I've been putting off this anime for the longest, but boy am I glad I finally got around to watching it. I remember seeing a few episodes on TV when I was a kid, and ever since I've been infatuated with the series, but I never got into it for some reason. Now that I have, let me tell you why you should, too.
Let's start with everything the creators did right. The writing was superb. The pacing was steady, the dialogue was clever, and the carefully placed plot twists were on point. I was constantly interested and engaged in the story and its characters. That was another strong point; the characters. Each one was unique, likable, and relatable. When it comes to anime, I usually have a distinct favorite character, or a character type I tend to levitate to. But in Samurai 7, each character had their individual charms, and it was impossible to pick a favorite. I found myself connecting to them, rooting for them, and feeling for them. I was invested in pretty much all of the protagonists.
While I'm on the topic of characters, I have to say, as frustrating as they were, the antagonists in this show were written well, too. They were heartlessly cruel, and not the cliche "I'm going to announce to you exactly what I tend to do so you know how to stop me". There were times when the main characters were in such a bind, I wondered how they were going to get out of this one alive. That means the villains were no joke, and I applaud the writers for making them realistic and an actual challenge for the protagonists.
As great as the writing was, I had some qualms with the show, as few as they may be. First off was the unnecessary romantic subplots in the show. Without saying too much, there was only one couple I had no problems with, as it did not interfere with the plot, and let's be honest, they were made for each other. Another was the occasional lazy animation, which I won't make too much of a fuss about since it's an old show and the fight scenes were great (which is all that really matters in an action anime). The soundtrack was good, but not enough for it to be memorable. Although, I do love the opening and ending themes.
Overall, Samurai 7 was a great show and a roller coaster of emotions, conflict, and action. It's packed with rich storytelling, shocking plot twists, and important life lessons, all unfolding in a simultaneously futuristic and feudal Japan. The show never misses a beat and will surely leave you satisfied with its bittersweet ending.