Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kekko Kamen (2004)

Directed by Takafumi Nagamine
Starring Shino Saito, Juri Inahara, Moa Arimoto

"Once there was a person who fought for the dreams and liberty of young people by exposing herself."
Reading about Japanese pop culture history before my visit there earlier this year got me to appreciate the importance of Shonen Jump. In Kyoto, I loved the manga museum and bought two recent copies of the thick weekly comic anthology from a 7-11. Hell, I could even follow some of the stories despite the language barrier. The Kekko Kamen story began in Shonen Jump in 1974 and has since spawned 10 live action films, more comics and Anime. Students get abused and Kekko Kamen fights the bad people as her small, exposed boobs bounce around in lovely fashion. That's it.

The 3:30-long opening credit sequence is a music video montage of the movie you're about to see (a device I'd expect to see perhaps open an Argentine telenovela). All essential plot twists aren't necessarily spoiled there, as they will be here, but it's an absolutely fucking ridiculous way to begin.

Having been accepted into a prestigious Japanese boarding school for future TV anchorwomen, adorable Mayumi (played by Juri Inahara) returns to her homeland and dreams of being a star. Cue dramatic music and look at the moon. This school is strict, though, and Mayumi's life there becomes increasingly difficult when everyone learns that she can't read Kanji very well (fun fact: school children in Japan are expected to know more than 1,000 Kanji characters by sixth grade). This lapse of basic Japanese education is explained simply: Mayumi's family is Japanese but she's been raised in New Zealand. The entire purpose of this back story is to get Mayumi into the basement torture chamber for "special lessons."

And that officially launches this 69-minute-long film. You see, Kekko Kamen is some kind of light, general and all-encompassing Japanese fetish project masked as a nudie action film. We've already got a schoolgirl stripped to bra and panties, in restraints on a carousel horse while suffering light whips and spanks from authority figures of both genders. These violent bastards then force Mayumi to read out loud...and then they brush her teeth while she screams for help.
These screams do not go unanswered--Kekko Kamen (played by Shino Saito) responds, gaining entrance into the chamber using her sexy legs as distraction. ZAM! The full image of our heroine is not unlike a red Power Ranger clad only in vinyl boots and gloves, a mask complete with something like floppy stuffed bunny ears and an exaggerated scarf which continually flirts with her asscrack and magically manages to hide her genitals.

"Even if heaven forgives your evil doings, I will not!" KK declares before summarily kicking ass. Her finishing move? "Muffication!" as she descends, beav first, onto her opponent's shoulders, her legs snapping the neck. The filmmakers seem to think the bad guys are suffocated by KK's vagina, but this film isn't smut, people, she just freezes her opponents with the sight of her special place and then...snap. Before scene end, KK promises Mayumi that she'll be protected as long as she doesn't give up on her dreams. How sweet and profound.

The evil headmaster, watching live surveillance footage from throughout the campus (which he apparently peddles on the voyeur porn market) sees KK in action and is horrified. He claims she's his "greatest enemy" as she "completely obliterated" his first school.

Mayumi shares her ordeal with several classmates while looking up at the moon...as professional newscaster Mizuho Sakuragi (played by Keiko Kubo) listens in, sort-of-but-not-really hiding behind a wall.

An ugly-faced, large-breasted student who bought her way into the school is next snatched up for special lessons of her own by a school authority figure I know in my own mind only as "Red Boss Man," the evil tooth brusher from Mayumi's earlier encounter. Naturally, he pushes her down onto a table, straddles her and explains his special gift: the ability to suck energy out of breasts and turn it into other energy. He laughs, moving his head stupidly between her breasts and inhaling a green fog that has emerged--her boob power. This student is then transformed into Akira, a young man with the mission to catch KK once and for all. Akira is, hilariously, typical androgynous Tokyo rentboy fare.
Mizuho, the newscaster, meets with the headmaster in search of a top student to begin working at her channel. The ensuing rivalry and stress leaves students sweating torrents and dosing friends/competition with laxatives. The latter, of course, leads to fart and poopie jokes. And I laughed. Then realizing this was just another fetish for the filmmakers to exploit, I laughed harder.

