November 12, 2009

Samurai 7 #21: The Rescue

2004 episode
directed by Toshifumi Takizawa and Kahoru Igusa
written by Atsuhiro Tomioka
based on the film SEVEN SAMURAI by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni

(1954 film)


Picking up from the exciting cliffhanger of the last episode, Katsushiro and Kikuchiyo are racing through the flying Capital in search of both the kidnapped women and their leader Kambei, all while the wise samurai is picking his locks as an executioner's axe plunges towards his neck before a crowd of spectators. But there's a twist! Right as one would expect a huge action scene to break out and swords to flash in every direction, Ukyo, the new emperor, publicly pardons Kambei, orders the women to be freed, and opens his stores of stolen rice up for the populace to reclaim and enjoy. As I'm sure you can guess, his public facade of benevolence hides a scheming political mind, though I'm not quite sure what his endgame is as of yet.

With the women freed, Sanae, the stolen wife of farmer Rikichi, finds herself in an awkward position. She genuinely fell for the previous Emperor, her captor, and nearly bore him a child, so they go a long way here to establish the conflict and turmoil she'll likely experience when she faces down her estranged husband. Her fate was far from a happy one in the original film, so it'll be interesting to see if they mirror or depart from it here.

My main gripe this episode is aimed right at Kambei. Katsushiro's grown quite a bit over the series, and launched a raid that would likely have succeeded where Kambei appeared to be failing, but does he get any props for it? No! Kambei scowls a lot and shoots him down for no good reason. If there was some reckless impulsiveness there, I didn't see it, so what's the deal?

Aside from that, it's still a great episode as we see our group starting to pull back together, stray plot threads beginning to wind up, and there's that looming tease of the flying Capital making it's way towards Kanna village.

(series trailer)


(official website)
(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

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