April 25, 2008

  Wakariaeru koto mo wkachiau koto mo,
  Utakata no you ni,
  Toki no suna ni magire tsukami kirenai to,
  Akirameteta anata ni au made wa
What partly makes a good series is also a good opening theme. It gets viewers into the mood or gives them a feel of what the series is gonna be like. At least that was what I felt. This pop rock song, Unlimited, is no exception and is the opening theme for the anime series Samurai 7. There is a good mix of strings in addition to the usual electric guitar and other musical instruments you’d expect to hear in a rock song. How I wish many other animes were like this too. Good music good show. It compels viewers to stay and watch. Well of course unless the series doesn’t suit you.
  Dore kurai itami wo hitori de kakaete kite ta no,
  Dore kurai sabishi sa hitomi ni kakushite hohoenda no
Very unfortunate for me, this song has no karaoke or even an instrumental version. So I have to do a duet with the singer, Nanase Aikawa, each time I want to sing this song. Why oh why don’t they have it. After searching high and low (probably in a state of denial too), I was hoping to find a karaoke version but my efforts were futile. Even the soundtrack of the series seems easier to find. That’s because there’s no karaoke version lah! Of course cannot find lah.
  Deai wa mahou no you ni isshun de,
  Mune no itami wo kiete shimau,
  Kore wo unmei to yobanai to sureba,
  Ima dore wo unmei to yobu no
If I ever had a karaoke version (for the umpteenth time, there isn’t one), this song would be a breeze for me. I mean, I could say that the song is easy on my vocal chords as there are no high pitch or long sustaining notes. Besides, at times I felt like I sound like the singer herself especially the verses (yeah right). I mean, the singer sounds a little monotonous (sorry if I offended her) and she sings the song in a ‘dragging’ way. Erm… I don’t really know how to describe this part, so it’s best to listen to the song if you want to know what I mean.
  Deai no kiseki wo dakishimete,
  Mitsumeattara tsuyoku nareru,
  Kore wo ai to yobanai tosuru nara,
  Ima dore wo ai to yobu no
As for the tv series opening theme animation, I kinda notice that there are 2 versions. One is the original Japanese release and the other is a Hong Kong release version. The song is still the same though, but somehow I still prefer the Japanese one. Maybe it’s because I’m more used to it as I watched the series with that opening version. I’m still wondering why the song is entitled so. Is it because of the lyrics which seemingly indicates of the singer’s endless pain and lonliness and eternal wait for some love? Maybe. And somebody or anybody, please I need a karaoke version of this song!!! Yeah, the wait seems like forever.
Samurai 7

Samurai 7

December 2, 2006

Somehow, I seemed to be glued to the tv screen whenever I watch those action scenes of Samurai 7. Yup, I’m so totally engrossed in it that I become lost in time and time seems to rather fly by quickly during those moments. Yup, it’s been quite a while since I’ve watched an anime like that. Though, there some slow parts, but generally this series manage to retain that interest and excitement in me till the very end.
Based on the 1954 classic movie by Akira Kurosawa, The Seven Samurai, this action-adventure anime of course has been adapted and modified to fit as a 26 episode series. Though, I have not watch the movie before, but I’m sure there’s a little deviation or modification to the original plot. I mean, how can one stretch a 2 hour movie into 13 hours worth of air time.
Which leads me to 2 points which made the anime different from the movie in a way. Firstly, the series is set in some post-apocalyptic and feudal kind of atmosphere. Uh-huh, there’s a mix and blend of the past and future here from infrastructures to technology. Yup, there’re futuristic robots and mechas here and there in addition to your typical feudal samurais. So it’s kinda weird at first, but then you’ll get used to this uniqueness.
Secondly, the art and animation. One thing I’d noticed is that besides the samurai heroes and a few of the peasants, the rest of the other characters drawn in the series are somewhat ‘simple and ugly’. Like as though, there isn’t enough attention to detail given to them. And there’re those with weird facial structures like their head seems a little to big and their teeth sticking out too big for their mouths. Weird looking wierdos. Maybe that’s the aftermath for the so called survivors of the post-apocalypse era. Yeah, which means the only good looking characters are those mentioned above.
