Reviews: Samurai Seven


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).