Samurai 7 is the anime homage to the timeless classic film Seven Samurai. The anime series spans 26 episodes and takes place in a futuristic world that’s just suffered through a massive war. All the villages are controlled or terrorized by the Nobuseri bandits. Seven restless warriors turn their hands to defending a village of helpless peasants not for honour, not for profit – for all the rice they can eat. You don’t need to have seen the 1954 film to enjoy Samurai 7, though viewers of both will make rapid connections between the two. Samurai 7 preserves that basic idea, but the details of the story are chopped around. You’ll recognise each of the seven and some of the peasants too, but the rather wet love interest in Kurosawa’s work is replaced by a stern young priestess and her irrepressible young sister.
The story is also seeped in traditional Japanese culture. A great example of traditional Japanese morals and world-outlook that you can’t find in most “pulp” anime today. The action is over the top and on grand scale which works beautifully for this particular story. The music was very well done. It reminded me of the original movie. It has an old school feel to it. I felt like I was transported to a different time. It gave me the sense that I was actually on the battlegrounds with the samurai all the way to being with the peasants in the rice patties. Had a great deal of immersion. I would highly suggest watching this only in Japanese because I found the English voiceovers very annoying and almost entirely inappropriate to the personalities of the characters.
It does move a little slow, but the character development as well as the story really sucks you in, making you wonder what will happen next. The CGI and anime blend together excellently. I noticed only one part that the Anime was seriously flawed. It suddenly looked like I watching an episode of Rugrats or Real Monsters. It happens at the “Firefly” when one of the intended 7 is dancing but only lasts a few minutes. There’s very little in the way of extras, but I won’t criticize this dvd set, because that’s very typical of anime releases.
It seems the bandits, which are large mecha-like machines that used to be human samurai, are taking more and more rice away. So the village’s water priestess, her little sister, and some guy, head out into the city to try and gather up a couple brave samurai who will help push back the bandits. The good thing about all of this is it takes place in a futuristic setting, where machines are used and technology has combined itself with traditional devices such as wagons, etc.. Its really cool to see, and the settings in the show resemble some you might find in a Star Wars flick. In the end however you become accustomed to the small oddities and get more into the story. Sadly characters die that you don’t expect will, and the ones you think would die end up living. That perhaps was a nice twist on conventional samurai storytelling.
With that being said, it’s also important to remind everyone that this is a television series and not an OAV or a film which have a bigger budget and much more detail in the overall animation quality. But like a next gen video game, an anime series is not all about its graphics, for this series, what works is the adventure, the journey, the action and its enjoyable characters but most importantly, a well-crafted storyline. In conclusion, what makes Samurai 7 unique is its blend of technology with feudal Japanase culture. However, the philosophy, ethics, social roles, social commentary and morality of the original film is not even visible in this anime. Still a solid watch and ends up being a slightly above average anime experience.