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Synopsis |  Review by Juan F. Lara |  Review by Todd Jensen





by Juan F. Lara

This episode had a promising start, but fizzled in its second and third acts.

Good Points

After bizarre premises like "The New Olympians" and "Sentinel", the Ishimura gargoyles were a welcome return to normalcy. I loved their imaginative character designs (many had the same set of horns) and outfits. And I found the casual relationship between these gargoyles and the humans fascinating to watch. The first act had a poignant scene where Kai explained why his gargoyles faced into the temple. One could sense the love Kai and his clan felt for the humans, and that the humans felt the same way about the clan. Themes on emotional ties between people have often been a strong point of the series.

Bad Points

But the second and third acts weren't nearly as appealing.

A Disney cartoon about a kitchy theme park inherently would have great satirical potential. (See "A Goofy Movie".) But this episode really didn't have very much satire, apart from a couple of rantings about not wanting to be exploited by a "cheap amusement park". I was disappointed.

The episode also suffered from weak characterizations of its two main characters. At one point, Taro referred to his failure at Bushido, indicating a personal motive for his evil plans. But he still came off as nothing more than a greedy-businessman villain, and a dimwitted one at that. Also, James Saito made Taro's duplicity so blatently obvious by overacting Taro's false sincerity. Yama had a shallow characterization. He made some cliched gripings about the gargoyles' secrecy for the first two acts, but then turned into the hero who makes up for sins in Act 3. I didn't care one bit when Yama learned the truth. And I also thought that Bruce Locke's acting was bad.

This episode had the title "Bushido". But it had very little actual Bushido. I wished that the characters had explained Bushido more thoroughly, and that Bushido played a more significant part in the plot.

All those gargoyles gliding away, but the reporters just never looked up.

WD-Japan had an off day. The characters had very cartoony facial expressions, and the episode had a lot of awkwardly animated movements.


Elisa had a rare change of clothes. She looked good in a kimono. :-)

Cast list: Clyde Kusatsu played Kai, Ric Young played the human Hiroshi, and Huanami Minn played the female gargoyle Sora.

"Bushido" wound up a letdown. But it seemed better than it was because it was shown at just the right time to provide a welcome relief from recent weirdness.

Yama: Yeah, I know. We're terrifying.


by Todd Jensen

The third and last of the "new clan" stories in the Avalon World Tour, "Bushido" occupies a particularly important place in "Gargoyles". For the first time ever, we see a full-sized human community living in peace and harmony with a gargoyle clan. Ishimura has the crucial function of showing that Goliath's beliefs that humans and gargoyles can someday live in peace are achievable, that they are not merely the product of wishful thinking. It makes it all the clearer that there is hope for the two races.

Just as noteworthy is the fact that, although an element of discord enters Ishimura (there could be no story without it), the motivations of the human antagonist have nothing to do with xenophobia or prejudice. What impels Taro to kidnap the gargoyles is not fear but greed, the opportunity to engage in a little economic exploitation by putting them on display in a gargoyle theme park and charging admission. Taro belongs more to the category of Xanatos than of the Pack or the Hunters, though one would have to admit that he would best be described as a "poor man's Xanatos". Compared to Xanatos's plans for the gargoyles, Taro's seem particularly unambitious. (Not to mention that it is astonishing that he would call a press conference at dawn, just as the gargoyles would be turning to stone; a far better time to introduce the gargoyles to the world would be in the evening, as they erupt from their stone shells.) And while Xanatos was defeated in the series by the clan, he always met dignity with defeat; it is almost impossible to imagine him dangling from a giant animatronic gargoyle in front of a crowd of reporters, or shouting at it "Not now!" as the aforesaid animatronic gargoyle commences its programmed speech to the crowd!

The truly memorable antagonist in this episode is not Taro, however, but his gargoyle partner, Yama. Where Taro is motivated by simple greed, Yama is given a nobler goal, but one which he attempts to achieve in the wrong way. He is troubled by the fact that the gargoyles have isolated themselves from the outside world, and believes that they ought to reach out to the human race and make peace with it rather than continuing to hide. Unfortunately, in his impatience, he takes the step of allying with Taro to have his clan (and Goliath, Angela, and Bronx, when they unexpectedly arrive) kidnapped and relocated to Taro's theme park. In this, he merits the title of antagonist for a time, but the episode makes it clear that it was only Yama's methods that were wrong, not his aims. He genuinely believes that the first visitors to the theme park are to be a group of children come to learn Bushido from the gargoyles, and is shocked and disgusted to learn that Taro had lied to him about it and had called for a press conference instead. He also, at the climax, shows other more admirable qualities that had been buried beneath his betrayal of the clan when he faces Taro in single combat (refusing assistance from the other gargoyles due to the requirements of the code of Bushido - Taro gets one of his best lines in the episode when he comments, "Bushido is not kind to you, Yama") and valiantly defeats him. (In fact, Yama was designed in part as a foil for Demona during the Wyvern Massacre - unlike Demona, he stands by his clan when he realizes that it is in danger rather than fleeing and hiding.)

The episode also introduces us to a little of the Ishimura clan's culture. A particularly lovely touch is that they face inwards rather than outwards in their stone sleep, as a token of trust towards the humans whom they live with. We also learn of their strong beliefs in Bushido, though we never actually get to see them teaching anyone in its ways.

Despite these serious elements, "Bushido" is written more as a relatively light-hearted romp (the exact nature of Taro's plans for the gargoyles certainly feels closer to gentle satire than anything else). It even includes one of the funniest moments in the series (a rare case of metareferencing, in fact), when Elisa warns Goliath about how the reporters outside are eager to make the gargoyles into "TV stars", and he cries in utter horror, "Nooooo!!!!" It's not one of the deepest Avalon World Tour stories, but it's still an engaging one.


Greg Weisman planned to include Yama in the cast of "Bad Guys", with the plan that he had been temporarily banished from Ishimura for his participation in Taro's scheme and was afterwards snapped up by the Director for the Redemption Squad.

The production team briefly considered having the inhabitants of Ishimura speak in Japanese before Goliath and his friends arrived, but finally abandoned the idea as too complicated.

Among the settings in Taro's theme park are not only the Ishimura temple, but also Notre Dame Cathedral and a castle that looks strikingly similar to Castle Wyvern.

The Ishimura gargoyles may be modelled in part after the tengu, a race of winged beings in Japanese legend that sometimes taught humans bushido; this would certainly fit admirably into the series policy of linking gargoyles to various legends (as found in "M.I.A.", "The Hound of Ulster", and "The Green"). Admittedly, the tengu were also portrayed in Japanese legend as mischievous tricksters with magical abilities, traits that sound more evocative of Oberon's Children and certainly do not fit the Ishimura clan at all - but legends do have a way of distorting the truth.

During his Timedancing adventures, Brooklyn would visit the Ishimura clan during Japan's feudal past and there find a mate among its members, Katana.

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