GREEN CINE Already a member? login
 Your cart
Help
Advanced Search
- Genres
+ Action
+ Adult
+ Adventure
+ Animation
+ Anime
+ Classics
+ Comedies
+ Comic Books
+ Crime
  Criterion Collection
+ Cult
+ Documentary
+ Drama
+ Erotica
+ Espionage
  Experimental/Avant-Garde
+ Fantasy
+ Film Noir
+ Foreign
+ Gay & Lesbian
  HD (High Def)
+ Horror
+ Independent
+ Kids
+ Martial Arts
+ Music
+ Musicals
  Pre-Code
+ Quest
+ Science Fiction
  Serials
+ Silent
+ Sports
+ Suspense/Thriller
  Sword & Sandal
+ Television
+ War
+ Westerns


Public Discussions

topics
GreenCine General
GreenCine Article Discussion
A place for you to post comments on our articles.
74

Samurai Primer
Topic by: dwhudson
Posted: December 13, 2003 - 12:15 PM PST
Last Reply: October 12, 2004 - 6:53 AM PDT

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: Samurai Primer
dwhudson
post #1  on December 13, 2003 - 12:15 PM PST  
That topic title sounds like an old John Belushi sketch. "Write! Ehh-dit! Link! Heeeyaaah!"

At any rate, a version of Allen White's article has needed to be filed along with the rest of the primers for some time now. Comments are welcome, recommendations for that recommendation section at the end are especially welcome.

"During the crucial, artistically triumphant 25-year period following World War II, until 1970, chambara became a powerful cinematic force."

The primer: Samurai. Discuss!
hamano
post #2  on December 14, 2003 - 9:18 AM PST  
The primer is excellent. I wish the glossary section included Zen and Confucianism as well. The article Bushido: The Way of the Warrior by Mark Tasaka goes into these bushido influences a little more. Really it's Confucianism that provides the bedrock philosophy behind the "way of the samurai." Here's an excerpt from the Tasaka article:

Influence of the three main religions of Japan on Bushido

Just as the social and political context of Tokugawa society influenced the development of Bushido, so had the Japanese religions/schools of thought influenced the development of this code. The three main religions that had influenced Bushido were Confucianism, Shinto and Buddhism. Confucius' five moral obligations had shaped the foundations of bushido. Confucius taught that there are five moral obligations fundamental for relationships, which are master and servant (governor and governed), father and son, husband and wife, older sibling and younger sibling and friend and friend. Confucius' virtue of filial piety (father and son) is embodied in the code of bushido. However, this obligation towards one's parent is transformed towards one's lord and country. From Shinto, bushido derived the virtues of loyalty and patriotism. The sect of Buddhism that has the most profound impact on bushido is Zen. Zen discipline and training provides the samurai with self-control and self-restraint.
hamano
post #3  on December 14, 2003 - 2:04 PM PST  
Oh, and remember when someone listed NOIR in the anime recommendations for the Film Noir Primer? Well, here I must object to the inclusion of Samurai Deeper Kyo...obviously put here for the title, but it's really a monster-of-the-week occult series compared to a show like Ruroni Kenshin! You might as well include a link for Samurai Pizza Cats!

If we're really gonna insist on including Samurai Deeper Kyo, we'd also have to link the following at least...

Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran - at least this is a REAL chambara anime series!
Princess Mononoke - Magic, but no magic swords.
Ninja Scroll - Top of everyone's ninja anime list.
Animatrix - one nice sword training scene, plus a few more samurai-esque sequences...
Blood: The Last Vampire - having authentic Japanese steel is very important if you're gonna kill vampires!
Jubei-chan - cute schoolgirl possessed by the spirit of a warrior!
Ninja Scroll TV - The series based on Ninja Scroll
Ninja Resurrection - Not really a sequel to Ninja Scroll at all.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - here's where you'll find a lot of discussion of bushido!
Puppet Princess - Nice ninja action and some cool mecha, in the form of killer puppets built with wood, cloth, metal and human skin!
The Ninja Dragon - never seen it, but it's Go Nagai...
The Hakkenden - Dog Warriors?
Ninja Cadets - OK this is getting kinda silly...
Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma - this one features a battle with a demon horse!
Yotoden: Wrath of the Ninja - Magic Sword!
Real Bout Highscool - Hey, look, a samurai girl!
Love Hina - Hey, look, another samurai girl!

I'm sure I missed a couple....
dwhudson
post #4  on December 14, 2003 - 2:27 PM PST  

> Oh, and remember when someone listed NOIR in the anime recommendations for the Film Noir Primer?

