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Since his days as a schoolboy, Shinichiro Watanabe has wanted to be a filmmaker. However, at that time in his life anime was not really on the agenda; instead Watanabe envisioned himself creating films akin to the European productions that he had grown to love. Years on and several tonnes of critical acclaim later, and Watanabe does not hesitate to admit that from his point of view, anime has been the more commercial route, but clearly a role that he is more than happy with.
Like many anime directors, Watanabe is a bit of a recluse when it comes to the media. Nonetheless, his great charisma and imaginative genius has always shone through in the various works that he has had a hand in. The most notable of these works is Cowboy Bebop; one of the most successful anime series of all time. Despite being just one in a seemingly infinite line of science fiction action series, Bebop really captivated many fans with its rousing sound track, pristine animation, enthralling storyline, and above all the general coolness that seemed to exude from every pore. However, many fans were left quite despondent at the mere suggestion that the series was the be all and end all of Spike Spiegel and his deep-space adventures and, after enormous pressure, Cowboy Bebop: Knockiní on Heavenís Door was released in 2001 to much applause from all sectors of the anime industry. Yet again Watanabe had worked his magic and his first ever theatrical release was an enormous success, even to the point that it was considered for an Oscar nomination.
Samurai Champloo is Watanabeís first production since Cowboy Bebop: Knockiní on Heavenís Door, and as such critics will be expecting a certain standard in all aspects of the title. Judging by past successes, and looking at the fantastic team that Watanabe has put together, one can only say that Samurai Champloo is destined for the dizzying heights of anime excellence.
-From Champloo Central