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TV & Film

I Will Buy You

Eric Gilde February 3, 2021

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 1956 Japanese film “I Will Buy You,” directed by Masaki Kobayashi, grading it on the 20-80 scouting scale. They introduce the film (1:11), with an overview of the story, cast, and director. If you have not seen this film and are following along at home, use this handy reference. Kishimoto: the scout. Kurita: the baseball star. Kyuki: the coach. Fueko: Kurita’s girlfriend. Ryoko: Kyuki’s mistress, also Fueko’s sister. Also, if you’re just joining, a review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (9:05). Amount of Baseball (12:14) considers different interpretations of the title sequence, and Ellen speculates about a kinship with a 1950s Japanese audience, adding a personal baseball-in-Japan anecdote. Player comp…exists. With Baseball Accuracy (18:53), our scouts dive in on Japan’s history of player acquisition, as best as they can (with help from Jim Allen and Kozo Ota). Ellen refers to Allen’s piece about Testuya Yoneda and Masanori Murakami, while Eric provides equivalents for the salary numbers discussed. What is the Toyo in Toyo Flowers for? Is it a joke? They also discuss Japanese team names, Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown, and a brief history of Japan’s baseball origins. Storytelling (34:17) revels in the spy movie vibes, the opening and closing of the film, and some well-planted storyline seeds. But some issues exist with the usage of voiceover, misdirected storytelling in the early film, and our introductions to both Fueko and Kyuki. Feelings are mixed about Kishimoto shoving Kyuki into a car and the little plastic airplane, but a travel discussion highlights the isolation of Shikoku. They imagine giving this many gifts to J.T. Realmuto. They also discuss the complexity of the characters, the panoply of gambling, trickery and corruption, Kyuki’s illness, sneaky letters, baseball players as commodities, and Ellen’s Favorite Kind of Story. There is comparatively little to discuss with the Score (1:12:34). Acting (1:14:51) praises Keiji Sada’s (Kishimoto) more modern style of acting, Yunosuke Ito’s (Kyuki) incredible performance and physical life, Minoru Oki’s (Kurita) subtlety, and excellent moments from Keiko Kishi (Fueko). Delightfulness of Catcher (1:19:23) and Delightfulness of Announcer (1:20:17) follow. Lack of Misogyny (1:21:41) considers the characters of Fueko and Ryoko, and the wise handling of the chemistry between Fueko and Kishimoto. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:29:10), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:35:01), Favorite Moment (1:39:04) Least Favorite Moment (1:41:27), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:43:11), Dreamiest Player (1:45:00), Favorite Performance (1:45:27) Next Time (1:46:50) and Review Thank You (1:48:24). Bonus plug to check out the podcast “Sometimes It Rains!”


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