5 things i learned from Samurai Champloo

So one of the greatest animes i watched lately has to be Samurai Champloo, and i’m surprised i didn’t watch it earlier in my life but i guess everything we see is also a part of our learning journey. I loved the graphics of the anime, the witty dialogues, how everything is set in the Edo Era in Japan but how anachronism rules in the storytelling, how hot Mugen is, how the characters are introduced and how their past is showed to the viewers… Basically everything about this anime made a wow effect on me, making me laugh, cry, confused, worried and all surprised and thrilled to know where the winds will take the main three characters. So without any further due, here’s the five things I learned from Samurai Champloo. If you haven’t watched the anime, make sure you do (yes, even if animes seem childish or ridiculous to you, just give it a try you won’t regret it) and if you did, make sure to add to this list the things you learned from the show on the comment section down below.

  • Ying Yang energy is everywhere. Like good and bad, day and night, male and female, fix and mutable: Jin and Mugen are complementary. It’s no surprise that the first time the two characters met, they had a fight where no one could take down the opponent. Jin stated to Mugen that he never met someone with such poor and messy fighting techniques –driving the overly spontaneous Mugen angry as hell, but he added that he’s also the first person he wasn’t able to kill. Jin represents the methodic, Saturnian, down to earth, reserved, quiet, detail oriented, stable, always in control of his energy (if Jin was a sign, it would be a Capricorn) and Mugen represents the total opposite, a driven fighter, impulsive, adventurous, careless, not so rigid about details, focused on his feelings, messy etc. But in the end, we realize that together, they’re invincible. They learn to see the difference between them as an advantage and as a possibility to learn more: Jin learns how to stop trying to have control over everything at all times and to loosen up while Mugen learns how to tame his messy drive and energy so that he can arrive where he wants to instead of fooling around.

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  • Embracing the unknown is where adventure starts. Fuu represents the naïve mind going after a ‘childish’ dream. The two samurais tag along, by default at first (they actually run away from Fuu, but destiny makes them meet again almost as a sign that their roads are meant to cross anyhow), then to see where the journey will take them. Only then, change starts to be seen. We learn more about the characters, we see them evolve to become their full potential towards the end of the show and that’s what the unknown does to us: at first, it’s very scary so we run away from it; but we will keep on crossing the unknown’s road until we decide to tag along and see where the boat will sail. And trust me, it’s usually the adventure and road itself that has all the beauty, the destination is never the only purpose. Like in the show, the three characters split in the end, and everyone is going to have many different fights, we don’t know if they’ll meet again, what they truly learned from their adventure; but the one thing we’re certain of is that their adventure was hell of a ride and if they missed it, wherever they’re headed towards next isn’t going to be the same.
  • Every encounter brings us closer to our goal. So Fuu is looking for the Samurai who smells of sunflowers throughout the entire show, we realize that this samurai is her father and that he left her and her mom when she was a young kid; and the funny part is that sunflower seeds don’t have a smell so what she’s looking after could be thought of as a chimera but the more the main trio wanders, the more information Fuu has on this Samurai and the closer she gets to finding her father. This to me is a metaphor of life, no matter what we’re looking for or where we’re going everyone and everything we meet on the road is an opportunity to learn more about our future and to get closer to what we aim towards. Like the anime teaches so well: not all strangers are bad news so no matter good or bad, the experiences we live are essential to our evolution and should give us hints towards where to go (and where NOT to), what train to catch, what door to close and what bridge to cross. We should only be conscious and “alive” enough to listen to these voices that the universe keeps putting on our way.
  • Sometimes, letting go is the best solution. Only when Fuu let go of her doubts and lack of trust towards Jin and Mugen did she get closer to where her father is, and only when she let go of the hate she had for the Samurai who smells like sunflowers did she reach inner peace. Only when Jin let go of his guilt regarding the death of his dojo sensei did he move on with his life and find harmony and balance. Only when Mugen let go of his attachment towards the island and the outlaws in it did he allow himself to be totally free. And every time a character’s purpose was revenge or power, the outcome –either he gets it or not, is never enough to make him happy. Revenge can never bring back the dead or make the person happy again. It’s only by accepting an untold forgiveness, and by bowing down to the will of life that we can achieve greatness. In general, the moment we accept ourselves just the way we are and forgive ourselves for what we did, and the universe for what it did to us; only then can we start evolving. The vagueness of this concept in people’s brains nowadays is unfortunately behind lots of depressions and miseries in the planet: way too many people worry about way too many things that are so far behind in the past, and the one and only way of getting out of that vicious circle is self-forgiveness. But these people often see the things that hold them back like mountains they will never be able to cross when the only thing they need to do is take the jump. I hope anyone facing such a depression will come to that self-initiated moment in their lives and let go of whatever illusion they’re holding on to or whatever fear, grudge, guilt or resentment blocks their spiritual, mental and emotional growth and distances them further and further away from happiness. I wrote an article few years ago about depression, you can check it out here.

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  • No battle can be fought with a hungry belly. One of the reasons I love animes and Asian cultures in general has to be the fascination with food they’re not afraid to turn into a national pride. And in Samurai Champloo, the three characters are usually doing some pretty fascinating things to earn dumplings or some very delicious meal I don’t know the name of. Their belly is as sacred as their quest, so morale of the story: once your belly is full, go capture life with both hands. If you’re starving yourself, thinking of whatever beauty or size standard society created to harvest even more hatred or just “too depressed to eat”: give yourself a slap because I can’t do that from here, cut the crap and go make a delicious meal and take your time to eat it. Invite people over if you’re not that hungry and share your meal, but just know that no one will die for you, but your food actually did (no matter what you’re eating, it has to be something that once had a life, either vegetal or animal). So show some respect.

With love,

FZ


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