Samurai 7 Vol. #6 (Viridian Collection) (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, November 11, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2007
What They Say
The rescue team has escaped death, but the struggle has just begun. Kambei's fate looks grim, Sanae and Mizuki's freedom is in dire straights and a mutiny within the Samurai is rising. At this, the worst possible time, Ukyo's plan is unveiled... burn Kanna to the ground.
The six remaining samurai have their own internal jobs and missions that must be handled after the saving of Kanna.
For this viewing session I began with the 5.1 Japanese track. The music is constant as well as the continual gunfire and explosions makes great us of the surround sound. I also listened to FUNimation‚€™s English dub too to listen to their 5.1 as well. Great balance amongst the speaker setup, which lead to great sword collisions from behind during all the fight scenes. This volume was less action packed then the previous which did not give it the opportunity to show off the 5.1 mix.
Samurai 7 is one of the latest Gonzo series airing in Summer of 2004 till Christmas of 2004 so the transfer is 16:9 widescreen. Animation is sharp and crisp with beautiful combination of hand drawn and computer like most Gonzo shows. There is no bleeding in the animation making the background scenery and the characters come out vibrant and lifelike. The constant changes in background always gives your eyes something to focus on.
FUNimation continues to use the clear keepcases like they used for Fullmetal Alchemist and Burst Angel, which is great especially when including reversible covers. The first side is a watercolorlike painting of Heihachi facing foreward and winking and Akira Kurosawa‚€™s Samurai 7 right by his shoulder. To mark the volume there is a five in a diamond below the u of Samurai with FUNimation and Gonzo‚€™s symbols on the bottom left corner. On the back is eight screen caps and episode listings. The reverse cover is a Kambei with his sword propped up in front of him from the war with his cape blowing behind him. The disc also includes a thirty page booklet with character sketches and staff interviews from Gonzo on the resurrection of the Seven Samurai.
There is thirty second sound clip with a nice war era type feel to it. In the upper right corner is a picture of Gorobei looking up towards the sky with a pale indigo background and picture of the capital behind him, with play, episodes, audio and extras directly below him. The curser still blends into the background making it hard at sometimes to figure out what option you are on but not as much as the previous disc, and the response time is still quite quick.
The two minute image gallery continues to be on each volume since the pictures are vibrant and crystal clear. This disc also contains textless songs of both the opening ‚€œUnlimited‚€� by Nanase Aikawa and the closing ‚€œFuhun‚€� by Rin. There is also trailers for Samurai 7 finale (don‚€™t watch if you don‚€™t want a lot of spoilers), DBZ, Baki the Grappler, Case Closed, Speed Grapher, a still clip of the new 14 episode Yu Yu Hakusho release & the FUNimation channel.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) We pick up where we left off with the executioner about to take Kambei‚€™s head, but he is able to pick the lock with Mizuki‚€™s hair pin. Once free, he easily defeats the guards around him and moves toward Ukyo. At this point the series makes a turn from action/adventure to primarily political intrigue. We see that the brain power of the characters now will be tested more than the sword skill as Ukyo sets everyone against each other.
Step one of his manipulation is to get the villagers and people living in the city to believe that he is different from his predecessor. He frees the women whom Kambei was trying to save, as well as pardoning him for the attempted assassination on the previous Emperor. Ukyo masterfully played in front of the eyes of the on looking public while projecting his voice via megaphone. He then gives the masses free rice to gain even more favor. I love the progression of Ukyo as a character from sniveling, little brat to brilliant puppeteer of the feeble minded crowd.
Kyuzo returns just in time to stop Ukyo from killing his displaced father. Kyuzo takes him with him as he goes to meet up with Kambei at the firefly. While Kyuzo is regrouping another member is pulling away from the band. Katsushiro becomes the second character to have a major personality shift going from obedient pupil to blood thirty samurai as he looses faith in the omnipotence of Kambei. He also struggles with his budding romance with Kirara. There is definitely love between the two, but neither seems able to manage their emotions; Katsushiro in particular. He rashly kisses her in the ally after she follows him but then just as suddenly vanishes in search of battle.
The rest of the group from the Kanna arrives to pick up the portion waiting at the firefly. We also get to have look at the heavy guilt that Heihachi has over the mistakes he has made in the past. Ukyo‚€™s plan to eliminate all threats continues to move forward as he flies the capital towards Kanna. He uses the loyalty of the bandits to send them into an ambush, yet if the samurai he dispersed get killed by the bandits that works to. He allows his enemies to unknowingly dispose of each other with no physical work of his own.
Kambei‚€™s group goes to see the Shikimori to compete his promise of bringing Mizuki back. The Shikimori surprise them by offering to help in exchange for destroying the capital. Katsushiro arrives in Kanna just in time to save the village from being completely torched. He slays some opponents, showing his growth as a warrior, but a large squadron comes into the village to continue the attack. The volume ends with Katsushiro charging them and the villagers of Kanna kneeling on the rooftops with their bows taught ready to fire arrows.
The series has taken a drastic shift in tone which has brought a new found respect for the series after the last volume. The individual personalities are being flushed out so much more than just a normal action series making the characters much more three dimensional. Especially Ukyo, whose devious ways has been the most fascinating aspect of these last two volumes. This volume is very cerebral moving away from the adrenaline only sword play. With the final three episodes only a couple of weeks away I find myself highly intrigued to watch how all the plots and battles come together in the final conclusion.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Songs,Image Gallery
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 Tv is Sony 57‚€� widescreen rear-projection HDTV Model #KPD 57WS550
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: D
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Samurai 7