Samurai Champloo, Episode 8 Recap: “The Art Of Altercation”

Original Toonami Airdate: February 20th, 2016

The character of the week went down in history as having dropped mankind’s first fire-ass mixtape.

The episode opens in a town where our character of the week, an eccentric rapping samurai named Nagamitsu, makes a grand introductory statement before attacking a man he believes to be named “Jin”.

Are you not entertained?!
Are you not entertained?!

Cut to our heroes, tired and starving as they always are, who happen upon a pawn shop whose enthusiastic owner tries to help. Unfortunately, Fuu and Mugen don’t have anything of actual value, but the owner’s greatly intrigued by Jin’s supposedly rare glasses. The man buys them off him, much to his displeasure, and the three proceed to go out and eat. Nagamitsu happens to walk in the restaurant and catch sight of them, being instantly infatuated by Fuu’s beauty. He sends his underling to try and break the ice, but this doesn’t work, eventually trying to step in himself.

Ladies...
Ladies…

Nagamitsu gets called out by someone who thinks they found who he’s looking for and promptly leaves. Our heroes continue eating until Mugen and Jin catch sight of an intensely gorgeous woman named Budokiba, and she uses her mature womanly charms to invite the two of them to drink with her later. They of course agree because it’s Mugen and Jin, and Fuu decides “fuck it” and goes to meet with Nagamitsu.

Nagamitsu confronts a possible “Jin” on a bridge, with a massive crowd watching (Fuu included) and him making as unsubtle an entrance as possible. The other samurai lunges at him as Nagamitsu pulls out his sword, but the other samurai knocks the sword out of his hand. In a humorous twist of fate, the sheath comes down and nails him in the head, making Nagamitsu the victor. Afterwards he catches sight of Fuu in the crowd and starts getting flirtatious with her.

The Art Of Altercation - Mugen, Jin, and Budokiba
Gentlemen…

Meanwhile, Mugen and Jin are out with Budokiba indulging in some foreign wine as she turns her sexual charms up to maximum levels. As Mugen continues to drink the wine, she eventually manages to slip something into his drink, which knocks him unconscious (I assume she did the same to Jin as well).

Nagamitsu and Fuu are up on a grassy hill where he starts to monologue about himself and his obsessions. Evidently, he wishes to take over Edo castle and become the most powerful and recognized name in all of Japan, having journeyed from the Aki province and fought many samurai in his travels to get there. He eventually got word of a powerful undefeated samurai named Enshiro that he desired to take on in battle, but he was apparently too late. Enshiro was already slain by his top student, and so Nagamitsu vowed to kill this samurai as part of his personal legend. As it turns out, it is indeed our hero Jin that he’s looking for, so Fuu immediately darts out of there.

The Art Of Altercation - Mugen and Jin passed out
Pfft. Wimps.

The next morning, Fuu wakes up from sleeping and finds Mugen and Jin passed out in the alley. The two of them come to their senses and realize that Budokiba did indeed drug and rob them of their cash. In order to get some more, they stage a street performance where Mugen and Jin slice a pair of pears balanced perfectly on top of Fuu’s head. This goes off without a hitch and brings in some money, with the group heading off to the pawn shop to get Jin’s glasses back. Once there, they come across Nagamitsu and his crew trying to pawn off their method of transportation. After Jin gets his glasses back, Nagamitsu becomes suspicious, with Jin confirming his identity to him and his followers. One of them, a fellow student named Ogura, challenges him to a duel, and Jin clearly has the upper hand in the fight. However he allows Ogura to win, sparing his life while he still vows revenge on Jin. Suddenly, a big dog interrupts the conflict, as does Budokiba who seems fed up with Nagamitsu’s shenanigans and drags him away. The episode ends with the two of them, their kids (apparently they have kids), and their dog Luigi on a boat sailing away as Nagamitsu hopes to find new legendary samurai to conquer.

 

I’m having a tough time deciding if I should refer to Nagamitsu as “Japanese Johnny Bravo” or “Proto-Space Dandy”. Either way, he definitely fits both of those bills with his cartoonish try-too-hard bravado and overinflated ego. Subtlety is not a word in this man’s vocabulary. He also serves as what is to date the series’ most blatant embodiment of its overall aesthetic: a samurai who has a personal beatboxer as one of his followers always soundtracking his every monologue. It’s the best kind of wonderfully absurd arrogance, and it helps that whoever does the beatboxing is actually surprisingly good. I don’t know if that was left over from the sub or freshly recorded for the dub, but they found a good person to do some legit beatboxing. On the other side of the story, there’s the seductive Budokiba who uses her adult womanly charms to steal the cash off our heroes. All I have to say about that plot, if I may paraphrase South Park for a minute: “Mugen… you need to stop thinking with your dick”. Seriously, this has happened twice in the series already, and while Mugen doesn’t come across as the most intelligent of individuals, you’d think he would understand pattern recognition by now. These two plots meet up in a a predictably awkward fashion, where it suggests that Nagamitsu is really just a deluded player trying to seem cool in front of all his friends and Budokiba rightfully pointing out how full of crap he is. A wonderfully stylish and absurd episode to offset the heavy seriousness of last week, and I look forward to what happens next. I give this episode 8 pairs of eyeglasses/10.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know down in the comments below.

 

Samurai Champloo airs every Saturday at 1:30 AM, only on Toonami.

 

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