As the proverbial saying goes, the plot thickens. In all of the first four volumes of Samurai 7, the story stayed pretty true to the classic movie Seven Samurai, only perhaps a little more drawn out and a lot slower. But in the previous volume, the battle for the village was wrapped up nicely and a new storyline was presented (though in many ways it still follows what the movie did, only in a different chronological order). Now, the mission for Kambei has become save all of the women taken by the Bandits, and that means he must travel to the capital and face the emperor himself in order to do so. In this volume, old enemies presented earlier in the series--and never truly forgotten--are brought back, old allies are mourned, and the samurai are separated into smaller groups. Like the other four volumes, the action in this volume is still as solid and crisp as it was previously, and the animation is still good, though definitely not the greatest. The 3D CGI, however, is the best I've seen in any anime series. And of course the story unfolds as dramatically as it had before, even with the newly presented plot twists. I felt when the fourth volume ended that the next would be a huge test for the Samurai 7 series, since it was obvious that the objective was to present something new. Luckily, it passed that test and in many ways the story now is more exciting and tense than it was before. Samurai 7 is definitely one of the best anime of 2005-06, and I think this volume proves that (though I think I remember saying that in my reviews of the other volumes). For any skeptics out there, Samurai 7 was picked up very recently by IFC, a channel that never before had an interest in anime.
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