What it’s about: Three very different people cross paths in a small town in Feudal-era Japan. Jin, a sober, polite masterless samurai, Mugen, a vagrant and brash fighter, and Fuu, a waitress with a history. After rescuing the pair from execution, Fuu demands that they help her track down the “samurai who smells of sunflowers”, and the story follows them on their journey.
Why you should watch it: Directed by Ken Watanabe, the guy behind Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo evokes a lot of the same aesthetic and style, replacing jazz with hip-hop, space bounty hunters with Japanese ronin, and Jeet Kun Do with Chambara. The characters are fantastic and the fight choreography is some of the best out there. As with Bebop, the episodes are largely self-contained, though hints of the larger story arc peek through.
Caveats: The episodic nature of the series turns some people off, as does the hip-hop-inspired soundtrack. If you don’t take to the characters within a few episodes, the rest are a bit of a chore.
Themes: Justice, duty and honour, loyalty and responsibility.