Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Suzuka Morita and Yumi Sugimoto in Mutant Girl Squad!

Suzuka Morita (Kotoha Hanaroi/ShinkenYellow) and Yumi Sugimoto (Miu/Go-onSilver) star in Mutant Girl Squad, released in 2010, directed by Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, and Tak Sakaguchi, who have been involved with Machine Girl, Robo-Geisha, and other Japanese horror films. Now, this isn't conventional Tokusatsu, but based off of the special effects, it slightly fits into the genre. I watched it last week, and I recommend it. However, if you have a weak stomach and hate violence and gore, I recommend avoiding it.

Yumi plays Rin, a sixteen-year-old girl, who is constantly picked on in school. However, on her sixteenth birthday, she discovers she is of an ancient mutant race, the "Elder Race," that is prejudiced against by normal people or homo-sapians, to the point of having a squad of secret police hunt them down. The government as well is part of the prejudice, and runs the police. The police squad appears at Yumi's birthday party, killing her mother (who is revealed to be a normal human) and her father (a mutant, who just revealed his powers). Distraught, Yumi escapes her house and the police, and her power reveals itself--her hand turns into an indestructible metal claw. When civillians see her, they attack her, causing her to kill them in self-defense, essentially going on a killing rampage. She then encounters Rei, played by Yuko Takayama, another teenage mutant, and Kisaragi, played by one of the directors, Tak Sakaguchi, who is the leader of an underground squad of mutant girls, who seek to fight the government and end persecution against their kind. Rei is stoic, easily-angered and violent, with a vengeance. Kisaragi, on the other hand is a transvestite samurai (a man who dresses as a female samurai), with unknown motives. Rin is instantly fitted with an iron mask, which she is to wear until she controls her powers, a ritual that every member of the squad had to undergo. There, Rin meets other mutant girls who are training with her. Each of them have bizarre, gross mutations. One has katanas that come out of her breasts, one has a chainsaw that comes out of her butt, one can pull out an auxilary giant fat head, which can be used as a balloon, one has two small arms on her head, and one has a giant talking stomach, and one has a red glowing dot that encompasses her face.

During her training, Rin meets Yoshie, played by Suzuka, a sweet cosplay nurse, the strongest mutant, who, along with Rei, is a superior who has already undergone her training. Yoshie helps Rin deal with her iron mask, which hinders her from drinking water, and tells her about why Rei is so harsh. Rei was orphaned and kept as a sideshow attraction. One nice boy showed her compassion, and gave her a golden necklace, but was then murdered by the townspeople when they found out he loved her. Rei's necklace fell off during training, and Rin keeps it.

After some harsh training with Rei, Rin's mask flies off. Kisaragi decides she is ready and has her and Yoshie attack a party throne by the government ministry. It is revealed that Yoshie's mutant powers are razor-sharp tentacle arms, and an ability to turn her mouth into a misquito-like funnel, that can suck the life force out of a human. They massacre most of the party guests, except for a girl who previously bullied Rin at school. Rin finds herself unable to kill her, but Rei can. Rei's ability is that she can coat her hands and arms with a rocky-like casing, as well as creating a helmet. Rin loses faith in the girls and questions the true mission of the squad. She tries to convince Yoshie to leave the squad with her, and instead protect humans, and they square off, reaching a stale-mate, and realizing that they can't defeat each other because they are friends. They both leave. Meanwhile, Kisaragi's plan is finally revealed, after several other girls in the squad go on violent rampages in public, ending with them exploding themselves.

Rin and Yoshie arrive at the HQ to stop them, and Rei, who is siding with Kisaragi, and ready to sacrifice her own life too. Yoshie squares off against chainsaw-butt girl and katana-boobs girl, defeating them, while Rin gives Rei her necklace back, and convinces her to join her and Yoshie. Yoshie faces off against Kisaragi's creation, a brainwashed mutant boy with fire for blood, whose appearance is reminiscent of astro boy. Yoshie manages to ride him like hoverboard, using his "rocket legs" and together, with Rin and Rei, they defeat Kisaragi.

The movie is really good, but if you have a weak stomach, don't watch it. It's like action plus gore plus horror, plus teen angst, plus B movie, plus a lot of comedy (it's really funny). The directors enjoyed working with Yumi, and have said they see her as a muse and want to work with her again. It's interesting to see Yumi and Suzuka in roles extremely different from what they play--and both of them are really good.

It seems they might be doing a short sequel with Suzuka called Yoshie Zero, which discusses her origin.

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