Samurai Champloo

Rating: ★★★★

A quirky, somewhat unpredictable mashup of hip-hop and samurai culture that works surprisingly well. Contains some tense combat scenes, which convey the seriousness of a swordfight, but (thankfully) it isn't really about the action. The show is well-written, with some delightful understated dialogue, amusing narration, and carefully-developed characters. It does not have a gripping plot, but nonetheless I found myself enjoying each episode, and it holds up very well as a rewatch.

The show's cultural touchstones for me are Cowboy Bebop, with which it shares a focus on the unusual musical accompaniment as well as the small-band dynamics, and meta-baiting joyrides like Katanagatari, with which it shares a blend of serious action and comedic asides (both, I suppose, also in Bebop).