June 2, 2009

Kaze No Yojimbo #7: Legend of the Demon

2001 episode
directed by Hayato Date
written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Akatsuki Yamatoya, Daisuke Yajima, Michiko Yokote, Satoru Nishizono
based on the film YOJIMBO by Akira Kurosawa and Ryuzo Kikushima

(1961 film)


After George quietly slips back into the main town of Kimujuku (he's literally just there in the noodle shop the next morning) a Professor from Tokyo, Uekusa, arrives in town. He's apparently become an annual regular at Sanae's inn, as he's become fascinated with the town's mythical history as a place where demons once dwelt. Demon, in fact, is the meaning of the frequently found family name of Araki, and the Professor believes the demons were once western settlers who may have left behind a hidden treasure.

Which brings us to the big, muscular slab of thug posing as the Professor's assistant.

As I'm sure you can guess, this all becomes a rubbish treasure hunt with gangsters trying to get their hands on the loot. It's pretty predictable and by-the-numbers, and even the revelation of what the treasure actually is feels quite underwhelming. I get what they're trying to do, using the legends of demons as a big metaphor for the town itself (despite it being largely un-hellish and non-demonic, which it should be, dammit) but even that falls apart once they all go scrambling for an entrance way the Professor already knew about, but he needed one other person to help move the stone which blocked it. Yes, yet another one of those WTF? moments where we are expected to believe that the Professor, during all his years of coming to this town, never once brought a second pair of hands to help move that final rock.

This episode is fail all around. Not only poorly conceived and executed, but it unnecessarily shoves aside the broader plot for a chapter. What about all that info George dug up on Sanae and the Araki family? He never once confronts Sanae, nor even mentions his findings. And even the surprised reactions of Miyuki and Raccoon at George's return were surprisingly muted and brief. And speaking of Raccoon, just whose side is he on?

To the creative team of this show, I'm sorry. It just isn't working. Hasn't from the beginning.

(series trailer)

(opening titles)

(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

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