DCAU #40: Day of the Samurai

IN THIS ONE... Batman and Kyodai have a rematch during a volcano eruption.

CREDITS: Written by Steve Perry; directed by Bruce Timm.

REVIEW: I like the idea of Kyodai, even if he never truly emerges as a great character, and it's fun to see Batman the International Hero, flying to Japan to help his old sensei. Plenty of martial arts in what is essentially a martial arts plot about finding or overcoming the Best Technique(TM). There's a nice Japanese feel to the music and images, and the battle royale waged on an active volcano is pretty epic. I was surprised to see so many subtitles, which really made the story feel more adult, and possibly primed us for the suicidal climax. Sure, they allow for the Ninja's escape, but it's unlikely, and he doesn't appear again.

The Way of the Fang is a lethal style that includes a death touch, and you know Kyodai is sure to try it. The amount of tension in these scenes really depends on whether or not you understand what Batman is up to when he fondles Kyodai's practice dummy. The Bat's solution seems pretty obvious, even if he does play dead rather well. But the fatal pressure point is...the heart? THAT is way too obvious, considering any part of the body was possible. I'm also fairly disappointed about Kairi, the sensei's new star pupil, who alternates between great fighter and damsel in distress, as required by the plot. I'd have liked her to be more central, perhaps in a Robin-like role, or even be Katana. But watch for her to turn up again...

And finally, I have to comment on Alfred's Captain Boomerang-themed kimono. There. I've commented on it.

IN THE COMICS: Still a surprise that Kyodai was never made into a comic book character, as it seems a natural concept.

SOUNDS LIKE: Sensei Yoru is this time played by Goh Misawa, who is really more a musician than he is an actor. Kairi is voiced by Julia Kato, best known for playing Kimi Finster's mother, on Rugrats.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A fair episode, slightly repetitive in its action, but with some good Japanese atmosphere to prop it up.



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