Magic Sword of Watari (Review)
The Magic Sword of Watari
aka Watari and the 7 Monsters aka Golden Boy subdues Monsters
Directed by Yang Moo-nwa
Mitsuteru Yokoyama created the manga Masked Ninja Akakage (Red Shadow) in 1966, which became a Toei tokustatsu series in 1967 that ran 52 episodes. The ninja Akakage and his sidekicks Aokage (played by child star Yoshinobu Kaneko) and Shirokage wander around feudal Japan fighting evil dudes, crazy wizards, and giant monsters. Several of the episodes were stitched together to make three flicks that were farmed out to various markets, titled Ninjascope: The Magic World of Ninjas, Watari the Conqueror, and Watari and the Fantastiks. The three films have recently been released on DVD. The show’s young boy star Yoshinobu Kaneko also starred in the film Watari Ninja Boy (Daininjutsu eiga Watari), which is why some of the Akakage films were renamed with Watari in the title.
Yoshinobu Kaneko then made two films in Taiwan in 1970 that were co-productions with Japan. According to Yoshinobu Kaneko’s own website, the two films were called Momotaro Young Dragon and Momotaro restrains the Seven Monsters. The second film is also known as Watari and the 7 Monsters, aka The Magic Sword of Watari, aka Golden Boy and the Seven Monsters, aka Golden Boy subdues Monsters. Which would be this very film!
Now, if this reuses some monster footage from the Akakage tv series, I have no idea. I have not seen any of these monsters in photos I saw of the Akakage series, but I haven’t watched all 52 episodes.
Peachboy! – The legend of Peachboy is a classic Japanese legend. It goes like this: Momotaro (aka Peachboy) is found inside a giant peach by a childless couple, and eventually Momotaro goes to an island to kill a bunch of demons. On the way, he makes friends with a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant. There are several films about this legend, along with a lot of cartoons and tv shows, many of which are wacky. However, The Magic Sword of Watari only follows parts of this story, and instead becomes just another Taiwanese film about a boy who flies around and kills a bunch of monsters.
We got white subs on white backgrounds most of the time! But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! Or even partial subtitles!
In ancient….Somewheresia, some dude has a giant peach! This town must be pretty boring because the entire village crowds around the guy with the giant peach. We have a giant ball of rubber bands somewhere in San Francisco, but no one cares. The farmer explains his story to the local town leader guy, who is named Farmer to make this even more confusing. Damn you, subtitle guy! So I guess the farmer will be called Old Guy and the leader is called Farmer. That’s like having a banker named President and the President being named Banker.
The Explanation: Old Guy and his wife are too old to have kids, so they want to adopt and make a wish. Exactly one year later the Old Guy gets a dream to go wait by the creek. He does, and the peach floated by so the old guy grabs it. Suddenly the peach grows bigger and busts open as a boy pops out! No, he is not James. He’s the mother-freakin’ Peachboy! Blaxploitation-ish music plays and the title is on screen!
Opening credits time. If you like credits you can’t read because of white on white background, this film is for you!
Peachboy is a tad older now, probably 12 or so. A white feather arrow has marked Farmer’s house! NOOOoooOoOO!!! Wait, what does that mean? Free arrows? No, it means a whole minute of people crying before someone botheres to explain that their virgin daughter is going to be sacrificed to a devil. But she declares she is not going to be sacrificed to the devil! That’s the spirit, honey!
Oh, they have three days to offer their daughter to god (first it was the devil, now it is god. Make up your mind which deity we are sacrificing Lil’ Farmerette to!) The village is screwed if they don’t sacrifice her, sort of like the Wicker Man, except there isn’t Nic Cage in a bear suit running around punching women. Farmer is like “well, it sucks, but what are you going to do?” Let’s nominate him for Father of the Year! Pearl is the daughter’s name, thanks for telling us, movie.
Peach shows up just now. Why is Peach wearing a dress? Because he’s Peach…
Now the deity to be sacrificed to is devil-god. I guess it’s the best of both worlds. Peach says he’ll take care of everything. He will kick the devil’s butt and make him into a rug or something. Despite Farmer’s wishy-washy objections. Peach’s dad complains that his son is going to run off into mortal danger, and Peach’s mom is sick, though she still made him a special costume to wear on his journey and a family heirloom sword.
Peach gets in the box they usually take the sacrificial victims in. I’ve seen sacrifice box carriers in so many Chinese films it is just some sort of accepted part of the culture that when women are gonna be sacrificed, they’ll be carried there in a red box carrier. After a bunch of crying they finally take him away. This movie has more crying than The Crying Game. Actually, it has been so long since I have seen The Crying Game that I don’t remember if anyone cried in it.
They travel through the woods and end up in what is totally a real area of the woods and not an obviously fake set with “trees” recently buried in the dirt and a painted backdrop. Nope, it is totally real. The party drops off the offerings and then runs when disco lightning strikes.
Frogger stomps over and then sprays red mist on the sacrificial box, which means the box catches on fire! Makes sense. Peach jumps out and flips around, so Frogger turns into a dude and it is swordfighting time! Peach flies around while Froggerman splits trees in two and throws lots of throwing stars. Then he turns into himself riding Frogger. I am not sure how that works. Look at me, questioning the logic of just that part. But now Frogger is spitting more red mist at Peach.
Peach just drills into the earth, and then pops out and slashes Froggerguy across the chest. Then Peach kills him dead. NoOOOO, Frogger! Someone insert another quarter, quick!
Peach returns just in time for his mom to be almost dead. But enough about his dying mom, Peach is gonna hang out with Pearl in the garden. but she gives him the “let’s just be brother and sister” speech. Hey, he’s 12, you don’t have to give him the “just friends” speech.
