Title: Samurai 7
number of episodes: 26 planned
What to Expect: A awesome adaptatation of one of Japans greatest cinema works.
Plot = A-
Characters = B
Music = B
Overall = B-
General Outlook: Samurai 7 is a direct adaptation of the original film my Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai. If you dont know who Kurosawa is, then you are missing out. In the original story, Seven Samurai is about a peasants village which is raided year after year by bandits who come to take rice and occasionally woman. This year the elder decides to fight back and tasks Rikichi with the task of hiring Samurai. When asked how he will afford to, he says the famous line “Find Hungry Samurai.” 7 samurai are eventually brought together and help to defend the village, and the interactions and activitys become legend. Taking from this the new story takes place on a world that may have been called Earth in the far past. Samurai who have mechanized their bodys in the wars have now turned to banditry and many villages suffer. One village under the decision of the Elder decide once more to hire “hungry samurai”. A new twist is added with the insertion of a water priestess who is carrying out the search and the lords of the city taking more of an active interest in this peasant and her search for samurai. True to its heart though are all the Samurai in name and Spirit, and there is enough subtle but active fanservice for fans of the 1954 classic to make it a excellent revision.
Music: The music is pretty good, owing to its high profile name. The opening theme and ending are both catchy and worthy of note. “Unlimited” by Nanase Aikawa and “Fuhen” by Rin are some nice peices of work capturing the new interpretations feel. Also is the general themes and musical effects which are all very fitting. Especially so is the occasional fanfare to some of the earlier work of music.
Characters: Here is where the series shines in its Adaptation of the classic. Each character seems to retain the feel and spirit of his original but they are also distinct and fit very well in this new world of the story.
Kannbei- The reluctant leader of this ragtag group. He is the most experienced, even if he is a bit jaded. He seems to have only ever fought on the losing side in wars and because of this is slow in accepting the proposal to save the village. One of the most outstanding examples of a Samurai.
Gorobee- A playful samuai who has resorted to street performances of his skills to earna living since the wars ended. He is cheerful and entertaining and maintains the smile that made his character so important. He respects Kannbei very much and the two will become close friends.
Katsushiro- A young samurai who was yet to have the blood of a battlefield on him. Still he strives very hard to live by the code of the samurai and finds himself awestruck by the skill and handlings of Kannbei, whom he immediately taks as his master(wether Kannbei wants it or not). He has some feelings toward the Priestess and is very protective.
Kikuchiyo- The amusing “Samurai” who is far more worldly than the others and not so samurai-like in everything he does. He is very strong and while prone to rash acts and thinking his heart is always in the right place. He wants only to help the poor villagers and smash the bandits. He is a mechanized Samurai, the only one of the group.
Kyuuzou- A silent and determined swordmaster. In this story he is one of the personal bodyguards for the Lord of the city. He is constantly practising his art and skills, and so far has only engaged the Samurai in a simple fight but has no expressed interest in joining them.
Masamune- An old man, swordsmith, mechanic, jack of all trades who is a friend of Kikuchiyo and helps to make repairs to him. He helps the Samurai and the peasants
Lord Ayamaro, Ukkyo and Tessai- The lord of the city, his son and his right hand man. They become entangled in the peasants business when Ukkyo decides that he must have the Princess to himself(he collects woman) and the Samurai interfere. Ukkyo also has an extreme distaste for mechanical Samurai.
Kirara, Kimati and Rikiti- The Priestess her little sister and Rikiti who is a “chaperone” of sorts, are the peasants seeking out Samurai to save the village. Kirara has a gift with water, and is important to the village and Rikiti who seems to hold some feelings to her. They get tangled into new messes in the city during their search for Samurai.
Others: Well as the series is ongoing, and this is more of a preview than a full review there are more characters to be discovered for certain. The samurai Shitiroji and Heihaiti and the various bandits. Of note is one very fanservice inside joke. The Bandits flying mechanical fortress thing which is very ugly and they use to scan the crops is named “Yohei”. This is a joke from the original film on a character named Yohei. He was a cowardly and ugly old man, whom was made fun of)in good natured ways), but was most rememberd for his face.
Connections to Seven Samurai: Well being a retelling they have put all sorts of easter eggs in the series, and its up to the fans to spot them. I dont want to include them all, but some of my favorites like the aforemtnioned Yohei above. I enjoy that at the begining of each episode they show briefly the Flag from the film. It was the banner the samurai used and it waves in a black and white background. Also some of the scenes, like the elder ordering the hirnig of Samurai were almost directly lifted from the movie. Lil touches like that are certainly enticing. There are the occasional Samurai in the background who are throwbacks to the film and such, and you will have to look for others. ^_-
My Thoughts(and spoilers): No major spoilers as this is a preview. However i will mention that fans or at least people who know the story should know what to expect. So far everything seems true to its roots and if the story continues along as per normal then i shall be pleased. I do expect new twists, with the water priestess and the City lord, but it will all be for the best.
Where to get it Currently:
Currently Unlicensed, Samurai 7 is being fanssubed and distrubuted around the internet through the work of a few groups. Anime-Keep & ANBU(thats one title) seems to be the best and most upto date subber. Check your local Bit-torrent channels or visit AnimeSuki for more info.
By Darknight ZO