Cowboy Bebop Vs Samurai Champloo: Which Is Better?

These two fantastic Shinichiro Watanabe anime are often compared but which one is really better than the other?

Cowboy Bebop is a must-have for any anime fan’s collection. Even some people who aren’t normally anime fans still recognize it as a masterpiece of both storytelling and animation. It is a legend therefore needless to say that any suite or spiritual successor would have big shoes to fill.

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Enter Samurai Champloo. Instead of mixing jazz and space shootings, this series mixed classic samurai tropes with hip-hop influences. It reviewed well when it came out and many people think it is as good as Cowboy Bebop if not better. Yet it has never had such a dramatic impact. Was he unfairly snubbed by critics and fans?

Animation: Cowboy Bebop

Spike, Ed, Faye and Jet from Cowboy Bebop

Both animated series have some of the best animation. This can be thanked both to the studios that worked on it and to the direction of Shinichiro Watanabe. Cowboy Bebop border lightly Samurai Champloo But. Samurai Champloo is more stylized which is a plus to make its animation distinct, but again, overall, Cowboy Bebop is a masterpiece of animation.

Combat Sequences: Samurai Champloo

Mugen in a Samurai Champloo fight

The only aspect of animation that Samurai Champloo excels above Cowboy Bebop is the combat sequences. Spike gets into a lot of brawls on the show, but there are also a lot of shootouts.

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These scenes are great but they can’t compare to how visceral the action is Samurai Champloo because of the closeness and the personality of everything. Mugen’s breakdancing fighting style alone is something a lot of anime could learn from.

Concept / Uniqueness: Cowboy Bebop

Spike piloting his Cowboy Bebop ship

While Samurai Champloo adds a lot of quirky style to its portrayal of samurai culture in Japan, ultimately it’s another samurai anime. That’s not to say that there aren’t many space anime shows either, but the world Cowboy Bebop envisions makes it stand out from many other space animation shows. From the bounty hunter’s angle and chain gates to money and mobs controlling everything, it all looks like a real plausible world.

Comedy: Samurai Champloo

Mugen gets crushed in a fight with Samurai Champloo

Both animated series contain classic comedy pieces, with Ed starring in Cowboy Bebop. Pound for pound though Samurai Champloo has a lot more laughs in it. It’s great considering its balance as an action anime besides a fun anime.

One of the best episodes shows Mugen trying to get close to this ninja who continues to guide and / or maim him in the process. Mugen definitely shines in slapstick comedy.

Introductory Theme: Cowboy Bebop

Spike in the opening title of Cowboy Bebop

“War cry” by Samurai Champloo is a great song and the accompanying title sequence is another example of the style of this anime. However, anime intros are there to get people excited about a show. There is no anime better than Cowboy Bebop’s intro then because he literally uses jazz to pump up fans before an episode starts. No sane fan would skip this introduction. It’s too beautiful a song to pass up.

Music: Samouraï Champloo

A rap character from Samurai Champloo

“Reservoir” of Cowboy Bebop might be a better intro song, but Samurai Champloo has the best soundtrack overall. The jazz that accompanies Cowboy Bebop’s the anime is beautiful and is some of the best music. It also matches the dark mood, but Samurai Champloo mixing hip hop with traditional Japanese music makes it stand out a bit more. This is another reason why the style in Samurai Champloo works so well that everything blends into this almost transcendent experience.

Legacy: Cowboy Bebop

Spike aiming a gun from Cowboy Bebop

Samurai Champloo has seen spinoffs and connections over the years including manga, action figures and a PS2 game. He, unlike Cowboy Bebop, did not have a movie however. Both anime appeared on Adult Swim but Cowboy Bebop has had the longest tenure on this network, which is why this anime is so ingrained in the minds of anime fans. Time given Samurai Champloo could catch up, but there is still a long way to go, especially if this live Netflix Cowboy Bebop show never appears.

The journey: Samurai Champloo

Mugen, Jin and Fuu from Samurai Champloo

The formula of the two animated series shares many common themes. For example, both parties are in constant need of money for various needs, especially food. Fuu, Mugen, and Jinn may not be bounty hunters specifically, but they certainly do odd jobs the same way Spike’s crew does.

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Which makes Samurai Champloo standing out then is the anime’s travel concept with the Sunflower Samurai being the primary focus, chaining the heroes on their journey through Japan.

Individual Episodes: Cowboy Bebop

Spike, the Teddy Bomber and Andy from Cowboy Bebop

To look like a broken record, the two animated series are must-have watches. Each has 26 episodes which are all excellent. However, if one were to rank each individual’s episodes in terms of rewatchability, Cowboy Bebop will win every time.

From story episodes involving Vicious to the wackiest episodes like Andy and the Teddy Bomber, Cowboy Bebop has real success.

Verdict: Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop Ed

Cowboy Bebop is the quintessential anime to watch for any fan of the genre. It even transcends the genre, bridging the gap for people who don’t like anime but love Cowboy Bebop. While it’s impossible to deny the underrated gem that is Samurai Champloo, this anime simply shines as a long-standing success that will surely continue to be loved by all in the future.

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