Saying that show or movie is like “watching a video game” - - derisively, of course - - can really be a kind of a vague observation when you break it down. Take away interactivity, or the interactivity that you’re presumably not getting in, and what are we talking about? That the action’s excessive? That the characters are ciphers that you’re having difficulty “masking” yourself onto? Both of these are narrative pitfalls that have most likely been around for long before anybody even got the idea to try to play ping pong on your screen...
That said, the rust red robots in this episode have exactly the sort of impractical design that’d fit right in on some level of MEGA MAN (even more so than any of the bots in CASSHERN). Slice them in half and they fold out into identical centurions with big, target-like eyes? I was waiting for some coins to shoot out of them after they blew up.
SAMURAI 7’s been pretty good so far about constantly licking the red on the “thrill-o-meter” whilst still paying all the proper dues to storytelling and character development. Sam’s been re-visiting the show, himself, and we were talking about it when we were recording some Vice Pit episodes last night. Ol’ Sammy was saying that he actually came to prefer the character development stuff and wanted to see more screen time allotted to the budding romance between the rookie and the peasant princess.
I’m on roughly the same page with Sam about this. For as many kickass supermoves as there were in this episode, the stand-out scene for me was when the members of the band all tease our cute novice about his crush in their own, personality-specific ways. Of course, that's still a tough balance to strike because, let's be real, every viewer would’ve been miffed if the robo-carnage quotient wasn't up to standard because the lovey dovey stuff got precedence.
Actually, the show’s been pretty deft so far about having character revealed through the big action. There’s that part where the new “scarlet samurai” lets his deeds earn the gal’s trust instead of offering the lip service she’s looking for. And then there’s the part where the one sub-group uses the old Bug Bunny tactic of fooling the bad guys with a drag show. Honestly, I wasn’t too excited for that part (it was triggering some bad memories of the belly dance from WILD WILD WEST), but I dug how they were ultimately saved by the one peasant calling on the one asset he has - - his farming skills - - to make up a convincing impromptu song about life on the field.
See, I do remember that stuff more than the rest of the slo-mo super moves in this episode… which is why the gamer critique wouldn't hold up (red robos and non-stop brawls notwithstanding).