Monday, January 30, 2006

1 the Killer

In an earlier entry, I referred to Takashi Miike's Koroshiya 1, popularly known in this country as "Ichi the Killer", as "1 the Killer". It may or may not be a pretentious and obnoxious gesture on my part, since I suspect I will be alone in making it.

However, it feels to me to be anti-pretentious. The movie is a bigger-than-life retelling of a manga story about a professional killer who wears a black costume with a big Arabic numeral "1" on his back. The title credit - and seriously, if you saw the movie, you simply have to remember that title credit - features boldly and prominently an Arabic numeral "1".

He's not "Ichi" which coincidentally means one. He's not even "Ichi", which also means one (like "Tetsuo", which, as I understand it, also means "iron man" if you write it a certain way). He's clearly named "1", which is pronounced "ichi" in Japan.

I think by translating half the title without the other, obscures the meaning. My best guess is this is one of those, let's make this seem less goofy... or confuse people who will think it's a part of a series... or whatever. However, you're changing the core tone of the movie, which is, let's face it, goofy... And all the better for its goofiness.

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