA’s is sensational and everyone had something to add to their character. English dubs can occasionally be disappointing compared to their Japanese counterparts. Samurai Champloo delivers in that aspect whereas so many other anime series as of late have failed.

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EXTRAS – Rating: 2 (out of 10)
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This is the least satisfactory part about this release. Considering this is such a brilliant show It seems unlikely that most will even complain about their disappointment in the lack of extras. Especially if one also recognizes exactly how fast Geneon released the series in America. It may not be the “Extra-Extraordinaire” DVD Box Set your looking for but few anime releases are. Some Samurai Champloo art, promos, and random geneon anime trailers are included over the seven discs.

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OVERALL
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Samurai Champloo is one of the best and most genuinely entertaining series to come out of Japan. Fans of Cowboy Bebop will not be disappointed. With its creativity, interesting characters, beautiful animation, and radical music why bother with something less special? For everyone that already has the individual volumes this set is completely pointless. Everyone else: Pick it up and own the whole series! If the set is too expensive for some, which it no doubt is at the high $200 list price, I’d suggest waiting it out. A cheaper set will likely be released at some point. For those that can afford it: this is worth every penny. A series this good should not be missed.