Anime: Samurai Champloo Volume 2 (UMD)

Chimaera

We pick up our story on Episodes three and four, but for those readers who aren’t acquainted with Samurai Champloo in general (or the first installment), the predominant storyline is fairly straightforward: Two guys who are about as opposite as you can make them (Mugen the brash warrior, Jin the calm and collected ronin) are brought together by one girl (Fuu, the sweet, naïve and scatterbrained waitress) who cleverly saves their butts from being executed after a swordfight. In return, they have to help her find a mysterious samurai that “smells of sunflowers”. Thankfully, this is about as serious as it sounds, which is to say, not so much. Having prepared myself with Volume 1, I was well acquainted with the characters, which is good because absolutely no time is wasted on backtracking.

imageVolume 2 is comprised of a two part episode, which is helpful because there’s nothing more irritating than having to switch discs just to get the entire story. At the outset of the first episode on the disc, Mugen and Jin decide Fuu’s getting on their nerves, and the trio splits up. Not surprisingly, the guys find themselves on opposite sides of warring factions within town, and Fuu? Well, she gets into her own sort of trouble. Predictable? Oh you bet it is. Funny and entertaining? Quite a bit. By the time we hit the second episode, we’re sword deep in brothels, swash, buckle, and it all culminates in a high-stakes gambling game that ends up with a surprise or two.

Technical/Extras
Volume 2 sounds pretty good, although this is a UMD, so the extras are seriously sparse. The subtitles, however, are not the best (especially watching in English with English subtitles), and that’s a shame because sometimes the subtitles are funnier than what’s said on screen and vice versa – they really take some liberties in what’s said and what you can read, and while I don’t expect a word by word subtitle – I’m a subtitle fan, and I do expect much better.

Rating: 6

Entertainment
On the other hand, Samurai Champloo delivers the goods when it comes to being entertaining. A bit predictable in spots, outrageously funny in others, the show’s got fighting, sass, and enough “hook” to keep you entertained.

Rating: 8

Overall
If you aren’t into keeping time with the intro after a while, snickering at stuff, squirmy at a bit of excess violence, occasionally sigh at some highly mild swearing and need your pseudo-historically set anime a bit more historical and a little more dramatic – what can I say, this is not going to be the series for you. However, if you’re like me and don’t mind anime that doesn’t take itself too seriously, or even if you just like variety in your collection and want a decent addition in a format that makes you remember “hey this PSP is good for more than Lumines”, give this disc (and the series itself) a shot.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Features: Quick start instructions for the PSP. Not so enthralling.

Episodes:
#3 Hellhounds for Hire, Part 1
#4 Hellhounds for Hire, Part 2

Extras: Previews ahoy! Fafner, DearS, Girls Bravo, Mermaid Forest, Paranoia Agent, Gankutsuou, Starship Operators, Ghost Talker’s Daydream, Petite Cossette

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