Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Even as news breaks that the strange pseudo-documentary sendup of Japanese kaiju movies and TV shows, Big Man Japan (aka Dai Nipponjin) is getting an uncalled-for US remake, writer/director/star Hitoshi Matsumoto has a new film opening in Japan. This week sees the bow of Saya Zamurai, aka Scabbard Samurai, a very strange-looking comedy set in feudal Japan. There is a trailer (sans English) available now, and you can see it below.
You can get some of the basics from this trailer: the samurai with no sword (hence, one assumes, ‘scabbard samurai’) and the strange comedic tone. You might be able to infer some of the details of the plot, in which a bespectabled old samurai (Takaaki Nomi) deserts his clan, dragging along his shamed daughter. He is captured, and has thirty days to make a dour young lord laugh. And so the setup becomes: game show laughs, or seppuku. His efforts seem to escalate in scope and outrageousness as the days fall away and his plight becomes more hopeless.
I don’t know what to expect from the film — Big Man Japan was alternately inspired and a bit dull, and I haven’t seen his second film, Symbol — but Hitoshi Matsumoto is already a filmmaker who seems to be worth watching. See what you make of the trailer: