Posts Tagged ‘Asami’

GOTHIC AND LOLITA PSYCHO [GOSURORI SHOKEININ | ゴスロリ処刑人]

2011/01/14

http://www.ponycanyon.co.jp/galp/

JAPAN 2010  Directed by: Go Ohara  Written by: Hisakatsu Kuroki  Produced by: Jun Nakajima, Hiroyuki Sasaki Cast: Rina Akiyama, Ruito Aoyagi, Asami, Yukihide Benny, Satoshi Hakuzen, James Mark, Misaki Momose, Fumie Nakajima, Masahiro Okamoto, Minami Tsukui, Yurei Yanagi

Now that’s entertainment. It’s almost as if GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO wanted to prove that funny isn’t the same as silly (see CHANBARA STRIPTEASE). Rina Akiyama plays a young woman whose mother is killed by ruthless assassins, causing her to go on a killing spree herself dressed up as a gothic lolita avenger. Needless to say that her crazy dress comes with equally crazy weaponry…ready to deliver a one-of-a-kind death penalty to the villains.

Everything CHANBARA STRIPTEASE was missing is beautifully intact in GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO. It’s a tongue-in-cheek rollercoaster ride with over-the-top carnage and mayhem, but it also always keeps a healthy distance to the on-screen violence – a constant smirk is hovering above the flick from beginning to end. And with the thematic outfits GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO seems like a Halloween party gone wrong, but makes very creative use of one of Japan’s most favorite pop culture icons.

Equipped with lethal umbrellas and more Rina Akiyama looks like the Harajuku version of Emma Peel, slicing and dicing her way through enemy lines. School uniforms are so 1980’s – leave that to the YoYo Girl Cops. Here comes the GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO: glam and gore are never far apart, and the beautiful dress and inventive equipment make for a playful, quirky heroine you’ll instantly fall in love with.

Go Ohara’s take on J pop culture, gore flicks and “tribal” insignia is fresh and entertaining, beating other flicks by a mile. Add to that comparably good special effects, camerawork and editing, and you’re in for a great movie night. GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO may have stayed under the radar a bit, but make no mistake: it’s bloodier and better than many of the other wannabe genre sensations.

With the pedal to the metal from beginning to end GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO keeps what others promise. Best consumed on Friday, or Monday, evening.

J.

 

 

 

Advertisements

MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD [SENTO SHOJO: CHI NO TEKKAMEN DENSETSU | 戦闘少女 血の鉄仮面伝説]

2010/12/29

http://www.sentoshojo.jp/

JAPAN 2010  Directed by: Noburo Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Tak Sakaguchi Written by: Noburo Iguchi, Jun Tsugita  Produced by: Yoshinori Chiba, Gen Sato, Toshiki Kimura  Cinematography by: Shu G. Momose  Editing by: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Takeshi Wada  Music by: Kou Nakagawa, Takashi Nakagawa  Cast: Yumi Sugimoto, Yuko Takayama, Suzuka Morita, Tak Sakaguchi, Kentaro Shimazu, Asami, Chiharu Kawai, Maiko Ito, Kanji Tsuda, Naoto Takenaka, Cay Izumi

I wasn’t too impressed with Noburo Iguchi’s MACHINE GIRL a few years back, albeit it being one of the better of the never-ending Japanese low-budget gore movie productions. The only inventive aspect of MACHINE GIRL was the machine gun arm, and that idea looked better on Rose McGowan in Robert Rodriguez’ PLANET TERROR.

As for MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD, Mr. Iguchi and his fellow co-directors have taken a fairly different road: instead of relatively straight-forward action the movie features a blend of fantasy, horror and SciFi, as well as elements from mangas or the chanbara genre, resulting in a much more imaginative and creative movie.

The story about Rin, a high school student who on her 16th birthday finds out that she is a half-mutant and soon after finds herself in the middle of a war between mutants and anti-mutant soldiers, is of course a hotchpotch of motifs and ideas from various genres and well-known movies, yet MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD manages to fabricate a number of plot threads that kind of add up to a very good excuse for the mayhem that follows.

