With DEADMAN WONDERLAND wrapped, what reason could there be to not complete the new Toonami set? I’ve already covered EUREKA SEVEN and FMA: B - - thoroughly - - so all that's left is SAMURAI 7. And with this long-due watch and learn session comes the somewhat sobering realization of how long it’s been since I first heard of the series. Even though I never wound up watching the show, I distinctly remember it getting a write-up on Joblo back in ’04 or ’05 because it had a little more crossover appeal to “general” cinephiles on account of its explicit link to the Kurosawa classic.
Times flies, of course, and its flight in this instance is a little revealing, because we’ve been talking a lot about how anime viewership's changed on the Vice Pit lately. See, the fact that I didn’t wind up watching SAMURAI 7 was really more of case of inconvenience than disinterest. When I got done reading that Joblo article, I remember throwing my arms and saying, “Well, that sounds interesting, but where can I watch this, now?” Back then, the recommendation-to-viewing process wasn’t as simple as, say, embedding a link from Hulu.
That’s a pretty longwinded preamble, I know. What did I think of the show? Well, I’m kind of curious as to whether SEVEN SAMURAI really was the first story to ever play out this whole notion of beleaguered peasants hiring warriors to fight their battles for them. I’ve seen this reinterpreted enough times in the likes of A BUG’S LIFE and THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN that I’m pretty well familiar with all the plot beats. The first episode even corresponds closely enough to the first 20 or so minutes of SEVEN SAMURAI that it’s almost like they’ve just drawn new pictures to accompany the same audio.
Look, I’ll comment more about the actual plot, next time. For now, I just want to say it’s highly amusing to see that Kurosawa’s estate is actually behind this. The only time I’ve ever heard anime linked to Kurosawa before this was in a backhanded compliment he famously gave to GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES. It was along the lines of “Oh, it was good… for an anime.”
Watch this episode, “The Master" below and decide for yourself.