September 9, 2009

Samurai 7 #6: The Fool

2004 episode
directed by Toshifumi Takizawa and Mitsuo Kusakabe
written by Atsuhiro Tomioka and Hisaya Takabayashi
based on the film SEVEN SAMURAI by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni

(1954 film)


An imperial envoy to the city is found brutally murdered; the only evidence on scene being a bloody sword. Ayamaro, the city's magistrate, thus orders that all samurai must be rounded up until the guilty party can be sifted out. Offered up to the citizens as reward are bales of rice, likely the stolen ones that started this whole thing.

From the moment of his introduction, I've absolutely loved the portrayal of boisterous cyborg Kikuchiyo, the roaring, clumsy brawler so desperate to be thought of as a samurai, and this episode swings a nice arc for him. Deciding these new samurai hunts would be a great way to force some more warriors into their group, he allows himself to be arrested so as to stage a big prison break. Unfortunately, he not only makes off with the type of weak warriors who have been taken advantage of the farmers and their dwindling rice, but he accidentally leads the police to the rest of our heroes.

It's great to see this clunking mechanical man filled with so much life an animation, not to mention the endearing roar of Kong Kuwata, despite lacking anything resembling a face. And as the heroes decide to escape the city through it's massive sewer system, and are forced to work as a team for the first time (though still two members short) during a tense action sequence on a pair of vertical railway cars, it's Kikuchiyo who constantly rises to the occasion ... though his willingness to sacrifice himself may have paid off a bit earlier than he anticipated.

It's yet another great episode in a great series, where the creative team shows they can successfully stray from the source material of Kurosawa's classic film, building original sequences that are strong, deep, and still explore the rich characters and ambiguous class politics the legendary filmmaker was so well known for.

(series trailer)


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

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