Plus, the dressing of the characters in the series are somewhat of a ‘fashion disaster’. Not only their clothing desings are weird but even their facial make-up are horrible! Is this what it’s supposed to be the fashion of the future, especially the elites. More like fashion freaks, I’d say. Men and women from upper class with too much make-up and are overly dressed. Probably it’s the trend in such an era.
Furthermore, since the series mixes 2D animation with 3D computer graphics, each episode costs a whooping 32.5 million Yen to make! That’s really really really expensive for just an episode, just like how Beast Wars were made in the USA. I wonder if the costs can be covered? But nevertheless, I guess it’s partly also that the 3D computer graphics that they blend in during the action sequence attracted me as well.
Moving on, the plot is something like this. As usual, in a time where the governing emperor rules with an iron fist, the common people living under its rule would of course be oppressed and living in fear. One of such village is a small rice planting community, Kanna village, who has to face the Nobuseris (bandits) every harvest season. Yup, they return everytime to seize the crops after all their hard work and efforts. Reminds you like the case in Disney’s A Bug’s Life.
But recently, the Nobuseris have become much bolder. Not only taking their crops but women and children from their village to the Capital (which is actually a very huge gigantic floating palace) as well. Fed-up with this year-in year-out problem, the village elder and head decides to put a stop to this once and for all. But how is he gonna do it? Yes, he’s gonna hire samurais to help defend and protect the village from the Nobuseris. Unfortunately, because they’re poor farmers and peasants, they don’t have enough money to do so. So how are they gonna pay the samurais as a reward? With rice, of course. Yup, as the village head said, hire samurais that are hungry for rice.
Thus, as seen in the first episode, he sends off 3 of his people to hire samurais for their cause. They are Rikichi, whose wife, Sanae has been taken away by the Nobuseris, and the reason why he’s so eager to go on this trip, the water priestess Kirara, who posseses some special water pendant which detects the flow of water and also able to sense samurais with ‘battlefield scent’ by glowing (huh?!), and Kirara’s genki and innocent little sister, Komachi, who just wants to tag along.
By the way, if you’re wondering why the Nobuseris are so mechanized like Gundam or Vandread or any other mecha robots, it’s because of something like those ronins (masterless samurais) traded and converted their bodies into huge and gigantic robots during the previous war. And since that large scale war between human samurais and Nobuseris ended with an ‘uneasy peace’ with the former lost and retreated, the Nobuseris now serve as ‘robbers’ to the current ruling emperor. Sad. Hey, there’s one type of robot which looked like an oversized dustbin. Haha.
Anyway, back to the story. When the 3 peasants arrived at the main city, it wasn’t smooth sailing for them. They had lots of trouble hiring the samurais they much needed. They had to beg and offer their rice to any passing samurai in hopes of getting them hired. But it seems their efforts were all in vain at first. The worse part is, after that ‘potential’ samurai had had their fill of rice, they just simply shrugged their offer off and walked away. So bloody rude!!! They even had the cheek to comment and say that nobody would take up such and offer or it’s too dangerous and risky and things like that. I wish I could just smack them on their head. Pity those peasants lah.
Well, at least if they tried a thousand times, then there would at least be 1 who would take up their offer. I wouldn’t say he’s the first samurai to be hired and the peasants didn’t exactly hire him at first, due to his lack of ‘battlefield scent’. Yup, he’s Katsushiro Okamoto, an inexperienced green horn who’s never been in any battle before and probably thinks that this will be his chance to do so. Even if Kirara advice the rest not to take him, but Katsushiro sticked around to help them with their cause (I think it’s probably he likes Kirara too). At least he’s got that noble samurai code thingy which he firmly believes in.
The peasants think they’d found what they’re looking for when Kirara’s pendant glow while a samurai named, Kanbei Shimada passes them. And to make things certain for them, they witnessed how he manage to stop some hostage drama and rescue them with his wit. Yeah, and there’s that giant size brute half robot half human samurai, Kikuchiyo, who’s also trying to help stop the hostage drama, but inadvertently became Kanbei’s ‘tool’ in stopping it.
However, Kanbei declined their offer when the peasants told him about their circumstances. As for Kikuchiyo, he decided to join in. But the peasants are still adamant of wanting to hire Kanbei. However, at the same time, during the peasants’ expedition in the city, Ukyo, the son and heir of some rich merchant, notices Kirara and is taken in by her beauty. Unfortunately, as mentioned by his bodyguard, Tessai, he’s unable to get her phone number (just kidding) as he has to attend some meeting with his dad, Ayamaro.
