directed by Toshifumi Takizawa and Yukio Okazaki
written by Atsuhiro Tomioka and Natsuko Takahashi
based on the film SEVEN SAMURAI by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni
With roaming patrols of bandits scouring the lands in search of a large group of samurai, our heroes decide to divide into three groups, two samurai per farmer, and meet up just outside the village. Kikuchiyo is, of course, dismissed to do whatever he wants.
In the first group, Shichiroji does his best to calm Kirara, who openly confronts steely Kyuzo with her fears about his loyalties and his continued desire to cut Kambei down in a duel. While it's definitely a departure from the original, I very much enjoy their fresh take on Kyuzo, not only making him a skilled professional of the highest degree, but making his true goals unstated and ambiguous, allowing others to freely project their own hopes and fears against him.
The second group is led by Kambei, but mostly consists of boisterous Kikuchio and rambunctious Komachi teasing young Katsuhiro for a perceived crush he has on Kirara. It's all in good fun, but there's also some nice reflection from the rookie when Kambei challenges him with the question, "Why do you want to be a samurai?"
And then we get to the third, where Gorobei, Heihachi, and an embarrassed Rikichi get through some bandit patrols by disguising themselves as a travelling trio of drag queen performers. As I'm sure you can guess, hilarity ensues.
It's a good episode, acting as a nice final breath-catcher before everyone arrives at their shared destination and begins work. There's some action, some laughs, some moments of introspection, but by breaking everyone up into subgroups, we finally get a solid sense of how everyone has established their role in the broader team, and the dynamics that develop as a result.
(anime news network)
(internet movie database)