July 21, 2009

Kaze No Yojimbo #17: The Great Sting

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)


After numerous episodes of wanting to see what old-blood Tanokura had hidden in the depths of his supposedly abandoned mines, the Ginzame cartel now have the deed in their hands and rush in truckloads of men to scour every inch of the tunnels. It's an interesting development for the plot, one that could have ended with a huge blow struck against the Shirogane brothers who run the cartel, but some poorly staged direction results in a booby trap taking such a ridiculous amount of time to play out that much of the power the climax potentially had was stolen.

That's really my only complaint this time around, though. While I could point out that the animation was back to its nonexistent norms, it's the type of episode that plays just fine with largely static images, so there's nothing really wrong with it.

Tanokura, who was only beginning to be fleshed out as a character last episode, continues to develop nicely. It's amazing the contrast they build in this man, opening the episode with him reading the local paper and sending flowers to a group of school children in honor of their accomplishments, then later grinning and gleefully playing with a matchbook as he waits to hear news of the lethal trap he set for Ginzame. This is a man who's capable of great goodness and who truly loves his community, but his old-fashioned sense of honor can turn him violent and territorial. Though even that aspect is dealt with a steady, thoughtful hand.

It's also interesting how they're building a conflict between him and Miyuki, who seems to realize there's much more to her father than what she's known over the years ... things she may not even want to discover. There's not much in the way of development on this thread, just the beginnings of a setup this episode and last, so it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

And then there's our wandering hero, George. He plays a small, peripheral role this episode, but there's a moment near the beginning that caught my attention. As the trucks full of men barrel down the street in the direction of the mines, he mutters, "So, it's begun." Could it be that he is playing up a manipulative master plan, after all? Something that would bring him back to the Sanjuro he should have been from the very beginning?

Only time (and less then 10 episodes) will tell ...

(series trailer)

(opening titles)

(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

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