burning a hole in your pocket? Desperate to know what cool Champloo stuff has been released that you may have missed? Welcome to a handy guide. We may not be able to tell you where to get some of this stuff, but it's out there.. Manga

There have been two series of Champloo volumes falling under the "manga" heading:
  • the original Japanese manga, published by Manglobe in 2004, written and illustrated by Masaru Gotsubo; and
  • the short-lived "film manga" project released by Bandai in the USA.

    The Manglobe manga was created after the anime series and ran only two issues. The first issue contained four chapters, the first one being an adaptation of the first episode of the series, the others being original stories by manga-ka Gotsubo. The second volume was all original stories.

    Manglobe's manga was picked up for English translation and North American distribution by Tokyopop in 2005. The first volume was issued in the USA in November 2005 and the second in March 2006.

    Lots more photos of the Japanese manga covers here.

    Bandai's Champloo film manga was announced with great optimism in January 2006. This format, called "photocomics" or "fumetti" elsewhere in the world, tells the story of a movie or anime using actual frames from the film instead of artwork.

    In their press release of January 25th, 2006, Bandai Manga Editor Robert Napton said, "Samurai Champloo is one of today's hit anime properties and when the chance to license a series of Film Mangas from Geneon came our way, we jumped at it." He admitted that "Film Manga as a format has had a bit of a turbulent ride in America, mostly due to bad quality and high price points," but added, "We are battling that by releasing each volume featuring high-quality color images and the very competitive price of $9.99 per volume." In addition to adapting three episodes of the anime, each Film Manga volume was to include exclusive bonus material not found anywhere else, the first volume featuring an interview with Director Shinichiro Watanabe. "For each volume, we want to have more than just episodes; we go behind the scenes of the series, like bonus features on a DVD," Napton said.

    The series was planned to run nine volumes, containing the entire anime at three episodes per book, but for all these good intentions, it apparently found no footing in the fan base. As of July 2008, only three volumes have been released; all three are listed at the usual collectors' sites as "out of print" and "not available from publisher", and are very hard to find even on the secondary book market. (--So if you bought them when they came out, hold onto them.)

    Roman Album

    "Dark Horse is pleased to present the very first Samurai Champloo art book to English-reading fans as directly translated from the original Roman Album edition - a volume published in a prestigious line of Japanese art books! Main characters Mugen, Jin, and Fuu are each profiled at length, all twenty-six episodes are summarized and illustrated with screen captures, and the "Backstage Champloo" chapter features interviews with famed director Shinichiro Watanabe, character designer and chief animator Kazuto Nakazawa, and art director Takeshi Waki. The voice cast is listed with main characters interviewed, the music so essential to the series is explored, and a two-page spread profiles twenty-four diverse influences that helped shape this instant anime classic. Among the many, many other features are pages upon pages of character and device sketches!"

    --And they're not exaggerating. This is a priceless resource that every single Champloo fan should own; it has literally everything, including the names of characters who were never called by name in the episodes, music, place and historical details, and as they say, much, much more. THE Champloo reference book. We owe Dark Horse a ton of gratitude for making it available to us in English.

    The U.S. edition has, however, one glitch: due to some oversight in the translation and editing process, the summary for episode 8, "The Art of Altercation", was left out, with the summary for episode 10 in its place (which also appears in its correct spot two pages later). Fortunately for English-reading fandom, one fan, the very tenacious Champloo4U, brought the matter to Dark Horse's attention, and while they (obviously!) weren't able to correct the error, they did provide a copy of the summary that had been written for the book. Thanks to C4U, we are most pleased to present it here. Print it out and stick it into your copy!
    Episode 8, "A Problematic Past"/"The Art of Altercation".

    (Here's the cover of the Japanese edition without its dust jacket.)
    (y'know, I never have known why they're called Roman albums...)

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