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Time to ramble...
Chapter LIII: "Bushido"
Story Editor: Gary Sperling
Writer: Gary Sperling
Director: Dennis Woodyard
As with "Sentinel", which immediately proceeded this ep, the Previously scenes are all from "Awakening". Because again, we're going to use this episode to tell another story loaded with parallelism and "What ifs?"
My daughter Erin, who's seen this episode before of course -- but not recently, picked up on all of it immediately. Taro is a Japanese Xanatos. Kai a Japanese Goliath. Yama a Japanese Demona. Hiroshi a Japanese Elisa. Etc.
What if Xanatos' plan for the gargoyles had been more directly and publicly exploitive? What if Demona was tricked... but also maintained her sense of honor and need for redemption. And etc. Would things have worked out better or worse?
Fortunately, Goliath has (in a sense) been through all of this before. And fortunately, Taro is clever. But he's no Xanatos. So it all turns out all right.
But the parallels continue. Taro also parallels the Captain, and we even present a faux Wyvern to drive the Captain/Demona - Taro/Yama relationship home.
I also like how Yama uses Goliath as proof that the Ishimura Clan doesn't need to hide from the world. Goliath disabuses him of oversimplifying, but it reminds me of when Goliath cited Xanatos to Demona as proof that humans can be trusted.
Yama is great at spouting half-truths that he has thoroughly embraced. Or put another way, Yama is right about a lot. But has chosen a really poor road with which to pave his good intentions. (Not quite the road to Hell, but the road to being a living walkaround character in a theme park!)
LOTS O' LINES
Yama (bored): "Yes, I know. We're terrifying."
Kai: "It's the best kept secret in Japan."
Goliath: "And you believe this problem will be solved by charging admission?"
Taro: "I was always a poor student." (Understatement of the year. And I love how Kai tries to deny it. That's good manners, cuz you gotta figure that for once Taro is being honest -- disarmingly honest.)
Kai: "Gargoyle must not fight Gargoyle" (A conscious tribute, believe it or not, to the semi-seminal "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" and the line "Ape has killed Ape!")
Elisa: "If you don't hurry, you're gonna wind up TV Stars!"
Goliath (horrified): "NO!" (See, we always blamed Disney for GARGOYLES low corporate profile, but Goliath himself was uncooperative.)
Taro: "Nobody ever got rich off Bushido."
Taro again: "Who else needs lessons in courtesy?"
And Taro again: "Bushido is not kind to you, Yama."
Reporter: "You've watched too many cartoons."
Elisa: "But it's a start."
Most of our guest actors began our voice recording playing different roles. But part way through the recording, Jamie and I realized that we needed to start over. They were all good actors but we hadn't worked with most of them before. Once we actually heard the SOUND of their voices, we knew we had to do some switching.
My son Benny immediately noticed that Elisa spent the last half of Act One in a kimono. (I assume her regular outfit was being cleaned -- QUICKLY.) Again, Elisa looks good in anything.
Hey, we actually do get attacked by "EVIL NINJAS"!
Also notice that Taro purchased the same brand of Tranq Gun that Bruno uses for Xanatos.
I love the cultural difference that the Ishimuran Gargoyles face IN, instead of out.
I love how Goliath crumbles the faux stone castle walls.
Hiroshi and Elisa both have some really nice moves. But she's WAY better looking.
And how about those electrified fans of Taro's. VERY COOL. Credit for those go to Dennis Woodyard and his team. The script had electro-disks on Taro's palms. But the fans are much cooler than what I had pictured. (Though I am gonna use those palm disks someday.)
Just exactly how many domes did Taro build? When Elisa & Hiroshi are behind the main dome, there ALWAYS seems to be another dome behind them from every angle.
More damn automated cannons shooting up the place. Sometimes, we fell back on old standards.
Way at the beginning of the World Tour, we had a meeting to decide what we were going to do about foreign languages. The majority felt we should ignore them. (I was on the fence, myself.) So when we wrote and recorded Bushido, we used no actual Japanese. Later, Frank wanted to put the first section in Japanese (with subtitles) -- right up until Kai meets Goliath, and then begins speaking English as a courtesy to his new friend. I felt it would work great (though I sure wish he had brought it up earlier). I felt that even our youngest non-literate audience would be okay with it, since the situation being presented was VERY straight-forward and easy to figure out.
Unfortunately, Frank came up with his plan too late, and Disney didn't want to spend the additional money to rerecord everything. (Many felt it was a dubious creative choice, and the cost settled it.) But in general, I wish we had played with foreign languages more. In Bushido and other World Tour eps.
BUSHIDO IN ISHIMURA
We also were interested in showing that Goliath's vision for human/Gargoyle relations wasn't just a pipe dream. For centuries, humans and Gargoyles have protected each other and lived in peace in Ishimura. It's not a perfect system. The younger human generation has (as the ep opens) lost interest in learning the ways of Bushido. And threats to their little community will always exist, both from within and without. But we felt it was important to demonstrate that peace is possible. And by the end, the pact between human & gargoyle, which we sense had begun to be taken for granted, is renewed. And the study of Bushido will be resumed. This struck me so keenly -- i.e. the notion of young humans and gargoyles studying together in the ways of Bushido (which I view to some degree at least as the Japanese version of the Gargoyle Way), that I incorporated the idea into Gargoyles 2198. Eventually, Ishimura will train both gargoyles and humans from across the globe. The former as protectors, the latter -- as GUARDIANS. All proving that Goliath was a garg ahead of his time.
Yama popped for me a bit. We bulked him up and added him to BAD GUYS as a guy who really wanted to redeem himself for betraying his clan.
We also wanted to do an episode set in Japan for our Japanese Animation Studio. At one point, I noticed that this specific episode was scheduled to go to our Korean sub-contractor. This seemed insane to me, so we juggled some stuff so that WDTVA-Tokyo could do Bushido. And they did a VERY nice job with it.
AND WHO CAN FORGET THE ANIMATRONIC GIANT GARGOYLE
Frank Welker is a lot of fun playing this guy. I want to bring him back. Or them rather. And I love how Taro is stranded up there and then falls. And I love how he says, "Not now." when the Garg starts talking.
Anyway, there's my ramble... Where's yours?