Samurai 7
Volume 3 - From Farm to Fortress

Starring (voice): Fumiko Orikasa, Takehito Koyasu and Masaki Terasoma
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 19 June 2006

Set in a futuristic world that has just witnessed the end of a massive war, scores of villages are terrorised by Nobuseri bandits. But the Nobuseri are no normal bandits. They were once samurai, who during the war integrated their living cells with machines to become dangerous weapons now appearing more machine than man. Absolute power corrupts, and their reign of terror is increasing its hold on the countryside. But one group of villagers has had enough and decide to hire samurai to protect their village. Kirara is a young priestess who travels to the city seeking out protection. One by one, she encounters brave samurai that the war has left behind. These men of skill and valour are each unique and not without their quirks. But can they come together as one to defend the helpless village?...

Samurai 7 is futuristic sci-fi anime update of Akira Kurosawa's timeless classic, Seven Samurai. Produced by Studio Gonzo (Gantz, Burst Angel), Samurai 7 is a 26-part action-packed series about a small band of heroes and their battle to defend a small farming village against an onslaught of giant, flying mecha-warrior robots.

Volume 3 in this collection opens with The Bandits, in which Kambei devises a way to rescue Kikuchiyo from the Nobuseri. Unfortunately, for the remaining samurai, the Nobuseri have laid an ambush. This episode reveals that there is a spy amongst them. Someone is tipping of the Nobuseri where the samurai are heading. It doesn't take long for them to work out who it is and why they would go to such lengths.

The Journey: With the Nobuseri on their trail, the samurai decide that the best way to go undetected is to split everyone up into three groups. Each group takes a different route to approach Kanna Village. This episode has a great laugh-out-loud moment as one of the group dresses in drag to evade capture. However, it's not long before they run into trouble and one of them performs a sexy dance to prove they are women entertainers.

In The Village, the samurai finally arrive at Kanna Village, They are surprised to find the village deserted. While Kambei meets with the village elder, Kikuchiyo discovers that all of the women of the village, along with their entire crop of rice, seem to have vanished - uncertain as to whether the samurai will take all their food and women. Once they have gained the villagers trust they start work preparing them for the coming battle with the Nobuseri. But, one of the villagers still doesn't trust the samurai and intends to give their location away to the Nobuseri. This episode also introduces Okara - a young village girl who looks like she belongs in a Peanuts cartoon.

The Truth: With the traitor discovered, the samurai are unsure what to do with him. Katsushiro has to come to terms with his feelings over the first life he has taken. This episode reveals a surprise for the group as we discover that one of the seven is not what they appear to be.

Extras are the same as in previous volumes (not that exciting). All we get are character profiles on four of the characters; opening and closing titles without text; and some trailers.

This volume is a marked improvement over Volume 2, but the action could still have done with speeding up a little.

Nick Smithson

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