Today we will talk about STAR WARS but not as usually seen...this time is "oriental view"!
Well, yes: my blog friend Alessandro Montosi, has allowed me to include in my space, that is a cross between East and West, this “version” of the famous film by George Lucas.
This article can be found also in his blog : http://alemontosi.blogspot.it/
I want to thanks Alessandro to let me speak about this theme very important to me!
I wish you good reading! :)
In 1977 came out in cinemas around the world Star Wars, now better known as Episode IV – A new hope. Directed by George Lucas, this movie is destined to become the founder of a great sci-fi saga, which is still continuing and active on several media fronts.
Proof of this, is the continued production of video games, animated series, novels and every other kind of product that helps to expand the fictional universe created by the filmmaker. This are the result of a big success movie which influenced strongly the science fiction cinema and also producing animated and internationally comics in particular in Japan is greeted with great enthusiasm and immediate influence on the animation of Japan, this creating a cultural exchange between the U.S. and Japan. As prevously Lucas also drew on the works and culture of the country of the Rising Sun for creating Star Wars.
For the creation of his film saga, in fact, Lucas took inspirations on lots of sources, mixing comic culture from american comics (Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers), fantasy movie and cinematography (western genre, the british horror from the presence of actors Peter Cushing and David Prowse) robot design of Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang, literature as the novel The War of the Worlds, psychological (edipic conflict between father and son) and religious (the Jedi Knight's Force).
As noted above, there were also lots of references to Japanese culture: in Akira Kurosawa The Hidden Fortress (1958) we can found the sequence of the “dialogue” between the two droids walking alone on the desert planet Tatooine, bickering and then rejoin after a series of events and their friendship became more stronger.
A similar sequence is in fact presented at the beginning of Kurosawa's film where two thieves walking in a desolate valley and then quarrel and divide but after coming together and being friends.
Obi Wan Kenobi is another point in common between the two movies: like tha character played by Toshiro Mifune in The Hidden Fortress, Kenobi is apparently an old man who live alone in the mountains, but in reality is a brave warrior.
Lucas confessed that he was inspired to strict code of honor of the samurai, in particular after watching the film Seven Samurai (1954).This movie impressed George Lucas as seen by the following words: “The first time I saw Seven samurai I was astounded by the extraordinary energy that came from the screen, it was an unforgettable cultural shock for me. (see Aldo Tassone, Akira Kurosawa, Il Castoro, 2004, p.77).
In the movie Kurosawa tells the story of a few samurai who accept the risky task of protecting a village of poor peasants from wild bandits. Although the farmers, apart from gratitude, do not have much to offer in payment, the samurai deicde to make this honorable mission, aware of the sufference of the peasants.
The term Jedi is inspired by the japanese word “jidai-geki” which is usually used to refer costume samurai's movie.
Another japanese reference is Darth Vader's face inspired by the helmet of the ancient samurai which most of the time covers the whole face of the wearer.
The japanese word for helmet is kabuto which was used by Go Nagai for the last name of the main character of Mazinger Z (Koji Kabuto) to emphasize how it represented the mind of the giant robot that must drive.
Given the presence of these references to Japanese culture it is therefore easier to understand how the saga of Lucas has been enthusiastically received in Japan, immediately becoming the object of citation in many anime.
Some of the most striking examples of these quotes can be found in the TV series robotics Daitarn 3 (broadcast in Japan from june 1978 to march 1979), where in the soundtrack there is a duel between two characters, the Haran Banjo and his meganoid enemy, both armed with a lightsaber, which is the traditional weapon of the Jedi Knight.
The fact that the original name of the japanese meganoids satellite is “Death Star” (the same name used in Star Wars for Giant Empire Weapon) makes it very clear what was the source of inspiration of Daitarn 3.
In other anime we can remember Gundam where the main character's weapon is a laser sword, Invincible Robo Trider G7 the evil lord Zakuron fight with a big laser sword. In the movie Adieu Galaxy Express 999 (1981) directed by Rin Taro, the main character Tetsuro has to fight against a robot knight called Faust which face is almost covered by an helmet. As we can remember also Luke Skywalker fight against his enemy without knowing who is hiding behind the helmet of his opponent.
Even after many years, the saga of Lucas continues to fascinate, influence and inspire artist Japanese, just think that at the end of the 90s were made of the manga adaptations of the three films of the classic trilogy, along with comic book version of the film Star Wars Episode I (1999) by Kia Asamiya (Silent Moebius and Dark Angel).
What we want to emphasize here is the description is how fascinating and potentially strong is the contact and cultural exchanges between the two countries apparently far away as the USA and Japan, but where artist can receive interest, passion and curiosity for works produced in other countries, enriching their culture and creating points of contact even sometimes there is fear or intolerance towards everything is apart from us.