Manga Review: Samurai Champloo by Masaru Gotsubo

Samurai Champloo, Volume 2Samurai Champloo, Volume 2

by Masaru Gotsubo

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don’t put high expectations on manga that are based on other sources…

Especially when those original stories are as undeveloped as video game and anime plots. This is the latter. It seems unfare to judge the manga harshly because I’ve watched the original work — which I thought was brilliant, btw. Truthfully, what I found great in the animation doesn’t hold up in the manga, and that’s the dynamism of the fight scenes. Yes, the fighting is exciting here, but it misses that glorious hip hop vibe… the humour and amazement of “break-dance-fighting.

However, I don’t think the manga can really be separated from the anime. Without it, it becomes an incomplete humorous and uninteresting story about random people who meet and form a shallow bond that involves travel and fighting. There’s no depth of character, or actual plot. It’s just barely a story. it must be read with a complete understanding of the original form to be enjoyed… It’s almost like these short vignettes were storyboarded for the anime, but just didn’t quite make the cut… So they decided to use their scraps to write a quick manga.

Obviously, I’m not super impressed. But, I still give it a high ranking because the anime is that worthwhile. If you’re going to read this… Also plan to watch it at some point. Otherwise, in my opinion, you’ll just be wasting time.

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