Mutant Girls Squad 戦闘少女 血の鉄仮面伝説
2010, colour, 16:9, 90 mins
Directed by Iguchi Noboru (井口昇, Chapter 2: Revolution), Nishimura Yoshihiro (西村喜廣, (Chapter 3: Rebellion), Sakaguchi Tak (坂口拓, Chapter 1: Awakening)
By Derek Elley
Wed, 20 October 2010, 17:32 PM (HKT)
A transgressive gore feast that glories in its own trashiness and sustains momentum till the end. Genre festivals, plus robust ancillary.
Tokyo, the present day. Chapter 1: Awakening. Bullied at Kurenai High School, Rin (Sugimoto Yumi) is told on her sixteenth birthday by her father (Tsuda Kanji) that he is a mutant - a member of the ancient Hiruko clan - who married a non-mutant (Ito Maiko). Rin is now of age to assume her destiny, and finds she has super-powers, including the ability to grow a claw-like right hand, with which she kills humans in her neighborhood. Chapter 2: Revolution. Rin joins a squad of other mutant girls led by Kisaragi (Sakaguchi Tak), a transvestite samurai who puts her under the instruction of high-school student Rei (Takayama Yuko), who tells her she must wear an iron mask until her powers are fully developed. Rin is befriended by another mutant, young nurse Yoshie (Morita Suzuka), who can develop a lethal nose trunk and octopus-like arms. The squad also includes Sachie (Izumi Cay), with breast swords; Sumire (Hayasaka Rie), with sword hands; red-faced Miki; Mari, with a head that sprouts hands; Nonoko, with a floating "brother" head; Chiako (Nagano Naoi), with a human dancing belly; and a girl who can produce a chainsaw from her arse. Rin is assigned to kill Defence Minister Koshimizu Hiroaki (Takenaka Naoto), who set up the special anti-Hiruko unit, and also gets the chance to kill Tadokoro Mina (Wagawa Miyu), leader of the school bullies, but as a semi-mutant she starts to realise the Hiruko's anti-human war is morally wrong. Chapter 3: Rebellion. Rin leads a counter-revolution against Kisaragi and the Hiruko clan, persuading Yoshie and even Rei to join her cause.
The second to go into production (after Alien vs Ninja ＡＶＮ (2010)), but the first to be released in Nikkatsu's Sushi Typhoon extreme-genre series — which has since added SONO Sion 園子温's Cold Fish 冷たい熱帯魚 (2010) — Mutant Girls Squad 戦闘少女 血の鉄仮面伝説 (2010) is the full deal of Japanese splatter excess: pretty girls doing awful things to ugly men, with gallons of spurting blood and piles of body parts. It couldn't help but be anything else, with three kings of Nippon digital exploitation cinema uniting for a single movie: director-writer IGUCHI Noboru 井口昇 (Robogeisha ロボゲイシャ (2009)), who also provided the original story; special make-up effects wizard NISHIMURA Yoshihiro 西村喜廣 (Tokyo Gore Police 東京残酷警察 (2008)), who also handled character design and special effects, and co-edited; and actor-director SAKAGUCHI Tak 坂口拓 (Yoroi: Samurai Zombie 鎧 サムライゾンビ (2008)), who also takes the lead male role as the mutants' crazed transvestite samurai leader.
Overall, the film has the feel of Nishimura's Tokyo Gore Police, with its fountains of blood and severed limbs, plus shades of the female samurai Azumi あずみ (2003) duo, in which Sakaguchi acted. But there's much more crazy humour than in both of those movies, and a resolutely hand-me-down feel in the special effects and prosthetics. Though each director is credited with a separate episode, the film plays as a single piece and manages to sustain the energy and over-the-top feel of its knockout pre-credits sequence. It's both a parody of — and part of — its own genre, with no convention left unbroken and no limit left untransgressed. If Mutant Girls Squad is remembered for anything, it will be for the character of a girl who can produce a chainsaw from her arse.
Twenty at the time of shooting, and the oldest of the three female leads, bikini model-cum-singer SUGIMOTO Yumi 杉本有美 rises to the most substantial part as the 16-year-old high-school student who's conflicted about her mutant status. TAKAYAMA Yuko 高山侑子, who made her name at the age of 16 in the female helicopter-pilot movie Rescue Wings 空へ 救いの翼 (2008), looks the classiest and sexiest, while MORITA Suzuka 森田涼花, a member of Fuji TV's female Idoling!!! group, is cute as the goofy, petite nurse with a head-sucking trunk. Like Alien vs Ninja, the film glories in its trashiness but is actually made with considerable skill.
The Japanese title means Fighting Girls: The Bloody Legend of the Iron Mask, referring to the headpiece worn by trainee mutants.
ContactSales: Nikkatsu, Tokyo (email@example.com)
Theatrical release: Japan, 22 May 2010.
Presented by Toei Video (JP). Produced by Sushi Typhoon (JP). Executive producer: Kato Kazuo. Producers: Sato Gen, Kimura Toshiki.
Script: Tsugita Jun. Original story: Noboru Iguchi. Photography: Momose Shun G. Editing: Wada Takeshi, Nishimura Yoshihiro. Music: Nakagawa Kou. Production design: Oba Hayato. Special make-up: Ishino Taiga, Okuyama Yota, Shimohata Kazuhide. Sound: Saito Taiyo, Sugi Kanse, Komiya Hajime. Action: Sakaguchi Tak, Karasawa Isao. Visual effects: Kazuno Tsuyoshi. Special effects: Nishimura Yoshihiro. Character design: Nishimura Yoshihiro.
Cast: Sugimoto Yumi (Rin), Takayama Yuko (Rei), Morita Suzuka (Yoshie), Tsuda Kanji (Rin's father), Ito Maiko (Sayuri, Rin's mother), Sakaguchi Tak (Kisaragi), Asami (female samurai with eyepatch), Shimazu Kentaro (Nonagase), Takenaka Naoto (Defence Minister Koshimizu Hiroaki), Wagawa Miyu (Tadokoro Mina), Hayasaka Rie (Sumire), Nagano Naoi (Chiako), Izumi Cay (Sachie), Mizui Maki (astro-mutant), Kawai Chiharu (Sasahara, high-school doctor), Gaja Leilani (Leilani, TV reporter), Matsubayashi Shinji (baker), Nishina Takashi (hunter Naoyuki), Iguchi Noboru (ancient nobleman), Nishimura Yoshihiro (soldier with exploding head), Kotono, Shida Hikaru, Murata Yoi, Kato Yomemi, Yazawai Kouji, Ashida Syoutarou, Ishikawa Yuya, Tanaka Demo, Yokihide Benny, Kishi Kentaro, Fukazawa Taiga, Ochiai Kyoko, Nimura Shunsuke, Kido Takahiro, Terashima Erika, Kodama Takuro, Niemoto Taiju, Yomiko, Senaga Natsumi, Mishiro Akiko.