July 15, 2009

Kaze No Yojimbo #15: The Counterattack

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)


In the last episode, our hero George had largely been ostracized from the community as the two warring factions of Kimujuku seemingly overcame their differences and pulled together. Kicked out of every establishment and stuck with the sole option of leaving town, George finds himself pursued and attacked by a face we haven't seen since way back in episode 5. Mamoru Araki is the brother of mysterious inn-keeper Sanae, and the son of the very man whose disappearance George is trying to solve.

There's a lot of promise to his appearance, that we may finally get some answers and George will finally get the driving motivation needed to stop drifting from place to place and take action. Unfortunately, we don't really get much. In fact, after he appears, George unleashes upon him a brutality that feels out of character and then, instead of continuing to pursue the mystery, or bringing the young man to his sister who would likely trade information in return, he brings Mamoru to the sadistic Shirogane brothers of the Ginzame cartel. Why? What does this buy him? Sure, he's now once again welcome and employed in the town, but there's no sense of this being a part of a master plan on George's part as he once again just drifts into it.

So, no, this episode doesn't quite live up to the promise offered by the quality chapters that preceded it, especially with a bulk of the middle section being filled with a rather boring and annoyingly cryptic meeting between old-blood Tanokura and his new rival Rin, where they mainly just recap things we've already learned and suggest possibilities we've already guessed.

That said, despite some boring writing, it's still a half-way decent episode that, low as it is, never sinks to the depths we occasionally hit in the first half of the series. The story is moving forward, and threads that initially seamed like meaningless, stand-alone filler are starting to find relevance. That's good enough for me.

(series trailer)

(opening titles)

(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

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