Just fyi youve reached the end of a series. So if you have no idea where you are or having seen any of the previous volumes, I suggest you turn around and start with volume one. If not, you risk spoiling, well, everything.
The series is based it off of Akira Kurosawas 1954 movie Shichinin no samurai, or Seven Samurai (where do you think we got The Magnificent Seven from?). But even though its based off of an older movie, its all redone in a futuristic setting where samurai have amazing skills, machines roam aboard, and anything goes. Gorgeous.
The Story High Water Priestess Kirara, her sister Komachi, and friend Rikichi have traveled to the city in order to seek out samurai. As peasants who grow rice, nasty Bandits who used to be samurai, but are now more machine, constantly steal the rice and sometimes even the women. So Kiraras village hires samurai for protection. What began as a simple quest turned into a long journey, a war against the Bandits, and now a war on the capital itself.
Episode 24: Promise! Katsushiro has returned to Kanna village and realized the capital plans on destroying it. He takes charge, and for the first time in his life, looks like a true samurai. Now if only he can hold out long enough for the others to arrive.
Episode 25: Fall! The attack on the capital begins Ukyo and his minions vs. Kambei and the others attacking the back, Katsushiro and the villagers at the front. Who will die? Who will win?
Episode 26: Plant! The final outcome of the fight between samurai, villagers, and the capital. Who will kill the insane Ukyo? Will the capital stop its onward rush before destroying Kanna village? And when the time comes to plant again, who will be left to see it?
Eek! No, no, no! Im very sad. My favorite samurai are dying the ones I thought would make it arent and the ones I thought would croak are staying alive. Why? *fusses* Poo. (yeah, Im mature, arent I?) So my final score turned out to be 3-4. Dang. Two of those threw me pretty good. One more than the others. Sad. Another huge shock was how one of them died - that made me unhappy, but in the big scheme of things, I suppose it was probably the best way to remove him from the picture, considering who it was and what his goals were. I know, Im not making much sense, but I cant go about telling you who died and who lived, as that would truly ruin some things for you.
I never quite got who Kirara truly wanted. Kambei and not Katsushiro? Doesnt matter because nothing will ever come of it. I feel a little sorry for Ukyo the guy really was insane, despite the amount of intelligence he had. Creepy. A good fight or war, whichever you want to call it, with a lot of surprises. Im not sure if I like Katsushiro as much as I did in the start when he was just an innocent never-killed-anyone-before samurai. He got better, dont get me wrong, but instead of being like the other samurai, he still has this berserker mode where he yells and screams as he attacks and frankly its kind of annoying. I think the poor kid has issues, but like the others said from the start he should have known what he was getting into. Ah well.
As for the final ending, the aftermath of the fight leading into winter and then spring (hence the title Plant!), when the music came along and the credits rolled, I didnt exactly know how to feel. It was so mellow, no one staying with Kirara, instead drifting off to well, wherever, I started to feel a little let down. I cant tell you exactly what I expected (aside from certain samurai still being alive and maybe Katsushiro giving up his sword to stay with Kirara or just staying with her and acting as the village protector or something), so I sat there for a while, pondering over the way it wrapped up. I finally decided that without the events I expected happening, there wasnt any other way to end the series. It was semi-anticlimactic, but acceptable. Youll have to decide on your own if you like it or not.
The animation, aside from past hiccups, never missed a beat. The combination of computer graphics and hand-drawn skill went hand in hand with one another. Always with bright, clear colors, plenty of detail, and in general, the kind of animation everyone wants to see. Thats a huge reason many of us anime fans watch it American animation skills are just not up to par. Why do you think Disney backs up Hayao Miyazakis films?
Voices Overall, I could watch either one. Each version, Japanese and English, has a voice actor that I personally do not like for the character. Though for the most part I was able to handle Katsushiros Japanese voice, there were numerous times when it started to drive me bonkers. The same goes for Ukyos English voice actor. But throughout the series, the quality was great, so good job to the casting directors.
Music Kaoru Wadas music (also for Inuyasha) was great in this series. Though it did have some clear similarities to Inuyasha, for the most part it fit so nicely with this series that one easily forgets them. Just like any skilled composer, though the style is the same, the variations are what make the pieces more attributed to the show/movie they are being written for. Good stuff.
The opening song is Unlimited by Nanase Aikawa, fast and sung by a female. Its a very good opening song and sets the right tone for the series. The ending song is Fuhen by Rin. Its slower, still sung by a female, and let me just say this the first time I heard this song I wanted it. The instrumentation is great, using a lot of instruments I dont know the names of, though Im sure theyve all originated in Japan, certain flutes and strings and such. It makes for a good wind-down song after anything thats happened in the show. Though I was wondering if they would switch the end song at the final episode of the series, they did not, and both these songs are constant from episode 1 to episode 26.
Any Warnings? Fighting, violence, and killing. This means blood, explosions, and death. Its a samurai show and if you dont expect such things from people wielding swords and huge machines with guns, uh, I guess you dont know samurai or mechas very well if at all. There is some swearing, but not much. Thats essentially it. But be ready for some unexpected deaths
Final Thoughts A very pleasing series. Not too fast, not too slow, good plot, characters you easily become fond of, music that is just right for the series, and animation to make any fan smile. As for replay value, it may not be ultra high (as in, Holy cow Im sooo going to watch this tomorrow), but I could easily see myself flipping this on again in the future, though I would dread having to see Katsushiros transformation again, as well as knowing some of my favorite samurai wont see the spring.
Samurai 7 Volumes
Samurai 7 Vol. 1: Search for the Seven
Samurai 7 Vol. 2: Escape from the Merchants
Samurai 7 Vol. 3: From Farm to Fortress
Samurai 7 Vol. 4: The Battle for Kanna
Samurai 7 Vol. 5: Empire in Flux
Samurai 7 Vol. 6: Broken Alliance
Viewing Format: DVD
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