2 April 2006 | Quinoa1984
Kurosawa's masterpiece changed into post-apocalyptic sci-fi anime, hmm
I just watched the first episode of this take-off on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai on IFC, dubbed into English (and possibly edited in other ways I'm not sure). At first I wasn't sure what to make of it, and in the first five minutes or so I had no idea what connection, if at all, this had to Kurosawa's original story. Then as the episode unfolded I could see the relationship to it, if only on a loose basis; large mechanical machines in battle and dominance over people has a farming community panicked, leading to reaching out to find samurai to protect them. In the first episode there is only minimal swordplay towards the end, as the "one" is discovered, at least one of them I could figure.
In order to have more of an appreciation for the show, I think, one has to take it sort of apart of the original film. The original 1954 classic takes from both samurai/Japanese lore, as well as the Western genre (originally some John Ford influence in there), forming into this big, but focused epic. Watching this series, I could see this owes a lot more to the dozens of other anime like this, where samurai are cast against the light of a science fiction backdrop (some of the opening animation made me think of Star Wars, also a connection to Kurosawa coincidentally), as technological forces of mass destruction face off against those ultra-skilled with a sword, or maybe more. The hero of this episode, for example, and who I can imagine has a much greater role in the course of the series, is like the Takashi Shimura character from the Kurosawa film crossed with one of the characters from an ultra-stylized Magma comic book, to give a generic comparison to be sure.
I'll keep on watching the series to see how and when the action unfolds, and I'm even intrigued enough to seek out the uncut, Japanese-language version of the DVD. But make no mistake, this will divide (or just make made) those who place the Kurosawa film in such high regard, as to whether such a work of art can be transposed into a well-made, if not that spectacular on a first go-around, anime show. Those who are already fans of the animation style anyway may gravitate to it, however when compared to programs like Fist of the North Star and Ninja Scroll it isn't quite the caliber either. My recommendation- if you have IFC, it's worth a view, but if you are expecting a literal translation from live-action film to animation, look elsewhere.