Who would do such a thing?!

>Well, here I must object to the inclusion of Samurai Deeper Kyo...

Ah - very good. Seriously, this is just the sort of help I was looking for - *thanks*, hamano. Tomorrow, I'll take it off and add your excellent suggestions, including, if you don't mind, many of your comments. Yes?

Again: Thanks!
hamano
post #5  on December 14, 2003 - 2:45 PM PST  
> On December 14, 2003 - 2:27 PM PST dwhudson wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Ah - very good. Seriously, this is just the sort of help I was looking for - *thanks*, hamano. Tomorrow, I'll take it off and add your excellent suggestions, including, if you don't mind, many of your comments. Yes?

That's fine, but you should probably wait for more comments or look at some of the descriptions yourself... If we're going for genre purity and quality, you should probably just include Tsukikage Ran and the Ninja Scroll/Ninja Scroll TV titles in addition to Kenshin and the other one you picked. One might include Princess Mononoke and arguably Millennium Actress too, for the realistically garbed samurai warriors. The rest of my selections are a bit "tongue in cheek" or similar to Samurai Deeper Kyo (slashing demons with katana).

Maybe someone should just make a LIST out of these, and you can link to that...

Fellow anime fans, please add your comments!
dwhudson
post #6  on December 15, 2003 - 2:18 AM PST  

> Maybe someone should just make a LIST out of these, and you can link to that...

Yes, that'd be ideal; for now, I'll just tweak that section and keep my eyes open for input. Thanks again.
hamano
post #7  on December 15, 2003 - 6:25 AM PST  
Oh, and you really MUST include a link to Red Sun, that fun attempt to marry chambara to the spaghetti western, starring all those Eoliano icon wannabes, Charles Bronson, Alain Delon, and Toshiro Mifune (the winner!). It's not a great great film by any means, but it's definitely worth a look, more than Samurai Deeper Kyo anyway...
Eoliano
post #8  on December 15, 2003 - 9:49 AM PST  
> starring all those Eoliano icon wannabes, Charles Bronson, Alain Delon, and Toshiro Mifune (the winner!).

Charles Bronson? As Harmonica, perhaps.

ColonelKong
post #9  on December 15, 2003 - 10:07 AM PST  
> On December 15, 2003 - 6:25 AM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Oh, and you really MUST include a link to Red Sun, that fun attempt to marry chambara to the spaghetti western, starring all those Eoliano icon wannabes, Charles Bronson, Alain Delon, and Toshiro Mifune (the winner!). It's not a great great film by any means, but it's definitely worth a look, more than Samurai Deeper Kyo anyway...

I believe it's the only movie to team up a member of the Magnificent Seven with one of the Seven Samurai. I've never actually seen it.

A samurai-themed movie that I kind of like that isn't on DVD right now is John Frankenheimer's The Challenge/Sword of the Ninja (that retitling is rather odd as there are no ninjas in the film), starring Scott Glenn and Eoliano's avatar. It's a slightly odd film in that it has a samurai clan straight out of the 18th century in the early 1980s, and a climactic battle in a futuristic office complex in which pieces of office equipment like staplers and fax machine cables are used as weapons! I wouldn't call it a great movie, it's no Seconds or The Manchurian Candidate (The first American movie to have a fight scene in which an Asian form of martial arts was used? When I saw a 35mm print of the movie a couple of years ago, some people laughed at the Frank Sinatra/Henry Silva fight, but it's actually a pretty good fight scene for it's time), but it's far from being one of Frankenheimer's duds.

dwhudson
post #10  on December 15, 2003 - 11:17 AM PST  
Ok, did a bit of tweaking, but more suggestions are more than welcome! Thanks again!
hneline1
post #11  on December 15, 2003 - 5:41 PM PST  
> On December 14, 2003 - 2:45 PM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
...
> If we're going for genre purity and quality, you should probably just include Tsukikage Ran and the Ninja Scroll/Ninja Scroll TV titles in addition to Kenshin and the other one you picked.

I agree that Tsukikage Ran is a good anime pick for this genre. But Ninja Scroll is just as fantastical as Samurai Deeper Kyo, IMHO, just better quality. It's not even about samurai or bushido. Personally I think it's fine to keep it in the primer, but not as number one.

>The rest of my selections are a bit "tongue in cheek" or similar to Samurai Deeper Kyo (slashing demons with katana).

