Monday, May 7, 2012

Sukeban Boy (Noboru Iguchi, 2006)

I am rather shameless in my my love for Noboru Iguchi films, and Asami Sugiura vehicles. Sukeban Boy is definitely an odd one, based on the manga Oira Sukeban by Gô Nagai. Our hero, Sukeban, is a boy born with a girl's face and high voice. He tries desperately to hide his feminine characteristics, but is unable. He is beaten up at school constantly. Finally his father, a former motorcycle gangster, puts his foot down and forces him to go to an all girl school, disguised as a girl.

Once there he is still bullied a bit at first, but quickly falls into all the adolescent fantasies that revolve around girls' schools, and in typical Iguchi fashion there are many stabs taken at the bizarre nature of Japanese high school life. This primarily take the form of the Humility Club, which is tasked with making girls more feminine through humility. Their real agenda is to humiliate girls... which I assume leads to a skewed form of humility.

Sukeban is befriended by the meek and mild Mochiko (Emiru Momose) who becomes quite attached to our hero, and informs her that the school is dangerous and home to a crime boss. We think we meet her in the person of Kanko (Saori Matsunaka), president of the Humility Club, and boss of the "Half-Naked Ladies" gang. As things move along we discover there are many similarly themed gangs, "The Braless Women" and "Monk Women", but most dangerous is the mysterious "Full Frontal Witch".

While this is certainly a jiggle-fest and quite a bit on the pervy side, it is also very funny. This might be Asami's best role thus far, her first mainstream film after more adult oriented work. She is playing a boy from a manga, so it is a very stereotypical teenage boy, but she is quite funny and stays in character nicely. It is a pantomime, but she does play the boy as boys are often portrayed in these films, so I think it works nicely. Also, like the bleeding buildings in Robo-Geisha, Sukeban has lots of tongue-in-cheek violence with numerous scenes where gunshot wounds are portrayed as red mush being thrown at the actors involved, and some seriously silly moments which bring the disgusto-factor way down.

Obviously, this is not for everyone, but if Tokyo Shock type films are your thing, you should really check out Sukeban Boy.


T. Roger Thomas said...

Interesting but it sounds like it would take a lot of peer pressure to get me to attend a showing of this film.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Iguchi is not for everyone. :-)

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