Samurai Champloo is the type of show that just hit you. A show that deep, lasting impression, unlike anything else, will still resonate in your mind years later. One that, for some reason, you keep going back to.
Samurai Champloo follows Mugen, Jin, and Fuu on their journey to find the samurai who smells sunflowers. Samurai Champloo does not have an overarching story, instead, it’s more like a loosely collected jumble of events as the three main characters journey throughout Edo, Japan. So with its loose narrative progression, why is Samurai Champloo widely considered a classic within the Anime Community?
Shinichirō Watanabe decided to combine his love for old samurai movies with his love for hip-hop, creating a new blend unique to Samurai Champloo, and it just works. Samurai Champloo has possibly the best soundtrack of all time. You can’t help but smile as you watch Mugen slice and dice with a hip hop beat in the background, it shouldn’t work, but it does. It creates a vibe that is unlike anything else.
Music establishes such a distinctive atmosphere and, when combined with a story as unique as Samurai Champloo, makes for an unforgettable experience. It’s not just a soundtrack inspired by hip-hop but almost every aspect of the show. And this could be most clearly seen with our main character Mugen. Mugen is a super cool samurai dude who doesn’t follow the rules and does his life doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it. Overall, Mugen is a likable dude who is a lot of fun to watch.
Mugen’s counterpart, however, is Jin, a traditionally trained samurai who utilizes a carefully honed fighting style, he is reserved and only speaks when needed, which causes him to be the polar opposite of Mugen in every way. The character design also does a great job of reflecting this, with Jin’s traditional Kimono and sharply drawn hair heavily contrasting Mugen’s tattered clothes and free-flowing hair.
The final member of the main trio is Fuu, Fuu isn’t a Samurai and can’t fight but still manages to be an interesting character in the story. As the one who grabs the group together, Fuu acts as a middle ground between Mugen and Jin’s conflicts. She is not just a plot device to make Mugen and Jin look cool, Fuu saves their lives just as much as they save hers.
Each one of them is strong enough to drive the story of an episode, so each episode will usually focus on a different character’s adventure.
Here are the 22 more animes you should watch if you loved Samurai Champloo.
1. Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop is directed by the same director as Samurai Champloo, Shinichirō Watanabe. So this makes the first point of why Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo are similar. Cowboy Bebop is one of the best anime television show ever made.
Cowboy Bebop is set in the year 2071 and follows a group of bounty hunters who are trying to survive, but they don’t always get along very well, and each has a very difficult past, and the entire show explores that in-depth and beautiful way. Suppose any Anime out there is proof that good character means that you have got a great show. In that case, that’s Cowboy Bebop because every character in this show is vastly interesting as a person. The fact that we were referring to the “as a person” tells you how awesome these characters are because they feel like people.
The lead character is Spike Spiegel, an amalgamation of many different people in classic films. Spike is a very lazy and sleepy guy who likes to just lay around and eat noodles. But what is so good about this character is his past. He has that epic depth-filled past with the guy name Vincent Valaju, the main antagonist of the show and the polar opposite of Spike. And whenever these characters crash, it feels really sad, like literally sad. To know the reason behind this, you have to watch this amazing show Cowboy Bebop.
IMDB has rated Cowboy Bebop 8.9 out of 10.
2. Afro Samurai
Afro Samurai is the anime adaptation of the Manga with the same name which Japanese illustrator Takashi Okazaki originally wrote. The story follows a mysterious worrier referred to as the Afro Samurai, who travels around a very anarchistic version of feudal Japan, where things like cell phones and cyborgs exist alongside swords, dojos, and traditional villages. Afro is obsessed with hunting down the man that killed his father, The mysterious villain known as Justice, and receiving the Number One headband, A mysterious artifact said to give the power of the god whoever wears it. At the same time, Afro is wearing a Number Two headband, which means he is the only one capable of defeating Number One.
Afro’s one goal is to reach the top of Mount Shumi, where Justice waits for him, Now, for those that might not remember, Afro Samurai ended up being a pretty popular series in the initial stage of Anime. The Manga was started in 1992 and ended in 2002, while the Anime adaptation was released in 2007, and when it did, it became a cult classic, even earning a video game adaptation that honestly wasn’t that bad.
IMDB has rated Afro Samurai 7.6 out of 10.
3. Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin follows the story of a man named Himura Kenshin on his path to redemption in his past during Japan’s machine war. The story is based 11 years after the Meiji Restoration began. Before this, however, Japan was in an intense war over power and control between the Shogun and the Empire. The Empire desired a more westernized government. At the same time, the entire country and its people would be ruled equally under one faction while modernizing their education, medical practices, and political standards and making their borders open to the entire world.
Rurouni Kenshin started as a manga series written by Nobuhiro Watsuki in an attempt to make a shonen series unlike any other. The story of Rurouni Kenshin is very dark and mature. Whenever people see Himara Kenshin’s hair and a scar on his face, they acknowledge him as one of the deadliest swordsmen ever.
IMDB has rated Rurouni Kenshin 7.4 out of 10.
