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Friday, September 5, 2014

Film review: Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero (DVD)

Review by Matt S.

"Give me your panties so I can save the school - no, the world!"

This is an actual line of dialogue from Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero. It's spoken as the titular teenaged "hero" asks a schoolgirl that he has a crush on for her underwear; which just happens to be the key to unlocking his super powers.

Yes. Really.

Hentai Kamen is insane. It's not even a comedy. It's insanity captured on video and then slapped onto a DVD for all of our viewing pleasure. If it is enjoyable. I'm not entirely sure I did enjoy it. In fact, you know that scene in A Clockwork Orange where they force the guy to watch the movie by clipping his eyes open? My eyes were about that wide through most of this film, and they were like that involuntarily because my brain was struggling to process what I was seeing.

The basic premise (not that the film really cares about such things as storytelling) is that there's a high school kid that has a pervert (hentai) mother, and so within his blood is the power of the pervert. By wearing female underwear like a mask he can unlock this power and acquire superhuman powers. When he activates this power he also strips down to his own underwear, and then he turns his underwear into a mankini because the massive wedgie (front and back) stimulates his power into even greater lengths.



Guess what our superhero's special weapon is? I do wish I was joking about this, but the guy takes out his opponents doing a leap of death that slams his barely covered crotch into their face. Then he spins around, and around, and around... Hell. I'm calling it now. I want to see a Hentai Kamen Vs. Superman film. I know who's going to win. And it won't be Superman. Not even Superman could withstand that.

This isn't even comedy. It's beyond comedy. Hentai Kamen enters this special place for art (or "art", I can't decide which) that transcends belief. Will I have nightmares about this film? Will I ever be able to get this film out of my head? Am... am I going to start running around Sydney in a mankini doing the same thing, so twisted has this experience left me? These are genuine questions that I really can't answer at this stage.

And perhaps I've been left crazy by how balls insane the film is, but I found the production of this thing to be very good. The special effects are deliberately Z-grade and get away with it because the film is so blasé about it all. Through the film our... masked... hero comes across opponents who are also meant to be wearing masks, but these masks are literally a couple of drops of paint on the side of their head. It's the kind of thing that Edward Wood would think was a good idea for his films, but here it is clearly so bad simply to add to the insanity of it all.



Against all odds the lead actors are a decent bunch. The villain, played by Ken Yasuda (who is known as Japan's Arnold Schwarzenegger), plays a teacher at the school where all the action takes place. He is very good at the whole perversion thing, and like the real Arnie he knows full well that the film he is starring in is terrible so he plays it for all it's worth. Leading man Kyosuke is played by Ryohei Suzuki, who is a decent actor and is clearly having fun with a role in which he gets to run around virtually naked for the most part. The love interest, Aiko, is played by Fumika Shimizu, a former teen idol turned gravure model (and sometimes actor) who is the weakest link in terms of acting ability. But then she was clearly cast for a bikini scene towards the end of the film, which she does as well as you'd expect for someone that makes a career out of wearing lingerie or swimwear in the most sexually-charged manner possible.

Somehow (and I really have no idea how), this trio is actually likable as a group, and are supplemented by a case of sub-villains that also have fun with what they're doing (the hall monitor is especially amusing). So against all odds the end result is a film that somehow I didn't turn off midway through. Somehow, none of this comes across as sleazy or exploitative (compared with, say, 009-1). Somehow, Hentai Kamen feels like a film that a bunch of talented school kids got together to make for their student project. And somehow I suspect that if this had have been a school project the teacher would have marked it quite well.



It's obviously impossible to take seriously. It's obviously not meant to be taken seriously. But Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero is the kind of DVD you'll pick up if you're in the mood for "Japan weird," which as we all know is like turning the weird amplifier up to 11.

And you know what? In that context it's freaking awesome.

- Matt S. 
Editor-in-Chief
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld

This film can be purchased from Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand
Film review: Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero (DVD)
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