When I think "cool ideas for anime shows" I tend to think giant robots, ninjas/samurai, hot chicks, annoying kids kept to a minimum, twisty-turny plot, and large cast of characters. Samurai 7 has pretty much all these things, but it's really only got one hot girl, and there are several kids, but they're not really all that annoying. The thing is, despite having all those cool points, I really never got too emotionally involved in the show. Yeah, there are lots of samurai kicking giant robot ass (the samurai use regular swords and not anything light-saber-like... Sounds kinda dorky but it's actually pretty cool), the plot is interesting and the motivations for all the characters are believable... But... I don't know. I was dragging myself through all 26 episodes.
It's strange sometimes. I'll start watching a show that by all previous descriptions and previews I'm sure I'm going to hate, but then once I start watching, I find that -- like when I pop a can of Pringles -- I just can't stop (like Midori's Days). But then sometimes I'll come across a show that has all the right things going for it (right studio, right style, right idea), but then it's just a chore to get through it (take Fullmetal Alchemist... PLEASE). Not that Samurai 7 was bad, or even that much of a task to get through, it's just that I was expecting something more/different from it. There seemed to be a lot of quiet times in it, which isn't bad if done right, but it simply made the series feel longer than it was... And not in a good way. Again don't get me wrong, it may sound like I hated the show, and I didn't. I enjoyed it. It was kinda fun, and very unpredictable. Once events just past the middle of the series took place I was like "Ummmm, what the fuck are they going to do now?" But the show continued in a believable way and it all led up to an ending that made me glad I had stuck it out.... Sorry to be vague, but I liked this show enough to not spoil it for you so that you can still check it out and be n00b/samurai-virginy surprised by some of the twists. Whatever.
So anyway, Samurai 7 is a very loose remake of the Akira Kurosawa film The Seven Samurai. Very loose. But the fundamentals still do remain. All the names and positions of the samurai and the villagers (well, those who are important to the plot) are still intact, the plight of the villagers against their bandit oppressors is the same, the teaching of the farmers to fight and their eventual friendship is the same, and Kikuchiyo is still the best character, even though he's a hulking robot/cyborg in the anime. Once again, very loose translation, but still surprisingly closer to the original than even the US remake The Magnificent Seven (with Yul Brynner!) was, at least in style and feel... Did that make any sense? No? Didn't think so, but I've got too much to talk about than explaining it again to your retarded ass, so forward we go!
Samurai 7 starts off at the end of a huge war. The nobles have won, and the samurai have been defeated. From there it becomes apparent that the once glorious status of being a samurai is now mud. And mud spelled backwards is dum... Wait, that's stupid. That only works verbally, written it makes me look like a maroon. Fuck that. So, samurai are treated like dirt, but a few still walk around in public with their swords still visible in defiance to the new regime. Wait, wait, I forgot to tell you about the downtrodden villagers whose rice crop is stolen every year by the bandits... The giant robot bandits. Well, like the movie, the village elder says "This suxor. Let's get some samurai to put the smack down on these bandits so that we don't gots to fight them ourselves! Word, G." And then the quest for noble samurai ensues. This proves to be harder than the village-seekers originally thought it would be. Most of the people they come across who claim to be "samurai" are really just hungry assholes who eat the free rice offered them, and then leave saying such bullcrap as "Feh, defending a village from bandits... That shit's beneath me." and "Umm, thanks for the rice, but I, uh, left my vibrator on and my power bill's gonna be huge." Buncha pansies, all of them. But soon the Water Maiden of the oppressed village finds Kambei, the ultimate samurai badass, and with his help the rest of the seven warriors fall into place. The first part of the series may have been what initially set me off a little. I was expecting things to be all violent and fast paced sword slashing and stuff right from the get go, but it took 3 to 4 episodes for even one samurai to be selected into the group. Then it took one to two episodes to gather each of the rest of them. Maybe this thing will be easier for you to handle now that you know it's not as kinetic as say Ninja Scroll. I may have been more open with it if I knew it was a slower piece. Who knows.
So the samurai are called into service, the villagers are given a morale boost by their arrival (though they do fear them a bit too), and then they're taught how to defend themselves against bastard bandits, and then the biggest crossbow in the fucking galaxy is put to good use, and then... Well, if this sounds the least bit interesting to you give the whole thing a chance. The animators were given a budget about twice the size of the usual eye-candy show, and it's very apparent. There was only one episode that wasn't up to snuff, and that was only because a guest director took over for that one half-hour and the character designs got all "simplistic" so that the movement and pace could speed up. It is jarring though, especially when watching more than one ep at a time.
Where was I? Fuck, this review is all over the place. Did I mention that Samurai 7 takes place in a sci-fi setting, but it's not too sci-fi? Meaning that there are giant robots, but the samurai still use metal swords. There are giant air ships, but there's no intergalactic travel. There's electricity and the main cities appear almost steam-punk in their grittiness and griminess, but the outlying villages are accessible mainly by foot over wooden bridges, and their main (and really only) source of income is still rice. It's an interesting setting. You only question it in the beginning, but then you quickly accept it. Like when that guy in the giant rodent costume at that amusement park fondles you but tells you that that kind of thing makes kittens happy.... Waitaminute! Repressed memories flowing back into my head! Noooooooooooooooooo! Bad touch! Bad bad touch!
Slash! Hack! Ka-Boom! Kerplow! Splat! And Wham! Ooooh yeah, This is the good stuff. Lots of swords flying around, cutting men and machines open, and tons of things exploding in a most delightful way. Most delightful indeed.
I liked how the samurai all used metal swords, but could inexplicably slice through the giant, bandit robots like they were Jedi lightsabers. At first, before the first fight I was wondering just what the fuck a man would be able to do against a 5 story tall robot with a giant robot gun, but that was fuckin' awesome! Zip, bang, BOOM! Sweeeet.
Then that little water maiden hottie... GrrrrrrRRRRoarrrrrrr! She was hot. And I loved her outfit with the belly exposed like that. Man, the only thing that would have made this thing any cooler would have been if that chick ended up being a samurai from another life or something. You know, just as long as she started cutting things up in that sexy outfit and hot sandals. Oh yeah, baby!
That reminds me of that time the MegaPlayboy went down to Old Town and started trying to hook up for the night. That one chick with the really blue eyes turned him down flat, but he just kept trying and trying. Soon that ninja whore jumped out at him from out of nowhere and haxored the fuck out of the poor ass like he was a salami and she was a ravenous liger who hadn't been fed in two weeks. Oh man, she totally cut off his wang and his hand and shit, and then sliced off his damn head... Wait... Was that something else? Am I just misremembering this? Was the incident with the MegaPlayboy just that time that that old lady in the fishnets gave him a couple of knees to the happy sack? Eh, either way it was wicked awesome to see. And I brought my camera phone so I can watch a flip book of it over and over again. Sweet. I'll probably upload it tonight after I add in some Benny Hill music and sound effects.
So, like who the hell won? Did evil win in the end? Was Boy George really evil in the first place? Were the villagers evil? Some were pricks, and that little cock tease of a bitch, that maiden chick, sure was a whore.
See, my whole problem with this show was that it wasn't just black and white. Some of the characters and situations called for some pretty hefty gray tones, and that sucks for people like me. I need to know who to fucking root for, dammit! I need to know who the good guys are so that I can boo those fuckers whenever they appear on screen. I have to be able to fully understand that the bad guys are complete tools before I can start cheering for them when the killing begins. And if there is no killing? Then there better be some pretty heavy nudity. No nudity? Then what the fuck am I doing here anyway?