Hey. Hey, Hollywood. You want to make a film about mythology?

And one that’s actually good, not 47 Ronin or that truly abysmal The Legend of Hercules, what were you even thinking with that one?

Make a film about Susanoo.

Who’s Susanoo, you might ask? Oh, only the Japanese Shinto god of the sea and storms, cast out of heaven for warring with his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, from whom the divine line of Japanese emperors is descended. Why was he banished? He hurled a flayed pony at her loom, so she got in a strop and ran and hid in a cave and had to be lured out with a strip tease.

(Okay, that requires context.

I don’t feel like giving any. Here, have this pretty picture instead.)

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So Susanoo is banished from heaven, descends to earth and finds an old couple, the earthly deities Ashi-nadzuchi and Te-nadzuchi. They’re sitting weeping, along with their daughter, Kushinada-hime. When Susanoo asks them about the wailing and so on and so forth, they reveal that they used to have eight daughters, but each of their previous children have been devoured, year by year, by the dread dragon Yamata no Orochi. 

Why the family didn’t just up and move somewhere that didn’t have a girl-eating dragon in the vicinity is is never discussed. Although they do say there’s no escaping their daughter’s fate, I suppose. 

Susanoo, hearing this, says that, since there’s no escaping fate, can I have your daughter? (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here and presuming he means that he wants her for his wife.) Ashi-nadzuchi says sure, why not, and Susnoo immediately turns his new fiancee into a comb…for some reason, presumably to hide her. Which is appropriate, because her name literally translates as ‘comb/wondrous rice-field princess.’ What are the odds, huh? He sticks her in his knot of hair –

– that’s just a tad Freudian.

(Plus, fun fact, her parents’ names translate as ‘Foot Stroking Elder’ and ‘Hand Stroking Elder’, so there you go.)

Anyway, Susanoo then gets his future in-laws brewin’ some sake. They brew enough to fill eight huge barrels.

Why eight?

Well, you see, Orochi isn’t just any dragon. You think the Hydra’s tough, growing all those heads when Hercules smashes each head to bits? Orochi has eight heads to begin with.

So, instead of smashing the heads with a club, Susanoo instead gets the heads smashed on rice wine, chops the plastered Orochi into bits, breaks his sword doing it and finds a brand new sword in Orochi’s tail that he claims for himself.

All right, so this part would probably need to be expanded for the film a bit.

…okay, a lot.

 

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With Orochi dead, Susanoo marries Kushinada-hime and bequeaths the sword he found in the dragon’s tail, called (deep breath) Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (“Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven”) or, alternatively, the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grasscutter Sword”) to Amaterasu as a reconciliation present.

There! Self contained plot thread with beginning, middle and end that could be open for a sequel if you really wanted to do more stuff with Susanoo and Kushinada-hime (or Amaterasu, or even their parents, boy that would be a weird film) action scenes, character development, an arrogant man-child cured of hubris, lots of chances for special effects to make the audience go ‘aaaaaaaaaaaaa’ and, not least, a dragon that’s actually supposed to be there. 

With eight heads, man.

(Also, let’s see you try and sneak Caucasian actors into this story, smartass.)

The only problem is that Okami already did this story a thousand times better than you ever could, Hollywood.

…still, video games are getting turned into films all the time now…

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