July 14, 2009

Kaze No Yojimbo #14: False Reconciliation

2002 episode
directed by Hayato Date
written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Satoru Nishizono, Daisuke Yajima, Michiko Yokote, Tamotsu Mizukoshi
based on the film YOJIMBO by Akira Kurosawa and Ryuzo Kikushima

(1961 film)


Over the last few episodes, the Ginzame cartel has lost their hold on one town business after another, quickly collapsing against the deeply rooted Tanokura family, which now has even the police fully on its side. From out of nowhere came Rin, the "lost brother" of Ginzame who'd spent three years in prison, and everything seems to have changed. We still don't know what it was that happened behind the scenes, but the Tanokuras have invited Ginzame to join them in a reconciliation ceremony, sharing the town as fully cooperating powers and giving the local government their word to stop all squabbles at once. Yes, it most certainly seems like a bright new day for the town of Kimujuku.

Unless you happen to be George.

While searching for clues about his missing friend, George had been spending the first half of the series as a bodyguard for hire, playing both sides fairly and equally as long as he felt the need was true. But now, with everyone joining hands and singing "Kumbaya" there's no need for his business. Hell, they don't want him there at all. Getting kicked out of every bar and tailed down alleys by shadowy figures, even his closest friends are telling George to get out of town.

While not the most complex episode, it's very much a necessary chapter as big changes established early on must be given room to properly soak in. Though I wish there could have been more exploration of George's motivation to stay, namely the continuing mystery of his old friend, the ostracism he smacked up against is sudden and overwhelming, but understandable given the pressures held over the townsfolk. And the mystery of why these two families suddenly decided to tie the knot really has me gripped.

While not as strong as the last few episodes, and the animation took a few steps back to its early choppiness, this was still a damn good entry in a much improved series, pushing the story over an exciting new hill and focusing on the characters as they take it in.

(series trailer)

(opening titles)

(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

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