Samurai Champloo
Volume 4

Starring (voice): Kazuya Makai, Ginpei Sato and Ayako Kawasumi
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 10 April 2006

Join Mugen, Jin and Fuu as they continue on their journey to find the samurai who smells of sunflowers. Every plan is perfect, at least until it meets Mugen, Jin and Fuu. Mugen runs into a couple of childhood friends and gets talked into a plan to raid a merchant boat on the stormy sea... Then, a man being chased by a ninja throws a bag into the lake to hide it. The next day, Mugen and Jin go fishing... until they wind up fighting for their lives! Will fate allow them to be apart...?

Misguided Miscreants Part 1: Mugen, Jin and Fuu meet a woman on the beach who recognises Mugen. It turns out she is an old friend from his past called Koza. It's not long before another character from his past arrives, Mukuro - who is now a pirate. Mukuro asks Mugen to join him and his men on a quest to acquire lots of bounty by boarding a pirate ship and stealing their gold.

Misguided Miscreants Part 2: Mugen realises he has walked into a trap. When the pirate ship explodes Jin, Fuu and Koza fear the worse for their friend Mugen. And when Fuu finds his body washed up on the shore their worse fears are realised. Because of what has gone on, Koza persuades Jin to kill Mukuro. But can anyone be trusted?

This episode, along with Part 1, sees a very noticeable absence of the show's trademark humour. It is a little too dry and could have done with a few gags to keep the pace going a little.

Bogus Booty: While out fishing, Jin - whose fishing skills are lacking - hooks the catch of the day. He's managed to fish out a huge bag of money. Mugen and Jin head off to the local red light district to get themselves some female company - much to the annoyance of Fuu. Mugen soon discovers that his choice in women is not what it could be, as he ends up with an undercover cop who is trying to smash a counterfeit operation that is run out of the brothel.

This sees a welcome return to comedic form, after the previous two dry episodes. There are some great scenes here - including Fuu becoming incredibly fat over night just because she has stuffed her face, and the opening scene with Jin's fishing is also laugh out loud funny. But it was Mugen's constant attempts to sleep with the undercover cop that really had me guffawing like a fool.

Lullabies of The Lost Verse 1: While walking through a forest Mugen, Jin and Fuu get into a quarrel and separate. There are rumours of a monster in the surrounding area, and all three of our heroes are about to discover the truth behind these rumours.

As with previous volumes, this tale hints at Mugen's seedier side. He is something of a pervert - always trying to have his way with the ladies, but never really knowing how to impress them. It also reveals more of Fuu's quest. Apparently even if they do track down the samurai that smells of sunflowers, Fuu doesn't know what he looks like.

Extras are nothing to get excited about. We get some conceptual art, credits and trailers.

Pete Boomer

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