May 26, 2009

Kaze No Yojimbo #6: The Gate Wouldn't Rise

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)


So Genzo Araki, the missing man from George's past, was apparently the chief engineer of a train that, 15 years ago, mysteriously lost a car full of gold and platinum, which may or may not be secretly in the possession of Tanokura, head of one of the town's two factions. That's really quite interesting. Oh, wait, no it's not. It could be, but the way it's presented here forced me to rewind a few times because I kept drifting off. The tense stares and whispered voices of Tanokura and an enigmatic investigator come off bland and boring instead of tense, and the flashbacks consisting of drifting images over a quiet piano piece drained my senses like a lullaby. It was maddening.

And it's not even shocking info! Sure, everything revolving around a 15-year-old heist is an interesting plot, but they need to find a much better way to work it into the story than a pair of characters quietly discussing it in an office for not one, but two fucking episodes. Layer it in, people.

I had hopes that George's detective work in Sendai would give us some more juicy history on the increasingly compelling Sanae, but a few drunken memories, tense stares with a dude who may be her brother (clarity!), and a messy fight scene kept the thread from getting any further off the ground.

And then there's a bit from out of nowhere about a thug in jail getting assassinated.

While, yes, this series has started to build some interesting threads of its own, this episode felt meaningless, not due to the content, but the lethargic execution. The only good bit? Miyuki and Raccoon's increasing frustration at George's absence. If taken individually, these character would quickly become annoying, but throwing them together was this show's one work of genius. It's a dynamic with a lot of great potential and I'm just hoping they don't screw it up.

(series trailer)

(opening titles)

(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

No comments: