“Unite the Seven Samurai”



So, okay, this is way off topic for this video game blog but… I just finished watching Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai with our own Black Humor Mage. What a cinematic masterpiece. Much has already been said of Seven Samurai’s incredible atmosphere, presentation and cinematography, so I won’t belabor a review here.

Now, what may not end up being anything close to it is the upcoming Justice League films, directed by Zack Snyder. Because, love him or hate him, most people are doubtful that he’s got the directorial chops to execute a film like Seven Samurai.

However, that didn’t stop him from making the statement that his version of the Justice League with its seven founding members will be inspired by Seven Samurai. Eloquent as always, the director of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice said “I’m getting ready to start ‘Justice League’ on the 11th of April, so in like two weeks we start shooting and it’s an intense, awesome, and gigantic undertaking because Bruce [Wayne] is having to go out and sort of ‘Seven Samurai’ the Justice League together, which is fun.

Fun. Hopefully his finished product will capture something of the scale of Kurosawa’s legacy. But more intriguingly, I thought I’d take a shot at identifying which of the seven samurai gathered by the doomed farmers corresponds to which member of the Justice League’s seven founding members. Maybe you can hazard your own theories if you’ve seen Kurosawa’s film. Here’s what we came up with:

Kambei Shimada is Kal-El, Superman
Shaving off his hair and posing as a monk to disarm and dispose of a thief holding a child hostage early in the film, Kambei exudes strength and confidence. The audience feels at ease when he is on screen. He is the parent, calm and meek with focused strength. He is the first ronin to be enlisted by the farmers and agrees to aid them in their plight purely for humanitarian reasons.

Kyuzo is Bruce Wayne, Batman
Undoubtedly the coolest of all the seven, Kyuzo, an older man, is first seen dueling a man, killing him with a single strike, though he is never brash and hasty but always silent, cool, collected, thoughtful, and stoic. He is one of the most highly skilled members of the group. He even wears a dark kimono!

Shichiroji is Diana Prince, Wonder Woman
If you’ll pardon the gender-swamp (Kurosawa’s work doesn’t include any female samurai), I chose Shichiroji as Wonder Woman because he was an old friend of Kambei with a military history as lieutenant. He serves as Kambei’s right hand man in the upcoming battles, and Kambei even refers to Shichiroji in jest as “old wife”. When Kambei says they may die this time, Shichiroji just smiles. Definitely Wonder Woman.

Katsushiro Okamoto is Barry Allen, the Flash
The youngest of the seven, Katsushiro is brave but a little foolhardy, vacant-minded while intense, hasty even and quick to love. He even runs about delivering messages and orders during the opening engagements of the battle between with the raiders. Impressed with Kambei and wanting to be his disciple, he joins the farmer’s cause, and later becomes totally awed by Kyuzo’s skill and humility. A picture of youth. Is he the fastest of the samurai?

Heihachi Hayashida is Hal Jordan, Green Lantern
I’ll be honest, Heihachi was hard to place, as he steps out of the narrative early in the battle. He’s recruited while chopping wood and bragging that he can cut down enemies just as easily. While a bit of a braggart, Heihachi has a kind of charm to him and brings some levity to the group. Less skilled of a warrior than the others, Heihachi makes up for that by supporting the cause with his personality and cheer.

Kikuchiyo is Arthur Curry, Aquaman
I almost switched Kikuchiyo for Hal Jordan instead, as his loud-mouth abrasiveness and impulsive attitude seem to lend more to that character, but here’s why I chose Aquaman. First, Kikuchiyo catches a fish with his bare hands. Second, Kikuchiyo’s family history is dubious. Third, he’s masquerading as a samurai when he really isn’t one. Fourth, he has a massive sword that reminds me of Arthur’s trident. Fifth, his anger and sudden rage seem to match Aquaman’s harsh attitude against surface-dwellers (in some incarnations). And Sixth, it seems like Aquaman’s portrayal by brudda Jason Mamoa in Justice League will be more of a rough and raucous tough-guy than the typical goody-two-shoes or silent stoic of other versions of Aquaman.

Gorobei Katayama is Victor Stone, Cyborg
Recruited directly by Kambei himself, Gorobei is a skilled archer and strategist who helps with devising plans and defenses for the village. Cyborg is well-equipped with multiple projectile weapons and so is Gorobei. What’s more, Gorobei always seems youthful and chipper to me, optimisticly youthful. As a master planner, Gorobei helps as the brain of the team.

Any other ideas on that? Maybe I’m wrong! But probably not.

-The Well-Red Mage


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2 replies »

  1. Well, having seen the film ages ago.. & having taken some loo time to recall fully the characters.. I cannot dispute your findings thus in any way… Well Done Sir!

    Liked by 1 person

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