Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tokyo Species - Like Species, but Japaneseir

Director: Nozomu Kasagi
Stars: Maria Ozawa , Tomonori Kôno, Marika Minam, 
Runtime: 70 Minutes
Rated: R for Death by Copulation, Nudity, and uh, Egg....Pooping?

Today I tried something I have never done before. I've just watched an un-subtitled Japanese movie. No big deal for Japanese speaking individuals, however I do not speak Japanese. I can say "thank you" and I think I used to know how to say love or hello. That's it. I was sucked in by the awesome poster art, but when I sat down to watch it, oops, no subtitles. But I still wanted to see it, so I powered through and tried to just figure it out on my own. Luckily the plot of this was pretty straight forward, so it wasn't too difficult to follow.

As you can guess from the title, this is sort of Japan's take on Species. Only with 1/100th the budget and 2/3rds of the running time. Tokyo Species stars renowned Japanese/French Canadian adult star Maria Ozawa. I think her character might be called Michiko, but even the IMDB listing doesn't list character names, so since I'm not 100% sure, I will refer to her as Maria.

The movie opens with a close-up of Maria in a schoolgirl outfit.  Maria Ozawa is like 27 years old, how long do Japanese people go to school? Anyway she climbs over a rail on a bridge and jumps to her death. We never actually find out why she does this as her character does not speak one time throughout the entire movie. A moment later her bloodied body washes ashore. The camera circles around the body for and after a minute or so the view changes to a alien creature POV shot. This alien is a bit of a perv because it stops to look up her skirt for a minute before moving onto her face where it then enters her mouth. This sounds pretty pornographic, it's not.

Later, on the way to school she is bullied by some girls, because as we all know beautiful girls are constantly bullied. After school she brings a random guy home, and like in Species she starts to have sex with the guy only to kill him halfway through by impaling him with a spine-y tentacle that shoots out of her arm. So Maria starts sex murdering dudes left and right all through town. At this point it would seem that Maria is trying to wipe out the whole male portion of Japan with her sexiness. She's actually using these guys to impregnate herself so she can give birth to her alien spawn. At least, that explains the sex part. I actually have no idea why she's killing everybody.

After missing class the next day- probably due to her busy schedule of sex murdering - Maria's friend from school goes to her house to check up on her. What she doesn't know is a mysterious new student has followed her there. The new student turns out be an alien hunter (with some pretty lousy aim) and she knows that a sex alien has inhabited Maria's body, and she has a weapon that can stop it. Maria is able to escape the alien hunter's attack, now she has to track her down before she kills again.

This is director Nozomu Kasagi's first feature. Although clocking in at 66 minutes before the end credits this really just feels like an extended tv show episode. Actually, if Japan has a Sci-Fi channel, this seems like what they would show. There is a bit of nudity, though not as much as you'd think a movie with a porn star for a lead actress would have. There are a lot of deaths, but the death scenes mostly consist of quick CGI impalements with a bit of blood splatter.

It's a decent movie, but with such a short running time there just really isn't much to it to sink your teeth into. Recommended probably only to people who absolutely have to see every Japanese horror and sci-fi movie that comes out. I think most anybody else would find it on the dull side. Still, that cover art is awesome.

I have to say, watching a foreign movie without the help of subtitles is hard. I'm so used to subtitles that I lost count of the number of times my eyes shot to the bottom of the screen to read the subtitles that weren't there.

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