Friday, April 4, 2008

Samurai Date Masamune by DiD

George Lucas has acknowledged the influence of Akira Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress" on "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope". Kurosawa was also famous for his many samurai films and the influence of the samurai is also evident in the Star Wars films as samurai, being members of the military class, were supposed to lead their lives according to the ethic code of bushido ("the way of the warrior") and stressed concepts such as loyalty to one's master, self discipline and respect as well as ethical behavior, much like the Jedi. The samurai's weapon of choice was the katana and the Jedi's, the lightsaber.

When the samurai went into battle, they had armour on them, wore helmets and face-masks and looked menacing. Darth Vader is like the SciFi version of the samurai warrior.

DiD released this figure of Date Masamune (September 5, 1567 – June 27, 1636), a Japanese samurai of the Date clan, famous for his crescent-moon helmet which gained him a fearsome reputation and made him stand out from other daimyo (great warlords in feudal Japan under the Shogun) of the time. He also wore an eye patch over his missing eye (smallpox robbed him of sight in his right eye), for which he was often called dokuganryū, the "one-eyed dragon."

DiD's samurai is simply stunning! The armour's design is intricate and layered individually at some places and to top it off, each piece is die-cast metal and not some cheap plastic! The design of the samurai armour was meant to be strong enough to provide adequate protection and yet light and flexible to permit free movement by a sword-fighter.

Samurai body armour (tosei gusoku) comprised one piece of metal for the chest and body, and another piece for the back while the armour protection for the arms composed of small pieces of metal bound together. His hands were also protected. The intricate details of the layered kusazuri (skirt) can be seen.

The samurai's leg armour - check out the details, including the stitching on the kusazuri (skirt).

Amazing details on the die-cast metal katana (long sword) which is exclusive to the samurai. He also carries his sidearm, the wakazashi, a samurai's constant companion, worn from waking until sleeping and even kept within reach during the night. Besides serving as an additional fighting sword, it was often used to perform seppuku (ritual suicide performed by a samurai facing defeat or dishonour).

From whichever angle, the samurai seems quite well protected.

The samurai helmet features shikoro (neck protection)

The mempo (half-mask) with yodare-kake (for throat protection), protected the samurai's lower face and made the wearer look intimidating.

Date Masamune - looks much better than Darth Vader unmasked.

Two-stage helmet - inspiration for Darth Vader's look


Dash MacBastard said...


alex teo said...

yeah you betcha i crapped my pants when i saw this :)