October 13, 2009

Samurai 7 #11: The Village

2004 episode
directed by Toshifumi Takizawa and Shunsuke Tada
written by Atsuhiro Tomioka and Shuichi Koyama
based on the film SEVEN SAMURAI by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni

(1954 film)


The time has come for the samurai to reach the focal point of all future conflict: the farming village of Kanna. And true to the original film, not everyone there is eager to meet their summoned heroes. One particularly paranoid farmer, Manzo, has managed to rile everybody up with notions that the samurai are only interested in their food stores and blooming daughters, leading the others to hide such precious items away and cower in their homes behind shut doors and windows as the samurai arrive.

Of course, the boisterous Kikuchiyo catches everyone off guard, settling the situation with his blunt humor, and we once again see an amazing mix of old elements collide with the new as the samurai guide the villagers into protecting their town. Archery is taught, spears are made, fortifications are mapped out, old mechanical wrecks are plundered for parts, and men keep looking over their shoulders as the women get excited and fawn over the handsome young swordsman, Katsushiro.

Though his design is a bit too much of a grotesque caricature, I like what they've done with Manzo, not merely portraying him as week and paranoid, but dangerous as he continues to secretly speak against the samurai and even sets out to snitch to the bandits. I'm sure he'll be an interesting thorn in the heroes' sides, already shown as his actions lead the inexperienced Katsushiro to face the possibility of his first kill much earlier than expected.

I'm also intrigued by Manzo's daughter, O-shin. They kept the bit of her father's over-protection, and she says she wants to marry a samurai one day, but she hasn't joined the others in going goggle-eyed over Katsushiro, her love interest in the original film. Instead, his eyes are set on the young spiritual leader Kirara, who, in turn, has taken an interest in the samurai's wise leader, Kambei. It's a nice, tangled web they're weaving and I'm fascinated to see where they go with it.

All in all, yet another fantastic episode.

(series trailer)


(official website)
(anime news network)
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