Episode 318 – Lone Wolf and Cub

This week, we’re talking about one of the greatest cheesy samurai film franchises of all time. Just how did a series of films about one man and his baby mowing down legions of opponents become a pop culture legend? The story of how Lone Wolf and Cub became one of the greatest samurai film franchises ever is our final episode of 2019.


Here Patrick Macias’s excellent essay on the films for the Criterion Collection (which does a bunch of absolutely fantastic film essays).

Klein, Thomas. “Bounty Hunters, Yakuza, and Ronins: Intercultural Transformations between the Italian Western and Japanese Swordfight Film in the 1960s.” From Spaghetti Westerns at the Crossroads: Studies in Relocation, Transition and Appropriation.

Berndt, Jacqueline and Steffi Richter. Reading Manga: Local and Global Perceptions of Japanese Comics.

Images and Media

Here’s the trailer for Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (the first film). You can get a sense of what the film looks like from what you see here.

Below is one scene from the Western recut of the first two films (Shogun Assassin). You can get a sense of the stylistic difference between the two — personally, I prefer the originals, but maybe that just makes me a hipster snob.

A close up from the original manga of Ogami Itto and Daigoro.
Wakayama Tomisaburo as Ogami Itto. In addition to shooting all six Lone Wolf and Cub movies (and producing the last three) he would also appear in 10 other Toei films in the same time frame.
Another shot of Wakayama in character as Ogami, this one with Tomikawa Akihiro as Daigoro.
Wakayama Tomisaburo in his regular style.
The poster for Shogun Assassin.

1 thought on “Episode 318 – Lone Wolf and Cub”

  1. I can’t afford Disney+ so I’ve never seen The Mandalorian, but hearing you geek out about how it’s the same story is delightful.
    Since you’re talking about old manga, can you talk about why the hell Kochikame is the longest running and best selling manga ever. It ended in 2016 after four decades and I’m trying to wrap my head around what’s so special about it compared to something like Dr. Slump.

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