So by episode 2, Ukyo devises a plan to kidnap Kirara. And that’s what happened. I guess this guy loves harem too. And he’s thinking of making Kirara part of his harem. Fortunately enough, Katsushiro and Kikuchiyo tries to rescue her, though they had a hard time trying to get passed Ukyo’s very skilled bodyguards. Actually, Katsushiro seems weak and that Kikuchiyo is just using his brawns rather than his brains.
Eventually, Kirara manage to escape by herself, and in a desparate attempt, she jumps off the high building. Well, actually she saw Kanbei from a far and she took a gamble that he would save her. Yup, he did. And it’s a free fall! Wow! I didn’t know that a samurai’s sword can be used as a braking mechanism. At that height and speed they’re falling, the sword is still pretty much intact. I guess that’s how ‘terror’ a samurai sword is. Not only that, later as the show progress, you’ll find that a samurai’s sword is even more ‘terror’ than it looks. Yup, it can slice through anything and even thick solid metal much better than hot knife through butter. They make it so easy and unbeliveable. Plus, the samurai sword can also reflect any laser or beams, big or small, powerful or weak, way better than any mirror! Really wow! I’ve got to get myself a samurai sword.
Anyway, after Kanbei saved Kirara, they along with the others manage to regroup at some secluded spot and the peasants again begged for him to join them. Well, I guess Kanbei has no choice but to give in eventually, much to the peasant’s joy. Yay! The first samurai hired. But the wise and mature Kanbei said that he would need a total of 7 samurais for this. Why 7? Besides the title, I can’t think of any other reasons. Including himself, that means he needs 6 more. And nope, Katsushiro and Kikuchiyo don’t count according to Kanbei as the former’s too inexperienced and the latter is just ‘dumb and in-the-way’, much to Kikuchiyo’s annoyance. But that doesn’t deter the 2 from helping the peasants. In addition, Katsushiro is amazed by Kanbei’s amazing skills and wants him to be his teacher and learn great things from him.
By episode 3, the gang heads out to recruit more samurais. To save time, the 2nd samurai hired is Gorobei Katayama, an ex-samurai who’s living a life as an entertainer. A light-hearted fellow, he’s quite a skilled person and has the ability to dodge arrows. Cool. Unfortunately, Ayamaro sends a couple of assassins to get rid of them. And with some cool action and moves, the assassins were easily despatched off.
In episode 4, Ayamaro sends 2 of his bodyguards, Kyuzo and Hyougo to take care of things. Yup, and it’s here where Kanbei and serious-looking and taciturn Kyuzo had their duel. Kanbei saw that Kyuzo posses amazing samurai skills and offered him to join the group. Unfortunately, Kyuzo declined and saying that he wasn’t interested. Their duel ended when Kikuchiyo clumsily interrupted them. And since both of them had grazed each other’s neck a little, I guess you could call it a draw.
By the way, among the 7 samurais, Kyuzo is my personal favourite. Yeah, I like the way he uses his double wielding sword. The way he unsheaths them, the way he holds them, the way he slice and dice with them. Ooohh… Go Kyuzo! And that crimson red coat dressing makes his appearance even more appealing and good looking! No I’m not falling in love with him as a gay!!! I just simply admire him, that’s all.
The third samurai is hired by episode 5. He’s the mechanical genious, Heihachi Hayashida, who loves eating rice more than anything else. The gang found him while he’s chopping some fire woods for a tea shop. And Heihachi proves his ingenuity to the gang when Hyougou launches an assault on them.
And by episode 6, the gang have to flee from the city as the representative for the emperor has been found assassinated and the samurais are being framed for it. Well, they made it looked like a samurai did it, since a samurai sword was left there. And so a bounty is attached on their heads as the samurais along with the peasants try and flee from the city and head for Kanna village. I didn’t get this part where by the end of the episode as Kikuchiyo didn’t manage to hop off some train as it crashed. Luckily the others manage to do so but for a moment there I thought he died. But he couldn’t because he’s part robot, right? Plus, he’s part of the seven samurai, right? Just not yet officially. Then by the beginning of the next episode, we still see him running away from the imperial army here and there as the rest of the gang had gone ahead without him. Hey, I thought Komachi stopped Kanbei, didn’t she?
