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Disappointing.
I didn't have high expectations when I started watching this, and it still managed to be disappointing. It tries to be epic and dramatic, an ambitious reimagining of a much beloved, classic story, but it just ends up being Narmy, below mediocre and utterly forgettable.

The animation quality is overall below average, sometimes to the point of being distracting. The CG is not well-integrated with the 2D, and the 2D animation is crude. The character design is all over the place, with some characters looking "normal" and others having exaggeratedly cartoonish designs, and the two don't mesh too well.

In the first part the story tries to balance between sticking to the film (it often quotes lines verbatim) and adding original elements and characters. Whether it succeeds or not is mostly a case of YMMV, however, things that made perfect sense in the film often make zero sense here due to differences in the setting and tone. Some of the original elements are also questionable. (Some may be written off as Rule Of Cool but does that rule apply when the result is not cool?) The samurai are ridiculously powerful (deflecing huge laser beams by vibrating your sword?), effectively superhuman, which makes the battles boring.

After the battle for the village comes a completely original story, which is handled much better, and I wish they'd left Seven Samurai alone and built the series around this. Ukyo is easily the most interesting character in the series, and there's a lot of potential in the setting. Unfortunately due to lack of time, and the need to integrate this story with the original premise, we're left wondering what could've been.

You'd think with 26 episodes there's enough time to flesh out the seven samurai, but with the exception of Katsushirou they remain fairly static, one-note characters. There are some added traits and hints, but almost none of these are explored or developed any further.

The few good points... The costumes are very nice, and the voice work is pretty good, with Takehito Koyasu's Ukyo completely stealing not only every scene he's in, but also the show itself. The villagers (with the curious exception of Kirara) speak with an exaggerated Tohoku Regional Accent which some may find an interesting touch (I found it annoying after a while).
I've only seen half of the series so far and I haven't seen the original movie, but I love it. YMMV strikes again!
comment #4920 24.222.124.245 26th Oct 10
I loved both arcs, but I really wish the show had ended after the first one and that the second one had been a completely independent series. It would have been perfect on its own, but it really didn't fit well with the Samurai's story. In fact, tying them both together all but ruined the show for me.

I agree that Ukyo is the best character in the series (how many other characters can make nose-picking look badass?) and he would have been better as the Villain Protagonist of his own series rather than the Big Bad of this one. Heck, had he been given his own series, he might have gained a fan following to rival the likes of both Light Yagami and Lelouch.
comment #5237 theweirdwarrior 25th Nov 10
Ukyo's first plan, to kill the envoy, blame his father and use his summons to the Imperial Capital to confirm his clan/guild allegiance to the Emperor was brilliant, I'll admit, but once things started to come unraveled he didn't really display the kind of flexibility that an evil villain who's going to survive the collapse of his xanatos pileup needs.

He was an interesting and diverting character, but I found several of the Samurai more sympathetic than Ukyo and whilst the older Samurai were too established to do any 'turn on a dime' character development I found the throttling and suppression of Katsushiro's "Romantic Ronin" ideals to be an interesting development - even if the female protagonist had reacted to Kanbei's rejection by turning back to Katshushiro, he's already left such things behind him on his pursuit not of the romantic ideals of Bushido but on the much more stark path of Miyamoto's Way of the Sword.

For a jokey comic relief, I found Kikuchiyo's death quite moving - but I won't claim that he developed much as a character.

Shichiroji actually surviving to retire was a nice surprise though, and really one of the few things that prevented a total Downer Ending.
comment #7348 Apolloin 20th Apr 11
Agree with reviewer. This show was not really that great... and it seems even more mediocre when compared to Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece.

comment #12730 HandyHandel 7th Feb 12
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