Most of the creativity, that shouldn’t be surprising, was invested into the characters, the action sequences and the weaponry. And this time they are getting ahead of Mr. Rodriguez: breasts boasting samurai swords, chain saws growing out of butts, phallic weapons of all kinds, genre fans most definitely get their money’s worth. All these ideas may not be new to Japanese cinema that has seen it all before this way or another, but it turns out that the accumulation of tasteless details has its appeal if you are one of the less easily offended moviegoers.

Whereas the production value, special effects quality and acting fluctuates, MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD is a good effort for a low-budget film overall and often manages to make more out of every Yen than comparable flicks. What it lacks, quite like all its peers, is a significance of any kind. MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD is pure fun, zero function. Putting it into context, I would wish for more than just visual thrills: unfortunately, the Japanese cyberpunk movement has not resulted in smarter horror flicks as its intellectual qualities have obviously never crossed over. But that’s probably too much to ask in the first place.

What is regrettable though is that there are more and more movies like MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD and less and less movies that understand how to bend genres and project meaning onto the silver screen. The Japanese B-splatter movie has become a commodity, and its sole currency is its entertainment value. With its popularity unbowed, and films like TETSUO: THE BULLET MAN disappointing many, it is not very likely that something truly surprising is going to come out of this genre any time soon. Until it does, MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD ranks fairly high among the brain-dead gore flicks.

J.


 

 

 

ROBOGEISHA a.k.a. ROBO-GEISHA [ロボゲイシャ]

2010/06/21

http://www.robogeisha.com/

JAPAN 2009  Directed & Written by: Noburo Iguchi Produced by: Naobumi Ashi, Akira Fujita, Kazunari Okuma, Yui Shibata  Cinematography: Yasutaka Nagano Music: Yasuhiko Fukuda  Cast: Naoto Takenaka, Asami, Suzuki Matsuo, Kentaro Shimazu, Yukihide Benny, Yuya Matsuura, Kentaro Kishi, Demo Tanaka, Shigeki Terao, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Cay Izumi

It would be easy to just say that ROBOGEISHA is written and directed by Noburo MACHINE GIRL Iguchi and basically end the review right there. MACHINE GIRL was fabricated to a fan audience and despite some marvelous scenes it was a lousy movie.

ROBOGEISHA now is quite a surprise as I expected another mindless, repetitive gorefest. The movie may still be a calculated work made to fit the fan market, however I found it being so much more a) humorous and b) entertaining. ROBOGEISHA is not taking itself too seriously and it turns out to be a very playful movie that is drawing inspiration from various sources.

In fact ROBOGEISHA is straying through many movie genres and styles, and if it wasn’t permanently aiming for our wallets it could have been an intelligent homage to the history of Japanese horror, ninja, science fiction ad sex cinema. Sure it’s still a B-movie, but so are many of the original films that ROBOGEISHA is quoting. It’s fun and funny nevertheless.

Different from MACHINE GIRL Iguchi’s ROBOGEISHA brings much more to the table: a twisty Frankenstein inspired story, paired with enough action and black humor that you’ll not forget you’re watching a party movie.

Along the way Iguchi is taking us through motifs of Pink Eigas and Romanporn flicks, lots of ninja assassinations, impossible love affairs, robotic super hero terrain, classic the-schoolgirl-isn’t-really-a-schoolgirl stuff and finally Japanese opera. That’s more than you need for a successful start into a movie night, but as ROBOGEISHA is still far away from being a great film make sure you’ll have something more sincere at hand.

The bottom line is that ROBOGEISHA is one of the best movies coming out of the recent nouvelle vague of Japanese B-splatter movies. Fans might want it to be more excessive; in my opinion ROBOGEISHA is courageous to trade-off splatter for more creativity and twinkle-in-the-eye and finally succeeds as it clearly achieves a higher artistic standard than most other films of this species.

If you could pick only one movie among all the latest cheap Japanese splatter movies you’d be well advised to decide for ROBOGEISHA.

J.