The fourth samurai, Shichiroji, who’s Kanbei’s old friend and comrade decides to leave his retired and relaxing life and join Kanbei in his quest in episode 7. Yeah, Kikuchiyo manage to reunite with the them. The gang had a little rest and replenishment at his inn co-managed by Shichiroji’s love interest, Yukino. Unfortunately all that is cut short when Ukyo’s men are hot on their tails and closing in. But they manage to lose them by using some underground passage waterway, not before Katsushiro getting injured in the process. So in episode 8, the gang discovers another rice planting village underground, who’s also under the same circumstances as Kanna village. Here, they befriended a young girl, Honoka, who mentioned too that her younger sister, Mizuki, has being taken away to the Capital. Here also, the samurais decided to watch only as the Nobuseris go about their usual business, much to Rikichi’s anger. Luckily Gorobei manage to put some sense into him by trying not to act so rash.
As Katsushiro’s condition improves, Kanbei appoints him as the fifth samurai for his bravery, much to his joy. But at the same time, Kikuchiyo decides to go do things his way as he sneaked out of the underground lair only to be captured by Kyuzo and Hyougo, who’re waiting for him just right outside the cave mouth. Aww, too bad. Thus, in episode 9, no doubt how annoying is Kikuchiyo to Kanbei, he’s still part of the group as he devises a plan to save him, only to be faced with an ambush laid by the Nobuseris. Don’t worry, Kikuchiyo’s still alive as the Nobuseri boss thought that he might be useful to capture the samurais when the time comes. And Heihachi found out that Honoka may have ratted them out. As he doesn’t like traitors (because he was one too during the war) he wasn’t going to go easy on Honoka, but Kanbei manage to stop him with words like "It isn’t a job of a samurai to punish…" Wow. Meaningful words. And besides saving Kanna village, Kanbei now has promised and vowed to save Sanae and Mizuka from the Capital. That’s a lot of things to do.
More action packed feats and amazing samurai skill as the samurai battle the Nobuseris. And then there’s this match between Kanbei and Hyougo. The latter now traded his sword with some oversized gun. Of course, even if it’s a match between a gun and a sword, who do you think has the upper edge? No matter how skilled Kanbei is, he’s being injured by Hyougo’s gun. But the turning point is that Kyuzo turned against his own comrade and killed him! Why? Remember that duel he had earlier on with Kanbei? Yeah, because it wasn’t finished, Kyuzo’s got that mindset that he’s the only one that is allowed to kill him. Uh-huh… And with that, Kyuzo becomes the sixth samurai. Though, he’s only joining the gang to protect Kanbei from being killed so that he could kill him himself. Uh-huh…
A light-hearted episode 10 sees how the gang divide themselves into 3 groups and take different routes to reach Kanna village. With Kanbei, Katsushiro, Kikuchiyo and Komachi in one group, Gorobei, Heihachi and Rikichi in another, while Shichiroji, Kyuzo and Kirara making up the final one. Well, it was a odd thing for Kanbei to pair Kirara and Kyuzo together since the former dislikes the other. By this point too, I think Komachi is getting very fond of Kikuchiyo. Yeah, if you notice the things building up between the 2 up to now. Always together (well, most of the time), she worrying about him, things like that.
Gorobei’s group manage to avoid any untoward incidents as they disguise themselves as women performers. Yeah, weird. It wasn’t so for Shichiroji’s group as they had to traverse mountains and face a group of robot assassins. Well, at least Kirara’s uneasiness towards Kyuzo eased a little when he saved her from an impending laser, but he got slightly injured by it. In the end, all 3 groups manage to arrive at Kanna village safely. And what’s this? Kirara attending to Kyuzo’s wound. Nothing wrong actually but Katsushiro who’s watching from afar seems to be misinterpreting the situation. Jealous jealous.
Episode 11 and 12, well, isn’t anything much. Just the samurais preparing and training the villagers for what’s to come. Plus, they helped them setup some weapons and defences using the abundance of good plain ol’ wood. Also a traitor among the villagers is gonna ruin it all but luckily his identity is discovered. At least the samurais know what they’re gonna be up against. Plus, Kikuchiyo has finally been acknowledged as the seventh samurai after the rest finds out that he’s actually an ex-peasant and came from a family of one. That was the reason why he wanted to help in the first place. I guess there’s something good (besides his strength) about him eventhough he’s like the clown of the bunch, gets angry and annoyed easily.
