Evanescent Encounter (Part 1) is 24th episode as well as the first part of the three part series finale of Samurai Champloo/Anime. It was released in Japan on March 5, 2005 and Feburary 23, 2006 in America. The episode before this is Baseball Blues and the episodes after this is Evanescent Encounter (Part 2) and Evanescent Encounter (Part 3).
The episode opens on a samurai named Kariya Kagetoki being recruited by a shogunate councilor to deal with a particular problem: stopping Mugen, Jin, and Fuu from making contact with Seizo Kasumi, the samurai who smells of sunflowers. The councilor is still capturing stragglers from the Shimabara Rebellion and things would be complicated if the trio achieved their goal. Kariya agrees to take on the task after learning that our heroes took out Sara (the blind songstress from “Elegy of the Entrapment (Verse 1) and Elegy of the Entrapment (Verse 2)).
That night, Fuu, Mugen, and Jin are sitting around a fire and checking their progress, noting that they passed Nagasaki earlier and are only a short trip away from the Ikitsuki Islands. Fuu immediately becomes sentimental, sad that once the journey’s over the three of them will part ways and never meet again. She asks Mugen and Jin to vent and reveal any hidden personal information about their pasts.
Mugen gives a predictable response about once killing an old man who talked to him funny, (in a possible reference to Mito Komon) and Jin vents about his history at the Muju dojo, being an orphan who did nothing but train all day and eventually killed his master. Fuu opens up about her father leaving when she was very young, wanting to pursue him and get revenge on behalf of her deceased mother. Later, Jin asks Fuu what her plans are once the journey’s done, to which Fuu responds with uncertainty, crying into Jin’s chest.
The next morning, a strange group of bloodthirsty travelers (Umanosuke, Denkibou and Toube) investigate the site, appearing to be in pursuit of our heroes. They ask a nearby traveler if anyone was staying there, and after receiving no response, Umanosuke decides to decapitate the stranger.
The gang reaches an ocean-side town and grabs some food while inquiring about how to get to the Ikitsuki Islands. They need to take a boat to get to the islands, but before they can, Fuu asks Mugen and Jin to pick up a souvenir for her from anywhere in town. When Mugen and Jin attempt to pay for a souvenir, they find a note from Fuu, saying goodbye to the two of them and thanking them for all the adventures they’ve had together as she heads off on her own to confront her father, with Fuu running into Kariya Kagetoki (unaware of who he is) before getting on the boat. Meanwhile, the assassin’s from earlier stop by the restaurant and inquire about our heroes’
whereabouts, with Denkibou the owner when he tries to snitch on the assassins.
When Fuu finally reaches the island, the villagers run away from her in fear as she asks about the Seizo’s location. However, at one point she encounters a mother who gives her a direct lead to his location, telling her to visit a house north of the village. Back over in the other town, Mugen and Jin are watching the ocean when they’re approached by Kariya Kagetoki, who fills them in on several details about Seizo Kasumi: namely that he’s a top target of the shogunate and is considered a traitor for his religious beliefs and aid in the Shimabara Rebellion.
They’ve known of her activities for quite a while and have been tracking her to find Seizo’s location. At that point, Kariya challenges the two samurai to a fight. Meanwhile, Fuu finds herself on the right track as she walks through a massive field of sunflowers, but she has a surprise encounter with the three assassins, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger as the one with the eyepatch attacks.