A clan of vampire bat-like ninjas in bright orange hazmat suits, hanging from the roof of a massive cave and issuing either malevolent punishment or benevolent generosity upon the subject dutifully collecting precious goo beneath them, huh? Well, if that doesn’t seem like the single most Kirby-esque scenario in an anime - - more so than Marvel Anime, in an odd way - - than you can go ahead and blip me out of existence with the Ultimate Nullifier. Seriously, SAMURAI 7 might not be that far at this point from being like NEW GODS in steampunk feudal Japan (Mifune’s outfit even looks like it could’ve been designed by Jack the King).
Although, on the flip side, some of these parties could’ve benefited from some more Kirby’s penchant for hyperbolic wordplay. It’s unintentionally amusing that they couldn’t have come up with a better name for these colossal (biomechanical?) mechs than just “Bandits.” We can’t have some creative, exotic-sounding handle for their clan? Calling them “Bandits” like it’s a proper noun would sound oddly-unspecific in feudal Japan, already, and it honestly makes the one peasants’ emotional breakdown a little snicker-inducing.
“Who stole your wife away from you?”
“Yes, but which bandits? What are they called?”
“They’re… they’re… the BANDITS!”
* AHEM * That aside, bringing up Kirby is still pretty relevant, because it helps articulate what I’ve been enjoying so much about this. That is, this is really one of the more straightforward adventure serials I’ve seen in anime in a while. Good guys journeying, marshaling more good guys to their team, evading the bad guys… it’s so straightforward, but it actually seems novel in this sphere.
Even seemingly straightforward shows like YU YU HAKUSHO and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD don't quite fit this mold. YYH was more identifiable shonen - - a pro wrestling arc - - while FMA: B had tons of twists and complications thrown on this spine of plot. Obviously, too much of the basics will get boring pretty fast, but I'll get pretty jacked-up over its clarity when it seems rare (which it does, here, if you've been keeping track).