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Old 14-09-2009, 12:39 AM   #1   [permalink]
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Sword of the Stranger

Any of you guys watch this one?

A young boy, Koutarou, is being hunted by some warriors from China. He escapes with his dog, and runs into a nameless ronin, whom Koutarou hires to guide him to safety. Many sword fights ensue.

This is a great film, particularly if you love samurai duking it out in flashy fight sequences. The music is fantastic as well, as long as you don't mind the beautiful main theme running almost constantly for the last half hour. I liked it, so it was fine, lol. The characters are fun, especially the badass Nanashi ("No Name," the ronin Koutarou hires). There's also some emotional depth to his past (naturally) which results in one of the better flashback sequences I've seen in quite awhile. Tobimaru is truly awesome, by the way.

So what do you think of the ending? It's left completely ambiguous and open to interpretation. On the one hand, I get the horrible impression that Nanashi dies, from the drops of blood to the way his eyes sink closed to the expression Koutarou gets for a split second. This is his chance for redemption, after all, so if he died here it would be a fitting and honorable samurai death. And then there's the cliche discussion of what they were going to do in the future, which is practically a blazing sign screaming out that he's dying and they're not going to do any of it.

At the same time, though, I really, really don't want him to die, so I've been trying frantically to rationalize all that stuff away. The blood drops in combination with the tracks from the hooves and puppy paws are just a symbol that he, the horse, and the dog are moving in the same direction, towards the future. His eyes sink closed because he's freakin' exhausted after running half a day into a battle to save Koutarou's life. Koutarou has that expression because he's touched that Nanashi is depending on him, or because he's worried, but the expression quickly fades as he becomes determined to help Nanashi; if Nanashi was really dying, then the expression would have lasted longer, right?! And why would they makes such a point of that "treasure" saving Nanashi's life if he dies just a short time later?! Besides, maybe they're talking about the future because they're actually gonna do that stuff!! Maybe, dammit all!!

What do you guys think? Provide me with more rationalizations, because I've really seen too much depressing anime lately and I want to be uplifted by the thought of Nanashi and Koutarou riding off into the sunset in a happy ending.

Otherwise I'm gonna cry.
Run away!

Last edited by dheu; 14-09-2009 at 12:43 AM.
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