In the far distant future, on a planet that might have been called "earth", there was a war between samurai who mechanized their bodies. After the long war, people enjoyed a modest peace.
Facing starvation and abductions at the hands of fearsome mechanized bandits (Nobuseri), the farmers of Kanna Village make the dangerous choice to hire samurai for protection. The village's water priestess, Kirara, her younger sister, Komachi, and a heartbroken villager, Rikichi, set off to hire willing samurai with nothing to offer but rice from their meager harvests. Through dangerous encounters and a bit of luck, seven samurai of varying specialties and experience are gathered for an epic battle against the bandits and the merchants that influence them.
Samurai 7 is based loosely upon Kurosawa Akira's famous movie "Seven Samurai"/"Shichinin no Samurai"
Three things. One, I'm a really big fan of periodic adventures. Two, I am a huge fan of the Akira Kurosawa directed Seven Samurai film, it's one of my favorite movies of all time. And three, I absolutely hate Gonzo. They are the ones solely responsible for not only killing my overall interest in anime in general due to their insipid storytelling, joyless, mean-spirited and bitter characters, and their garish, irritating art style and visual effects that tries to be nuanced and cutting edge, but they have set the bar low for what made anime so unique during its biggest point here in the United States in the late 90's to roughly 2006. After they caught recognition for Last Exile, Gonzo's ego and confidence skyrocketed, and in my opinion, every succeeding title got worse in all of the aforementioned points. Samurai 7, while I don't think is their worst, is still probably one of the most offensive revisionist storytellers (though not as stupid and banal as making The Count of Monte Cristo into a damn blue vampire in Gankutsuo) they decided to put their grubby mitts all over.
STORY 6: In this degree, it follows the original source material well enough and is probably the most positive thing I will say about it. The only addition is the water priestess, Kirara, a water priestess from the Kanna Village, has taken it upon herself to search for ronin to save their town. It's pretty well-paced, I'll give it that. Perhaps if the main cast was represented in a more competent fashion, this could've been an even stronger plus. There is an even amount of focus from the heroes to the antagonist, Ukyo. The plight is pretty well laid out, what with the looming empire's reign stretching far throughout the continent. I really did like Ukyo's gradual rise to usurp the throne from his adoptive father, that was probably my favorite part of the show. more on him later. A shame that I could not take this empire seriously, because I am so distracted by the goofy-looking technology. Which leads me to the art and character designs.
ART 4: Gonzo's signature art style and atmosphere just kills everything for me, and Samurai 7 was the title that I finally just got fed up with it. I won't even get to the character designs yet and just rant for a bit about this show's setting. I know that as a director and production crew, you want to try something different as opposed to just giving everyone more of the same. But with a story that is so enriched with drama and impact, why in the holy mother of grilled cheese would you integrate a steampunk-inspired, futuristic dystopia complete with flying samurai hover units!?!? I could write a book about just how silly this looks and no matter how much I tried, I sputtered everytime one of these mechanical, armor-enforced teapots clumsily loomed into frame!! The CGI animation is not as bad as it was with Blassreiter (made years after Samurai 7), it's just distracting this time around, especially during the final episodes where a bunch of stuff comes crashing down. It's possible to mold two different settings into a new hybrid. Saber Marionette J does it well enough. Perhaps it is such a stark contrast to go from industrialized chaos to serene rice fields, the only reason to bully around the farm folk is just to be a jerk with too much time on your hands.
The character designs border on being alright to absolutely silly in regards to our main seven characters. Only Kambei, Shichiroji, Kikuchiyo and Katsushiro visibly resembled samurai while Gorobei, Heihachi, and Kyuzou's wardrobes and hairstyles looked like a cocktail mix of from Trigun, Last Exile, and Cowboy Bebop drank and vomited up all over my screen. And what the hell was up with Kyuzou's hair!? Was he supposed to look like an intimidating toadstool?
SOUND 6: The English dub of the show is pretty good (I don't often say that about Funimation dubbed titles) and the musical scores throughout are well done. Chris Sabat shines the brightest as Kikuchiyo as the character ranges from rambunctious in some episodes to anger and frustration in the series' darker periods. The other VAs, as said before, are good, but seldom stand out.
