Posted by psgels on 28 May 2010 with categories: Sarai-ya Goyou



Oh my god… Tomomi Mochizuki might actually be surpassing himself with this series. Within seven episodes, he managed to put as much meaning into its characters as what Porfy no Nagai Tabi took 26. He’s got such a great sense of realism and character-development, and it also really helps that aside from directing he also did the series composition so that he could really put forth his vision of the manga. And on top of that it’s just awesome to see what a great manga he got to adopt. After having seen two of her stories now I really have to say that she’s a genius at characterization.

This episode again: from the outside the scenario was just about a few mundane tasks: Masa running away from a fight, him starting to train under that other older samurai, etc. From just those sentences it looks like a cheap shounen series, but just about every scene in this show was focused on putting as much meaning as possible in these events. A simple plot of Ume gets a ton of extra side-effects: it was his way of getting Yaichi to pay a visit to Masa. Yaichi knew very much that Ume was lying about Masa’s condition, but went anyway. He knew that he would be recognized, but at the same time he knew that it wouldn’t be that big of a problem since the old man wouldn’t tell much. And yet hints about his past were bound to be dropped here. It’s like he’s getting Masa to learn a bit more about him… but only a bit, nothing too much.

The characters here are nowhere near stupid. They’re very observant about each other. Masa himself knew very well that Yaichi had to have some sort of criminal past, and not just as some rogue bandit. You can really see him trying to get through to Yaichi, whether this is out of admiration, fear or something else still remains a bit of a question. Yaichi on the other hand can really notice Masa’s mood change as he gets to know more about him, and thus more afraid.

At the same time this episode was also very much about Masa’s self-loathing, or perhaps that’s a bit too big of a word. Either way, he’s being held back of an interesting career because of his personality, and knows it. The fight in this episode at which he ran away also really showed that he’s a guy who really keeps clinging to the past. As this is in his case a rather bad past (he had to cope being a samurai with that personality of his), he has a ton of anxieties, especially when alone and there being no reason for him to actually be tough.

This episode also gave a very interesting dimension to the older samurai and the graves he visited. The anecdotes he told about the people he lost were interesting yet down to earth, not to mention that that cliff-hanger was an interesting one. It’s obvious that there can be more dogs called Scruffy, but it is one gnawing cliff-hanger nevertheless.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

One Response

  1. Chapbook says:

    HI PSGels,

    I found this ep hard to watch only because I felt so for Masa. It was gut-twisting to watch his humiliation. I have seen psychological explanations for his problem on other boards; they seem plausible. The sticking point is him being watched by others in non-life threatening situations. Being alone doesn’t seem to be the central problem, rather being observed as he trains or duels. I truly hope he can overcome this even partially.

    I got a chill watching him and Yaichi prepare to duel. I wonder if that is foreshadowing for a future event in which Masa feels he must fight Yaichi. How I wish this had 26 eps, though I love the slow pace of characterization.

    Cheers,

    Chapbook

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.

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