Title: Samurai 7
Genre: action, fantasy, sci-fi, mecha
Released date: June 12, 2004 – December 25, 2004
Director: Toshifumi Takizawa
Animated by: GONZO Studio
Comment: Base loosely on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Samurai 7 retells the classic story of seven samurais hired by the peasants to protect and drive away the abusive authority threatening the village. Many new elements are added in and many old things are modified from the original source material. Some of which are brilliant and some are mistakes. I’ll start with the brilliant part. The animation quality is superb (I heard that each episode cost more than 300,000 USD) and the action sequences are really amazing and exciting. Every character, including those who are not the samurai, is well detailed with unique personality, motive, skill, look and development that the viewers are inevitably linked to them and I was so sad when my favorite samurai died. The political subplot is also interesting. It provides clearer picture of the society in the anime and gives the evil emperor more depth and dimension. Some comic relief is constantly added to lighten the tone of the anime. Now for the bad part, those mecha, flying ships and vehicles look totally out of place. It would be more believable if it were later revealed that they were some invading aliens from Mars. My guess is that the producers want to add something new to the story or to reduce blood and gore by putting the villains in the mecha or armors. What ever the reason is, the outcome is almost disastrous. Conclusion: Samurai 7 is incredibly fun, well characterized and visually spectacular but the unnecessary addition of the high-tech machines and mecha was a bad, bad idea.