Mom only has 20-30 days left to live unless she gets a one of a kind herb – the leaves of Lung-chi fairy tree! You know what that is, s I won’t bother to explain it in detail. Basically, it’s the 100-blossom tree’s yellow leaves. Wait, does this plant have two names? Subtitle Guy, stop screwing up again! The Lung-chi fairy tree leaves are probably in the spice aisle next to the Thyme and Cinnamon. Also, if you try to go get the herb you never come back. Then how does anyone know about it? Someone had to come back with the herb to use it in order to find out its power.
The Lung-chi fairy tree is guarded by a devil, which is no problem as Peach kills devils for breakfast. It’s also two weeks away, and two weeks back, so he’ll be pushing it even though he’s going to go get the herb as we all knew he would. That’s good we got another quest because we got an hour to go and I couldn’t take another hour of people crying about their dying mothers.
And he’s off! Set to a jazzy score that sounds like all the themes from Godzilla films from the late 1960s early 1970s. Probably because of the Japanese co-production. Peach is walking over a handpainted landscape montage.
He sees a mountain cat! Basically a red panda (or civett??) After Peach leaves, the Mountain Cat turns into a girl! I think it is a girl, might be a boy dressed up as a girl because these older chinese films are gender-bender-iffic. But the film later establishes she is an actual girl because she says so.
While walking over a bridge it collapses, but he just floats to the side and asks “Who is so audacious to bother me?” “Audacious”? totally Bodacious, dude! Peach sees a young lady running and screaming for help – she says a one-eyed man is chasing her to kill her. Total sexual reference right there. But no one is behind her, and she sits and talks and mentions there are fox-fairies around who like to bug travelers. Peach gives her some food, but she grabs a lot of food as she is hungry, and she has a fox tail! So he tries to kill her!
What??? He offered her food and now he’s going to kill her for eating the food he gave her? Peach is a jerk!
The fox girl turns into a young girl and uses her last words to explain that her parents have been captured and she tricks travelers to get food because she can’t get food any other way. So now she’s going to be his servant, and he names her Lee Yu. He also carries her on his back because she is too hungry to move. Didn’t she just eat a bunch of food?
So they stop at a hut on the path. By this time Peach has a giant axe on a rope like he does in the Watari film. The hut is on the edge of a cliff and almost falls over the cliff, but they get out in time to not fall over. That was pointless! Waste more of our time, movie!
Now they are at a lake, and it will take too long to go around, so they must go over – but the lake seems dangerous. Lee Yu turns into a boat for Peach to ride. That’s a useful trick! Sea serpent in the water! We see the giant dinosaur head. Peach sends Lee Yu the boat to escape while he does his plan. His plan is to wrestle with the giant snake head for a bit, stab it dead, and then jump onshore. And he does.
They go to a hotel for the night, a thief tries to steal their silver when Lee Yu is alone with it, but she beats him up. Should have went to a Holiday Inn! A hunter shoots a pheasant with an arrow, which causes Lee Yu and Peach to mess with him. How dare someone hunt! They save the pheasant since it isn’t dead.
They find a cave to sleep in – Lee Yu is an expert at differentiating caves, but she can’t tell what made this one. What an odd skill… By the way, we find out what made the cave….poisonous spiders! And a spider lady leaps at them and throws her long fingernails at them!
Peach is just ticked off now. They fight for a bit and she blasts him with webbing, but she gets slashed and killed by Peach. Next up is a gang of masked dudes that want them dead, except when some of the masked dudes are killed they turn into pigeons. I am completely lost here, are these more demons or evil pigeon spirits or what?
They the run across a tea house in the middle of nowhere near the top of the mountain. Totally not suspicious at all. He gives them some bread and tea and Peach sees his reflection as a demon. So they pretend to be poisoned, then when the demon calls his masked buddies, they wake up and beat them all up, and then kill them.
A demon appears with a green face and teleports around a bit while laughing. Demons are like practical jokers, bouncing around. They are also always jolly, as they laugh all the time. Peach and the new demon fight a bit, then the demon grows giant size (and his head gets more butt-shaped!) Is this guy a Butt-Demon? He is now, thanks to the film not telling us and me just declaring it so. Peach hides in a cave, then tosses a sword in the giant’s eye. The giant shrinks back to normal size.
Peach and Lee Yu go a bit further into the cave and are suddenly in a big house where like 50 demons run in with swords. A red demon with a goofy nose tells them they are gonna die, so our heroes start fighting these demon dudes. Oh no, Lee Yu gets shot with arrows! NOOOoooOOoo! Wait, it is a fake death and she just teleports out. Her scheme to turn into a log when someone grabs her sort of fails when the guy just tosses the log into a tree, which hurts her enough she turns back to human. Seriously why are people turning into logs and rocks all the times in these films during battles, it never works and they just get tossed around or hurt.
Head evil red demon goofy mask guy tries some wind magic on Peach, but that fails because this demon sucks and soon they just swordfight while Lee Yu picks off the rest of the demons by doing tricks such as turning herself into a giant bolder and slowly crushing some guys, or just freezing the demons. Why aren’t you freezing all the demons instantly???
Peach does tricks like turning into five copies of himself. Peach wins enough that the baddie runs for it, but Peach chases after. It is final duel time, as they are now in a field somewhere. Don’t even try to make sense of it. The demon gets killified because he is evil and thus loses, and then the demon turns into the plant they were looking for! Huzzah!
But how will they get it home in time? The pheasant they saved shows up to carry the plant home fast enough to save mom! I hope he hurries so everyone will stop crying!!! He does, mom is saved, Peach comes home, and Lee Yu will live there too. It’s party time! Party with some lion dancing!! Dance, lions, dance. The lions dance and dance and dance, and the film ends.
Rated 7/10 (Peach time, true form, statue, dirty thief, spider woman, magic plant, lion time!)