Anime Review: Scissor Seven (2018)

TL;DR – An inept, amnesiac assassin and part-time hairdresser looks to earn some coin while trying to get back his memories.

Review (warning: spoilers)

Scissor Seven is not your typical anime. Purists will argue it is not even anime, but the show is listed on myanimelist.net so I’m going to do a review on it. The first thing that hit me when I watched season one was it’s a Chinese produced animation, and the series is painstakingly hand drawn and remarkably detailed. The distinct look is worth repeat viewing if you take the time to absorb each episode, and you will appreciate just how much effort it must have taken to put it all together. It is by no means the smooth and often seamless look you will find in Japanese anime, but Scissor Seven has its own charm that you will appreciate as you work your way through the series. The battle scenes, revolving camera views and explosions prompt rushes of adrenaline that more polished productions fail to inject.

Likewise, you would be remiss if you think Scissor Seven is simply a comedy. While there is plenty of toilet humour, there is an emotional thread beneath the surface that is surprisingly affecting.

Liuqi Wu (aka Seven) has amnesia. He was found by Dai Bo, a sunglass wearing, cigar smoking, tie wearing bird that will immediately make you think of one of the fowl in the Angry Birds game. Dai Bo convinces Seven to undertake a course to become a hitman, which he barely passes (in fact, I think he fails but Dai Bo allows him to graduate anyway), and together they open a barber shop as a front to hire out his services as an assassin. Seven owns a pair of scissors that he controls with kinetic type powers and turns out can do a mean haircut if he puts his mind to it. He also can disguise himself by transforming into anything using a smoke bomb type magical device.

Through the course of season one, Seven’s memories slowly return, and we learn that he was actually the number one assassin in the country (his current rank is 17,369 as the inept, amnesiac Seven) but was almost killed during a mission in which he was betrayed. Along with piecing back his previous life, Seven is hired to do an assortment of jobs by an assortment of odd characters that generally result in him not killing anyone but revealing misguided motives. The by-product of things working out without bloodshed is that we see Seven has a noble side to him that overrides his greed much to Dai Bo’s chagrin because they never end up getting paid.

Some of the funny missions he attempts include:

  • A cat who hires him to kill an ex-lover who turns out to be a dog. Seven is able to bring the pair together after the dog confesses the reason why he broke up with the cat. Result: cat and dog continue their inter-species relationship and Seven doesn’t get paid.
  • The leader of a ‘purist’ society hires Seven to kill a man who is obsessed with collecting women’s underwear. While the man is arguably a pervert, Seven discovers that the guy has never hurt anyone and only collects underwear that has been thrown out. Result: Seven tries to convince the purist society that everyone should embrace each other’s differences and in the process doesn’t get paid.
  • Cola Zhang is a young girl who is a target of Seven. Before he kills her, she asks that they do everything on her bucket list first. Seven agrees and they do tick off everything on the list. Result: Seven realises that Cola has hired him to kill her because she is suffering from a rare disease. He convinces Cola to fight to get better and she agrees, which in turn means he doesn’t get paid.

Season one culminates in Seven being caught between two factions. One is a faction dedicated to kung-fu, and other faction is dedicated to using technology and weapons of mass destruction. It’s an exciting climax with clever action sequences.

However, I found at its heart, Scissor Seven is all about Seven and an assassin named Thirteen. Their initial encounter leading to a battle where Seven develops a crush on her and, at the same time, realises she is way better at fighting than he is, so he turns himself into a durian which she steps on.

I kid you not, a spiky durian fruit.

It’s hilarious, absurd, and strangely touching. When you see Thirteen, you know she’ll be a repeating character, and you want to find out more about her.

Crazy, funny, artistically crafted, and more moving than you would expect, Scissor Seven is easily digestible (each episode runs roughly 15 minutes) and worth the binge.

8.5 out of 10

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