I Was Born, But...

I Was Born, But... ★★★★½

So many fun, little details: the way the brothers balance their lunches on their caps; Keiji's go-to move of removing his geta before every scrap; the distinctly childish belief that slurping down a raw sparrow's egg will endow one with strength; the little boy wearing the "don't feed, upset tummy" sign, like he's a wayward gremlin running around past midnight.

Ozu's interest here is in bullies, big and small. When you're a kid, your tormentor is the biggest, dumbest kid on the block. He's a brute, but at least he has the decency to pick on you to your face. As an adult, the bullies pretend to be your friends, but they snicker at you behind your back. To defeat your childhood enemy, all you have to do is fight back and, if that fails, find an even bigger dope to be your champion. What are you supposed to do when your bully pays your salary? Somewhere along the line, the basic operating principle of life goes from RESIST to SUBMIT.

The episode most revealing of this tragic shift comes after the Yoshi boys assume leadership of the gang. Coming on the heels of a round of "My Dad is Better Than Your Dad," the boys see Mr. Yoshi exit Mr. Iwasaki's automobile. Eager to show their dad their newfound power, Ryoichi and Keiji command their subordinates to play dead, including Iwasaki's son, Taro. Mr. Yoshi sees his boss' son lying in the mud, soiling his expensive clothes, and helps him to his feet before Ryoichi and Keiji can "resurrect" him. The spell of Kid World is broken. Welcome to the jungle, boys.

Watched with the collab.

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