Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima is just around the corner and our first impressions showed us that they wear their inspirations on their sleeves. The focus on solemn duels, honorable Bushido, and nature in motion were all wonderfully demonstrated in their 18-minute preview. If this is your first time into Samurai Cinema, here is a Fanatical Five list of some of the most important movies to watch to prepare yourself for this samurai epic.
1. Seven Samurai
One of the great classics by the master of Samurai Cinema: Akira Kurosawa. If you are searching for samurai films, you are gonna hear this name a lot. This man is considered by many one of the greatest film-makers, with other legends such as Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg being great fans of him. Seven Samurai follows the story of a poor village seeking to recruit the titular seven samurai to protect their village from a bandit invasion. Beginning with a single samurai, you follow a journey that delves deep into the many stories and backgrounds of the seven wandering samurai, ending in a great climax where the samurai fight against an overwhelming force. Besides the parallel this film has with Ghost of Tsushima, it is a wonderful entry to fully experience the range of motion and cultural context of the era.
If black and white isn’t your jam, then this other Akira Kurosawa film might pique your interest. It maintains all the samurai motifs as the last movie, but now has a spectacular focus on colors to shock and awe. Based loosely off of King Lear, Ran utilizes colors to a great extent to represent theme and emotion. Ghost of Tsushima has reported that each area will have their own color and theme, Ran should give you a taste of these colors in motion as great flickers of red and gray fill the entire screen.
3. Rurouni Kenshin
This one is a bit different, its much more modern than the other movies presented here, but its also an adaptation of a manga of the same name. While this lacks the artistry and legacy of the previous entries, Rurouni Kenshin is a wonderfully fun pop samurai movie with all the classic tropes of the samurai genre. Despite it being a live-action adaptation, the movie is a great time and an easy introduction to samurai films and their cultural motifs.
4. Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion isn’t a movie, it’s an anime series that is about the Mongolian Invasion of Japan. Ghost of Tsushima hosts quite the unique setting and time period, and Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion manages to match it, and its a great series to boot, definitely get it a try if you are fiending for some more Mongolian era Japan.
5. The Last Samurai
Tom Cruise wouldn’t exactly be the first person you’d imagine to star in a samurai movie, but The Last Samurai manages to capture the mysticism of the samurai genre from the perspective of an outsider. Much like the transformation of Jin from the samurai to the ghost, concepts of honor and glory are tested, and you witness the life of what could be the last samurai.
Excited for Ghost of Tsushima? We’ve got you covered! Stay tuned to The Game Fanatics for more news on the upcoming PlayStation exclusive.