You might have heard of Akira Kurosawa’s highly esteemed film, Seven Samurai. This 26-episode anime is based on it, but don’t think they’re exactly the same, because there are some definite changes. Like, for example, I’m pretty sure the original movie didn’t have a cyborg samurai.
A village is being tormented by bandits and something has to be done. Unfortunately, they don’t have the funds to pay for help. The only thing they can offer is rice, and it’s doubtful that any worthy samurai would be willing to work for rice alone. A few people from the village, including a water priestess, go out in search of samurai.
It takes time, but eventually some samurai are found. They each have distinct personalities, which is important, because this is a series with a lot of characters. If they didn’t have such distinct personalities, not only would it be harder to keep track, but we wouldn’t care about them as much. While there are seven in total, the two samurai who stuck out the most to me were Kambei and Kikuchiyo. The “leader” of the group would be Kambei, a noble spirit who can seem harsh but also has class. Kikuchiyo is a loudmouthed cyborg who is often the comic relief, but sometimes you can see that he has a soft side.
As it turns out, the samurai don’t just have to deal with measly little bandits. They also have a powerful emperor causing problems, and this only gets worse when one of the emperor’s clones does the ruler in and takes over. Now we have another twist.
Samurai 7 is one of those anime series that builds gradually. The first episode really didn’t catch me, but I started to get intrigued with the second. From there, it continued to get better. It’s also one of those series where you’ll notice more with each watching. In a way, it feels simple and complex at the same time, so that you can just watch it for the sake of watching it or you can also analyze it.
The characters grow on you, so I’ll give you fair warning here: not all of the samurai survive till the end. One death in particular got to me. But that goes to show that this is a well-written series with strongly developed characters. Despite some sadness, it’s a series that’s still worth watching. It has a steady, classy feel to it. It’s not something thrown together, but something that was deftly and meticulously thought out.