Hm, yeah... most of them. However, I'd suggest The Hakkenden as a good primer pick too. Sure, "dog warriors", but we're not talkin' werewolves here. It's based on actual medieval literature and it's ALL about giri and familial loyalty to one's lord and the warrior code. It's definitely a different breed than the other ones mentioned.

> Maybe someone should just make a LIST out of these, and you can link to that...

dozo, hamano-hakase! :-)

oh, and dwhudson, I'd remove "The Samurai" from the primer picks too. I haven't seen it myself but by reading the description, it looks bad. Really bad. Like Hunt for the Sword bad. Like Ninja Resurrection bad. Like Kung Pow Enter the Fist bad...

ok, back to lurking...
hamano
post #12  on December 15, 2003 - 7:15 PM PST  
> On December 15, 2003 - 5:41 PM PST hneline1 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I agree that Tsukikage Ran is a good anime pick for this genre. But Ninja Scroll is just as fantastical as Samurai Deeper Kyo, IMHO, just better quality. It's not even about samurai or bushido. Personally I think it's fine to keep it in the primer, but not as number one.

I included Ninja Scroll because it has that one really cool sword duel in the bamboo forest with that blind swordsman guy. The opening fight on the bridge is pretty good too, as I recall. And it's on a lot of Top Ten lists and Must Sees.

I'd put Tsukikage Ran first, maybe, because it's probably the most authentic chambara style anime series. It even has an authentic 60's-TV-chambara style theme song! Kenshin OAV second, Kenshin TV third, then Ninja Scroll...

> oh, and dwhudson, I'd remove "The Samurai" from the primer picks too. I haven't seen it myself but by reading the description, it looks bad. Really bad. Like Hunt for the Sword bad.

Hmm... no one knows how bad it is, and no one really wants to rent it to find out...It might be okay....AnimeOnDVD gives it a B in their review. But then again, they also give Samurai: the Hunt for the Sword a B... If this is the one that's based on a video game, it was horrible (I actually have a copy my sister sent me from Japan somewhere...yech!). The people in it took turns speaking with loooong pauses in between, just like characters in a game...

Maybe leave "The Samurai" there until some poor sucker rents it and reviews it!
dwhudson
post #13  on December 16, 2003 - 12:58 AM PST  
> ...I'd suggest The Hakkenden as a good primer pick too.

Heavens, the cover alone is gorgeous! And your comments are highly quotable, too, so in it goes. [g]

> oh, and dwhudson, I'd remove "The Samurai" from the primer picks too.

Will do. It's a one-for-one switch - thanks!
dwhudson
post #14  on December 16, 2003 - 1:00 AM PST  

> I'd put Tsukikage Ran first, maybe, because it's probably the most authentic chambara style anime series. It even has an authentic 60's-TV-chambara style theme song! Kenshin OAV second, Kenshin TV third, then Ninja Scroll...

I've got this quirkly, probably unhealthy thing with chronological order. Ridiculous, I know, but there you go.
hneline1
post #15  on December 29, 2003 - 12:49 AM PST  
> On December 15, 2003 - 7:15 PM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
...
> > oh, and dwhudson, I'd remove "The Samurai" from the primer picks too. I haven't seen it myself but by reading the description, it looks bad. Really bad. Like Hunt for the Sword bad.
>
> Hmm... no one knows how bad it is, and no one really wants to rent it to find out...It might be okay....AnimeOnDVD gives it a B in their review. But then again, they also give Samurai: the Hunt for the Sword a B...
...
> Maybe leave "The Samurai" there until some poor sucker rents it and reviews it!
> ---------------------------------

"Poor sucker" reporting here. The Samurai is bad. Like Hunt for the Sword bad. Like DNA2 bad. Like anything with fanservice and nothing else bad. I guess someone can give it a B for that genre if they like that stuff and appreciate late 80's comedy -- I would give it a C or a D, personally. I'm just glad we took it off the primer suggestions list 'cause it certainly ain't chambara! :-)
KPman1
post #16  on September 2, 2004 - 1:12 AM PDT  
The Primer maybe should include Lady Snowblood.

How could the rec list not have one Lone Wolf movie?
Surely, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx is worthy. It's more relevant than the Street Fighter.
Hallucination
post #17  on October 3, 2004 - 5:22 PM PDT  
> On September 2, 2004 - 1:12 AM PDT KPman1 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> The Primer maybe should include Lady Snowblood.
>
> How could the rec list not have one Lone Wolf movie?
> Surely, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx is worthy. It's more relevant than the Street Fighter.
> ---------------------------------

Hi guys, Allen here. Sorry I haven't weighed in on this topic until now.

