Samurai Champloo



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.

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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Anime series stands the test of time, but very violent.
  • Popular anime series has lots of fights, strong characters.
  • High-action anime isn't completely innocent.
  • Mature anime series is spooky and violent.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written byqwerty keyboard December 31, 2012

Best show ever!!!!

Amazing show, great plot, great humor, and great ending. I will never forget this show. It is amazing in all directions. I'm glad they didn't make any more newer episodes to ruin the show like they did with Spongebob. Everyone, I am impressed. WATCH IT!!!!
Teen, 13 years old Written byyankee01 April 9, 2008


a cool show but way violent for young.younger anime fans whould like naruto,prince of tennis,and inuyasha.
Teen, 13 years old Written by6millionpesoman July 11, 2013

a great subject for family discusion

first off, i don't see why they have sexual content up. yes there were some scenes with brothels and semi-graphic content, but its all culturally relevant .The scenes are not so much erotic as they are depressing, showing you the sad, miserable life these women must lead. they do have quite a lot of alcoholic consumption, but again, culturally relevant. Saki has been a part of Japanese history far longer kenjitsu or the dai-katana, and it helps give a sense of the time period and even helps build character for mugen. the violence, however, is by far the biggest concern. its not really over the top(this an anime about some ronin, what did you expect?) but definitely stomach churning in some moments. not advisable for the squeamish, and i guess you could justify it given cultural context and history, but this alone makes it in-appropriate for anybody below 11. there are a lot of great things that you could learn such as lessons on vengeance, family duty, race and sexual orientation too. i would recommend sitting down with your child and discussing about the differences between the japan in the edo period and post-civil war america. talk about differences /similarity in technology, warfare, morality, medicine and the treatment of women. the language is a bit excessive at times, but kind-off serves to elaborate on mu-gens character as a brutish, rude person with a head strong personality. a definite watch for anime fans above 14, and even adults too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass