Samurai 7 - Reviews

SmugDude's avatar
Nov 1, 2007


Samurai 7 is a great anime adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's classic 1954 film "Seven Samurai". In Gonzo's adaptation the original story of class-based struggle is transplanted into a futuristic world that conveniently resembles feudal Japan. Though in this pseudo-futuristic anime world samurai's can slice through giant mecca, chop bullets in half, and deflect laser blasts with Jedi-esq reflexes. All of which, makes for epic battle sequences where bows and swords square off against laser cannons and mechanized samurai.

Settings aside, however, the story is remarkably true to the Akira Kurosawa masterpiece. With both stories starting when a poor farming village gets tired of being persecuted by a band of dishonored samurai who roam around the countryside extorting rice from farmers. Then in an attempt to free themselves from this vicious cycle of extortion the villagers decided to fight back and send three villagers to the city to hire samurai willing to be their guardians in exchange for meager offerings of rice. Granted like all good stories, Samurai 7 isn't that simple as the villagers find that most samurai are insulted by the offer and quickly refuse. Eventually, however, the villagers manage to recruit seven samurai all of whom enlist for reasons beyond the trivial offerings. All of this sets the stage with ample back story, foreshadowed character development, and a story of class-based struggles that comes together to form an excellent story that's absolutely worth watching.

Also, for true fans of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" I should mention that this story does extend Kurosawa's original tale with a bit of poetic licenses. So I would encourage those fans to actually watch this piece as well because while Samurai 7 is based on Kurosawa's work it is actually a well managed update that does a good job of extending the original story without corrupting the original core points and themes.


Like most Gonzo pieces Samurai 7 gets extremely high marks for production quality. The characters are well drawn and blend nicely into both CGI and hand drawn backgrounds. In addition, there are scenes that are absolutely breath taking and the battle sequences are both well drawn and visually compelling. All in all, very high marks for Gonzo here as the work was very well done.


What really distinguishes Samurai 7's score is the way that Gonzo blends traditional Japanese instruments, modern music, and sound effects together to create a dynamic score that's a symbolic audio bridge between Kurosawa's 1954 classic and this modern adaptation. Probably the best example of this is the closing theme which has a very JPOP sound yet still leverages the traditional Japanese Taiko drums in the background. That said, throughout the series the Koto (a traditional string instrument) and Taiko drums can be heard in perfect harmony with a modern orchestra. All in all, a very complex, but complimentary ensemble that the viewer should really pay attention to as it does a great job of incorporating very traditional Japanese musical elements into a very modern score.


Given the fact that the story was based on a classic that all film buffs have likely seen this was an area where it would have been easy to mess up. However, I have to admit despite the futuristic pseudo-Japan setting the characters, I felt, were actually better explained in this story. As Gonzo dedicated significant amounts of time to telling the back stories of each of the samurai and fully unveiling their individual motives for joining the mission which, in my opinion, was something Kurosawa's original three-hour epic was a little weak on. That said, the characters are still very true to Kurosawa's original molds and fit well into this futuristic world. All in all, the characters and their underlying back story were nicely unfolded in this modern adaptation.


Honestly, this has been one of the most enjoyable pieces that I've watched this year and I really rank it behind only Elfen Lied and put it on par with Basilisk. In addition, I should note that I'm often critical of these pseudo-futuristic world settings as that's often a license for storytellers to re-invent the laws of physics in order to bend it to the whims of a loophole filled plot. Thankfully, that wasn't the case here. In fact, I found myself drawn into the story and readily accepting this world and the new powers the samurai were granted because of the way everything was setup. Regardless though I have to say that Samurai 7 is a real must see for anime fans and anyone who enjoyed Akira Kurosawa's original masterpiece.

Also for those interested in owning the series I really have to say the box set that FUNimation put together after all the DVD's were released is really something worth owning. It comes with seven DVDs and a fold out case that comes packaged with a beautiful box and seven small guidebooks. In truth this was one of the best packaging jobs I've seen for an anime series and would almost recommend it on aesthetic value alone.

8.5/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Sep 19, 2012

- Animated by studio GONZO, which means crap on a CGI stick. These guys are terrible.
- Directed by Takizawa Toshifumi, who is a a bit famous for his work on the original Votoms, but has otherwise produced nothing of interest.
- Based on the homonymous film y Akira Korosawa, and thank goodness he is not around anymore to see what they did with his work.


The first arc is the same as in the movie. Peasants asking for help from non-greedy samurais to protect their village from being looted by bandits. The themes are how honor is a lot more important than money (sparkling rice in the show) and how the peasants are spineless wimps who have to stop asking others to help them and aid in the solution of their problem. Differences include:
- The world is not the feudal Japan but a semi-industrialized, futuristic land. This makes the story a lot catchier as all those flashy machines are a lot more interesting to watching only trees and meadows. Plus, it makes the gap between rich and poor a lot bigger.
-Instead of human bandits, there are huge mecha. This is not a complete difference, as the original story featured a gun, which was a lot more deadly than the samurais’ swords.
-The end of the first story gives space for more story, and the conclusion of the movie is taken to the end of the third arc.

The second arc is about the merchant’s son becoming the emperor’s successor. This arc is low on action and plot and aims to show how the rich are treating the poor and scheme amongst each other. It also shows how the world is rapidly changing and how folklore traditions and honorable samurais give their place to profit-centered machinery and laser-carrying mecha. High on intrigue, low on interest, very boring.

The third arc is the conclusive battle between authority and honor. Very high on action, there is some romance included and the conclusion is almost the same as in the movie.

This series was successful at making me feel the same excitement I had with the original. The unrealistic battles and the middle ark though were overall very weak in atmosphere and drama; they damaged the whole script conciderably.


The setting is depicted in quite the fantastic way. Cloths, buildings and vehicles are detailed, artistic and lushly. 3D models and lightning/shadowing effects create a dreamy world. The CGs of the mecha are of course very bad because GONZO made them. They move in very robotic ways… and I mean that in a negative way.

Voice acting was generally fitting with the characters and I found no real problems with it. Music themes are a combination of traditional Japanese music with westernized action elements. During summaries and peaceful times, the first kind of music is played to build up some atmosphere. During battle scenes, the second kind takes over. It is a worthwhile attempt, if you don’t mind the sudden changes in the origin of the musical tones.

Action scenes and camera angles are very Hollywood-made. That means that they are very well made but are also unrealistic. I mean, a few humans with swords defeating armies of huge, laser-armed mecha is unbelievable, no matter how much you try to reason it. But they are awesome if you are still young and will not disappoint those who like epic battles. Other than that, the GONZO effect ruins most of the fun.


There wasn’t much character development in the movie and there is not much here, either. When it comes to the samurais, this is rather acceptable, as they are supposed to be strong, determined and seasoned enough to have stopped needing any further maturing. We can even say that they stayed true to their beliefs and didn’t gave up when the new emperor tried to make them join him and become robots. So, it’s not as if their personality was never challenged. It’s reasonable to expect flowing personality from immature teenage characters in anime; but here they already were middle-aged from the beginning; and so they were stabilized.

The young ones, Kirara (the peasant priestess) and Katsushiro (the samurai in training), on the other hand, do mature. They both feel love, disappointment and taste the cruelness of the world for the first time. And so, they are very unstable with their emotions, as expected.

Plus, all characters look, act, talk and think differently, so none are without personality. Some have a very weak presence but even that is true in real life. So generally, good characters, without much philosophical questioning of their motives.

Overall, the series was ok. A lot more complicating and action-based than the movie but not so concrete or realistic. The slow-paced plot and the excessively unrealistic battles ruined a lot of its appeal for me, but there was still enough to enjoy. Compared to the total crap GONZO has made over the years, this is quite the watchable show if your expectations are not very high.

Samurai Champloo
Rurouni Kenshin

5/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
SEGHE's avatar
Sep 19, 2023

"Samurai 7" - A Modern Take on a Classic Tale

Story (8/10): "Samurai 7" is a modern reimagining of Akira Kurosawa's legendary film, "Seven Samurai." Set in a world where bandits and oppressive samurai terrorize villages, the story follows a group of seven diverse and skilled warriors who are hired to protect a farming village. The narrative stays true to the source material while introducing new elements and technologies, creating a captivating blend of feudal Japan and steampunk aesthetics. The plot explores themes of honor, sacrifice, and the clash between tradition and progress, making it both engaging and thought-provoking.

