I’m too anxious to catch up to “Stardust Crusaders.” I can’t stay patient with this pace. Also, it was getting a little redundant to find different ways to re-phrase how ridiculous, good and, at many times, ridiculously good this show is. So, I’ll chew through the rest of this season in chunks. It feels just that much more frenetic that way.
Anyway, as we continue to figure out where this show fits in genre fiction’s whole train of influence, it’s worth noting that this batch of episodes really made me think of the ROAD WARRIOR. Obviously, that one flick had tremendous influence on pop culture, inspiring everything from WATERWORLD to JOJO’s contemporary, FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, to… well… a good 50% of wrestling gimmicks in the 80’s. On surface level, you might liken the… threatening sexuality of Wez to that of the Pillar Men, but I think the more profound connection is also more subtle.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: George Miller, the director of MAD MAX, started his filmmaking career with a flick called VIOLENCE IN CINEMA that actually spoofed the kind of gory movies he’d later be known for. And I think the reason ROAD WARRIOR made such an impression was because Miller had picked apart action cinema so thoroughly that he understood exactly what to with every competent when he made a serious actioner. Having a healthy sense of humor about all the derring-do - - as opposed to being overly dour about it - - probably helped, too.
I feel like Araki’s done the same thing here. The most striking part about this story is that - - if you take away all the comedy bumps - - it’s still a tightly plotted pulp adventure. The threats are constantly escalating. The reversals are surprising. Tension is infused into even the most seemingly mundane exercise. It just also happens to be funny. I previously called it the shonen antitode, but now it really looks more like an antidote to overly self-service thrillers like GHOST IN THE SHELL, TEXHNOLYZE and GUNSLINGER GIRL are. It’s giving you your cake, and letting eat it, too.
Last point, while we’re keeping tally on all the references - - is one of the Pillar Men really named for Wham? The references to AC/DC, Lisa Lisa and the Cars were easy enough to pick up on, but that one wasn’t so obvious. Tell me, lunatics - - did I guess correctly?