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Samurai 7 Box Set

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The anime industry is no different from any other in the world; it exists solely to make money. So when an executive in random anime company decides it’s time the legendary Seven Samurai needs retelling, the company gets to it. To quote the unused World War II propaganda: “Keep Calm, Carry On”. This is exactly what has happened with Samurai 7, the retelling of this already overused story has a slight twist as it’s set in an alternate future.

Many years after the Great War the young priestess, Kirara, is sent from her village to hire a samurai to protect their homes from the constant onslaught of attack that they suffer from cyborg bandits displaced after the long war. Kirara heads to the city with her sister Komachi to try and find someone to help them. Relying on the special amulet in Kirara’s possession they manage to stumble upon three samurai within minutes of arriving in the city.

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Before long the Imperial Envoy is found dead with a bloody katana by his body and in an effort to find the murderer the magistrate’s decide to arrest every samurai in the town so the new heroes decide to escape the town and head back to Kirara’s village. The samurai’s make their way back to the village and find themselves up against a huge onslaught of cyborg bandits and they have to get to work immediately to try and save the village from destruction.

Throughout Samurai 7 there is an inordinate amount of sword fighting. Naturally with the show being about futuristic samurai types it’s to be expected to a degree, but the sheer number and length of these sequences leaves the viewer feeling a little dazed and frankly bored. There’s only so many times metal on metal can sound interesting, not to mention the fact that characters drawing close and then flying backwards from the sheer “force” of it can only be thrilling so many times. These extended action scenes appear throughout the entire show, and although some volumes have only a little sword fighting action, they are normally replaced with equally bizarre sci-fi affects.

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Throughout there are cyborgs appearing in the towns, in the village and pretty much everywhere. They seem to contribute fairly little to the actual premise of the show and although it’s clear that they are meant to be the villains, they appear far too frequently and just look entirely out of place with the rest of the cast. Although suspension of disbelief is required in most anime, there’s only so far the viewer is able to go and unfortunately Samurai 7, with seemingly little logic to its expansive characters, goes beyond this.

We then face the weird spaceships that have been modelled on Edo architecture, which in a comedy anime would make perfect sense. Imagine seeing a flying Edo Castle in Lucky Star, or in The Legend of the Mystical Ninja – which makes perfect sense. In this seemingly serious anime it feels out of place and a little contrived.

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That’s not it though; the English voice cast is awful. The character lack any form of conveying emotions and almost sound like robots themselves. In comparison the Japanese cast has managed to put on the performance of their lives with emotion ebbing through every spoken and unspoken word.  So if Samurai 7 is to be watched, it requires watching in Japanese not the English dub.

The animation itself is good, the character designs are distinct and all of the characters are clearly modelled individually. The colours are brilliant and the costumes all look and feel in place. Even the out of place cyborgs and flying castles look brilliant, at no point can fault be placed on the character designs and execution as it’s first class.

Final Score

5

Unfortunately this is one adaptation too far. Throughout Samurai 7 the plot feels clichéd, over used and in an attempt to try and be different by revisualising an already brilliant story the plot feels out of place and lacks any consistency.