Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Seiji Yamaguchi

Who the hell is he? A Japanese actor that died in 1985 from lung cancer (quit smoking folks! I did, and I’ve been breathing better ever since!).

Yamaguchi is probably best known to Western audiences for his role as Kyuzo in Akira Kruosawa’s Seven Samurai. Kyuzo is the total badass swordsman who gets gunned down at the end o the film despite single-handedly dispatching half the bandits. He is, of course, also my favorite character in the film (I’m a big fan of classy bad-asses, and he is very classy).

Interesting note about the actor: in all his films Miyaguchi always plays a character with a physical deformity or imperfection. In the Seven Samurai his character has only a small scar over one eye, but generally his character were always crippled, hobbled, or disfigured in some way. From what my film professor told me, this was by the actor’s choice…whether or not it helped him with his sense of character or if he was trying to make some kind of social statement about the infirm…who knows?

Anyway, it’s something I appreciate. In role-playing, I always enjoy playing characters with some sort of (physical) imperfection as well. I’ve played one-handed mages in Ars Magica and scarred bards in AD&D and (most recently) a grossly obese thief in B/X D&D. I’m not sure what my reason for doing this except that A) I know I get tired of everyone making heroic images of perfection with their characters and try to “switch it up,” and B) it helps keep me grounded (sometimes).

Generally, I have not given my characters speech impediments as I prefer to use my own, unaccented voice when playing a character. That’s just me.

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