Just so you know, I did NOT make the recommendation list -- that David's department. And my original lengthy article, which David smartly edited down to primer length, is specifically about samurai film before 1970 -- so though I do mention the "Lone Wolf" movies, they were outside of the scope of the original article. Nor do the "Lone Wolf" films meet my criteria of "post-war" samurai films I wrote about -- although very entertaining, they are more like exploitation films than thoughtful musings on Japanese culture. As far as "Lone Wolf"-like films, I personally prefer the "Zatoichi" movies, and find Shitaro Katsu to be one of the greatest personalities of the genre. He's just like a yakuza Columbo, pretending to be dumber and more harmless than he actually is. By the way, I hated Beat Takeshi's reworking of his character, which completely missed the boat on Zatoichi's humanism behind his speedy blade. Anyway, the recommendation list covers wider ground than I originally did (and personally, I would add a few titles, such as the recent "Samurai Fiction," a charming tribute to '50s and '60s chambara eiga), but I don't think it's meant to be exhaustive, just a starting point, just like our other brilliant primers.

BTW, if you live in the SF Bay Area, KTSF (channel 26 on my cable box) runs an hour long sword-soap-opera series called "Shinsengumi!" every Sat. night at 9:30-ish or so. Though its view of history is idealized, it's pretty damn cool, and covers that great period of internal political feuding, the Meiji era, in which various private militias wrestled for internal control of Japan. Episodes veer between political manuvering and straight-up gang sword battles.
Eoliano
post #18  on October 3, 2004 - 6:35 PM PDT  
> As far as "Lone Wolf"-like films, I personally prefer the "Zatoichi" movies, and find Shitaro Katsu to be one of the greatest personalities of the genre. He's just like a yakuza Columbo, pretending to be dumber and more harmless than he actually is.

Having seen most of the Zatoichi series (including several when they were initially released) I couldn't agree with you more, while Lone Wolf and Cub, though entertaining, easily falls short by comparison.

> By the way, I hated Beat Takeshi's reworking of his character, which completely missed the boat on Zatoichi's humanism behind his speedy blade.

Being a Kitano fan I wouldn't go quite that far, but you're absolutely right on that count, though it is a shame considering that several of Kitano's earlier films have those humanistic qualities which were lacking in his reading of the character, though not necessarily lacking in the film itself.

> Anyway, the recommendation list covers wider ground than I originally did (and personally, I would add a few titles, such as the recent "Samurai Fiction," a charming tribute to '50s and '60s chambara eiga), but I don't think it's meant to be exhaustive, just a starting point, just like our other brilliant primers.

Samurai Fiction didn't catch my fancy, while it seemed somewhat amusing, it was too much of a broad parody for my taste, and as a result, an almost forgettable film.

Nevertheless, the Samurai Primer remains my all-time favorite, so good work and thanks very much!
hamano
post #19  on October 3, 2004 - 7:24 PM PDT  
> On October 3, 2004 - 5:22 PM PDT Hallucination wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> BTW, if you live in the SF Bay Area, KTSF (channel 26 on my cable box) runs an hour long sword-soap-opera series called "Shinsengumi!" every Sat. night at 9:30-ish or so. Though its view of history is idealized, it's pretty damn cool, and covers that great period of internal political feuding, the Meiji era, in which various private militias wrestled for internal control of Japan. Episodes veer between political manuvering and straight-up gang sword battles.

I saw the pilot and the first few episodes of this in Japan at the beginning of the year. It stars Shingo Katori as Isami Kondo, the leader of the Shinsengumi. Katori is one of the boys from the popular boy idol band SMAP (think Japanese *NSYNC) whose earnest but wooden acting only served to accentuate the show's odd tone... historical drama shot through with campy anachronism and modern humor... which also applies to Zatoichi and Samurai Fiction but in this case just seemed silly.

Shinsengumi! pales in comparison to another NHK Taiga drama series from the '80s, Miyamoto Musashi starring the very young Koji Yakusho as the legendary swordsman.
Eoliano
post #20  on October 3, 2004 - 7:46 PM PDT  
> Shinsengumi! pales in comparison to another NHK Taiga drama series from the '80s, Miyamoto Musashi starring the very young Koji Yakusho as the legendary swordsman.

It would indeed be a treat to see that series. Indeed, indeed, indeed!
page  1  2      prev | next

about greencine · donations · refer a friend · support · help · genres
contact us · press room · privacy policy · terms · sitemap · affiliates · advertise

Copyright © 2005 GreenCine LLC. All rights reserved.
© 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. Portions of content provided by All Movie Guide®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.