The Heart of the Anime Revealed
Antonio D. Paolucci | Beaver Falls, PA | 12/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was clear that volumes one and two of Samurai 7 were specifically meant to introduce the characters of the story, and these volumes do so fairly well while still presenting the conflict and the story along the way. Volume three, though, gets much deeper into the story since the character intros are out the way, and action also gets a little role here as well, though this could be found in the other volumes.
In volume three, the final samurai, who's introduced earlier as an enemy, is brought on board early on and from there the samurai make their way to the village which they had gathered together to protect. Once here, the anime gets great. Anyone who has seen the classic movie Seven Samurai will begin to see all the similarities the anime of nearly the same name shares. I'd hate to spoil the rest of the anime, so I'll keep the rest to myself. I will say that one of the samurai reveals a surprising past, and another learns what is needed to be a samurai. This happens in one episode, and this is easily the best of the first twelve.
This anime is turning slowly into a great, and I'm a believer that it is Gonzo's current best, with the controversial Gantz being in second. I'd recommend this volume to anyone who enjoyed the first two, and to anyone who is a fan of Gonzo. Also, it's beginning to pay its respect to the classic movie, so I'd also recommend it to those of you who love Seven Samurai."
The epic re-telling continues...
Michael Sinatra | Santa Barbara, CA USA | 01/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
As the story continues, the Samurai become Seven on their way toward Kanna Village - but the path is not as easy as it may seem - and the Nobuseri have been alerted to their presence.
In the first episode of Volume 3 (Episode 9), the Samurai emerge from the Caves with the help snd guidance of Honoka - a local woman who quickly catches the eye of a sympathetic Rikichi - but just as the group finds an exit from the dark caverns, they are ambushed by a squad of Nobuseri, as well as a gun-toting Hyogo. Just as Kambei appears to have been cornered, Kyuzo suddenly rescues him. Claiming that he is the only one that will kill Kambei, Kyuzo decides to join the group after betraying Hyogo and the bandits - becoming the Sixth Samurai. However, Kirara fiercely protests to Kambei about their new enemy-turned-ally. Meanwhile, a group of Bandits offers mercy to the villagers of Kanna if they are willing to hand over the Samurai - inspiring many treacherous thoughts in the minds of villagers whose fear grips their souls.
In Episode 10, the group splits up to avoid pursuance and fool Nobuseri scouts as they near the village. While Kikuchiyo, Kambei, and Komachi torment Katsushiro with questions about his feelings toward Kirara, Gorobei, Heihachi and Rikichi have to disguise themselves as women when they are suddenly discovered by Nobuseri. Meanwhile, Kyuzo and Shichiroji accompany Kirara as they head through the mountains - but Kirara is still wary of Kyuzo - until he saves her Life.
In Episode 11, the group finally arrives in Kanna Village - but the village appears to have been abandoned. Seized by fear, the villagers have hid, and most are trembling with fear and second thoughts about going against the Nobuseri. Luckily, Kikuchiyo arrives and lures the villagers out, assuring them that if they have faith in the Samurai, they will prevail. Kambei then assesses the situation and inspires the villagers to rise together against the Nobuseri. The Samurai each go about their seperate tasks, preparing the Villagers for battle, as well as changing Kanna Village into a make-shift Fortress. But Farmer Manzo is still determined to sell the Samurai out to the Bandits - and it is up to Kirara and Katsushiro to stop him when he tries to notify a Nobuseri sergeant. Katsushiro must succeed in his first battle - or the Samurai are finished.
In Episode 12, Manzo is brought before the angry village and the disgruntled Heihachi, who knows of Kambei's ease and mercy. Katsushiro is still in shock from his first taste of combat - but with a sharpened sword and strong words from Kambei, his resolve is strengthened. Just as the alliance between the Villagers and Samurai is about to be broken by the conflict over Manzo's guilt, Kikuchiyo appears yet again to save the day. With an emotional speech defending Manzo, Kikuchiyo reasons that Samurai are at fault for making Farmers desperate and hungry - finally revealing to the group (indirectly) that he was once a farmer, before he became fully-mechanized and became a Samurai. Finally achieving Kambei's approval, the group is finally complete at Seven. But the fight is long from over - the Bandits are growing restless, and the Village will soon be harvesting their rice. But with their alliance secure, the Farmers present a battle flag to the Samurai - and the group prepares themselves for the first of many battles to come.
My Review: Although not really comparable to Kurosawa's masterpiece, this epic re-telling continues to excite and dazzle. This colorful and beautifully detailed work of art brings Kurosawa's message and inspiring story to the 21st Century. If you're looking for an identical clone to Kurosawa's original, you'll be disappointed, but most likely just as entertained."