September 10, 2009

Samurai 7 #9: The Bandits

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

(1954 film)

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The central action of the series gets a bit of an early start as the bandits, having learned about the hiring of the samurai, ambush our heroes as they near the farming village. I love the idea behind these baddies, that they were once noble samurai who grew addicted to their power over cowering peasants, as well as an endless steroidal desire to cybernetically make themselves bigger and better and stronger until all that's left are these gigantic mechanized monoliths armed with swords five storeys long.

And, yet, our human heroes are still able to cut them down with ease. My one problem is that it's never explained exactly why samurai are capable of such superhuman feats. Is there a difference in gravity in this world? Is genetic engineering involved? Merely a statement on human evolution amongst the cosmos? It's great to see them hack battle ships in two and the use of their abilities is consistent, but I still wish they'd slip in some form of explanation as to why such things are possible.

Anyway, we get guns! Anybody familiar with the original film knows that firearms play a very important part when it comes to the seven samurai, their strategy, and their partial loss. Now, here, they do try to slip in a bit of a explanation as to why such devices aren't more common place in this steam punk society, but I don't think the answer that no samurai would dishonor himself by carrying a gun is enough. You just know the bandits have already crossed that ethical line and their mecha bodies would be laden with the things. Hell, they should just drop in a line that the chemicals needed for that particular form of projectile combustion is rare in this pocket of the universe.

So, yeah, we've got two little plot holes, but the series still has plenty of time left to fill them. It's more than made up for with the action of this episode, as well as steely samurai Kyuzo finally picking a side, Kikuchiyo hijinks, Katsuhiro showing off some skills, a farmer explaining why she's been snitching for the bandits, and the Shikima acting as mysterious as ever.

Great stuff.

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2 comments:

Anthony Williams said...

And, yet, our human heroes are still able to cut them down with ease. My one problem is that it's never explained exactly why samurai are capable of such superhuman feats. Is there a difference in gravity in this world? Is genetic engineering involved? Merely a statement on human evolution amongst the cosmos? It's great to see them hack battle ships in two and the use of their abilities is consistent, but I still wish they'd slip in some form of explanation as to why such things are possible.

It sounds like they're just using the otherworldly setting to exaggerate the action.

Now, here, they do try to slip in a bit of a explanation as to why such devices aren't more common place in this steam punk society, but I don't think the answer that no samurai would dishonor himself by carrying a gun is enough. You just know the bandits have already crossed that ethical line and their mecha bodies would be laden with the things.

It sounds a lot like the Jedi who use swords [Albeit laser swords] in a universe that prefers rayguns. By the time "Return of the Jedi" rolled around, Luke didn't carry a gun at all. I always kind of liked that stubborn adherence to tradition.

NoelCT said...

It sounds like they're just using the otherworldly setting to exaggerate the action.

Yeah. And while it hasn't been explained, it is consistent, and not so over the top that it has me scoffing.

It sounds a lot like the Jedi who use swords [Albeit laser swords] in a universe that prefers rayguns. By the time "Return of the Jedi" rolled around, Luke didn't carry a gun at all. I always kind of liked that stubborn adherence to tradition.

That's a very good point. What's interesting about what they've done here is that all of the rare guns are massive. Seriously, there's nothing smaller than a 7' cannon, which seems to support the arguable possibility that the chemicals needed for projectile combustion are either different from those of the real world, or rare. Once again, they are consistent on this.