Samurai 7 is based on the iconic japanese movie “Seven Samurai” by Akira Kurosawa. The movie is considered one of the greatest of all time and a masterpiece, so doing an anime based on it is a risky business. Gladly this anime does a lot of things right, from the beginning to the end and doesn’t stay too far from the spirit of the original.
Just like the movie, the anime starts in the village of Kanna, who are being robbed by a group of thieves called “Nobuseri”. The elder of the village decides to send some of the villagers to recruit samurais, However, the village has no money and thus must find samurai willing to protect the village for a payment of rice. Soon they’ll find seven willing Samurais who go with them to the village and aid them in their battle against the bandits. But the Nobuseri are not the only bad guys, the son of the governor will also turn against them.
Many changes have been done in translating the movie to anime however. Rikichi is no more the village’s group leader, he has been replaced with a water priestess called Kirara.
The overall styIe also suffered a drastic change. The anime can be called a combination of action/adventure, sci-fi and mecha. If you’ve seen the movie you’re probably wondering Mecha? What the hell? Yes the anime is set during the start of the Meiji era in japan, just like the movie. But normal samurais have been replaced with robotic samurais who used to be human but changed to be stronger.
The bandits, the shikimoribito and certain good samurai are also robots. Though most of these changes are not for the worst, they also aren’t for the best either, as the overall styIe will probably fail to impress those who are faithful to the film. The story has also changed a little bit to keep it from being predictable. The movie ended with the samurai defeating the bandits but the anime is a little longer.
Good news is the combination of drama and comedy of the original is intact, this story will make you laugh, cry and feel anger at times. The characters also changed, but for the best, they all keep their styIes. Kikuchiyo still is the crazy guy, Katsushiro is the young samurai without any experience, Gorobei is lighthearted like Heihachi and Shichiroji; Kambei is the calm, serious and experienced samurai and Kyuzo is a serious, stone-faced samurai and a supremely skilled swordsman. Their personalities haven’t changed much but they look much younger in the anime and not all of them are bald like in the movie.
The art is really good looking at times, especially during the second part of the anime where the colors and overall styIe of the mechas show up. And all the character models are well done. The music is good and fits the era, but somehow it feels anti-climatic during battle sequences, which is disappointing because it keeps them from being exciting. The voice acting is good too, very professional.
This anime is 26 episodes long, and the pacing is rather slow. But is a very enjoyable anime to watch, especially during the second part which takes place between episode 13 and the final episode.
After all is said and done Samurai 7 ends up as a great anime to watch and one that’s comparable (in some ways) to the source material, is a real shame though, that some of the new story elements such as the mechas and the new enemies don’t really fit well in the whole story, but they don’t detract from an enjoyable experience.