Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sukeban Deka Counter Attack from the Kazama Sisters|
Actors: Yui Asaka, Yuka Ônishi, Yuma Nakamura, Kosuke Toyohara, Masaki Kyômoto
Director: Hideo Tanaka
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
The High school secret detective, Saki Asamia is back and battling more baddies in this 1988 sequel! Saki through with here detective duties happily goes back to school as a student, unfortunately her detective wit gets th... more »
Rebel, Rebel and the Law of Diminishing Returns
Crazy Fox | Chicago, IL USA | 06/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Like its predecessor "Sukeban Deka: The Movie" of which it's the sequel of sorts, this DVD is a fun, campy adventure movie that is enjoyable to watch if you determine beforehand not to take it too seriously. (Cinema snobs beware, this is not the next Kurosawa). Again, the movie is based on a successful Japanese TV series in mid-1980's Japan (itself based on a manga of the early 1970's by Wada Shinji), in which tough, delinquent (and yet heart-warmingly delinquent in a pleasant way somehow) high school girls work as secret agents investigating crimes for some high-level branch of the police (hence the title: "sukeban"="juvenile delinquent girl" and "deka"="detective"). In the TV series, there were three Sukeban Deka agents (after one retired, another took her place when a new threat to Japan/the world showed up), each of which used a distinctive yo-yo weapon in addition to good old punches and kicks. The main character in this movie is Sukeban Deka #3, Kazama Yui (played by Asaka Yui), who is rejoined by her sisters Kazama Yuka (Onishi Yuka) and Kazama Yuma (Nakamura Yuma)--yes, in all three cases the character's first name is the same as the actress who plays her.
The basic premise of "Sukeban Deka 2" is largely recycled from the first movie, with a radically right-wing organization using a legitimate cover in order to train a teenage army to overthrow the current Japanese government. This time it's the enemy within, though--the police branch in charge of the Sukeban Deka project having expanded on the concept and created a taskforce of yoyo-toting teenagers to enforce law and order among the youth of Tokyo. The overseer of this taskforce of course turns out to be the bad guy, who is in fact grooming the kids for much bigger things. Kazama Yui is at first a member of this taskforce, but then gets disenchanted with their ruthlessness and opts out; then she finds out about their evil schemes, rejoins her sisters, and teams up with a rag-tag band of misfits and social drop-outs to stop them.
The movie has a number of good points. Asaka Yui is a cute young lady who, as a reviewer for the first movie (where she has a supporting role) says, "brings a youthful spunk and charm to her character"--I totally agree, and she continues to do so here. In general too she's the best of the three Sukeban Dekas when it comes to fight scenes and action, and she's somewhat more convincing in this regard. And her chief nemesis in this movie is the group leader of the youth taskforce, a tough girl with a mean yo-yo of her own, so the doppelganger effect is kind of neat.
That said, this sequel seems a little weaker overall. Once again the moviemakers assume you've watched the TV series* and so don't do much to establish the characters' personalities and back stories, but this is not so much a fault of the movie as an effect of its eccentric distribution in the U.S. Other problems are just intrinsic to the film, though. The plot is loose and meandering and doesn't hold together well--I'm not expecting a masterpiece storyline here, but the developments should at least be kept on track in something like a streamlined manner. Then too, Yui's two sisters are largely superfluous, with roles largely equivalent to fifth wheels; they leave most of the actual "counter-attack" to Yui, and it seems like they're in the movie just because they were in the TV series and so are expected to show up here too. Finally, and most importantly (for me, anyway), this movie totally--and I mean totally--lacks the incredibly interesting elements based on Esoteric Buddhism, Shugendo (a type of mountaineering blend of Buddhism, Shinto, and Taoism) and folk ninja stuff that made the TV series with Yui so cool and enchanting. All of that's been secularized away in the movie, and it seems rather flat and bland as a result.
All that aside, though, the movie is still very enjoyable. If you like fun, campy adventure stories where strong, heroic girls beat up the bad guys and save the day, I highly recommend this movie even with all its little faults.
Note: The movie is unrated, but there's nothing in the movie that wouldn't be Rated PG here in the States. Just good, clean fun here, folks.
*For anyone interested, if you have a region 2 DVD player and can comprehend spoken Japanese reasonably well, the entire Sukeban Deka TV series is available at amazon.co.jp. There are five DVD sets for each of the three Sukeban Deka incarnations, making for fifteen in all (most of which are double sets)."