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April 2009 Archives

Bounty Hunter Vixens: Carnal Enchantment
[Jorou: Ensatsu Rataiken]
aka Ninja Vixens 8

Genre: Ninja bOObies and Magical Swords!

review in one breath

After young little Iris watches a seductive buxom witch steal her beloved father's head (!), she picks up his kick-ass demon-killer sword and never looks back. Now, many years later, she is a BOUNTY HUNTER VIXEN, hell-bent on getting the bad guys (and gals). But when she again crosses paths with the shapely, head-pilfering sorceress and her horny zombie horde, it seems she may have finally met her match.... Until, that is, she befriends a hunky Shinto priest and his nubile sister. This is the EIGHTH in the Ninja Vixen series and proves yet once again that plot and quality are irrelevant as long as nekkid bOObies are involved.



Melancholia
[Merankoria]

Genre: DNA-fueled Doppelganger Slasher

review in one breath

Mirai's life suddenly seems headed into the crapper! First, her father throws himself in front of a train, then she has to move in with some increasingly strange relatives, then she starts seeing creepy things to the point of a nervous breakdown, and finally her best friends start showing up bloody red and DEAD. And then the real weirdness starts! This is a made-for-TV horror flick directed by Z-Grade maestro Ezura Takaaki.



Kahimi Karie

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Sophisticated Lolita Shibuya Sound

Kahimi Karie is an exemplar representative of the ultra-hip "Shibuya-kei", the unique blend of jazz, hip-rock and 60's kitsch prevalent in Tokyo's Shibuya/Harajuku district. Other Japanese bands in this genre include Pizzicato 5 and Fantastic Plastic Machine. Unlike these others, however, Kahimi's vocal style, which is simultaneously childish and seductive, sky-rocketed her to instant stardom, resulting in several gold-hit singles and several albums. Not only does she maintain her superstar status in certain contemporary sub-culture scenes, but soon youth and geeks throughout the globe will be mesmerized by her charms through her lyrical role in the latest Japanese (read international) video games.


Cibo Matto - Viva! La Woman

Nippon-esque Urban Trip-Hop

The band Cibo Matto was formed by Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda following their move from Japan to New York City. Their wholly unique and hypnotic trip-hop music is immediately addictive. Sophisticated beat and arrangements are intertwined with quirky yet eerily profound food-themed lyrics sung by Miho in her cutesy Japan-English girl's voice.


In the reign of the Emperor Engi, which began in the year 901 A.D., there lived a man whose name has ever since been celebrated on account of his beautiful writings, poetic and other. He was the Emperor's great favorite, and consequently he was the strong man of the day; his name was Sugawara Michizane. Needless to say, it was not very long before, with all these things in his favor, he was the head of the Government, living in luxury.

Things went well enough for a time; but the inevitable came at last. Not all the people agreed with Michizane's ideas or his politics. Secret enemies lurked at every corner. Among them was one particularly bad man named Tokihira, whose poisonous intrigues at Court were constant.

Tokihira held a Government position under Michizane, and hated him in his heart, thinking that if he could but arrange to get Michizane into the bad graces of the Emperor he himself might become leader of the Government.

Michizane was a man with whom little fault could be found, and so it came to pass that Tokihira was unable to find any cause for starting evil reports about him; but as time went on he became more determined to do evil in the end.


About the year 110 B.C. there lived a brave prince known in Japanese history as Yamato-dake no Mikoto. (1) He was a great warrior, as was his son, who is said to have been a husband to the Empress Jingo--I presume a second one, for it could not have been the Emperor who was assassinated before the Empress's conquest of Korea. However, that does not very much matter to my story, which is merely the legend attached to the miraculous sword known as the Kusanagi no Tsurugi (the grass-cutting sword), which is held as one of the three sacred treasures, and is handed down from father to son in the Imperial Family. The sword is kept at the Atsuta Shrine, in Owari Province.

Yamato-dake no Mikoto had been successful at all events in suppressing the revolutionists known as the Kumaso in Kyushu. Being a man of energy, and possessing a strong force of trained men, he resolved that he would suppress the revolutionists up on the north-eastern coasts.


The World Sinks Except Japan
[Nihon igai zenbu chinbotsu]

Genre: Cornball Parody and Political Satire

review in one breath

Due to sudden tectonic shifts which only the half-crazy Dr. Tadokoro can explain, all of earth's land masses have sunk into the sea with the exception (of course) of JAPAN turning the island nation into the global relief center for the world's population. How will Japan handle its new role as the earth's only government? Directed by Kawasaki Minoru, this film is a parody of the widely popular "Japan Sinks" novel and films.



Between the years 1750 and 1760 there lived in Kyoto a great painter named Okyo-Maruyama Okyo. His paintings were such as to fetch high prices even in those days. Okyo had not only many admirers in consequence, but had also many pupils who strove to copy his style; among them was one named Rosetsu, who eventually became the best of all.

When first Rosetsu went to Okyo's to study he was, without exception, the dullest and most stupid pupil that Okyo had ever had to deal with. His learning was so slow that pupils who had entered as students under Okyo a year and more after Rosetsu overtook him. He was one of those plodding but unfortunate youths who work hard, harder perhaps than most, and seem to go backwards as if the very gods were against them.

I have the deepest sympathy with Rosetsu. I myself became a bigger fool day by day as I worked; the harder I worked or tried to remember the more manifestly a fool I became.

Rosetsu, however, was in the end successful, having been greatly encouraged by his observations of the perseverance of a carp.


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