Anime review -- Samurai 7
February 20, 2010
Samurai 7 is a weird take on the well worn (and suitably awesome ) Seven Samurai movie that was made back in the Victorian ages and copied with somewhat less awesomeness by Hollywood when they made The Magnificent Seven and its lacklustre sequel. The 2004 anime adaptation expands on the main parts pf the plot, drawing out and re-writing a lot of the behind the scenes development, shoehorns in new characters then plonks it all down in a steampunk setting where the bandits have transferred their souls into hulking mechs.
And itís brilliant.
While it remains largely faithful to the 1954 movie itís named after, the unique setting and the clever implication of the new cast members significantly add to the experience. Rather then existing in pockets of action, each battle is build towards then celebrated in huge fashion, drawing in screens of foes and enemies armed with plasma cannons and ninety-foot long katana. Because more time is spent establishing the cast of seven, itís easy to establish links with them, making you want to pull for their survival even if film goers already know some of them are doomed. Some things in Samurai 7 are almost predictably faithful to the film, leaving plot elements pre-known to the learned viewer.
But enough has been expanded upon to leave even they with enough surprises and twists to driver them on. Samurai 7 is a homage before itís anything else, and a lot of care and attention has gone into making sure it exists in the same calibre of the film it honours. You can argue all day whether or not it exists on a such a lofty plain, but it makes it no less enjoyable. Homageís of this ilk often flounder, unable to live up to the aspiration, or indeed the nostalgia, that what it attempts to ape. Samurai 7ís brave choice to expand and alter breath new life and freshness into the premises.