4. Sword Of The Stranger
Sword of the Stranger is a 2007 movie that somehow looks better than a lot of modern Anime. Sword of the Stranger is a celebration of combat, with the most amazingly executed fight scenes possibly. Many aspects of this movie make it “Sugoi” (Good). Sword of the Stranger was directed by Ando Masahiro, who also worked on other critically acclaimed films and series such as the Cowboy Bebop Movie, Ghost in The Shell, Full Metal Alchemist, Metropolis, The End of Evangelion, and even Canaan. It goes without saying that this dude had some great experiences. He is the Master of Choreography.
The story is of a young boy Kotaro and his faithful dog who have escaped the clutches of an evil Chinese Empire that needs him for a certain evil ritual. Along the way, he meets Nanashi, who vowed to never unsheathe his Blade again because he is just a deadly dude.
IMDB has rated Sword of the Stranger 7.8 out of 10.
Katanagatari is based on the Japanese light novel written by Nisio Isin. The work of Nisio Isin is heavily focused on dialogues. His light novels don’t carry a lot of description, so most of what we know comes directly from the events that the characters tell or refer to.
The case of Katanagatari is particularly interesting because half the time, the character says lies, exaggerations, or biased opinions, making it harder to figure out which piece of information is reliable, making this Anime unique and interesting.
IMDB has rated Katanagatari 7.8 out of 10.
6. Samurai 7
Samurai 7, as the name describes, is the story of Seven Samurai named Shimada Kanbei, Okamoto Katsushiro, Katayama Gorobei, Shichiroji, Kikuchiyo, Hayashida Heihachi, and Kyuzo, who teams up to defend a poor village from bandits as well as rescuing many of the kidnapped villagers from a corrupt political leader named Ukyo. The series is based on a film with the same name. An advantage of the series over the original film is that the character has much more distinct character designs, which stands out more in anime than in the film.
IMDB has rated Samurai 7 7.6 out of 10.
7. Moribito: Guardian Of The Spirit
Sometimes a movie, a Book, or a Television show comes along and affirms your worldview, and while that may sound dangerous, like an echo chamber, it can be the opposite if you see the world differently. If you, for example, enjoy violent media but know it’s ranging your soul and simultaneously believe that violence is not inherent to the human condition. Such an idea is not often expressed in popular culture, which is part of what makes Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit very special. The show carries this message, and that’s astounding.
This anime show is so acutely appealing in its depiction of physical superiority and tactically intelligent woman protagonist. This anime show is a masterpiece of storytelling and emotionally overwhelming and thematically resonant.
IMDB has rated Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit 7.3 out of 10.
8. Michiko & Hatchin
Michiko & Hatchin is another masterpiece from the hands of Shinichirō Watanabe. Watanabe, who directed Cowboy Bebop, became a music producer for this Anime’s Amazing soundtrack. Sayo Yamamoto, who is the director of the award-winning anime Yuri!!! On ICE. He is the main director with full control of Michiko & Hatchin. There are a lot of great minds going into this show, and thankfully, it ended up great.
You can’t go wrong with the show opening that starts with a prison break and which is a fun one. Then we have our amazing opening theme.
IMDB has rated Michiko & Hatchin 7.5 out of 10.
9. Black Lagoon
The show Black Lagoon and Samurai Champloo’s original premises are extremely similar. The show is about Bounty Hunter, but it doesn’t start that way. First, we are introduced to Rokuro Okajima, a Japanese businessman living a perfectly normal life. On a company excursion where he is to transport a disc to somewhere.
He was abducted by the Black Lagoon crew, who was hired to steal his disk, and after, he got abandoned by his company back in Japan because it was easier for them to forget about him than to try to save him. He decides to stay with Lagoon under the name that they give him, Rock.
IMDB has rated Black Lagoon 7.9 out of 10.
10. Carried By The Wind: Tsukikage Ran
What would happen if you took Kenshin Nomura and kept him in the Edo Era of Japan but turned him into an alcoholic female? You will get the Anime Carried By The Wind: Tsukikage Ran. It is an anime series that aired back in the year 2000.
The anime documents the adventure of Ran and Meow in an Episodic format. A setup that happens to be the perfect fit for the show. Just like Samurai Champloo, he aims through her prefecture, embracing whatever situations come her way.
IMDB has rated Carried By The Wind: Tsukikage Ran 7.5 out of 10.
11. Samurai Deeper Kyo
Samurai Deeper Kyo is an anime series based on retro Manga with the same name. The Manga was originally written and illustrated by the famous Japanese Manga illustrated Akimine Kamijyo. Like Samurai Champloo, the series shows the Edo period of Japan.
The story is based on the Demon Eyes Kyo, whose body is sealed inside the body of his rival named Mibu Kyoshiro, and now he is seeking to regain his body. An heir of Tokugawa shogunate Benitora named Shiina Yuya joins hands with Kyo to take his revenge.
IMDB has rated Samurai Deeper Kyo 6.7 out of 10.