So it’s action-packed episodes 13-16 as the samurais along with the Kanna villagers battle the onslaught of the Nobuseris. They manage to stave off the first wave of the attacking Nobuseris. I notice that during the fight, when the peasants manage to bring down 1 of the Nobuseris, they get all excited and happy, like they’ve won the war. Then when the other Nobuseris land another blow, they lost all their confidence and become scared again. I guess they’re quite naive. But you can’t blame them. They’re farmers, not soldiers. Plus, Katsushiro becomes like a wild killing machine gone out of control. Must be his first kill, huh? And when it’s over, he’s got a hard time calming down with those deep breathes.
However the Nobuseris aren’t just gonna let go of this and will be back for revenge. So Kanbei devise a plan to bring down the mothership (looks like an alien fortress) by feigning defeat. Meaning the villagers pretended that they had turned against the samurais and hold a few as prisoners while the rest ‘escapes’. Actually, they’re more like hiding in the rice sacks being offered to the Nobuseris. Unfortunately, the Nobuseri believing in them was just a lie as they took Kirara (she offered herself in exchange for the village not to be attacked) and will destroy the village anyway. Yup, Kirara’s a been taken as a hostage again. Only this time, she’ll helplessly watch her village being burned to the ground. Fortunately, our samurai heroes manage to show up in good timing, whoop the Nobuseris’ asses, save Kirara, escape from the mothership before it comes crashing down in the gorge.
But that isn’t the end of it yet. The Nobuseris are planning their ultimate final attack after that incident. And my heart sank in episode 16. Why? Because it’s gonna be Gorobei’s last stand. NOOOO!!! I knew there’d be samurai casualties by the end of the series, but one already so early (actually more like 2/3 already) in the series. It was so sad to see Gorobei dying at the end as he tried to dodge the Nobuseri boss’ blasts, but it was too powerful. :,(. And by the end of that episode, Kanbei then decided to go alone to the Capital to settle things as the others stayed back at the village to continue protecting them in case of any future Nobuseri attacks. And with 6 samurais left, episode 17 is more like a recap, reminiscing things that have happened so far. But a stubborn Katsushiro and Kikuchiyo, along with Kirara and Komachi, decides to go after Kanbei and help him eventhough they’re told not to.
In episode 18, Kanbei claims that he was the one who killed the emperor’s representative and thus he’s taken prisoner. Yup, actually this is part of his plan to rescue those women and children taken by the Capital. And episode 19 is a non-samurai episode. What do I mean? This episode is more like the current emperor, Amanushi (finally he made his appearance), who looked like some experimental subject in some test tube thingy with lots of wires (his life support system actually), summoning Ukyo and ‘interrogating’ and bombarding him with questions to see if he’s well-worthy of being his successor. Yeah, we find out that Ukyo is one of the many ‘seeds planted’ by Amanushi here and there for this purpose. And Ayamaro is just like his stepdad taking care of things until the time is right. And if Ukyo fails in this ‘test’ he’ll be executed just like the previous 40-over successors who previously went through this and failed. Also, we get to see Sanae, who’s now pregnant with Amanushi’s child (yup, she’s the queen now and she’s actually used to it, though I don’t see her happy expression), and Mizuka who’s one of Sanae’s servants and at times serving Kanbei who’s in prison.
Of course, this time Ukyo manages to impress Amanushi with all the right and interesting answers which lasted for several days. Can’t believe everyone else just waited outside the chamber and just wondering if Ukyo passed or not. Don’t they get tired or hungry? But another shocking thing is that, once the ‘test’ is done, Ukyo kills Amanushi by unplugging his life support! So easy. Then he proceeds to install himself as the new Amanushi and make it as though the previous one had willingly passed the crown to him. How cunning. Of course, with everyone in shock at first, especially Sanae, they eventually had no choice but to follow the new one. So for convenience and simplicity, let’s just refer to the new emperor as Ukyo instead of Amanushi.