CHARACTERS 4: To avoid going into yet another lengthy tirade, I'll try and keep this one to the point of the good and the bad:
THE GOOD: I really liked Ukyo, as also said earlier, and felt he was a strong antagonist for the series. Instead of just acting strictly out of angst towards his origins, it felt deeper and more twisted the more he spoke. Almost Tim Burton-esque, Ukyo also proved to be even more of a chaotic threat than his father, who wasn't quite as ruthless.
And as for the Seven, Katsushiro stood out as he gradually became more of a seasoned warrior, growing up from the untested and almost childlike idolization of samurai at the beginning. I also enjoyed Kirara's little sister Kamachi quite a bit and was sad when next episode bumpers were no longer done by her writing letters about the unfolding events.
THE BAD: Kambei and Kirara were the most annoying characters in this show for me, which is ironic. Let us start at the begininng when Kirara is recruiting samurai and Kambei tells her he's a failed samurai. So what does she do? HIRES HIM!! Kirara is simply thrown in the show to have a female lead. Nothing she does has any bearing on the plot whatsoever and her presence only serves as cheap romantic fodder between her, Kambei, and Katsushiro. It's underdeveloped and uninteresting, to say the least. Kambei is one of the more ineffective leaders I've seen since Rodimus Prime. He lacks screen presence, is way too stoic to have a pulse much less a decent personality, serves as a poor mentor for the young Katsushiro and often gives the kid mixed messages and treats him like garbage.
Kikuchiyo was the only other expressive character off the top of my head. Shichiroji mostly provided punchy one-liners and traded philosophical nuggets with Kambei, but nothing else noteworthy later on. Heihachi seemed to be the ONLY character who lived by a bushido/samurai code (you know, like death to traitors), but was overruled by the worngfully arrogant Kambei, who at two points in this series shows mercy to people aiding in the destruction of the Kanna Village or treason!! What kind of crappy samurai is this guy?! No wonder you lost the war!! Gorobei was also there and he was the token weird character that was supposed to be the life of the group, but I found him unpleasant and his attempts at humor just left me annoyed.
OVERALL ENJOYMENT 5: Even if I take my bias aside, Samurai 7 is just barely mediocore and is just another one of the bloated, overproduced Gonzo titles that flooded this market way too much. I found it watchable, and the story was well enough for me to get through, but awful lead characters like Kambei and Kirara are major setbacks in my humble opinion. Gonzo's art continues to be my biggest gripe with this company. I just could not sink my teeth into the futuristic/rustic setting of a story that didn't need such asthetic enchancements when it needed to simply rely on solid writing and character building to set the mood, not god-awful quasi-technology. Samurai 7 was the beginning of the end for me and my personal relationship with newer anime titles that would be bookended by Casshern Sins years later and watching so many Gonzo titles in such succession, hoping for something tolerable has left me in the callous-covered, bitter husk of a man that I am today. I'm still sad that they are producing the anime cut scenes for BlazBlue, that just pisses me off, I hate it!!! Have a nice day read more
I normally don't watch too much anime an my grammar is also very bad so this my first review. I will try my best not too include any spoilers.
After reading the Plot line too this anime I found it very Interesting.
I wanted a Anime where i can connect too the characters an connect too the anime which most people obviously want. I have an interest In samurai action type animes with a strong back story so I thought this was perfect judging by the plot.
The anime started of alright, it was good enough for me too carry on watching it. The story seemed too be building its self but it was completely immature, When i mean Immature it the humor was not funny at all .As the story progressed The seven samurai were introduced, at this point I thought shits gonna start soon as in the important parts of the story. I was deeply disappointed. It lack any proper back story on most of the samurai, it was also very very immature like watching an Asian animated tv show for kids that would play on tv in the mornings. As the story went on , what suppose too be a big parts of the anime as in a important parts gave me NO trills or emotional movement at all WHY ? Because it was SOOOOOOOOOO obvious. ANother part came up which you can make out what the writer tried too do, they tried too make another emotional scene which was suppose too be major but it felt like noting , felt like a waste of time which was not needed. Most of the anime scenes were not needed. I was soo angry with the anime i wanted too stop but i told myself il finish it.
