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Film / Orochi

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This guy must be terrible if everyone is trying to get him, right?
Orochi (雄呂血, "Serpent" in English) is a Japanese silent film from 1925. Like most Japanese silent films, it was originally accompanied by a live benshi narration.
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The film is a Jidaigeki, set during the Edo period of Japanese history. Heizaburo is a righteous Samurai who is in love with Namie, his master's beautiful daughter. Due to his low-class background, it only takes a series of misunderstandings to turn Heizaburo into a disgraced outcast. Meanwhile, he sees the rich and powerful get away with actual disgraceful behavior due simply to their status. Is there no justice in this world?

Originally, the film was going to be titled "Outlaw," but the Japanese censors of the time objected to an outlaw being portrayed as the hero. The title was changed to "Serpent," which confused the censors enough to get through.


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This film has the examples of:

  • Berserk Button: Just try insulting or threatening Namie while Heizaburo is around.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Heizaburo is taken away, but at least his beloved Namie has learned that he's a good guy, and she was saved from being raped.
  • Clear My Name: Heizaburo spends the whole film trying and failing to do this.
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: Heizaburo only becomes involved in actual criminal activity after he meets the Rat in jail.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Heizaburo is, in fact, a good and noble samurai, but as the film goes along, society just sees him more and more as a dangerous thug.
  • Jidaigeki: Set during the Edo period, specifically in the early 1700s.
  • Match Cut: When Heizaburo is first attracted to Ochio, a match fade compares her to Namie.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Heizaburo is arrested and charged with blackmail, despite the fact that he was actually refusing to take a bribe. Later, he is rearrested for starting a Bar Brawl, except actually he was trying to break it up. And that's not his last arrest either.
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  • Near-Rape Experience: The Rat's gang kidnaps Ochio and gives her to Heizaburo so that he can rape her. Feeling at this point that there is no justice in the world anyway, Heizaburo considers doing it, but the sight of Ochio crying convinces him to not go through with it.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The story of Heizaburo's life.
  • Rule of Pool: There are two fights in which someone falls into a nearby body of water.
  • Sex Slave: Jirozo has a habit of kidnapping local girls for this purpose.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Jirozo demands that Namie sleep with him or else he'll kill her husband.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Jirozo can do whatever he wants due to his wealth and power.
  • The Teetotaler: Namie is one, thus refusing the sake that Jirozo offers her.
  • That Liar Lies: Heizaburo, when he hears three samurai gossiping about his master supposedly being the Social Climber.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even as she shuns him like everyone else, Heizaburo remains loyal to Namie.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Jirozo is a respected lord, but it turns out he made his fortune by cheating at gambling and from human trafficking.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Even when he's a despised outlaw who could not be any more hated by society than he already is, Heizaburo continues to behave as much as possible like an honorable samurai.
  • You Rebel Scum!: Heizaburo is constantly referred to this way by authority figures.
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