Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Originally published on otakureview.net
In the final three episodes of this series, we finally see it all play out to conclusion. Kanbe and the remaining samurai must take on Ukyo, the capital and his plan to completely destroy the village of Kanna.
Katsushiro is gathering the villagers for another fight while Kanbe and the others attempt to launch an attack on the capital itself.
Good and the Bad
The comedy in episode 24 was hilarious and touching at the same time. The scene between Komachi and Kiku was one of the best of the series. These two have always had one of the best relationships of the series and to see it come together in such a touching way that still managed to make me laugh just goes to show how well these characters had grown. I can't even be certain that I realized just how attached to these two I had become before this scene began playing.
The death of Gorobei in volume four did something unexpected to me in this volume which I found interesting. With the death of the first half, the audience was made entirely aware that character deaths were possible leading the audience to constantly wonder if someone else was going to die during the final battle. That is what you refer to as a great use of a storytelling device.
Ukyo shows brand new levels of evil in this volume, long into the final episode of the series Ukyo continues to be developed and show the audience brand new reasons to hate him all the more, I've never seen a series develop characters until their very last moments making this unique. The extra effort by the staff, however, to take the time and develop the characters that we've grown to love (and hate) shows an amazing attention to detail that we rarely get to see from an anime series.
The writing in this final volume continues to show the audience why Gonzo is just so good at what they do. I have reviewed over 400 volumes of anime in all of my time as a reviewer and so in that time, I've grown quite used to seeing the last volume of an anime and pretty much being able to figure out where it's going to go. Having said that, this volume kept me on the edge of my seat. For the first time in awhile, I really didn't know where the series was going to go for its ending. Naturally I assumed the major storylines were going to end in a fairly standard way but I had absolutely zero idea on the route the series was going to take to get there. That is the kind of storytelling that every anime should have, to take even the seasoned anime veterans in the audience and make them doubt in their own reasoning abilities so they have no idea what's coming next.
The writing in this volume is not perfect though and I fear that this is where the staff might've made a mistake. Besides the primary story, there are at least four subplots that also had to be wrapped up on this volume and only a couple of them are really wrapped up in a satisfactory manner. While I cannot go into more detail regarding which storylines are wrapped up and which aren't, I can say that there are two stories in particular where I feel robbed of a real conclusion.
The standard tense battle music really played out well in this last volume and added intensity to the final scenes that needed to be there. With the music in this series being so hit or miss over the course of 26 episodes, the ending stood a very good chance of being derailed if the music didn't step up to the occasion. While the music used during the final battle scenes was music that we've been hearing throughout the entire series, it fit better here than it did earlier in the series. Possibly because of the action and acting from the cast but for those scenes, it all just came together.
Dub vs. Sub
So, just to dispense with the usual... Luci Christian as Komachi and Zarah Little as Okara; adorable and fabulous in their roles as usual. Now that this was taken care of, there are so many members of both the dub and sub casts that deserve mention for everything they did during this series. In the dub cast it all goes to Anthony Bowling as Ukyo, Christopher Sabat as Kiku, Greg Ayres as Heihachi and R. Bruce Elliot as Kambe for this volume and beyond. I don't think I can even begin to imagine what this series would've been like if these actors hadn't been playing these roles. If you want me to narrow that down, Greg Ayres and Christopher Sabat get the nods.
Just clean animation and an image gallery. I was really disappointed by this as I really thought Funimation was going to give this series a great send off in terms of extras.
Two questions always have to be answered before you can give your final thoughts on it. The first one is, was I entertained? That's an easy answer though. The more complicated answer is, was I satisfied?
Not everything about this series was perfect and I never claimed that it was. In the end, I can't say that I was completely happy with how the stories were ended. In particular is one story resolution that the audience is completely robbed from seeing. In the grand scheme of things though, the primary story is wrapped up very well though it does leave the audience with a serious desire to find out what happens next. Universally praised, this is a series that every anime fan will want to see at some point in their lives and one that I would gladly recommend to anyone else looking for something good to watch.
Final Grade: 91% - A
Samurai 7 Vol. 1: Search For The Seven
Samurai 7 Vol. 2: Escape from the Merchants
Samurai 7 Vol. 3: From Farm to Fortress
Samurai 7 Vol. 4: The Battle for Kanna
Samurai 7 Vol. 5: Empire in Flux
Samurai 7 Vol. 6: Broken Alliance
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older