Surprisingly it got much better towards the end. I was shocked it kept me interested but it was too late.
I rate this anime extremely low an I would not recommend it to anybody who want too watch an anime where you will feel connected with the characters or deeply moved it failed too grasp an emotional feeling but anger for wasting my time watching this. It was extremely Immature an I do not recommend it too anyone above the age of 15. This anime could of been soo much better which is probz the main reason i hated it soo much. good potential gone.
Props too some of the artwork an action scenes though.read more
Samurai 7 is the anime remake of Akira Kurosawa\'s Seven Samurai, one of the most influential films in Japanese history. I\'ll be honest and say that I\'ve never actually seen Seven Samurai -- although I do know the plot very well -- and picked up Samurai 7 because it just looked so interesting and I\'d heard quite a few rave reviews.
I was pleasantly surprised by the first four episodes, and it just kept getting better. I will say I didn\'t enjoy the ending, despite how well it fit for the series. It was extremely bittersweet, and I was hoping for a bit more closure on Kambei\'s end. Still, the series was very enjoyable overall, and I\'m certainly glad I watched it.
To me, the story of Samurai 7 is its strongest point. I love the melding of mecha and samurai; it makes for incredibly interesting settings. Everything was well thought out, even when the anime departed from the original film\'s storyline. In fact, my favorite arc was actually after the battle for Kana village.
As stated before, the only part of the story I disliked was around the last two episodes. I think, however, that this was more of a personal opinion than anything. I do appreciate the ending -- considering everything that had happened before, it fit beautifully -- but my romantic, happily-ever-after heart was disappointed.
Ah, and here we come to a love/hate relationship for me. I <i>adore</i> the CG and backgrounds of Samurai 7. In fact, I don\'t think I\'ve ever come across better. The mechanical aspects were beyond amazing, and the cities jaw-dropping. However... the character designs, at times, were less than pleasing. Sure, the faces were beautifully rendered. However, it seems the artists took some liberty with the bodies of some of the samurai (Katsushiro, Gorobei, and Shichiroji in particular). It\'s not a huge thing, but it is rather disappointing after such pretty backgrounds. No matter how much I love Shichiroji as a character, I always wince the first time we meet him at the Firefly House.
The sound is very fitting for the scenes, and the OP is a personal favorite of mine (the ED is so-so). Chinese drums are employed frequently, but they never really get annoying. Overall, the sound is nice, although nothing truly spectacular.
All of the characters of Samurai 7 are fully fleshed out, which is a huge plus in my book. I liked most of them, especially Kambei and Ukyo, but some of the samurai were just... strange. Gorobei in particular comes to mind. He seemed to have some sort of blood-letting fetish, which (while interesting) was just strange to me.
One of the most impressive characters in the entire series is Ukyo. I won\'t give anything away, but this man is definitely not all what he seems. For most of the last half of the series (the last episode being an exception), Ukyo is simply brilliant (both in brains and otherwise). Perhaps that\'s one of the reasons I enjoyed the last half as much as I did: he just made everything so <i>interesting</i>.
Yes, I did enjoy Samurai 7 quite a lot. It\'s not my favorite series for a few reasons, but I loved watching it. Usually I dislike the merging of two time periods/genres, but Samurai 7 managed to pull it off splendidly.
I do recommend this series, although I urge people to watch it through to the end. Perhaps it\'s a personal opinion, but the second half simply blows the first half away.
Pros: Lovely CG, wonderful story, engaging characters -- in respect to both the heroes and villains (Kambei and Ukyo <3)
Cons: So-so character design at times, bittersweet ending (although some may consider this a pro, hah), annoying characters (I will never like Katsushiro or Gorobei...)read more
I'm a sucker for almost any show with samurai and loosely-based historical story-lines, so I figured I would give this show a go. That, and I saw the Blu-Ray boxset in a store, and I'm also a sucker for Blu-Ray. But I was pleasantly pleased with my purchase, which I will now discuss.
