A Samurai Champloo manga debuted in Shōnen Ace on August 2004. Tokyopop licensed the manga in an English-language release in North America and Madman Entertainment lit for an English release in Australia and New Zealand. It is also licensed for a Portuguese-language and Spanish-language release in Brazil and Spain by Panini. There are 2 volumes in this series.
Unlike many anime series, Samurai Champloo did not originate with a manga; rather, the manga was created after the anime and is to some degree based on it.There have been two series of Champloo volumes falling under the "manga" heading:
- the 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 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
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 by July 2008, only three volumes had been released and no further volumes followed. All three are listed at collectors' sites as "out of print" and "not available from publisher", and are very difficult to find even on the secondary market.