quinta-feira, 24 de abril de 2008
Awesomeness, Part Deux
I didn't occur to me at the time (because I was so god damned tired) but there are a few more details that explain the success of Segata Sanshiro and that are not said in the video I posted yesterday.
As the people behind the documentary said, the campaign with Segata Sanshiro was a huge hit in Japan and helped to push hardware and software sales a little farther there. Because of that, the Sega Saturn had a much better (after) life in the land of the rising sun than in the US. But it's not only the kind of awesomeness of a judo fighter that beats the shit out of a whole club just because they want to dance all night and don't play their Saturns as they should. It's something deeper (?) than that.
The real success is not the character himself, but the man that portrays him. Segata Sanshiro is none other than Hiroshi Fujioka, and while that name may not ring a bell to most people in the West, it makes the whole difference in Japan.
He's the man that, in the early 70', played Hongo Takeshi, the protagonist of the very first installment of the Kamen Rider series - and that's saying much. Kamen Rider is not only one of the first big commercial hits in the live action series industry, it's a cultural trait for the japanese and a influence to all kinds of people. You see Viewtiful Joe? You see the giant red scarf Hotsuma (from Shinobi) carries around? Pointless posing? Transformation sequences with choreography? Ridiculous flying kicks? That pure Kamen Rider, all over the place.
Everyone knows Kamen Rider, everyone knows Hiroshi Fujioka. The man is, simply put, a legend. And while I don't have any documental proof, I believe that was a decisive factor even in the creation of the character itself. Fujioka was an icon, Sega needed that kind of strenght more than ever at that time, and it worked.
The thing is, even the all the masked heroes in the planet put together cannot defeat corporate stupidity and wrong marketing decisions. Segata Sanshiro was a true hero while he was on action, but even if they show us that he died in space hugging a giant missile, defending mankind, it was really Sega who killed him.
We want our heroes back.