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Dated 1 December 2003: Kaze no Yojimbo

A rogue group thankfully subbed Kaze no Yojimbo Episode 23. They mistakenly cropped off the tops and bottoms of the frame (the opening and closing credits are letterboxed, but the show itself is 4:3), but at least it got subbed. Two more episodes to go.

Dated 7 May 2004: Kaze no Yojimbo

I got the first Kaze no Yojimbo DVD today. I've only given it a quick look thus far, but from what I've seen, it's pretty damn nice. First of all, M-Lock case. FUCKING AWESOME. Second, five episodes on the disc. Nice. Third, good looking cover art and a Stratos 4 insert. Yes.

Kodama George
Kodama George

For those of you unfamiliar with the show itself, Kaze no Yojimbo is a fairly serious tale about a drifter, Kodama George, who comes to the small town of Kimujuku in search of answers to mysteries from his past. In the course of events, he gets caught up in the local feud between the Ginzame and Tanokura groups, and ends up playing both factions against each other. As you probably guessed, it's based on Yojimbo, the classic Akira Kurosawa movie.

Tanokura Miyuki
Tanokura Miyuki

Caught in the struggle is Tanokura Miyuki, the daughter of the head of the Tanokura group. She features prominently in the opening credits, but there's actually much less whimsical interaction between Miyuki and George than the opening montage would lead one to believe.

Dated 15 August 2004: Kaze no Yojimbo

Bandai has released its third region one Kaze no Yojimbo DVD. As with disc two, the third DVD contains four episodes, suggesting that Kaze no Yojimbo will be a six-disc series. I think they should have gone with a five-disc release, putting five episodes on each DVD like they did with the first disc.

Bandai may have hurt the potential sales of the later discs by dropping to four-episode discs, since the four episodes on the second DVD are arguably the weakest in the whole series. (For example, the casino episode, and the "treasure" episode.) I know many people lost patience with the series during that span and gave up on the show.

I imagine many casual DVD buyers might also lose interest with the series after disc two, and not buy the remaining DVDs, not knowing that the show really picks up around episode 13 or so. I think these consumers would be more likely to continue buying the DVDs if these early discs were better values.

The Kaze no Yojimbo trailer Bandai is putting on their other DVDs (currently available on the official website) is pretty good, though. However, the trailer downplays some of the show's real strengths (the plot and the intrigue) and overstates the action sequences (which really aren't particularly good).

Dated 2 August 2005: Kaze no Yojimbo + On Sabbatical. Be back later.

Kodama George
Traveling. Itinerary not conducive to watching anime.

Kodama George and Tanokura Miyuki
So long.

P.S. Y'all should watch Kaze no Yojimbo, eh.

Dated 7 November 2005: Still on Sabbatical

So, this sabbatical is going on a little longer than I planned. Everything is copacetic unless I run out of money, though.

In any case, I've started a little bit of anime-type catching up, but I've been avoiding anime blogs, message boards, and the IRC to avoid spoilers. Hey, what can I say, sometimes I don't give a damn about spoilers, sometimes I'm neurotically fastidious about avoiding them. Right now it's the latter.

[Update: I understand that this has nothing to do with Kaze no Yojimbo, but I don't care to fix it at this time.]

Dated 14 February 2007: Everything I know about women I learned from Bing Crosby

She may be weary.

George and Miyuki

Young girls they do get weary

Dominic and Anemone

Wearing that same old shabby dress.


And when she gets weary

Dominic and Anemone

Try a little tenderness.

Miyuki and George

It's not just sentimental.

Asuka and Kaji

She has her grief and care.

Minmay and Hikaru

And a word that's soft and gentle

George and Miyuki

Makes it easier to bear.

Dated 4 December 2009: Admitting to an anime perversion

Su, Naru, Shinobu, Motoko, and Kitsune in the Love Hina ED
This was considered pretty good quality at the time.

All right, here goes: I never skip the opening and closing credits of any episode of anime I watch. That's right, I watch every single OP and ED of every single episode, even for episodes I've already seen before. The only time I skip an OP or ED is when the encode does not include them (as with many of these old ass Love Hina first-generation digisubs that I am sort of re-watching right now).

Shimizu dancing in the rain
I admit dancing in the rain helped Shimizu win Best Girl of the Year.

