Though still pretty solid, this episode wasn’t as mind-blowing as the last couple have been. That’s OK, though, because it actually brought my mind to a specific discussion topic that’s honestly better for commentary here than another rhapsodic spat of “Holy crap! This show is so awesome!”
Weirdly enough, “Lethal Lunacy” made me think of a movie I haven’t seen. Well, one I haven’t seen all of, to be precise.
See, last time I was in Chinatown, I went snooping around a video store for some anime and - - wouldn’t you know it? - - they were playing clips from IP MAN, the Donnie Yen flick about the folk hero taught Bruce Lee kung fu. The movie’s been accused of being borderline propaganda. I can’t vouch for that, since I haven’t seen all of it, but the clip they were playing certainly did have a very nationalistic bent. It showed Ip Mann beating the ever-lovin’ shit out of a karate master whilst monologing off-screen about how Japanese martial arts are inherently inferior to Chinese martial arts because Japanese culture is inherently inferior.
Now, since that flick was set in World War II, there were obviously far more serious issues swirling around that, so I’ll just keep this focused on the tit-for-tat between styles as they’ve popped up in pop products such as KILL BILL and, of course, SAMURAI CHAMPLOO. This show plays the rivalry up a bit more seriously than Pai-Mei’s scoffing screeds against “the exquisite art of the samurai sword,” but the sentiment between internal and external fight styles seems to be about the same.
I haven’t ever trained in Chinese systems myself (Western, Japanese, Thai, Filipino and Brazilian yes - - but not Japanese) but, thinking about it, the guys I know who have trained in Chinese arts always did talk a lot more about their breathing. Breathing’s sort of a synonym for “chi,” of course - - and chi’s been sensationalized pretty thoroughly in all of these shows. And, once again, I’m out of space and my interest in another historical topic has been piqued.
SAMURAI CHAMPLOO’s done it, again!
Watch this episode, "Lethal Lunacy” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.