Monday, April 27, 2009

SUKEBAN BOY (Japan; 2006)

D:Noboru Iguchi
W: Noboru Iguchi, from the Manga by Go Nagai

WARNING: contains brief nudiness

Took a brief break from the wonderful world of Hong Kong Cinema today to watch the Hong Kong DVD of a shameless little gem from Japan called SUKEBAN BOY (2006).


Gleefully twisted and but with tongue so firmly planted in cheek it's pushing through teeth and tendons and grue, Noboru Iguchi's adaptation of Go Nagai's Oira Sukeban manga, is a delightfully speedy, gloriously naked parody of schoolgirl fetish films so often found in Japanese erotic entertainment and, of course, a fetish film in its own right, I suppose.

The story is simple. Frequently beaten at a string of boys' schools because of his girlish features, gruff punk Sukeban (who's actually played by a girl, hardcore starlet Asami) is dressed in the traditional schoolgirl outfit and sent to a all-girls' school by his incestuous father.

There "she" encounters all sorts of villainy afoot, as well as Mochiko (fellow A/V porn starlet Emiru Momose) a new found friend with sapphic leanings who first takes her to the school's female embarrassent dojo, "The Club of Humiliation," which is actually a cover for the "Pan-Suto League" the in-house girl-gang that fights its battles in candy-coloured nylons over black thongs! From there, Sukeban must battle the "No-Bra League," whose leader Annie The Good spits bullets from a guerilla belt she wears across her enormous breasts; the "Hoichi League," three bald girls in fundoshi with kanji painted on their heads (in a nod to "Hoichi The Earless" from KWAIDAN); and the mysterious masked avenger of the naked Zen-su league, who doesn't take kindly to those who get too close to Sukeban. Peek-a-boo martial arts battles fought in varying stages of undress and increasing levels of TETSUO-style body-mutation gore ensue.

(In what I think must be a nod to the early work of Robert Rodriguez and his legendary EL MARIACHI "guacamole gun," clumps of bloody business are actually thrown at the actresses, some of whom are actually giggling. Mere seconds earlier, Sukeban's three male protectors hysterically slather handfuls of grue on each other when they're shot by organic weapons that have grown out of a woman's breasts!).

While Asami seems to be the only "actress" in the bunch with any even approaching reasonable thesping ability, the pouty, dead-eyed line-readings and awkward gestures of the rest of the female cast actually enhance to the dry wit present throughout. I haven't seen the two lead actresses at work in their rather sticky day jobs (no, really, I mean it!), and while there are no sex scenes in this piece, I suppose if you're going to film a comic book adaptation nonetheless brimming with gratuitous nudity, you won't be getting picking A-list stars.

Apprarently, this drew a good response when it screened at the 2006 Fantasia film festival in Montreal, but at 61 minutes and shot on video (and beautifully so, with faux letterboxing), this wasn't exactly bound for widespread distribution, so it's nice to see the HK DVD includes English subtitles, plus the original Japanese audio in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS. As a guaranteed cult item along the lines of the live-action WEATHER GIRL, though much less pretentious and made by people who are very much in on the joke and willing to splash as much nudity across the screen as is humanly possible, SUKEBAN BOY is cheeky fun.

Buy it At DDDHouse, if you dare!

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