Nearly every single time I've made the admission, the response has been incredulous. Yes, I know it's a very simple matter to set up a hotkey that jumps the video ahead 90 seconds (plus, better containers and, you know, actual store-bought discs permit you to chapter skip), but I don't watch every OP and ED because I'm too lazy or ignorant to skip them. I watch them every time because I consider them part of the show.

Keiichi and Belldandy in the first ED of the Aa! Megami-sama animated series
All right, I haven't bought the Ah! My Goddess series DVDs yet, okay?
At least I've purchased The Adventures of Mini-Goddess,
the OVA, the movie, and the manga already.

And since I consider OPs and EDs part of the show, how much I like or dislike an OP or ED affects how much I like the show as a whole. Disliking the Lucky Star OP is one of the reasons I've never finished watching the series. I do find Lucky Star a little boring (and I straight-up dislike Lucky Channel), but I probably would have finished watching it by now if I really liked the OP instead. Likewise, I am grateful the Macademi Wasshoi OP is horrible, because it guaranteed I would find the series not just terrible, but completely unwatchable after the first episode.

I like First Winry better even though she doesn't
have massive hips or manhands.

However, since I consider OPs and EDs "part of the show," does this mean I consider OPs and EDs canon? Well, no, although I suspect there are times we would all like to think of scenes depicted within OPs and EDs as canonical. For example, Shimizu dancing in the rain during Major season four, or the Winry's-daily-life EDs from either of the Fullmetal Alchemist series. These sequences are reasonably plausibly canon—as much so as the Aa! Megami-sama TV "date" ED which we know from the manga is canon.

George and Miyuki in the Kaze no Yojimbo OP
A bodyguard and his poor little rich girl.

What about ones like the Kaze no Yojimbo OP? Depending on your point of view, it might be nice to think those events actually happened, and from a certain perspective I can see how it's at least plausible, but I think it's more likely the scenes are pure misdirection—perhaps to divert some attention from what the show is really about. Not that OPs and EDs can't include misdirection and still be canon. Princess Tutu, I'm looking in your direction....

Ahiru as a duck. Unless you're ADV,
in which case it's Duck as a duck.

So what is worse? That I never skip OPs and EDs or that I care about them? Surely it's not that strange, is it? On days like these, I'm probably lucky I leave comments disabled.

Dated 30 June 2020: I guess I'm re-watching Kaze no Yojimbo

A lot of scenes look like manga panels, and I mean that in a good way.

Despite the number of times I've mentioned Kaze no Yojimbo here over the years, I've not actually re-watched the series since the final DVD came out in 2005. I have also not heard of the series being available on any streaming service, and the R1 DVDs are now out of print (although potentially still available). It's not clear to me how someone who wanted to watch the show for the first time today would go about it. I'm not even sure if piracy is a viable option, considering the show was never popular even in the early aughts.

You can tell Miyuki is important because she has anime hair.

With regard to the show itself, it has obvious parallels with Kurosawa's Yojimbo film. Curiously, I don't remember the promotional materials and professional reviews for Kaze no Yojimbo playing up that angle. Instead, I recall there was more of an effort to portray Kodama George (the titular bodyguard) as a sort of Spike Spiegel character. That is entirely inaccurate, and Bodyguard of the Wind bears no resemblance to Cowboy Bebop at all.

Miyuki and George
I don't think you're supposed to spread out like this on a Japanese train.

Clearly, I enjoy the show quite a bit, but not enough to re-watch it frequently. And I'm at a loss as to how to recommend the show. The answer is I can't recommend it. It's difficult to acquire and not really something with broad appeal. The first episode opens with a mystery, and multiple subsequent mysteries are layered on top of each other before any of them are resolved. It's also a 25-episode show that starts slowly. Even back when it was new, almost everyone quit watching it by the gambling episode, well before the series makes any progress with its plot.

Miyuki and George
The rural landscape consistently looks fantastic in Kaze no Yojimbo.

At least the ending is satisfying. (Well, I remember it being so when I last watched it 15 years ago.) Aside from being inspired by the Kurosawa film, Kaze no Yojimbo is not constrained by other sources (e.g., it doesn't adapt manga chapters or anything like that), so its ending feels pre-planned and deliberate. (That shouldn't be such a rare thing, but unfortunately weak endings and non-ending endings continue to plague anime today.) In any case, that's how I feel about the show's ending based on what I remember. I guess I'm going to find out if it still holds up in 2020.