Samurai Champloo

Common Sense Media says

Sex, alcohol, swearing, fights = anime for adults.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Distinct degradation of women as unintelligent, incapable, sexual beings. The three central characters struggle in their abilities to cooperate as a team.


Sword scenes with killing, pain, blood, and fear. Both male and female characters are kidnapped and tied up. Central 15-year-old female character fears forced sex.


Male characters seek sex; female 15-year-old flirts with men; visuals of male/female and male/male pairs in sexual positions in Ukiyo-e woodblock prints.


Words like "hell," "dumb ass," "bitch," "hooters," "mook," "idiot," and "bastard" are typical.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to pot smoking and drinking alcohol to the point of passing out.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the three central characters in this mature anime series (which is set during Japan's Edo period) deal with plenty of sex, alcohol, and violent, bloody fights. The main character is a 15-year-old girl who is fearful of physical and sexual abuse, is seen taking baths (nothing crucial is revealed), and always has to keep one step ahead of her two male Samurai bodyguards. One of them frequently refers to her as "bitch." The series is geared toward older viewers who can appreciate its production values and the characteristics that set it apart from other shows in the genre.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

SAMURAI CHAMPLOO has a huge following with adult anime fans. That's partly due to its unique blending of visuals and characters based on Japan's historic Edo period with modern-day music (mostly hip-hop) and lingo. The main characters (who are on a journey to locate the "samurai with a scent of a sunflower") are also an interesting mix of personalities: a crafty 15-year-old girl, a strong-silent-type samurai, and another who's impatient, obnoxious, and fights in a style that mixes break dancing and martial arts.

Is it any good?


The show's contemporary edge may draw young viewers -- but parents need to know that it's chock full of profanity, sex, drinking to the point of belligerence, violence, fear, and degradation of women. But despite these red flags, certain elements of the show separate it from others in the genre. The Edo period is a fascinating backdrop and actually meshes remarkably well with modern-day personality types, music, and lingo. Plus, the historic setting offers the opportunity for some cultural exposure. In one episode, for example, 15-year-old Fuu (voiced by Kari Wahlgren) is attracted to an Ukiyo-e (a kind of Japanese woodblock painting) artist, and many images of real woodblock prints (most depicting sex scenes...) are shown.

Director Shinichiro Watanabe's use of real Japanese hip-hop artists for the score complements the show's fighting style and the protagonists' personalities. But there's a reason the show is part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup: The main messages about working together as a team and learning from your journey toward a goal are lost amid all the profanity, violence, and sex.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the series' high levels of violence, sex, and alcohol. Do these elements enhance or distract from the main plot and messages? Families can also discuss how the three very different main characters work together (albeit sometimes grudgingly) as a team. Despite her fear, how is Fuu portrayed as a strong female character? What does she have in common with other female anime characters? What sets her apart? Parents can also talk to kids about the Edo period of Japanese history. What characterizes it? Why does it make a colorful backdrop for an anime series?

TV details

Cast:Kari Wahlgren, Kirk Thornton
Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Samurai Champloo was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bySamurai 2.0 May 6, 2011

One of my favorite anime.

I've been watching Samurai Champloo since I was 10 years old; even after watching the series multiple times, I still love it. Two stars? 16+ despite rather tame language and as much blood as in Kekkaishi, which you give 11+? Okay then.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written byYdoUask April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A great work by Shinichiro Watanabe

Contrary to what CS said, I didn't notice much sexual imagery out of context, that is to say, Wantanabe didn't go out of his way to make actual porn. Rather, Fuu (the main female character) is in constant trouble, in one episode getting in trouble and having to work in a brothel (this is actually an enlighting scene, because one of her friends she made while working in there is working off a debt her father owed for gambling. Is it right? Thats for parents to decide. Is it culturaly correct? Yes. Another episode that might have triggered this review was when Fuu was targeted to be a subject for a painting, then sold off to europe. Her painter/partial kidnapper had a change of heart once his bosses henchmen showed up and where more rough than was needed with Fuu. Other then those few scenes and possibly another brothel scene i missed (which maintains context to the story, if you want a story with no context, just fanservice, watch Girls Bravo) Violence is exactlly as bad as the reviewer mentioned. This series is not at all for the scwimish, as there are copious amounts of blood, violance, and hate abound. Why is this? Well, at the end, Mugen (crazy male main character) and Jin (calm, collected main male lead), are reavealed to be Yin and Yang, in constant chaos. Languge isn't nearly as bad as it could be, the dub replaced swears with scratches from a turntable I could almost compleatly disagree with the CS reviewer on Social Behavior. Mugen and Jin generally always go their sepreate ways when they enter a town (such as them entering rival gangs, or Mugen mugging while Jin plays Shogi) But in the end, it is Fuu, the female lead, who brings them all together and restates their goal to find the samari who smells of sunflowers. Comericalization: None Drug and alchol are used. Why? Because the drinking of Saki is a cultural staple. Saki is to Japan as Whisky is to america. I can see where the reviewer goes with the pot though. That episode, at best, was a filler.
Teen, 13 years old Written byalfanfl March 27, 2010

an excellent anime for teens

There's quite a bit of violence here, but I think any mature level headed teen can take it. Also the sexual concerns, I don't think it's that big of a problem because it's all done for comic relief, and there's no actual sex. About the language, truthfully I think most teens are pretty used to it by age 13.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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