Animation (7/10): The animation in "Samurai 7" is a mix of traditional and CGI, which was quite innovative for its time. While the action sequences are fluid and exciting, some may find the CGI integration slightly jarring, especially when compared to modern standards. However, the character designs are distinct, and the detailed settings immerse viewers in the world of the story.

Sound (8/10): The soundtrack of "Samurai 7" is a highlight, with a mix of traditional Japanese music and more contemporary sounds that match the fusion of eras in the series. The background music enhances the atmosphere, adding depth to the emotional and action-packed scenes. The voice acting, both in the original Japanese and English dub, is well done, with performances that bring the characters to life.

Characters (7/10): The strength of "Samurai 7" lies in its diverse cast of characters. Each of the seven samurai is distinct, with their own motivations, skills, and personalities. While character development is solid for the main cast, some of the supporting characters could have benefited from more depth and exploration. Nevertheless, the interactions and relationships among the characters drive the series and keep viewers invested.

Overall (7/10): "Samurai 7" successfully reimagines a classic tale in a fresh and exciting way. Its blend of traditional samurai elements and steampunk innovation creates a visually interesting and thematically rich world. The narrative's exploration of timeless themes makes it compelling, even for those unfamiliar with the source material. While there are minor drawbacks in animation and character development, the series remains a captivating and entertaining adventure that pays homage to its cinematic predecessor. For fans of samurai stories and classic adaptations, "Samurai 7" is a worthwhile watch.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
Rbastid's avatar
Jun 26, 2016

An anime take on the Kurasawa classic ends up becoming a classic of its own by expanding the story of the legendary Seven Samurai.

Story - 8/10

The first half of the series is based, somewhat closely, on the original Kurasawa film. While the setting might be in a future ruled by robots and the Samurai now have god like powers, the plot and interwoven stories are still running side by side.

The real beauty of the series comes when the initial battle with the bandits is completed, because the writers get to take the characters we already know, and put them in new situations.

After the original story is finished, and the bandits are vanquished, Kambei sets off to save the women kidnapped by the boy king Ukyo and taken as his harem. His plan is to be arrested for the murder of the King's envoy and taken to the capital, where he'll defeat them from the inside. Kambei's plan is turned on it's head when Ukyo decides to pardon him and free the females he has captured, something he is only doing as a way to trick the people into thinking he's a kind ruler. Eventually our brave Samurai uncover his plan to basically take over the racket the bandits were running, and they return to the capital to finish the job they first set out on, eliminate all the bandits, even those in human form. Though the series was extended beyond the original Kurasawa plot, the outcome for the Samurai turn out the same, with only three surviving till the end. 

Despite being an interpretation of a classic, I think the creators did enough to make the story their own. They made most of the Samurai very likable, creating such an attachment that the viewer will feel the pain overtime we lose a hero, and that helped drive the show.

Animation - 5/10

It seems best to just come out with this aspect of the series without sugar coating it. The character animation, outside of one or two main characters, is atrocious. It really is some of the worst i've seen in a series. First the characters don't make sense at points, most of the people look like a normal humans, but then you have a few chibis, some Ranma 1/2 rip offs and a guy in the camp who looks like he skinned another human is wearing their face instead. The other characters, while easy to identify as human, are drawn so simplistically it hurts. Well it hurts a bit less than when the characters have to do battle or move quicker than walking speed, at which time they become horribly distorted and crudely drawn. If this was an hour long movie the bad animation can be forgiven and labeled as stylized, but the inconsistent nature over the course of twenty six episodes causes the blame to just fall to bad quality control.

The Mech's are also bad interpretations of those seen in earlier series. Instead of looking like the destructive robots they're supposed to be, they just look bulbous and clunky. There's little detail to them and almost seem as if they were put in as an afterthought to replace something else. Many of them are also constructed in that plague on Anime, CGI. Because of the computer graphics they just don't meld with the rest of scene and often look like a shinny mess floating far in front of their plane.

