Why so serious?
That’s right, most of the time, Sword of Doom is seen as a serious and nihilistic tragedy when, it’s more a dark-satirical comedy. In fact, Kihachi Okamoto is playing with every symbols of the story, showing their absurdity. And most of the time, we let our emotions speak over facts.
For example, at the beginning, an old man is killed by a ruthless ronin. Oh my god! That’s horrible! A man has been killed! Well, not exactly. A second before dying, the old man was asking Gods to let him die soon. That’s just what happened! In a way, the ronin did what he was told to do! Nothing more! What a nice fellow!?
No, he’s not. This ronin embodies the current state of the Japanese Society – a meaningless, empty shell, and fully aware of that! Maybe by killing the elderly man, the ronin was just finishing an old, and tired system? Putting an end to this “empty shell”?
So basically, every symbol in the film is acting against what it represents. That’s the comical point of the story! When the ronin kills a samurai during an official duel, others samurais try to ambush him in the forest. On one side, a man dies according to the rules, and on the other side, people following the “rules” act like a bunch of killers.
Take also the Shinsengumi’s men. They want to defend a system, based on the way of the samurai, by acting like assassins. Meaning, men without honor. So, how can we take one second this story so seriously?
And of course, this contradiction shows us how men can’t accept things to change. They’d rather live in a dead society, with meaningless values, than letting things change. It’s maybe because men are a little big arrogant? Why so serious?