Baseball Blues is the 23rd episode of Samurai Champloo/Anime. It aired in Japan on Feburary 26, 2005 and February 16, 2006 in America. The episode before this is Cosmic Collisions and the episodes after this are Evanescent Encounter (Part 1), Evanescent Encounter (Part 2) and the series finale Evanescent Encounter (Part 3).
Fuu, Jin and Mugen are in a restaurant charting their progress, deducing that they don’t have too far to go before they reach the Ikitsuki Islands. They are then brought their food, which includes some extraneous items ordered by Mugen. After the group polishes off all the food (which leads to the return of Fat Fuu), they ask Mugen how he plans to pay for the meal, to which he responds with the time-honored tradition of the “dine and dash”.
As he makes his escape, Mugen eventually gets knocked in the head by a baseball thrown by an unknown man who later captures the whole group and strikes up a deal with them. The man needs a team to help him play a game of baseball against another team composed entirely of American travelers. Evidently, an American trade company was looking to do business with the area (chiefly by force), but Japan’s isolationist policies outright forbid this.
The representatives of the company then notice the strange man (named Kagemaru) with a baseball as he then challenges them to a game to decide whether or not they get to stay. In an unfortunate turn of events, Kagemaru’s initial team bails on him almost immediately, hence needing to ask our heroes to help him out, to which Mugen agrees almost immediately. Kagemaru spends the night training our heroes in the art of baseball, and while this is happening, Sakami Manzou attempts to sneak into the American ship dressed as an American himself, but this ends up backfiring on him.
The day of the game is upon us, and the Japanese team consists of Kagemaru, our heroes, a village elder, Momo, and a cute doggie. The game starts with Kagemaru and Jin getting things off to a nice start, but Mugen gets an out due to running bases past his teammates and Fuu gets struck out in her turn. The village elder breaks his back just getting up to bat and is out of the game, and when the dog goes up to bat, it gets struck with the ball and runs away.
With the team low on players, Kagemaru happens upon Manzo watching over the game and makes him play for them. As the game goes on, the American team eventually resorts to playing dirty, doing everything they can to injure and incapacitate the Japanese team, even managing to kill Hanzo at one point.
Jin manages to duck and dodge nearly every attack thrown his way as he tries to go for a home run, but an unseen last-minute trap prevents him from doing so. Eventually Kagemaru goes up to pitch, but on his second throw, one of the American batters’ bat breaks into pieces, stabbing Kagemaru in various places and killing him.
This leaves Mugen as the only viable player on the Japanese team, and given his knack for always playing dirty, he decides to give the Americans a taste of their own medicine, throwing viciously powerful pitches that knock out all but one of the American players. In a one-on-one standoff, Mugen throws another hard pitch at the same time that the batter swings and lets go of the bat, both hitting their targets at the same time. Miraculously, Mugen survives and scares off the Americans back to where they came from.
- This is the first time Americans are in this show
- This is the last time we see Sakami Manzou
- Fuu, Mugen, and Jin don't react when they see Kagemaru killed.