Geneon is planning a January release of the first DVD collection of the 26-episode Samurai Champloo anime directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop).  Like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo represents an entirely different sort of take on a typical anime genre, in this case the historical martial arts series. 


'Champloo' is a word from the native language of Okinawa that means 'mixed together' and the two main male characters are indeed a study in contrasts.  Mugen is an atavistic swordsman who gets by because of his ferocious attacking mode, while Jin is much more the trained, by-the-book sort of combatant.  In spite of their mismatched fighting styles and personalities the two samurai travel together along with a somewhat ditzy female character, Fuu, and help her in her mysterious quest for a samurai who 'smells like sunflowers.'


The superbly animated series is also distinguished by its use of anachronistic hip-hop inflected music, which is certainly a first for this sort of sword-wielding historical anime. 


Samurai Champloo would appear to be a natural for the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim (where Cowboy Bebop has been shown and reshown countless times), and indeed it was part of a recent poll conducted on the Adult Swim Website, which also included Gungrave, Peacemaker Kurogane, and Paranoia Agent. 


Geneon's first Samurai Champloo DVD will have a suggested retail price of $29.98 with a Limited Edition (with box) for $39.98.  Given the success of Cowboy Bebop, this is certainly a series to watch closely.