May 21, 2009

Kaze No Yojimbo #3: The Bodyguard

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)


When a failed drive-by-shooting gets everybody riled up, George sets out to find the responsible party before the two halves of town erupt in a full-on war.

That right there speaks to the mistakes of this show. The entire point of Kurosawa's classic was that the hero wanted chaos, wanted confusion, wanted to pit one side against the other so he could easily pick off whatever stragglers were left behind. But not our George. No, he just seems to be drifting from jobs on one side of the track to the other with no rhyme or reason beyond casual circumstance. There's no motive to clean up the town, no cockiness that has him pushing himself on others and conning them to his will. They just see an outsider they can use and make him an offer. Now, I'm sure this'll turn around to bite them in some fashion, but the creative team has already missed the entire point of the setup so I wouldn't be surprised if they kept their collective head in the clouds as it continues to play out.

I do, however, like the promise offered by the two town heads. The well-fed but dignified Tanakura represents the old world of stubborn nobility. The steely-eyed Ginzame represents the new world of cold profit. I'll admit it's an interesting modernization of the dynamic with both fighting for control of the town's mines, which have supposedly run dry, but there just isn't enough meat there. As I've said before, aside from the occasional thug scuffle, the town is too polished and bright and clean. Where the prostitution? The drugs? The rampant violence and murder? Where are the sights that drive our hero to the desire to clean it all up for no reason other than he wants to?

It's all just so empty. And the shitty animation and wonky, lazy storytelling devices really don't help.

(series trailer)

(opening titles)

(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

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