STORY: 9 (Great)
Samurai 7 is loosely based on an old movie, but also possesses an original story of its own. Basically, the story takes place in a world where samurai, merchants, and bandits rule the era. The samurai fight for honour, the merchants seek riches, and the bandits, who were once samurai, have abandoned their bushido and are used as pawns of the merchants.
Our story revolves around a small village, one of many where the bandits allow the farmers to grow their rice, and take it back for the merchants to profit from. The people of this village have had enough, and a small party is sent out (voluntarily) to hire samurai to aid them in defeating the bandits and taking back their fields. Along the way, they encounter a diverse cast of characters who eventually form the final rescue party, and they meet with a variety of obstacles on the way to meeting their final objective: the save the village. These obstacles help in developing the story in greater depth, as well as give us a chance to see the real soul of each samurai, and even the courage of the supporting characters (who themselves are not samurai).
From start to end, the story keeps things interesting. The samurai are not only out to protect the village as they were hired to do, their honour compels them to help almost anyone they come across who is in need. It really gives you a proud feeling to know that they're not just in it for the money (or in this case, all the rice they can eat), but that they are downright heroes in their own right.
Not the deepest story ever told, but certainly the kind that will keep you wondering what will happen next. And that's admirable, considering the length of 26 episodes. It doesn't feel dragged out or too long, but just right.
ART: 9 (Great)
The art from time to time changes. The opening is among one of the best I've ever seen, and the fast-paced fighting scenes are extremely well choreographed, with not a lot of cut-away shots. The fluidity of these scenes is just spectacular. I gave it a 9/10 though, because sometimes when things have settled down, the animation style is adjusted to a more "relaxed", yet sometimes marginally "shabby" look. Mind you, it's not bad, I found myself to adjust to it rather quickly, and it never really bothered me all that much.
Overall, the animation was top-notch.
SOUND: 10 (Outstanding)
There isn't much to say here. The music is excellent, with a diverse number of tracks to be able to fit just about every scene when needed. Sad scenes, adrenaline-pumping action scenes, and even "WTF?" scenes have their own music suited properly to the moment. And the opening kicks ass.
CHARACTER: 9 (Great)
NOTE: I'm not going to cover other main characters like Kirara, Komachi, etc. I'm going to focus mainly on the samurai, because while these characters are indeed important, it's the samurai who develop the most, and are what really make this series what it is. Rest assured though, the above characters don't really suffer from any major flaws, as they develop well in their own ways.
I would have given this section 10/10, if not for the fact that there was one samurai, Gorobe, that I didn't find all that interesting. So it's because of him that I gave it a 9/10. It's not because he was bad or anything, but I thought he was too underdeveloped before he met his demise. Kyuzo, Katsushiro, Heihachi, and Kikuchiyo stole the spotlight of this series for me. Kikuchiyo especially. I didn't find Shichiroji or Kanbe all that interesting, but I have no real complaints with them, they do have their place.
Kyuzo - The "lone-wolf" of the group. He has vowed to be the one to kill Kanbe someday due to a sort of rivalry, but until that time, assists them in saving the village. He fights with honour to accomplish his mission, but is rather quiet and tends to keep to himself. You could almost say because of this he doesn't develop much, but if you think about it after following him through the story, he really does. He is extremely skilled, wielding two katana at once, and can take down a large gathering of enemies single-handedly.
Kikuchiyo - The comic-relief, over-the-top, hot-headed "let's kick some ass!" samurai, and my personal favourite character. He used to be a farmer, but had his soul infused into a mechanical body so that he could be not a farmer, yet not a samurai, but a composite of the two. Since his body is not flesh and blood, he can withstand a barrage of bullets, summon great strength, and piece himself back together if a limb is severed (with some help at times). He wields a katana with similarities to a saw, and is able to use it as such, but also as a regular sword. He is definitely one of the most interesting characters for his comedic relief, but also is frequently the character to bring the others back to being level-headed in a tight situation. At first introduction, he comes off more hot-headed than anything, but we soon learn he does have some wisdom kicking around in that metal head of his. He is the last of the others to be acknowledged by Kanbe as a true samurai, but in my opinion, he proves himself so on more than one occasion before that time comes.
