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Yakouchuu (Hirota Mikio 1999)


[Noctiluca Scintillans??!]

Genre: Supernatural Boob-Fest or The Horny Adventures of the Invisible Man

review in one breath

While police investigate the suspicious death of Okuda Koichi, one by one his co-workers die (usually in the throes of passionate sex) in very bloody and mysterious ways. The diabolical killer has skillfully eluded all police detection, almost as if he were invisible, which of course, will also allow him to watch huge numbers of buxom girls disrobe and jiggle before getting on with his modus operandi.


Every boy has at one point (or more) smilingly imagined the mischievous possibilities of being invisible. If that boy were in the proximity of puberty, the range of sly possibilities no doubt included girls' locker rooms and the bedroom of Mrs. Robinson. As one gets older, the imagined usefulness of invisibility inevitably changes into complex schemes to gain money, power, fame, and yes, perhaps still Mrs. Robinson. Unless, of course, you are directing a film entitled Yakouchuu in which case pubescent fantasies will continue to rule to minds and actions of fully grown men.

Yakouchuu is directed by Hirota Mikio who is perhaps best known for directing the 1997 TV series of Eko Eko Azaraku. One year following this film, he also directed Noroime (2000), another psychological thriller in which Mrs. Robinson lets her hair down. The title Yakouchuu is literally the technical term for noctiluca scintillans, an ocean-borne, luminescent one-celled algae. As far as I can gather, this particular title refers to our main antagonist's corpse initially floating in the water, only to turn translucent in a strange glow of light which also somehow resuscitates him (and his libido).

You'd think this amount of detail would constitute a spoiler, but it does not, as this entire scenario is completely laid out in the first five minutes of the story. You see, the plot of Yakouchuu is not so much a mystery/thriller as it is an excuse to incorporate as many sex and nude scenes as Hirota can imagine. And while he still loses out to the overwhelming libidinous ambition of Namagomi, he does make a valiant attempt.

For libido scenes, Yakouchuu stars the infamously buxom Nakagawa Satomi (whose cinematic career simultaneously started and ended with this film) and the amazingly prolific Nishida Momoko whose claim to fame is a cinematic propensity toward nakedness and a name which conjures images of randiness. ("Momo(ko)" means "peach" and as Lynard Skynard one said, who doesn't love Georgia Peaches?) The cute face on the cover graphic is Matsui Yuka who perhaps wisely refused to disrobe for our invisible pervert. Even so, the curse of Yakouchuu seems to have derailed her film career.


After police investigators finish interviewing the co-workers of Okuda Koichi, a quiet young man reported missing and whose clothes were found floating in chilly ocean waters, an office-wide sigh of relief is expelled and great effort is made toward "getting back to normal". Such efforts include, among other things, a sexual free-for-all where audiences will soon become intimately familiar with the naked bodies of every female office employee (as well as the sexual stamina -- averaging about 82 seconds -- of every male employee).

When directorial porn fantasies are fulfilled, a mysterious killer who walks translucently by the camera time and again begins intervening. First he intervenes by watching girls take showers and co-workers engage in self-diagnosed therapeutic free sex. He then decides to fondle a little loose breast to the udder (HA!) surprise of the breastee. This is followed by a crescendo of sexual experimentation and violent retribution, exemplified by perhaps the most shocking coitus interruptus scene EVER captured on film.

Meanwhile the lone level-headed cute girl (Mitsui Yuka) convinces the cops that they are dealing with a possibly invisible killer. Acknowledging that this seems the most likely explanation, our cop duo promptly sets up a stake-out outside and watches for unusual suspects. (You heard that right.) By the time they realize the stupidity of keeping an eye out for an invisible killer, they are both shot point-blank in the head, but luckily one is only grazed (?) and wakes up in time to find the invisible lair and then get shot/grazed at least two more time.

Meanwhile, to avert the invisible hand pointing the floating gun at her friend, Satomi willingly offers her body (once again) to the libidinous, phosphorescent algae-with-a-boner as a distraction. He accepts and what follows can in all honesty be called an amazing "one woman act".

[Brief Digression:] Those of you familiar with Japanese porn (and I am certainly not one of you and speak only of what I have heard from those of you) know precisely the laughable degree to which submissive, whiny moans and bad acting RULE Japanese cinematic depictions of passionate sex. Well, now just IMAGINE that same whiny hype minus the guy. In other words, the girl has prolonged scenes where she still passively lays with legs in the air (as if straddled) and arms wrapped around a guy who isn't there. Imagine director Hirota yelling "ACTION!" and then letting the film roll as our totally unskilled starlette attempts to recreate sexual drama single-handedly and as stage-hands and co-cast no doubt stare in utter disbelief. Now, my friend, you are truly envisioning the wonders of Yakouchuu, as this exact scenario is used THREE SEPARATE TIMES in this movie. [end of digression]


Well, if you have read only 20% of what is written above, I think you know what you're in for if you dare pluck this title off the video shelf.

Who might possibly benefit from a viewing of Yakouchuu?

  1. Those investigating factors which killed the serious careers of babe starlettes Nakagawa Satomi, Nishida Momoko, and Matsui Yuka.
  2. Those interested in seeing exemplary pre-CG attempts at depicting passionate sex with an invisible man.
  3. Those wondering what creative and cinematic factors led up to complete failure of Hirota's later Noroime
  4. Those who get a kick out of watching (and reviewing) memorably bad Japanese movies.

Version reviewed: Unsubtitled (and Uncensored!) VHS

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
This movie might require an "anti-culture" rating. Great boobs though. Most violence seems to be perpetrated by various swaying weapons dangling from the ceiling via wires. But there are also some more creative demises such as the full head twist and the long florescent bulb through the abdomen. From start to finish, this is all about buxom naked women who repeatedly have sex with men who either are or are not there. A horny invisible man in a sea of incredibly libidinous Tokyo-ites. As interesting as that theme might sound, I doubt seriously this tact will ever be taken again in cinematic history (and for good reason).

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