As part of his new policy to improve the welfare of his people, one of them includes giving them free sacks of rice and employing other samurais to follow Kanna village’s example of defending themselves against the Nobuseris. Actually he’s trying to eliminate the Nobuseris that way, playing them out at the same time by asking them to raid those villages. And in turn, this will make the villagers grateful and give the Capital free rice. Uh-huh, quite scheming, isn’t he? Yeah, his trying to change things and make it as though the previous Amanushi is the one who caused all the problems and Ukyo will be the one who will lift the people out of their misery. Plus, he’s gonna behead Kanbei in public in episode 20. News reached Katsushiro and Kikuchiyo about Kanbei’s situation and they have to hurry in order to save him.
Well, Kanbei actually manage to free himself with some slick move (using some hair pin he secretly obtained from Mizuka earlier on) before the other 2 (they arrived too late and probably just in time) at the start of episode 21. In a new twist of events, Ukyo quickly announced that he has pardoned the samurai and would release all the women and children once taken. Hmm… Do you smell something fishy here? I bet this is just a ploy or something just to catch Kanbei and the rest off guard. But Ukyo seems to stick to his words. Also, Ukyo doesn’t need Ayamaro anymore and he’s deemed useless. So there’re attempts to get rid of him, but Ayamaro’s lucky as he’s beng inadvertently saved by Kyuzo. Yup, Kyuzo also tried to follow Kanbei but from my point of view his trip seems futile. Yeah, Kanbei along with Kikuchiyo, Kirara, Komachi, Sanae and Mizuki had already left. But Kyuzo’s still tailing him.
Katsushiro leaves the group in episode 22. Why? Because he was being reprimanded by Kanbei for what he did. Plus, Kanbei had a different way of approaching this problem, much different than Katsushiro’s. Thus, causing the latter to lose faith in him and he begins his journey alone to Kanna village. Kanbei is reunited with Shichiroji, Heihachi and Rikichi when the latter group meets them at Yukino’s place. Hey, even Ayamaro’s there. But he looks powerless now. Meanwhile Rikichi tries to persuade a reluctant Sanae to come back to him. Yeah, she’s still in a dilemma and thinking about Amanushi. Plus, what do expect if the baby she’s carrying is aborted. Oh well, the pain of a woman. Fortunately, an understanding Rikichi doesn’t care what has happened and just wants to start anew with her. While the remaining 5 samurais plan what to do next, Ukyo and the Capital (flanked by thousands of Nobuseris) are going to take out Kanna village as revenge.
In episode 23, the samurais along with the peasants left the inn (I guess Ayamaro didn’t want to tag along either, he just stayed back at the inn) and on their way, they pass the underground lair and returned Mizuka to her sister. Honoka’s very grateful, but the story for them ends there. That’s because it’s gonna be action time. Well, at least we have to wait for 1 more episode because episode 24 is just about Katsushiro (who now looked like he’s lost some of his emotions) in charge of organizing the villagers in preparing them against the impending assault from the Capital while Kanbei and the other samurais, with Heihachi’s mechanical ingenuity, turned some fallen Nobuseri scrap they found in the desert into some high speed vehicle to quicken their journey while the peasants took some slow ride there.
Also, we learn that Kirara’s got some kind of a crush on Kanbei and wants to ‘tell it with her body’. Uh oh. Not very holy and pure for a water priestess. But Kanbei manage to stop her confessing by saying something like his heart is rotten and things like that. Well yeah, men and commitment. Plus, Komachi even requests for Kikuchiyo to be her future husband when she’s all grown up, much to Kikuchiyo’s joy. Ah… such innocent love. And the true murderer of the emperor’s representive is revealed and is no other than one of Ukyo’s skilled bodyguard as part of Ukyo’s initial grand plan. But Katsushiro, who’s skilled has now vastly improved, manage to slice and kill him.
The 5 samurais arrive just in time to face Ukyo and his Nobuseris in episode 25. And Ukyo’s anticipating some secret trick move from Kanbei because he’s just charging straight at the Capital. Unfortunately, Kanbei has got no plan at all and that’s what he’s precisely gonna do, much to Ukyo’s annoyance. Yeah, a lot of slashing action here and there. While Kanbei, Shichiroji, Kikuchiyo and Kyuzo take the Nobuseris head on, Heihachi went back to Kanna village first to oversee things. Luckily Heihachi’s there or else Katsushiro’s dead meat. Yup, he got there just in time to save Katsushiro. So the 2 work on trying to blow up the Capital’s engines as they head there. Also, Ukyo’s making his escape.