Katsushiro - The novice samurai in training. He soon becomes Kanbe's apprentice, and learns to value of life and death through his first real battles. There are hints of him having a mutual affection for Kirara, but at times it's not all that well developed. This, however, does get developed closer to the end of the story. There's nothing truly spectacular about his character alone, but along with Kikuchiyo, he is considered to be one of the "tag-along" samurai, who usually ends up getting saved by Kanbe or one of the others due to his lack of experience. He does eventually become able to hold his own in battle, and his skills greatly improve over time.
Heihachi - He remains to be somewhat of a mysterious character, right up until the end. He excels in building and repairing machinery, and possesses great skill with the sword. For the most part, he uses his sword skills to cut wood or other materials for use in building some sort of gadget, but when he needs to cut someone down, he is able to perform well. It's revealed that he wants to help Kanbe's group so that he can atone for his past, in which he betrayed his comrades and sold them out to the enemy by leaking information. Until the end, he proves to be a resourceful and vital part of the group.
Gorobe - After the war, he puts his skills to use as a street performer, making bets as to whether or not he can survive various perils. His skill primarily consists of dodging kunai, bullets, or other obstacles. He comes across almost as a magician of sorts, without any sort of magic power, but more like a trickster. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to develop very much, and dies about half-way through the show. Fine with me though, as I didn't find him all that interesting. For the time he is there though, he does play a significant role in the party, bailing them out of tight spots here and there with his tricks.
Shichiroji - During the war, he fought alongside Kanbe. He is a most experienced samurai who wields a spear as his primary weapon. His fighting skills become more apparent towards the end of the show, as near the beginning and middle he spends most of his time building strategies with Kanbe, or hooking them up with accomodations from acquaintances. He is a necessary character, acting as a foundation along with Kanbe for the rest of the party, as his wealth of experience makes up for the lack thereof of some of the other characters.
Kanbe - The leader of this rag-tag group of samurai. Shichiroji is his former comrade and best friend. His skill with the sword is unmatched, save for Kyuzo. He has a reputation for losing every battle he has ever fought, although I don't think that's meant to be taken literally, as he has obviously won and survived previous his previous battles, and the war. For him, losing means having comrades die, even if the objective is accomplished. He is portrayed as the wisest of the group, always thinking one set ahead, and training the others as a sort of mentor for each coming battle. He is the last person to acknowledge Kikuchiyo as a true samurai, but eventually does so when Kikuchiyo shows his true wisdom after returning to the village and persuading the elders to let them fight the bandits.
So overall, the characters were extremely well developed for the scope of this series. I think they were all pretty deep, except for Gorobe, but some might disagree with that. When you're given this much to write about just 7 of the main characters (and I could have done much, much more), you can tell that they were really well thought out.
ENJOYMENT: 10 (Outstanding)
I rate a show 10/10 for enjoyment when I finish an episode and have nothing compelling me to stop: I don't feel bored in the least, and I'm waiting on the edge of my seat for more. This show kept me wanting more, right from episode one, which some shows don't achieve until a few more episodes in.
OVERALL: 10 (Outstanding)
This show was truly great, and as the Blu-Ray boxset case states, "a must have for every anime collection". I agree.
Some people have said in other reviews that they didn't think the ending was all that good. I beg to differ, as I thought it was perfect. Without spoiling it, I'll say that certain likeable characters die, and I believe that is the reason others don't feel as good about it as I do. I was extremely sad when one character in particular died (if you read my review you know who I mean), but I was proud of the way he went out. In my opinion, his was one of the most kick-ass deaths in all of anime. Yes, probably even more epic than Kittan from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (which was in itself pretty epic).
So to end this off, if you haven't seen this series, go out and buy it. Don't even bother renting it, because I know that once you finish it, you'll just wish you owned it in the first place.
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