I am a big fan of tracking down source material. When I hear an adaptation or remake is coming out often will go out and read some of the original work to see how it stacks up. That being said I actually haven’t taken the time to watch the original “Samurai Seven.” I really need to though as I keep getting told its an incredible film. Still with all the hype about how its such a great film, how would an anime adaptation of such a film stack up?
After their village is continuously ransacked by bandits, the villagers decide they must fight back. A young water priestess named Kirara, along with her sister, Komachi, and the farmer, Rikichi, ventures into the city to find Samurai, mighty warriors from the previous war to aid them in their blight. the three set off to the city. There they witness the skills of Shimada Kambei, who after some convincing agrees to help them in their blight. He insists he will need a team of seven to take down the bandits. He finds and recruits Katsuhiro the student, Gorobei the performer, Shichiroji the veteran, Heihachi the Mechanic, Kyuzo the assasin, and Kikuchiyo the cyborg to aid him in his quest to defend the village.
The series presents an interesting world to say the least. It has giant robots, cyborg samurai, and flying ships, but still has people living in poverty and conducting business like an ancient society. It ranges somewhere between Steampunk and Cyberpunk but I’m really not sure where it would be. The Samurai are trying their best to survive after apparently no longer being needed after fighting the war which is shown in flashback through the series. They are entertaining to say the least but some times they seem like they could go just a bit farther with their development to help ensure they were memorable.
Many may point to this film and insist that it has the “Gonzo Effect.” For those who don’t know this term refers to the studio creators Gonzo and how they were infamous for making shows with an extremely strong start but would lose focus in their story telling or art quality by the end of the series. While I would admit I have seen series that this rule applies to I feel that Samurai 7 is spared from it. Not that I believe the Gonzo effect doesn’t exist. I witnessed it first hand watching “Speed Grapher” and if I had been reminded of this effect earlier I would have made mention of it in my Burst Angel review. Samurai 7 keeps its consistency all the way through. Probably because of the high expectations given its source material.
This anime is serviceable and has some good moments to it and even had a mainstream run on TV, running on the relaunched Toonami back in August of 2012. Sadly, the series is another show that falls into the “good, not great category.” Sure their are some good characters to love and an interesting world presented for viewer but its not enough to make sure that its carves itself into the halls of anime history and place it high in fan’s “All time greatest series lists.” Maybe in the honorable mention category. If you feel I’m being too harsh, feel free to check out http://www.myanimelist.com where the series is currently ranked #1152 at the time of this entry. Sorry might Samurai, but your time has truly come to an end.