Here’s another sad part. While Heihachi’s planting explosives on the engines, he was shot and injured by one of the Nobuseris. Yeah, Katsushiro’s got his hands full trying to keep things at bay. But I guess the onslaught’s too much. And before Heihachi puffs his last breath, he manages to detonate the bombs, disengaging the engines. Noooo… Heihachi went down with the engine, as a shocked and helpless Katsushiro looked on. At least the Capitol won’t be heading at full speed towards Kanna village. But will it stopped in time or else it will crash into it.
Meanwhile the other samurais have infiltrated the Capital and are now searching for Ukyo. Well, they manage to find him. Lots of him, that is. Are they clones? Luckily, Kikuchiyo’s sharp sense of smell manage to save these ‘fake’ Ukyos. That’s because they smell of mud instead of perfume. And under Ukyo’s orders they’ve been ordered to dress so in order to buy time for the real Ukyo to make his escape and confuse the samurais. But those ‘fake’ Ukyo’s lives were short lived as they’re being slashed by Tessai. Yeah, he’s having a showdown with Kanbei. But Kanbei’s in a bind as he’s got Shiciroji by the neck. Then suddenly, Kyuzo appears from underneath (yeah, he broke through the floor with some Nobuseri scrap) and in a jiffy, sliced and killed Tessai. I guess Kyuzo’s really serious about him being the only one to kill Kanbei.
As more of those imperial guards descend to attack the samurais, Kanbei is reunited with a raging Katsushiro. Looks like the latter’s gone crazy, killing the enemy in cold blooded style. As one of the guards was gonna shoot Kanbei, Katsushiro who saw it, took up a fallen guards gun and shot him several rounds. The good news is that he hit the guard and Kanbei’s life is saved. The bad news is, the bullets went through the guard and hit Kyuzo!!! NOOOOOOO!!!! My favourite character is gonna die!!! How can this be?! NOOOO!!! Well, important anime lesson learned. Never get too attached to a character or else you’ll get disappointed when such things happened. NOOOOO!!!! I still can’t believe it. *Sobbing*
Too bad for Katsushiro, he had to witness another shocking thing, this time he had a hand in it. Before Kyuzo loses it, he reminds Kanbei of their promise. And Kanbei promised that he’ll be waiting at the gates of Hell when the time comes. The remaning samurais also learn of Heihachi’s demise from Katsushiro but Kanbei’s glad that he’s back with them now. The episode ends with Kanbei saying who among the 4 of them will be the first to behead Ukyo. It doesn’t matter who, because Kyuzo’s gone… Nooo!!! *Sobbing*Sobbing*
The thrilling final episode sees how Ukyo who’s trying to make his escape, but the 4 remaining samurais are already waiting for him. Yeah, now we can see the true colours of Ukyo, how a coward he is and how he’s hiding behind that emperor facade all this while. So it’s like this. Everytime when Ukyo’s been cornered, he gets all cowardly, pleading for them to spare his life with some lame excuse. But when there’s a slight opening, he’ll not hesitate to seize it and attack the samurai back. How dastardly! He even used one of his men to block an impending attack. Oh, his servants too are robots. Yeah, he seems to take it upon Kikuchiyo most of time. Hiting him over and over like nobody’s business.
Then there’s one part where Ukyo and Kanbei were faced with each other. When Kanbei manage to dodge Ukyo’s shots and slashed him, I thought he was dead gone for sure. But then, somehow he can still manage to stand up and took up a nearby gun and is getting ready to shoot an unsuspecting Kanbei from behind. I thought Kanbei had finished the job. Looks like he didn’t. But luckily, Kikuchiyo, who’s just barely functioning spots Ukyo and manages to jump towards him as the 2 then fell out from the crashing Capital towards the ground below.
A Nobuseri manage to catch Ukyo and break his fall but as for Kikuchiyo he crashed straight down. Luckily, Rikichi, Kirara and Komachi in a mobile vehicle passed by and picked up Kikuchiyo. Ukyo who’s still obsessed with Kirara, is still trying to persuade Kirara to come with him. Now he looks like a mad guy. As he’s approaching her, Kikuchiyo manages to punch him out of the vehicle and then pick up his sword and slice that Nobuseri. Kikuchiyo then asked Rikichi to take him in front of the Capital as he’s gonna stop it. Meanwhile on board the Capital as Katsushiro are taking care of the Nobuseris, Kanbei and Shichiroji did their part to stop the Capital by… slashing the structures here and there?! I don’t see what they’re doing is gonna stop the Capital. I still didn’t understand. Maybe it’s to slow it down or to make it turn in a direction away from Kanna village.
