STORY: Samurai 7 tells the story of a village named Kanna. Every year during the harvest a group of bandits come and steal away almost all of the rice that had been harvested that year. Not only that, the bandits are becoming more demanding, now taking women and children in addition to rice.
The elder of Kanna Village has decided that to protect the village they must hire samurai to fight against the bandits. However, the village has no money and thus must find samurai willing to protect the village for a payment of rice. Three members of the village leave to attempt to recruit samurai. They travel to the city and search for samurai willing to work, and after finding several samurai and having a few encounters with the local government they return to Kanna village to prepare defenses against the bandits.
WARNING SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!!!
The samurai train the villagers in the use of bows, building walls, and construct a giant ballista to defend the village against the bandits. After successfully defeating the bandits, the samurai then launch an attack upon the capital to defeat a power-hungry ruler who has recently risen to power as Emperor. After heavy casualties for the samurai, and the near-destruction of Kanna village, the capital is finally defeated.
ANIMATION: The animation in this anime is superb...SOMETIMES. The creator blended the CGI really well....but it did kind of fall off in the middle.
SOUND: The voice acting is extremely well done....both in the dub and the original Japanese. The music is perfect for this genre.
CHARACTERS: The Characters in this anime are awesome.
Kambei is a wise samurai who has survived many battles, though he feels no joy from them. Many of his friends have died in those battles. He constantly lives in the shadow of his painful and violent past, rejecting Kirara after stating that his heart is dried up. He leads the group during their battles and usually plans strategy.
katshiro is a young and inexperienced samurai who wishes to be Kambei's student, calling him sensei almost from their first meeting. He idolizes the principles of bushido. He promises to protect Kirara no matter what, and seems to be attracted to her. He grows stronger and more skillful throughout the series, eventually becoming a worthy student of Kambei; and he also comes to terms with killing enemies, after reacting in shock the first time.
Gorobei is a skilled samurai who has made his living since the wars' end by entertaining people on the city streets. He is also a veteran of the Great War, so he knows Kambei by reputation. He is very skilled at dodging blows and can pluck arrows and darts from the air. He often makes light of rather serious or dangerous situations. He is also quite smart, in his own unique way. He is the first to be killed. To him, all the world was a stage and the people, merely players. He will be well remembered after his curtain call.
Shiroji in the Great War with Kambei, and is often referred to as "Kambei's old wife." ("Mate" in the English series) He temporarily leaves behind his successful post-war business at the Firefly Inn, and with it, his beautiful girlfriend/fiance, to join Kambei in battle once again. He has a prosthetic left hand which has a grappling hook capability with his index finger. His girlfriend, Yukino, has nicknamed him Momotaro, from the traditional Japanese tale, because she found him, badly injured after a battle, floating down a river inside a capsule reminiscent of a peach.
Kikuchiyo is a cyborg with a mechanized exoskeleton. He is originally a peasant until becoming a samurai to help others. He is often looked upon as a clown or a bother, as he gets angry easily and often causes trouble with his loud noise and clumsy ways. He is accepted as the seventh samurai after revealing he was also a farmer, like the peasants of Kanna. He carries the largest of the swords, which also acts as a chainsaw. He is fiercely loyal to Kambei, and, when given recognition, he returns favors fourfold. He is well liked by the villagers, especially by little Komachi, who asks him to become her husband when she grows up, a request that he accepts in return for her keeping his fake family tree. He is the last to be killed, he died protecting Kanna from the crashing capital.
Hayashida Heihachi is a genial samurai who wishes to avoid fighting as much as possible and prefers to eat rice instead. During the Great War, he took a position as a combat engineer, which kept him off the front lines but also used his mechanical skills. He is discovered chopping wood in exchange for food or devices that interest him. He is most helpful within the group as their mechanic, and orchestrates the construction of medieval-type weapons. However, he harbors a deep hatred for traitors as he was one himself, which resulted in his whole unit being killed. He is crushed by a huge iron bar. Before dying, he shouts out: "I'll be in the rice" or "Find me in the rice". Within the series, he talks about the old tradition of the "seven rice kami" inside every grain of rice.
Kyuzo is originally a nearly silent, mysterious bodyguard for Ayamaro. In that role, he fights with Kambei, and he later joins the group with the stated intent of saving Kambei's life so that he can later fight Kambei to the death. Kyuzo is an incredibly skilled fighter, wielding double blades that fit into one sheath on his back. He's accidentally killed by Katsushiro when Katsushiro used a gun to protect Kambei because his sword was broken.
Kirara is a mikumari (water maiden, a village priestess) of Kanna. She decides to go to help find the samurai to bring back to her village, and she admits that she also wanted to see something of the outside world. She possesses a dowsing crystal on a necklace which allows her to detect the flow of groundwater and to read others' hearts. She falls in love with Kambei, though he rejects her.
Komachi is Kirara's little sister, who follows along with her and Rikichi to see the city as well as help locate the samurai. She likes the boisterous Kikuchiyo and asks him to marry her when she grows up. After the death of Kikuchiyo, Komachi is seen with her sister's dowsing necklace hinting that she inherited her position as the Mikumari of her village.
Rikichi is a peasant of Kanna, who travels with Kirara to locate the samurai. He can be often rash because of his hatred for the bandits. He blames himself for the loss of his wife, Sanae, who has given herself up to the bandits to save the village. Kambei promises to rescue Sanae, and Rikichi is eventually reunited with her.
OVERALL: Samurai 7 is a truely great series. I highly recomend it to any anime fan.