Movie Reviews: Sukeban Boy

Sukeban Boy is a cheap, crass little movie about a punk kid with the face of a pretty girl, which causes no end of difficulty in his rough-and-tumble high school years. Please note, I am not using the words cheap and crass as invectives, merely descriptions. This is the sort of project where they knew they were making a cheap and crass little movie, and decided to revel in it instead of tap-dancing around the subject. Whether or not that makes it something you’d want to spend money or time on, I leave entirely to you.

I have to confess, what drew me in first was not the bevy of girls on the cover but the slugline above all of them: “From the director of Machine Girl!” Since Machine Girl has become my new favorite movie to irreparably damage the minds of friends with, this counted as a recommendation. That movie was shot on a tiny budget and showed an amazing amount of ingenuity given that it probably cost less than a day’s catering for most other films. Sukeban Boy, by contract, probably cost about as much as the catering for Machine Girl, and it shows. But, again, at least they knew this.

Sukeban's secret weapon against bullies:
his pretty face, and the power of surprise.

The plot, such as it is: Sukeban, the boy with the face of a girl, has a hard time living down his looks. His father—a rough-and-tumble biker who throws his son a few too many sidelong glances—decides to deal with the issue by enrolling the kid in an all-girls’ school. It doesn’t take a movie critic to realize right away this is not the smartest of plans, especially since Sukeban sees this as a great way to ogle all the bare female flesh he can get his hands on. I had to smile at a scene where s/he and another girl who idolizes him/her play mahjongg on naked (girl) student’s chests.

Then the various gang factions of the school show up, and the trouble really starts. They’re not school-gang level trouble: they’re straight out of a comic book—specifically, the Gō Nagai comic book that this was apparently adapted from. The most dangerous enemy of the bunch is the Naked Witch, although given that she has at least some clothes on, she classifies more as the Topless Masked Witch. Mayhem ensues, involving various clumsily-performed martial arts, injections of both male and female hormones, and a twist ending that looks like outtakes from the “Yatta!” music video.

Can Sukeban overcome his brute lusts and rid
the high school of the evil Naked Witch? Three guesses.

I confess, I laughed—not always at the action itself, but the ways the filmmakers poked fun at their own meager resources, and even their own excesses. Example: At one point one of the heroes is getting machine-gunned. Cut to said hero clutching red makeup to his chest. Cut back to gun. Cut back to hero throwing makeup at himself. Cut back to gun. Cut back to hero having makeup thrown at him by two other actors. And so on. I should mention that the gun in question is something growing out of a woman’s chest, and that said gun eventually gets into a duel with another set of guns growing out of the stumps of another girl’s severed legs. If that description sounds like a thumbs-up to you, maybe it is.

Tags: Japan movies review

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the categories Movie Reviews, Movies, published on 2008/10/11 00:16.

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