Originally hosted on Static Network

Name: Lawrence Brenner
Title: Samurai 7 Volume 1
Author: Mizutaka Suhou
Publisher: Del Rey
Age Rating: OT Ages 16+
Star Rating: 3.5
Genre: Manga

Samurai 7 is a very interesting concept and series. Volume 1 of the manga offers the beginning of another revisioning of the classic film by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai. Before we get into the main aspects of the volume, let me talk about the surrounding content.

Now something I always enjoy is the additional explanations included with manga volumes. Del Rey does this well. Now granted many people who would be picking up a manga may already know quite a few of the things such as the honorifics and even some of the other terms and concepts, but I like that they are included in the notes because, not everyone will know everything already and of course it always fascinating to learn something new. Personally, I liked learning about shiritori, the Japanese word game that the characters play during a scene in the volume. Upon an initial reading not knowing that the game was a real game I would have thought it was an invention of the author. The same applies for the concept of ri which was an actual unit of measurement used in China and ancient Japan, and again if it had not been mentioned, I would have thought it was the invention of the author. I like these little extra notes, as they are one of my favorite things about reading manga. There is one thing they could fix though, having more page numbers in the volume so I can easily refer to the references (there are hardly any page numbers in this Del Rey volume).

Now for the story: I like this story. I love the scenario and setup. Katsushiro is an example of someone who sees what greatness people can be and is someone who wants to become his heroes, which he works to do. My favorite character though is Kikuchiyo, even as just a head he plans to defeat the Nobuseri. Now he is a character is just great, the person who can do the least, inspires to do the most. You can already see the impact that that he will have in coming volumes just from his knowledge and more so from his personality alone. His personality is a driving force working to educate and inspire, especially for Katsushiro. As you can probably guess, Katsushiro is the one who is learning the most. This story tells the assembly of the Samurai 7 and it is very fun to watch how they all assemble because of Katsuchiro and Kambei. Kambei is identified as the first samurai because of his actions during a hostage situation and then by saying: “I just did my duty as a samurai. There’s no need for a reward.” From there the rest of the samurai gather and they have their first tests as a group. I do not want to be a plot spoiler, as that can kill the fun.

Should you pick up this volume? The answer is yes. I look forward to the rest of the volumes of Samurai 7.