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Review © Alex Apple, 2006.

Directed by Takafumi Nagamine, 2004, 70 minutes, starring Moa Arimoto, Nao Eguchi, Juri Inahara, Go Nagai and Shini Saito.

Figure this for an opening sequence: Girls in underwear and/or school uniform being whipped by bad guys. A yellow moon. A girl, naked but for bunny ears, a mask, and a scarf to cover the proverbials, wielding nunchucks, zooming to the rescue. On a moped. To a karaoke song (words provided). In she comes, thwunks the baddies on the head to much quizzical pouting on their part, rescuing the damsel(s) in distress. Yes kids, it's kitsch movie time.

Episode one of a (currently) four-part series, based on a manga, and mercifully short, Kekko Kamen is of the Tokyo 10+01 ilk, its presentation as cheesy and hammy as a cheese and ham sandwich but really not caring a jot. "Filmed" most definitely on video tape that last seemed to be used for a particularly murky episode of The Colbys (probably the UFO one) circa 1986, this is no-budget, almost home-made, movie making, even though footage included on the DVD of the premiere (attendance: around 100 people, in what looks like someone's living room) shows the actresses concerned seem honoured to have been part of the movie, even if they were mostly shown in a state of semi-undress for most of it.

Kekko Kamen for sure knows what it is. It's an artless beast, the sort of schlocky work you'd expect to pop up on a satellite TV station at around 3am, or which you decide to rent for a laugh at the video store ‘cos you're bored and you can't face another Nicole Kidman movie. I can't imagine anyone actually seeking out to own this flick, other than your hardy reviewer who quite fancied the sound of it, and bought it for the sole reason that the chances of it ever appearing on the shelves of Showtime Video (the only video store in town, now eradicated by a flood of "To Let" signs) were less than nil.

Synopsis

"No-one has ever seen her face... but everybody knows her private parts"

 This will take about six lines. The plot, for what it is, rotates around the Mangriffon Academy, a boarding school for young women who wish to become news anchorwomen. It's run by a pervy guy who watches his charges 24-7 on CCTV, controlled by (arf!) a phallic remote control. His staff are no better, routinely ogling the girls and inflicting humiliating punishment on the girls in the institution's basement "torture chamber". New entrant Mayumi Takahashi has spent most of her life in New Zealand, and enrols in the academy unable to read Kanji. Humiliated in a class where she is forced to read a poem out loud, she's taken to the basement by her instructors for a special lesson.

Which of course means she gets stripped down to her underwear and is spanked by a lesbian with a whip.

Anyway, out of the blue appears this thing, a superhero of sorts, a woman in a red superhero mask with inflatable bunny ears, red boots and, um, little else other than a scarf to cover her genitals. Oh, and some nunchucks too. This is Kekko Kamen, crutch to the needy, rescuer to the threatened, and all-round good egg. Apart from the whole naked thing, maybe. Needless to say, the semi-naked, sweaty Mayumi is rescued by our heroine. Kekko Kamen's best weapon is the Muffication move – there's a picture of this on this page. Suffocated – no, indeed, muffocated.

Anyway, the headteacher is outraged by Kekko Kamen's actions – she brought down one of his other schools years ago – and despatches one of his staff to hunt her down. He, in turn, picks on one of the girls, and uses some daft magical power to suck energy out of her boobs and turn him into a bloke. Great. Anyway, this guy is then told to befriend Mayumi and therefore to lure Kekko Kamen back, where she can be destroyed...

This is all, of course, very improbable and in many ways the plot simply doesn't matter. Right from the start – and the first five minutes are simply a montage of the action sequences from throughout the film, giving the game away almost immediately – you know what's going to happen by the end. That's if you care. For sure the characters don't, one being told at one stage, "You'd better go now, for the good of the plot".

Direction? Sound? Cinematography? Depth? Forget it. Like I said earlier, Kekko Kamen has no pretentions whatsoever; there's nary an arty shot in the entire thing. In many ways, the most entertaining thing about the film is watching the action sequences and trying to work out just how they managed to get the scarf to stick so effectively to Kekko Kamen's crotch. (Actually, it's clear in some sequences it didn't, hence a bit of post-production fogging attempts.) It's impossible to care about the characters – really, the whole movie is an attempt to show as much boobage as possible in seventy minutes. And, if you can incorporate a bit of boobage jigglage through careful use of nunchucks, well, mission accomplished.

Trash in a good way, Kekko Kamen does no more (and, importantly, no less) than what it sets out to do. It's a fun ride, and doesn't outstay its welcome. It's no masterpiece by any means, but if you don't mind chucking your brain away for the evening before putting the DVD on, rent it and one of its sequels for a no-frills cheesefest.

Snowblood Apple Rating for this film:

Entertainment Value: 5/10
Chills: 0/10, unless you're really scared of boobies (mammatophobia?) or muffication (kolpophobia), in which case, 10/10
Violence: nunchucks and inflatable bunny ears/10
Improbable superheroes: just the one
Boobies: dozens
Muffication: sounds horrifying but a little fun - what a way to go

Films in a Similar Style: Tokyo 10+01, any pinky violence exploitation flick

*** Trashy, and frankly boring in the middle section if you're not drunk ***

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Kekko Kamen Wallpaper
please note: the actual paper does not have the Snowblood Apple logo on it.

You can download this wallpaper here: [800x600] [1024x768]
Wallpaper credit: Alex Apple, 2006

Snowblood Apple Filmographies

Takafumi Nagamine

Links

http://www.kekkou.jp/ - Official Japanese site for all four 2004 movies - http://www.kekkou.jp/top.html for this one specifically, with gallery and theoretically a trailer (which we can't get to work)
http://www.media-blasters.com/ - Media Blasters have the US release, but beware: the site is a pig to navigate and doesn't seem to have the usual trailers, etc, that you'd expect. Thank God for the Japanese site, even if it is all in Japanese.
http://www1.ttcn.ne.jp/~mbf/etop.html - Fan site for the manga, primarily

 

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