Samurai 7 was a fairly entertaining action series that mixed around the traditional elements of samurai films and sci-fi anime in this re-imagined take on Akira Kurosawa’s classic film. The storyline first focuses on village priestess Kirara, her younger sister and another villager traveling around to seek out samurai to aid in protecting their village against giant mechanical bandits. The second half features the samurai aiding the village against the bandits and later, the merchants who had ties to the bandits. Essentially, sections of the series are adapted from the original movie while adding on its own material such as the later dealings that the samurai have with the merchants. The plot did well enough at keeping me hooked on Samurai 7’s developments as it kept me wondering how things would turn out for the villagers of Kanna Village and the Seven Samurai as the show isn’t afraid to put its characters into dire situations and piling up a body count among the both friendly and enemy forces throughout the series.
The series is mostly plot-driven with character details only conveyed or hinted to when necessary to advance the show’s plot or providing enough to give a purpose for specific characters. In terms of personality, the characters of Samurai 7 are a colorful and diverse bunch between both the samurai and antagonists they confront. Some of them in particular display surprising traits that will have you surprised at just how cunning their characters are, in particular Ukyo who isn’t as carefree and easygoing as you would think from his earlier appearances in the show’s first half. Character personalities and whatever brief details are mentioned on said characters are the major thing that will make or break your care of them. If you are expecting fleshing out of these characters, then you could be disappointed with what you see throughout Samurai 7.
In terms of visual presentation, Samurai 7 does for the most part have above-average quality for a TV series. Scenery and character designs are well-detailed with subdued color shading, as well as sporting some impressive renderings of airships and mechanical samurai with CG-animation. Action scenes have their moments of fluid animation with the rendering of large fleets of mechanical samurai as they move about and the group of Seven Samurai dispatching their foes. The presentation isn’t always perfect as there are some scenes with animation errors with animating the details on character designs and some shortcuts with animation noticeable at points such as still shots used during intense action scenes.
While I wouldn’t exactly call the series a full-out masterpiece thanks to a lack of deep characterization and some issues with the visual presentation of the series, Samurai 7 still makes for a solid action series having its moments of slick action scenes, a plot that keeps you hooked on how things press on for the protagonists and characters you will be surprised with how they turn out compared to how they appear in early appearances. This is one of the better Gonzo titles I’ve had a chance of seeing, though it doesn’t hold a candle to the enjoyment and quality I got out of Gankutsuou and Bokurano.
Last updated Friday, July 29 2011. Created Friday, July 29 2011.
Having seen up to eight episodes, this is series is very cute and tries to stay true to the most of the ideas that were in the original story line of Kurosawas Seven Samurai (or Hollywoods westernized version, called the Magnificent Seven), but it is also different enough to generate to keep the viewer interested.
The role of Tashiro Mufunes sloppy samurai, has been replaced by that of a sloppy noisy robotic samurai. The bandits are aware of the arrival of the samurai, and have sent off remote combat drones to deal with them before they can arrive at the village. The setting is indeed Star Wars science fiction, with a mix of high and low tech co-existing (imagine if you will humanoid robots sitting around an open fire.)
Well, what can you say about any series that uses a classic story as a base, (but I suffer from the fault of really enjoying classic samurai stories, so I can only give a smirk to this series. ) More later.
Last updated Tuesday, August 31 2004. Created Tuesday, August 31 2004.
I found this serie as a fansub, I don't know wether it is officially released somewhere outside of Japan.
So far I've seen the first two episodes.
At first I thought 'jikes' because the opening sequence shows a big battle in the sky, something I've seen before in a Final Fantasy game (I think 9). Then I thought 'jikes' because what followed was a copy from Kurosawa's 'seven samurai', only the bandits use a huge flying thing and use IR scanners to check on the harvest. And later on, the city scenes could have been invented by George Lucas' staff for yet another exotic planet. And since I love Kurosawa's movies, at first I didn't like what they have done with it. But, after seeing these two episodes, I wanted to see some more.
The music, credit titles and some of the backgrounds come straight from the original movie. The art and animation are very good in my opinion and they altered the original storyline enough to make it exciting for those who know the original movie (like me.)
More when I've seen more.
After 12 episodes:
I'm starting to really like this show, but I'm still not sure how this is going to evolve. In ep 12, the samurai reach the village and start organising the defense. This involves huge logs of wood and a triple-A. So it's not 7 swords against a flying fortress. (I was afraid it would go that way, really.)
I must say I'm starting to admire the people inventing this story though. A classic Kurosawa movie, mixed with anime dogma's (meccha and stuff) and some genuine SF straight from Lucasfilm. (eg the gate at the red light district) How do you invent this stuff?
Apparently, all samurai kept their original names, although their appearance might have been altered. There's the old and wise Kambei (a bit Ben Kenobi-like) and his brother in arms Shichiroji, noisy Kikuchio, technical Heihachi (the woodchopper), perfectionist Kyuzo, youngster Katsushiro and tactician Gorobei.
After 15 episodes: although some scenes are a bit over the top, I started to really like this show. Apparently, it is now licensed by Funimation, and most people think this is a bummer because of lousy translations etc. Nevertheless, I give it a buy! (but watch the fansubs as well, some groups established in Europe decided to continue subbing)
Last updated Wednesday, October 27 2004. Created Monday, August 30 2004.
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