The seven samurai are gathered and the fortifications are in place, but for the people of Kanna village, the conflict is only beginning. The bandits have finally arrived in overwhelming numbers, and it will take every trick in the book if Kanbe and the others are to mount a successful offensive.
After the mediocre quality that characterised the last volume of Samurai 7, it would be safe to say that this disc was not highly anticipated. As it turned out, however, the series was finally ready to show something in the way of improvement. It may be far from perfect, but where the first half of the series often felt quite forced and soulless, these four episodes finally offer something a bit more engaging.
It has to be admitted, however, that much of this volume’s appeals arises purely from the action scenes. With an all-out battle between the samurai and the bandits finally getting underway, there is no shortage of slice and dice as our protagonists flex their skills against the Nobuseri mecha. As with earlier episodes, the bandits’ abilities seem limited to flailing around whilst waiting to be sliced apart by the heroes, but with so much combat packed into this disc, it is easy to overlook these flaws and just go with the flow.
Character development also seems improved in this volume, with Katsushiro’s coming of age story now picking up some momentum as the young man faces the reality of what it to means to take another’s life. The other characters remain fairly standard, but the more annoying elements seem to have been toned down.
Visually, the standard of the animation remains consistent this time around, with even the increased CG elements looking slightly better than usual. Samurai 7 will never be the most aesthetically pleasing of shows, but it seems to have fully settled down and overcome the quality dips of the earlier episodes.
It may have taken over half a series, but Samurai 7 has finally moved out of the ranks of the completely and utterly dull. On balance, the improvements seen in this volume may not be particularly large or earth-shattering, but they are just enough to make these four episodes somewhat more entertaining than the ones that preceded them.