Today I watched Noburo Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, and Tak Sakaguchi’s Mutant Girls Squad (2010)
Rin is just your typical Japanese schoolgirl, struggling with bullying and fitting in. It’s her sixteenth birthday and the day could not be any worse, at least her parents made her a cake. But when her parents present said cake, they have something important to tell her, her father is a mutant and thus Rin is half mutant. At this very moment a squad of soldiers with guns mounted on long nose pieces attack her home and kill her parents, triggering Rin’s mutant hand which she uses to murder these interlopers. After a killing spree Rin is brought together with a number of other mutant girls with bizarre powers like ass chainsaws to be trained to fight against the humans who would destroy the mutant race. They then pull a third act twist reminiscent of the brotherhood of evil mutants, more a sisterhood in this case, and what follows is just pure gore fueled madness.
This film, being directed by three men as it is, serves as something of a mission statement for the Sushi Typhoon production house that serves as a home for this power trio of absurdity. Sushi Typhoon taps into that certain international reputation certain corners of Japanese culture have garnered, the reputation for cultural artifacts of unspeakable strangeness which nonetheless become insanely influential down the road. In this realm Iguchi, Nishimura, Sakaguchi, and all the rest at Sushi Typhoon present a nationalistic pride at all the great weird their home has exported and all the counter culture and social rebellion it has inspired the world over. So then this film and it’s siblings are the product of a culture of giant lizard bukakke, arterial spray flicks, Japanese cyberpunk, Seijun Suzuki, and Dragon Ball Z.
I love this reclamation of a culture’s perception, taking a thing people use to deprecate just how odd the Japanese are and turning it on it’s head to show why it is something to be proud of. Throughout this film there is a strong anti-authoritarian sentiment, one of rebellion and unhindered creativity. These are artists who have allowed themselves to scrape the bottom of the barrel and found what dwells there deeply worthwhile. Tak Sakaguchi likes to pull of the long unbroken shot during fight scenes almost explicitly to spite the critics who think such techniques are beautiful high art. I love the way these guys totally take the piss out of logical storytelling and film making in general, they present these madcap expressions of anarchic nonsense with total glee and an infectious sense of self deprecating fun. So for those reasons you owe it to yourself to see some Sushi Typhoon, and this is perhaps the best place to start. 5/5