Akira squeals on his supposed mentor (for lack of a better term) for some nonsense I can't recall and the student ends up in the basement, restrained and surrounded by lovely, fresh tomatoes as well as the usual gang of molesters. This time, one has a chainsaw--and of course slices up some tomatoes--and in cutting the student's clothes off, they're shocked that it's a girl. OMG! Well, yeah, that's a girl, she looked like a girl with clothes on. Then KK enters...kicks ass. This scene exists only to fill time and incorporate more fetishes.
Underwear starts disappearing the same morning that news reporter-ballroom dancing hybrid skills are to be tested. Wakana, the student responsible for the laxative dosing and a supposed friend of Mayumi, couldn't find her panties that morning and, expectedly, falls on her back...cameraman (for the school, not this film) zooming in with her legs spread for an upskirt shot. For this offense--not wearing underwear in a holy room (WTF?)--Wakana is ordered special treatment...and is locked in a glass box with eels while she's poked with a spear. Mayumi comes to Wakana's rescue, despite their personal issues...and just as the headmaster had planned. So, Mayumi gets tossed into the eel box with Wakana in order to attract KK, the real target.

And the headmaster planned this well, he's got an extra fighter this round. And what a secret weapon it is! Yeah, an obese transvestite (or a woman seemingly dressed up as one) that looks like comedian Bobby Lee in drag. As they struggle with KK, Akira "rescues" Mayumi and they flee the room...no, it's not over. Akira takes this moment to reveal his super-hero secret: "An illusion in my heart, an orange muffler around my neck...they call me the Illusionary Panty! Come panties, provide me with your powers!" Yeah, he said that...then transformed into some asshole with an orange scarf, panties on his head (Mayumi's favorite pair, no less!) and panties attached to his dumb black clothes. What a piece of shit.

The Illusionary Panty pulls down Mayumi's panties, but she escapes with them back into the torture chamber. Without the extra power of that one additional pair of underwear the Illusionary Panty has to play dirty, whipping out a handgun...eagle eye on KK. Oh noes! Mayumi ain't no dummy, though, as she lifts up her skirt (panties still pulled down) and temporarily blinds all of the bad people with the sight of her beautiful, unseen vagina, which glows with magical censorship just like KK's during "muffication." And one of KK's gloves floats across the room and takes the Illusionary Panty's gun, shooting the Bobby Lee monster. Geez...Freud would have had a field day with this mess.

So, KK kicks ass again and frees the boob power of the ugly-faced-large-breasted-girl-turned-Akira-turned-Illusionary-Panty, the neon green chi chi essence returns and she wakes up...wearing only a bra and skirt, of course.

To save face, the headmaster unveils his three "androids" created to destroy KK. More secret weapons? Yup. Well, not so much as the "androids" are all donned in last-minute Halloween costumes.
1) "Iron Steel Kamen" - his "body covered in steel" is just a shirtless man in silver boxer shorts and a crappy metal-looking mask/helmet.
2) "Turtle Kamen" - some dummy in Speedos wearing a turtle shell strapped to his back.
3) "Healthy Kamen" - a dude in tighty whiteys.

The headmaster created three stupid "androids," this is true, but his gold, multi-purpose, penis-shaped remote control was rocking 12 number buttons!
Cage match time...and Mizuho and her own cameraman emerge from the shadows, broadcasting the battle live, with Mayumi giving the play-by-play. KK is again victorious, but her "muffication" destroys Mayumi's promised TV job with Mizuho (who gets fired) for broadcasting the spread-leg attack.
The headmaster, from a hospital bed, vows revenge and even names the next battle...segue into another KK fight scene (presumably footage from a sequel). Oh yeah, there are more of these shit gems.

It's almost a kid's movie with subversive kink (and KK's bouncing boobies) throughout. Amusing as a 20-minute short film, absolutely. But multiple feature-length films? C'mon.

- Michael P.


  1. I saw one of the sequels once. Mindbogglingly weird. It was amazing to me what Japanese actors are willing to do onscreen.

  2. Turns out Kekko Kamen has its origins in a Go Nagai strip. What a surprise.



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