Bleach is the story of a High School student named Ichigo Kurasaki who accidentally gains the power of Shinigami or Soul Reaper. And then goes on the adventure while working as Shinigami. One day he meets Rukia Kuchiki, who is a Shinigami of Soul Society. Bleach is one of the most popular Shonen anime series out there.
IMDB has rated the Bleach anime series 8.2 out of 10.
13. Golden Kamuy
Golden Kamuy is an anime series produced by Geno Studion, Inc. It was directed by Hitoshi Nanba and based on the original work by Mangaka Satoru Noda. The story takes place in Japan’s history, just after the Russo-Japanese war in 1905. It follows a veteran of that war, Saichi Sugimoto, also known as Immortal Sugimoto, for being one badass who charges into impossible situations and somehow lives through all of them.
IMDB has rated the Golden Kamuy anime series 8.1 out of 10.
14. Tokyo Godfathers
When it comes to Anime, Satoshi Kon was one of the best filmmakers. Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and The show Paranoi Agent and Paprika showed a versatility unseen in most filmmakers he had a knack for suspense, drama, and comedy.
Tokyo Godfathers is a film about three homeless people, Gin, Hana, and Miyuki. One finds a baby dumped in the trash with just a handful of clues pointing them to this baby’s parent, and then they set off on an adventure to find them.
IMDB has rated the Tokyo Godfathers anime series 7.8 out of 10.
Claymore is a historic fantasy anime produced by Madhouse whose beautiful art resumes include things like Black Lagoon and Death Note. The show takes place in an alternate universe from our own. In a world that resembles Medieval Europe in a fantasy setting. Usually, this means the appearance of either Werewolf or Vampire, but we have Yoma. Yoma is the combination of Werewolfs and Vampires.
The plot starts in a random medieval European town, where the villager is afraid because they believe that a Yoma is hiding in their village. So they decide to do the only thing that is the least they can do since the Yoma can disguise itself as any member of the village that it had devoured, and the people have no method of detecting it, they decide to hire a Claymore and come to the town and kill the Yoma for them.
IMDB has rated the Claymore anime series 8.0 out of 10.
16. Blade Of The Immortal
Blade of the Immortal is the anime adaptation of the popular manga series of the same name. The story revolves around the main character, Manji, a skilled ronin. The interesting fact about him is that if he kills a good person by accident or by any other means, he must kill one hundred evil people. As the name of the anime suggests, Manji is immortal, and no wound can kill him except a special type of poison.
IMDB has rated the Blade of the Immortal anime series 6.7 out of 10.
17. Megalo Box
Megalo Box is set in a futuristic world where performance-enhancing machines aid boxers. You are probably wondering what difference these machines make. The truth is, virtually nothing. It’s a gimmick that’s occasionally integrated well into the story, but for the most part, they could just as easily be a fancy jacket.
The animations are top-notched and closely represent realistic boxing. It’s common in Anime to see someone who looks unnaturally strong use attacks that are just as supernatural. We also see the same thing with scrawny teens with special powers.
IMDB has rated the Megalo Box anime series 7.8 out of 10.
18. Ninja Scroll: The Series
Ninja Scroll is a 2003’s anime series based on Manga with the same name. The Manga was originally written and illustrated by Japanese manga illustrator Yoshiaki Kawajiri.
The story of Ninja Scroll revolves around our main character named Jubei Kibagami in feudal Japan, who is a mercenary ninja and guards a relic named Dragon Stone.
IMDB has rated the Ninja Scroll: The Series anime series 6.9 out of 10.
Saiyuki is an anime adaptation of Manga with the same name. The Manga of Saiyuki was originally written and illustrated by a famous Japanese artist Kazuya Minekura.
The story revolves around a young guy transferred from a peaceful place to the west. The guy named Genjo Sanzo is a chain-smoker monk. Kanzeon Bosatsu is the divine who sends him on the mission to find out the reason behind the slaughtering of humans by Youkai (Demons).
IMDB has rated the Saiyuki anime series 7.3 out of 10.
20. Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist or Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (Same story with better animations) is a popular anime series based on the Manga originally written and illustrated by famous Japanese Mangaka Hiromu Arakawa.
The story revolves around two brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who performs a restricted ritual with the help of Alchemy to reincarnate their dead mother, Trisha. This ritual doesn’t go as expected, and the whole body of Alphanso and half body of Edward disappears. Now Edward vows to take back the body of Alphanso, and then they follow the adventure.
IMDB has rated the Fullmetal Alchemist anime series 8.5 out of 10.
21. Shura No Toki: Age Of Chaos
Shura no Toki is a retro Japanese anime series that revolves around the story of three heroes, Musu Yakmu, Takto Izumi, and Mutsu Izumi. The whole Anime is about a family named Mutsu.
IMDB has rated the Shura no Toki: Age of Chaos anime series 7.5 out of 10.
Trigun is based on Western Space. The anime adaptation of the Manga with the same name was originally written and illustrated by Japanese Mangaka Yasuhiro Nightow.
Due to the multiple hiatus of the manga series, the Manga of Trigun was not completely adapted by Anime. But now, this amazing story is coming back in 2023 with the complete story of the manga and better animation and art style.
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