At the same time, Kikuchiyo manage to arrive in front of the incoming Capital (now on fire and full of explosions with uncontrollable laser beams shooting in all directions), takes up a large piece of fallen Nobuseri scrap and uses it as some barrier to stop the Capital as it is being sliced into half. The heat’s so immensed that even Kikuchiyo’s burning up. But that doesn’t deter him. I wonder if that’s gonna work, trying to stop the Capital like that. As the Capital nears the cliff, Kanbei and the rest gets off. And since the Capital is heading Ukyo’s way, he’s in some sort of a panic trying to run away from it. Why do people always run in the same direction of something unstoppable and rampaging? Can’t they just run to the side? Ah well, I guess if you’re in a state of panic, you can’t think well. Anyway, Ukyo fell down the cliff to his death first, followed by the Capital. And that guy’s still thinking about Kirara. I guess he’s losing it. Yeah, his life too. And probably to add to some comical effect, they should have shown how the Capital fell and crush on him, like in those American cartoons. Hahaha.
Oh, it was a very disheartening scene to see Komachi in tears. Why? That’s because her beloved Kikuchiyo is now reduced to nothing, only his boots remained. Dang. Another samurai down. At least he lived his life and went down with honour. Poor little girl, I guess she’ll have to find another future husband. Just kidding. I meant no offence. And Katsushiro’s still that I-want-to-kill-some-more-Nobuseris and where-are-the-Nobuseris-bring-them-on kinda mode even just after it all ends. Well, at least Kanbei manage to calm him down and tell him that the war is over.
So in the last half of the final episode, we see how the now peaceful Kanna village continuing their rice planting tradition happily and in peace. Rikichi and Sanae are good together with the latter now over what has happened. The remaining 3 samurais pay their respects to their fallen comrades. Katsushiro now a little more wiser, mature and calm telling Kirara that now he has that ‘battlefield scent’ as he goes off on a journey by himself. Looks like he’s ready. Also, it seems that Kirara has passed on her water priestess job and pendant to Komachi. And finally some few words and chat between Kanbei and Shichiroji with the village head like how it’s actually the villagers that won and not them. And then, off the 2 survivors went as their job is done and the village doesn’t need their service anymore. I wonder where those 2 are heading? Maybe back to Yukino’s place? Or perhaps continue to wander and help those in need? Wherever they are, may the wind guide and bless them throughout their journey.
Overall, this is one amazing series and I really liked it. Though I’m not sure if it’s better in comparison compared with the movie, but since I’m more of an anime buff, I’ll most probably say I like the anime one. Of course with new characters and plots and twists thrown in, I’m sure it’s a little different.
I like how the producers design the 7 samurai characters. Each of them has their own distinctive personality and characteristics which made them unique. Even their swords. From huge chainsaw-like ones to spear-like ones in addition to normal samurai swords. Not to mention their clothing design and character physique as well. In my opinion, it’s like providing a colourful variety of eye candy. Especially Kyuzo’s… ;)
I could also say I’m pretty much satisfied with the way the storyline and some of the characters were developed throughout the series. As for the voice acting, I saw the series in 2 languages. Initially, the series was shown on local tv and it was dubbed in malay. However, there’re some episodes that I’ve missed so I had to download from the Internet and rewatched them in original Japanese audio. Of course, I would definitely say the original one would sound much better. But the dubbed one tried to dub the voices of some of the characters closely to the Japanese ones, especially Kikuchiyo’s (but Katsushiro’s one was totally off and different).
As for the soundtrack, there isn’t any tunes which is memorable in the long run. I mean, you have that typical exciting battle mode background music to more solemn ones, but I just didn’t find any of them catchy so much so that it would made me go ‘hey, I must have that soundtrack no matter what’. However, only the opening theme, Unlimited, is quite nice, though.
Don’t worry. The violence and gore isn’t that extreme but there’re such elements that you may want to keep much younger audiences away from it. So if you like animes where they blend in the past and the future, some sci-fi action adventure with some historical settings, then I suppose this anime would be your cup of tea. And oh… Kyuzo… Kyuzo…

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