I’ve been taking a Japanese literature series at school this year, and I’m in my second term. The last first term covered everything from the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki to Muromachi period writings, so this term started with the Edo period.
At one point, in order to illustrate some points the teacher wanted to make about Edo period lifestyle, she decided to show us part of an episode of Samurai Champloo.
I wasn’t familiar with the show. I mean, I’d heard of it, but I’d kind of lumped it into the “action anime, no cute girls with glasses, no bizarre love triangles, no real reason to watch” category.
Anyway, I don’t use words like “squee” much, but it’s the only word that appropriately describes the reaction from the women in class when the teacher started the episode.
Put lightly, it’s big with the ladies, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s got the ultimate bad-boy-who-just-needs-to-be-mothered, a silent-guy-with-a-tortured-past, and a perky girl, also with tortured past, who can eat her own weight in unagi without gaining an ounce. The main characters are all orphans, they all tend to get beaten up or kidnapped or tortured on a regular basis, there’s tons of pure angsty goodness for, well, fans of angst.
So, yeah, it’s a Chick Show, but I found myself quite enjoying the first episode.
A few weeks after that, I was in Fry’s electronics and noticed that they had a DVD box set of the entire series for 45 bucks.
I picked it up and weighed the pros and cons of buying it. I mean, I’d liked the first episode despite myself, and I was curious to see where the show went from there, but it was 45 bucks on a largely unknown quantity.
So, I checked the price on Amazon and found that it was about the same price on DVD… but only $38 on blu-ray, and that seemed like a good enough deal that I decided to take a chance on it.
I’m going to say that the chance paid off. It DOES have a couple of real groaner episodes, but the series as a whole was good and the fighty stabby bits more than made up for the fangirl-fodder angsty bits.
It’s also, surprisingly enough, rather educational. That is, it’s not terribly educational on its own merits, but if you’re studying Edo period literature or history it’s a pretty good way to have concepts reinforced through visual example. Obviously you need to be careful to separate the actual period stuff from the tacked-on stuff. 🙂