Cosmic Collisions is the 22nd episode of Samurai Champloo/Anime. It aired in Japan on Februrary 19, 2005 and Feburary 9, 2006 in America. The episode before this is Elegy of the Entrapment (Verse 2) and the episode after this is Baseball Blues.
Fuu happens to observe a shooting star and makes a few wishes on it while Mugen comes across a matsutake mushroom and proceeds to eat it. He and Jin find more mushrooms nearby and eat every one they find. The gang suddenly falls down an unexpected hole and encounter two strangers who seem just as frightened of our heroes as Fuu is of them.
Mugen scares them off by cutting one of their arms off, after which they attempt to find their way out of the caverns. Eventually they come across a massive excavation site, running into the two strangers from earlier. The scene is interrupted by yet another stranger playing a biwa and reciting an excerpt from The Tale of the Heike in a manner similar to the opening narration of “Bogus Booty”.
After performing his little song, the man introduces himself as Shige, a supposed descendent of the aforementioned Heike clan, who’s leading the excavation efforts in hopes of finding a long lost treasure. Fuu is incredibly suspicious of everything and tries to leave, but Shige promises them a profitable cut of the treasure if they stay and help dig for it.
They reluctantly agree to work and are eventually given lodging and are catered to by the two strangers, who are identified by the names Sabini and Upa. Later that night, the gang is starving, and Sabini and Upa bring them something to eat. Unfortunately, the only thing they have to eat in the area are sticks of pure wasabi.
As the gang continues helping the excavation, they grow increasingly weary and light-headed, losing track of time and suspecting that there’s something bizarre going on that Shige isn’t telling them. At one point, Sabini and Upa speak of the Heike’s battle against the Genji clan like it’s the present day, even though the aforementioned Tale of the Heike took place about 500 years before the Edo period.
After working further and witnessing another worker’s arm falling off, Fuu is increasingly more suspicious of the excavation, and Shige’s eccentric behavior doesn’t help at all. After she comes across Mugen and Jin still experiencing stomach pains, she suspects something might have been up with the mushrooms they found earlier. While she wanders off on her own, Mugen and Jin examine a scroll that Shige had earlier detailing his Heike lineage, suspecting that he’s not being entirely truthful about it.
Fuu eventually comes across Shige in a graveyard where… he summons zombies to help him. As zombies surround her at nearly every twist and turn, she eventually gets cornered by Shige and his new crop of undead minions at the shed where Mugen and Jin were.
Mugen begins to fight off the horde as best he can, but since they’re already dead this doesn’t help much, and they quickly overpower him. Fuu tries to get through to Shige (revealed to be a zombie as well) about the present day being the Edo period, but he’s of course resistant to this. Jin eventually finds proof that Shige’s claim is false, pointing out that his particular section of the bloodline is missing a line connecting it to the broader Heike lineage. Even though he now realizes his pursuits were pointless, he tries to convince the zombie army to continue digging for treasure, but they decide to attack him instead. He busts out his biwa, declares the episode over, and the comet from earlier crashes into the area and kills them all, leaving behind a giant mushroom cloud.
- This episode is considered the worst episode in the entire anime by many fans.
- Shige is one of the only two characters who breaks the fourth wall., the other being Sakami Manzou.
- It is implied that the whole episode never really happened, because Fuu, Mugen, and Jin were eating mushrooms which may cause them to hallucinate. Fuu never ate a mushroom, so this cannot be the implication.
- The monochrome mushroom cloud as well as the asteroid's impact may be references to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States against Japan which ended World War II.