October 21, 2008

Rashomon (1950 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Shinobu Hashimoto and Akira Kurosawa. Based on the short stories Rashomon and In a Bamboo Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

It's a rainy day in 12th century Japan. Buildings are in a heavy state of disrepair, bodies litter the streets, and the hungry masses scrounge for whatever they can. Taking shelter beneath a massive, crumbling gatehouse on the edge of town, three men - a woodcutter, a priest, a commoner - recount the testimony of a bizarre murder. While passing through the woods, a samurai and his wife have a run-in with a bandit. The woman is raped, her husband killed. Not a bizarre incident, in and of itself, but the three people involved (including the late husband, through a medium) offer up completely contradictory explanations for who ultimately killed the man.

October 15, 2008

Mantech: Robot Warriors #2 (1984 comic)

Written by Rich Margopoulos. Illustrated by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone.


After the exciting events of the last issue, our heroes have managed to recover a Terrorizer, a rocket glider used by Tyranik's evil robo-goons. What they don't know is that the vehicle is a Trojan Horse of sorts as, when they try to disassemble it, the Terrorizer springs to life, spreading destruction under Tyranik's remote control.

In a Bamboo Grove (1922 story)

Written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

When a man is found dead in a bamboo grove, the testimonies of various people are collected to piece together his fate. They all seem to agree on the setup - a man and his wife travel down the road and are captured by a bandit who ties up the man and rapes the wife - but what exactly happened next is anyone's guess as the three characters involved (even the dead man, thanks to a medium) have different reasons for his demise.

October 14, 2008

Rashomon (1915 story)

Written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

Seeking shelter from the rain beneath a pillared gate, a recently dismissed servant ponders his future. Noticing a light over discarded, diseased corpses, he finds a woman plucking hair for a wig.

My Own Worst Enemy #1 "Breakdown" (2008 episode)

Directed by David Semel. Written by Jason Smilovic. Created by Jason Smilovic.

Edward is an operative for a top secret branch of the government. He's ruthlessly efficient with absolutely no qualms about using people before taking them out. 19 years ago, he volunteered for a program where chips were implanted in his brain to create a cover identity: Henry Spivey, an average joe in the suburbs with a wife, two kids, and a boring desk job.

October 10, 2008

Scandal (1950 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa.

When a painter offers a ride to a popular singer on a mountain road, a photograph hits newsstands and the two are branded a secret item. Embarrassed and angered, they sue the publisher in this, a harsh criticism from Kurosawa of corrupt, slandering tabloid culture.

October 9, 2008

Stray Dog (1949 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa.

While I've enjoyed many of the Kurosawa films I've gone through up until now, this right here is the first one I'd call a masterpiece. It's so simple, so powerful, so elegant, so... masterful.

October 4, 2008

The Quiet Duel (1949 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Senkichi Taniguchi and Akira Kurosawa. Based on the play by Kazuo Kikuta.

In the days leading up to the war, Kiyoji Fujisaki (Toshiro Mifune) was a successful surgeon with a promising future and a loving fiance. But after he spends several years in a combat medical tent, he returns to post-war Japan a different man. He takes up residence in a shabby ghetto clinic which caters to those who can rarely afford treatment. He builds around him a staff of volunteers or people who owe him favors. And he refuses to marry his dedicated fiance because of a devastating secret: while working on a patient wounded in combat, he caught his finger on a scalpel and became infected...

October 1, 2008

Mantech: Robot Warriors #1 (1984 comic)

Written by Rich Margopoulos. Illustrated by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone.

Chapters titled: "Seige of the Renegade Robots", "Tomb of the Robots", "Aquatech: Hero or Traitor?", and "Aftermath: Tales of Planet Mekka".

Notable mainly for their oddly proportioned anatomy and detachable, interchangeable limbs, Mantech is a line of toys from the early 80s which completely escaped my attention until an awesome dude named Rebelwookiee featured them in a nostalgic article on his blog. Being a fan of media tie-ins, I just couldn't resist when I learned Archie put out four issues of a Mantech comic.

Drunken Angel (1948 film)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Keinosuke Uegusa and Akira Kurosawa.

In a postwar ghetto on the edge of a disease-ridden cesspool, the lives of two men change when a criminal pays a visit to a doctor.