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LOVE the opening shot on the mask!
This was an episode I had been waiting for ever since I had read about the second season introducing Japanese gargoyles. Actually, this clan managed to make itself distinctive in more ways than mere physicality (although, even that was unique--Japanese gargoyles seem to have a profusion of horns, spurs and juts, and I love the "dragon-dog"). Their facing inward was an excellent touch, as was connecting them to samurai. Actually, this ep was the first place I'd ever heard about Bushido.
I never really picked up on the parrallels between this and AWAKENING until you mentioned them some time ago, Greg. Now, I can hardly understand how I missed them. Maybe because I never took Taro as seriously as Xanatos--I mean, c'mon...a theme park?! Xanatos wants immortality and his own super team. No contest, man. And whereas Demona was focused on "getting rid of the humans," Yama wants just the opposite: greater contact. Unfotunately, he seems to want it not just in his own lifetime, but immediately. Haste makes waste, I guess.
However, this time out, I really noticed the similarity between Kai and Goliath. Even in physicality--they've got the same damn chin!
Actually, I was quite surprised to see a couple gargoyles that looked even bigger and more muscular than Goliath.
And I do wish we had seen more of Sora. She had a very unique look (and not just because she's the only two-toed gargoyle I've seen). Exotic and beautiful. The chance of a guest appearance by her alone is enough to make me want "BAD GUYS" on the air. And she's Yama's mate! That guy didn't know how good he had it!
Of course, the biggest thing was the fact that the humans and gargoyles were buddies. It was nice to actually see gargs being able to stand in the street rubbing shoulders with the human inhabitants. One does wonder how it remains "the best kept secret in Japan" if they occasionally capture crooks from out of town (like the ones we meet at the beginning). I guess if a town has "monsters" on its side you'd just as soon leave and forget about it.
Yama and Taro's little asides indicate early on that they're up to something. It's very easy here--and later on with his rather stand-offish attitude--to assume Yama is as complete a villain as Taro. But Yama really does want a better life for his clan (and his kind in general), and that's probably why he remains blind to Taro's true nature until he hears about the press.
I, too, love Goliath's line, "And you will solve this problem by charging admission." I also love Taro's reaction--he ignores it.
"Gargoyle must not fight gargoyle!" I had never seen "Planet of the Apes" before this, so I didn't get that little tribute initially. Instead, it seemed like a further indication of the Ishimura clan's cultural distinctiveness--that they have some sort of "law" specifically stating this.
Hiroshi's sacrifice (of his car). Having been through three accidents myself (and with my brother's poor car being totalled this past weekend), I feel so sorry for Hiroshi here. I love the way he asks, "Is this the only way?"
Actually, Hiroshi seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about him. "Excuse me. I was looking for the snack bar."
It took me a while before I got the "TV stars" joke.
One bit I really started noticing recently is when Kai says to Yama something along the lines of, "You helped build this, so YOU may stay." Nowadays, that bit seems to indicate the "start" of Yama's exile.
What did that little gargoyle-head that Taro pulled do? Set off a silent alarm of some kind?
Taro dresses as a Samurai--even while deriding Bushido.
The electric fans are an excellent touch (and I love the shot of Taro passing them in front of his face).
Yama partially redeems himself here by taking on Taro. He sure is tough--look at the way he takes both fans on the shoulders! However, there is a moment in here I can't help but laugh at--Yama says, "He's mine" and squares off against Taro, only to be knocked down by an electric blast within five seconds.
For a character as arrogant as Taro (and that arraogance is part of the reason he failed), his humiliating "press conference" is an excellent punishment. And, of course, Elisa and Hiroshi don't help him (it's great the way they just throw themselves into their little act). And the Frank Welker-goylebot is just great.
Like Todd, I have to question Taro's holding the press conference at dawn. I suppose Taro just wanted to be sure the gargoyles didn't have any real time to escape, but if so it was a wasted effort.
Some other random thoughts:
Taro was voiced by an actor named James Saito. I'm wondering if this is the same James Saito who starred in the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie as the Shredder (the body, his voice was dubbed by another actor).
RE: Taro and Bruno having the same type of dart gun. Check the bottom--it's probably got "Made in Japan" stamped on it. ;-)
You don't consider being a "living walkaround character in a theme park" hell? I know I would!
It would have been nice to have some Japanese language in this ep (people forget that "Batman: The Animated Series" managed to pull it off), but at least samurai and Bushido were brought up.
I love how Yama JUST dodges the knife.
And Elisa in a kimono. 'Nuff said.
I really do enjoy this episode, and am only sad that we couldn't see more of Yama, Sora and the rest of the clan (here or in "Bad Guys").
Technically, the line is a tribute to "BATTLE FOR the Planet of the Apes".