October 13, 2009

Samurai 7 #12: The Truth

2004 episode
directed by Toshifumi Takizawa and Inuo Inukawa
written by Atsuhiro Tomioka
based on the film SEVEN SAMURAI by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni

(1954 film)

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In our last episode, Manzo, the frightened villager, decided the best way to save himself and his daughter was to rat out our heroes to the bandit patrols. Not only was he caught, but the inexperienced young swordsman Katsushiro was forced to make his first kill by cutting down a bandit scout. This was a clever addition to the story, taking a shocking moment that happened near the end of the film and bumping it up so the young hero has a chance to know death in the face of the big battle rather than as a result of it. I'm curious to see how they'll play it out, and they get things rolling nicely as Kambei has to take a few precise jabs to make sure the boy accepts the lessons he's just chosen to learn.

And let's not forget about Manzo. As he's dragged before the other villagers, his betrayal now made public, there's much debate about whether or not to cut him down. The bumbling cyborg Kikuchiyo, of all people, is the one who sets everyone straight as he flies into a rant that shows just how much attention this creative team paid to Kurosawa's classic film. Just as was the case there, the actions of the samurai and the bandits aren't so clearly cut, with both having been responsible for raids and atrocities in the past, the samurai merely doing so in the name of war. This has lead to farmers that are paranoid and who hide away what they can because they don't know who's going to sweep in and try to take it.

With everyone pulling together, continuing with the fortification, training for battle, and even hoisting the classic battle standard, our village has finally rallied around these heroes and risen up to fight alongside them instead of just hanging back while the samurai do all the work. All of this courtesy of a creative team that understands the layers that make up Kurosawa's works, the meticulous complexities that make every moment deep and essential.

Now we'll just have to see how it holds up as the battle begins.

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2 comments:

Anthony Williams said...

I've always loved the preparing for battle moments of these types of stories. Whether it's "The 13th Warrior" or "The Two Towers", there are so many elements at play that make for good storytelling. The tension, the gallows humor, the doubt and the conviction.

NoelCT said...

You should check out the excellent film ZULU, which spends over half it's running time going through all those elements as a secluded fortress finds itself surrounded by overwhelming forces which draw out their enemy's tension before violently surging in.