In contrast to the terrible foreground animation, the background tiles are very detailed and beautiful. When they show a crane shot through the rice fields, it feels like an HD documentary, and not an animated cartoon. The multiple cities and villages are also amazing looking and give a bit of pop to this otherwise erratic show.

Sound - 8/10

Being a samurai show, which all mostly deal with quaint villages and pastoral scenes, the series didn't have too much music. What was used fit rather nicely and was very well done. Like wise the opening theme is very fitting to the anime genre, in general, and gives the show a song that can anchor an OST.

The voice over work in the English version is great. All the voices match the personalities of the characters to a T. While some might be horribly annoying, Komachi, Ukyo and Manzo, they work for the annoying, slimy and whimpering characters they're assigned to.

Characters - 8/10

I really enjoyed the characters in the series, as they aren't your typical samurai. While they are all roughly based on the original characters found in Seven Samurai, they've mostly been softened up to fit the comical aspect of even some of the most serious Anime series.

Particular standouts when it comes to the characters are Hayashida, a young Samurai who's never killed a man himself, but knows the pain of causing someone's death due to his betrayal of them. Gorobei, he's as serious as Kambei when he has to be, but also sees the lighter side of things. Gorobei tends to be the moderator between all the samurai. Finally there's Shichiroji, despite being a rather silent member of the party, he's often the one getting the group out of a jam with his wealth of combat knowledge. 

On the other end of the spectrum there's Katsushiro. Unlike the original film, or the subsequent wester remake, his character seems to never grow. While he does become a decent samurai, he's always in over his head, making bad decisions based on his attempts to assert himself as a leader. While all the other samurai seem to have the best of intentions, Katsushiro is motivated by his little crush, and later by trying to show up Kambei, rather than to show him he can be a samurai. He runs around for a majority of the series screaming how "he is a samurai" even up until the end, and while they have the other samurai and characters say he is, his actions show otherwise.

The supporting cast ranges from bland to extremely annoying. Kirara is a water priestess, but we learn little about her skills or her background. Her little sister, Komachi, is there for a bit of comic relief, but tends to just be an annoying voice uselessly hanging on. Similarly there's Rikichi, who at least has a reason to be with the group, but has so much self doubt he often fumbles himself up.

On the adversary's side there are few worth mentioning. Of course there is the main villain, Ukyo, who plays the role of the spoiled boy king for a majority of the series, until becoming the actual king. He's a slightly annoying figure, but necessary to create a story larger than just samurai versus bandits. His body guard Tessai is pretty interesting, as he stands by Ukyo's side, but still has a moral compass that he uses to sometimes try and quell his master's plans. I would have liked a bit more when it came to his story, as he shows impressive skills, but is seldom seen using them.

Overall - 7/10

The series was almost doomed to failure from the start. With a linage including one of the most iconic Japanese films of all time and the Western remake that was packed with stars and top notch performances, it had little room for error if it wanted to be held in high regard. Now while it did fall short of reaching the level of its predecessors, I think it set itself apart by adding the second, original, story to the show. 

The pacing issues tended to put me off at times, but it turned out to be a great samurai anime that just hovers below the real greats of the genre.

8/10 story
5/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall
Ryukami's avatar
Apr 14, 2018

Samurais are cool. Mechas are also cool. Deflecting bullets/lasers is cool. Oh and samurai being equally matched against mechas is also very cool.

That is what the production team thought when they decided to adapt 7 Samurai into anime, unfortunately they thought that they also had to transform it into something entirely different.

Itching for some samurai action? Watch Sword of the Stranger instead, it's 1h 38 min long and a way better experience and use of your time.

What really killed Samurai 7 was the pacing, beginning was super slow and ending felt rushed, otherwise the show had some interesting ideas and concepts (like mechanical samurai and shikibito) too bad the show does nothing with said content.

Story is decent, hoped more character deveopement less running around.

Animation was intersting, at times there's some excellent animation, but 90% of the time it's just decent.

Sound is good, some traditional Japanese tunes and some newer ones too.

Characters fell to the way side, Ayamaro became an interesting person towards the end, the 4 interesting member out of the 7 die and generally everytime there was a character who could have had more, the show moves on quickly.

6/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall
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