Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo – the Battle Demystified

Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo – the Battle Demystified

It isn’t uncommon for two creations of the same person to be compared. Similar genre, and similar animation style but two different entities- the magic potion for social media fan wars and comparisons. Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, two of Shinichiro Watanabe’s best creations, are often compared and it really is a best vs best situation.

Here’s our take on which anime stands out in what segment

Comparison: Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo

Animation Style- Cowboy Bebop, hands-down

Both the series are known for their animation. They both have in common Shinichiro Watanabe’s magnificent direction, but they have a fair amount of differences as well. While both the animes share a customary eye for detail, Cowboy Bebop has an edgy animation style while Samurai Champloo is more on the basic side.

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The crew members of the Bebop do significantly better in this field.

Theme- Samurai Champloo, by a thin margin

Shinichiro Watanabe talks about how both the animes revolve around the portrayal and acceptance of death. Both have themes that interest different kinds of viewers. Samurai Champloo grazes past darker, more serious themes like acceptance of indigenous Ainu people, foreigners, the LGBTQ community, and much more. Cowboy Bebop on the other hand is just an anime about a bunch of adventures in space, despite dealing with a few issues like politics and existentialism.

Samurai Champloo with its Edo setting and portrayal of Samurai culture is significantly more difficult to manage and much more intriguing to watch.

Plot- both, Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo, by comparison, is a very grim anime. But, it surprisingly has much more humor than many other animes around. Samurai Champloo begins with the son of a powerful man molesting tea waitress Fuu. Mugen decides to protect Fuu in exchange for food and Jin kills people related to the corrupt man. Fights lead to more fights and with a bunch of hot-headed characters in the mix, a man ends up dead, and the teahouse destroyed. The three characters come together in the most unexpected way.

Cowboy Bebop is about a post-apocalyptic hyper-space adventure that involves the “Cowboys” that inhabit the space vessel “Bebop”. They act as bounty hunters whilst having a bounty on their own heads. Cowboy Bebop is what one would watch as a past-time. Cowboy Bebop certainly has the most unexpected plot twists and great balance between the action and funny scenes.

But, if we’re to talk about Cowboy Bebop vs Samurai Champloo, the inhabitants of the Bebop do better in terms of plot twists and unpredictability, but one cannot take lightly the intrigue Fuu, Jin, and Mugen offer.

Action- Samurai Champloo, the clear winner

Action sequences are probably half the reason most people watch animes. Notwithstanding the fact that both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo are action comedies, the two are completely different. Cowboy Bebop, as mentioned earlier, has the edge over Samurai Champloo in terms of animation style and graphics. Spike gets in a number of fights throughout the series with a lot of gun action.

But, Samurai Champloo’s fight scenes involve swords, something that makes the scene feel a lot more personal and fascinating. Cowboy Bebop’s action scenes are exciting, but the ones in Samurai Champloo are tense, nail-biting, and enthralling. Mugen’s break-dance fighting alone is more thrilling than all of Cowboy Bebop’s action sequences combined.

Legacy- inarguably Cowboy Bebop

Samurai Champloo has an objectively better soundtrack, but Cowboy Bebop’s jazz intro theme has a great legacy by itself. While Samurai Champloo is excellent in every way, it did not quite leave the mark Cowboy Bebop did. Cowboy Bebop brought to the table a fresh breath of air, it was unlike anything the genre had seen before. In fact, Shinichiro Watanabe created a special tagline for Cowboy Bebop, “a new genre unto itself” and the series has lived up to that mark. Cowboy Bebop has been said to have “changed anime” and one cannot agree more.

The verdict- Cowboy Bebop

Samurai Champloo has everything, from a great plot to interesting characters and a theme that makes you think. Cowboy Bebop, on the other hand, keeps viewers on the edge of their seats throughout its 26 episodes. The series have a lot in common and quite a lot of differences, as mentioned before.

Overall, by a hair, Cowboy Bebop outdoes Samurai Champloo.

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