Yatterman (dir. Takashi Miike, 2009, Japan). One golden thing I realized late into this sweetly bizarre, mecha-romp, a combo of unnervingly accessible yet totally deviant Miike-san, which I don't think has been addressed by other NYAFF-attendees: this film, Miike's biggest commercial blockbuster, is an amalgam of every psychedelic film at this year's NYAFF. I don't know if that makes it the MOST psychedelic, this Frankenstein's monster of glowing, trippy appendages, but it's something to think about. As in: an impromptu volleyball match (seen in Death Kappa), here w/ the entire cast and a glowing Skull Stone. As in: half-shirts (seen in L.A. Streetfighters) — well, to be totally accurate, it's cropped leather vests worn by the Doronbo Gang minions w/o shirts underneath, but they also wear sushi jackets, cropped again (unsettlingly enough). And as a harbinger of what's to come: Tonzura of the Doronbo fantasizes about becoming a pro-wrestler (echoing Symbol?), and the Doronbo's 2nd big-mecha, Bridesmaidiot, fires lasers out her massive, metal tits (echoing, I'm guessing, Mutant Girls Squad? Or, hell, Ancient Dogoo Girl: Movie Edition?). See what I mean? Beyond the cartoon Japanese (the Yatter-wan, dog, ends most speech with "wan/woof", the ultimate baddie Skull-obey ends his archaic dialogue w/ "-obey", Doronjo, head of the Doronbo, throws insults like "imbefool" and "idiocile") and overall ridiculousness (the good-guy/bad-guy posturing, the dancing, the play-fighting), this is still very much a Miike production. Some of the sexual humor will hopefully go over kids' heads — the part where the giant Yatter-wan gets a nosebleed from facing off w/ Bridesmaidiot and the two mechas start making out, much to the chagrin of their respective humans, Ai's weapon is a "tickle-stick" —, but that other part where Skull-obey steals this scientist's identity by apparently queening him felt surprisingly, ahem, mature. Kyoko Fukada as the posturing, wicked Doronjo, doesn't dispel all the sugar-factor from her Kamikaze Girls role, but it was cool seeing her perpetually antagonized by her inept flunkies. And beyond Fukada-chan, Miike did well casting beautiful girls (Saki Fukuda as Ai, Anri Okamoto as Shoko) and a slightly androgynous Sho Sakurai as Gan to fill the "good-guy" roles.
Pink Power Strikes Back!" aka: Groper Train: School Uniform Hunter (dir. Naoyuki Tomomatsu, 2007, Japan). Pink films tend to run three-to-a-billing in Japan (they're only about an hour runtime, filmed on 35mm), and NYAFF presented a double-bill of PinkEiga films at this auspicious midnight screening, but I could only catch the 1st because, well, read on and you'll find out (unless you scroll immediately to the bottom of this post to see the photos). Luckily the one I saw was Asami's film, b/c she was the special guest and posed w/ me afterward for a photo (my heart practically leaving my chest at this point). And much as I regrettably missed part Yukata Ikejima's Japanese Wife Next Door Part 2, which does in fact have a prequel (described by NYAFF's Marc as sort of a Japanese Teorema, as opposed to this film, which is somewhat like the middle sequence of Run Lola Run). But Groper Train I dug, and that was 100% due to Asami. She plays an extremely cutesy, schoolgirl character, a total 180 from her current action roles (she's in Noboru Iguchi's The Machine Girl and RoboGeisha, plus — at least according to the trailer — a total badass in the joint production Mutant Girls Squad, which I am seeing Saturday night). She and a classmate, Kenji, have a tentative relationship, but they're both virgins and she gets (as the title goes) groped on the train, by an old perv, whilst he accidentally boards a woman-only car and is seduced by a jaded businesswoman. Asami-as-Yuki learns about her body and becomes increasingly comfortable w/ this perennial groper, to the point she takes him to a love hotel and proceeds to dominate him (uttering such lines, and I'm paraphrasing here, like "my pussy is overwhelmed" and "being good is the worst fate I can think of"). 60 minutes breeze by and Yuki and Kenji meet again, far more self-aware, and decide to visit a love hotel together. It was cute, but I know her best for action and I'm glad she loves action films too.
So why did I have to jet out after meeting Asami? B/c her cohort and frequent screen-sharer Cay Izumi (they were both Tengu girls in Iguchi's RoboGeisha) was giving a special cabaret pole dance at this basement club called Trash at Webster Hall straight afterward (i.e. 2a), and there was no way I was going to miss that. See what I mean?