This week's Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs column is up.
Samurai 7Read the rest at Robot 6.
Original Story by Akira Kurosawa; Illustrated by Mizutaka Suhou; Translated and Adapted by Yoko Kubo
Del Rey; $10.99
Another manga review this week, but this one’s especially pleasant to write. I knew I had a pretty good chance of liking Anne Freaks because I bought it myself based on the concept. Samurai 7 was sent by the publisher though and that’s more risky. I fail to connect with the vast majority of manga (and of books in general, for that matter) that I’m sent from various sources, but that means that when something hits just right it’s a wonderful surprise. And that’s Samurai 7.
I should start with the admission that I’m not all that familiar with Japanese arts and that includes the films of Akira Kurosawa. I appreciate Japanese film; I just haven’t exposed myself to a lot of it yet. I haven’t even seen The Magnificent Seven, much less The Seven Samurai. I know the basic plot, but the closest I’ve gotten to seeing it played out onscreen is in The Three Amigos with its singing bush and plethora of piñatas. I’m so not capable of comparing Samuai 7 – a space opera adaptation of Seven Samurai – to its source material. I’ve got to judge it solely on whether or not it’s entertaining all by itself.
Even if you’re as unfamiliar with Kurosawa as I am, you know the plot. A poor village is plagued by repeated bandit attacks and hires a group of warriors to fight off the bad guys. In Samurai 7 the village is represented by a young girl named Kirara, her even younger sister, and a middle-aged farmer named Rikichi. They go to the big city to see if they can find some out of work samurai to help them. Since the end of the Solar System-wide war that nearly destroyed Earth, a lot of warriors are unemployed, but most of the samurai that Kirara and Rikichi encounter are just as bad as the bandits back home. That is until Kirara meets a runaway named Katsushiro who desperately wants to be a samurai and is willing to pretend he is in order to get to know Kirara better.