Sukeban Fighter Misaki (Review)
Sukeban Fighter Misaki
Directed by Masayoshi Shiki
So this entry will require a bit of background, because Japan is weird. As you are probably aware of as you are an avid reader of TarsTarkas.NET and similar site that regularly go over the massive volume of cinema to be released from Japan. The vast majority of these films are low-budget direct to video affairs produced for a very limited audience. Thus, the videos usually cost close to $50 when first dropped, though they’ll soon end up as bargain basement packages as the parade of young actresses featured in the films rotates onwards. Many of the films are targeted at those who love low-budget action/crime/blood/gore films, and some of the select audiences are those who subscribe to specific fetishes. These range from harmless affairs like costumed chicks or fighting chicks, to more screwed up stuff that requires liberal use of the censor mosaic. As we like to pretend that we have a PG-13 rating here on TarsTarkas.NET, Sukeban Fighter Misaki falls strictly into the Fighting Schoolgirl genre. These affairs are basically involving tough schoolgirl fighters, secret agency people, evil masterminds, at least one evil schoolgirl, and a bunch of dudes in masks who will harass and capture the schoolgirl fighters.
Sukeban Fighter Misaki looks like it is one of a set of four films that were all made at the same time. Without having seen the other three, I am not sure what order they are intended to be watched in. The other three films are Sukeban Fighter Ayaka, Sukeban Fighter 2nd Intrigue, and Sukeban Fighter 2nd Struggle. I think it is produced by Zen Pictures, which is a production company that specializes in costume fighting women films. Their company website has literally hundreds of Power Rangers-ish films. They also have a sister company that does lots of horror stuff called Babel (the films are oddly called “New challenge movies”) You can also get a job doing voiceover work in the films for English dubs.
At a highschool populated by 30-year-old students called Myodo Academy, several bullies (all donning sunglasses, because in Japan everyone who is a gangster wears sunglasses) are robbing a dude, and then they beat up a nerd who tries to stop them. A brave nerd, but foolish. This nerd will be a main character, so I guess we’ll call him Nerd Guy because I never caught his name. Will this nerd get revenge? Not today, as he is pounded into past.
But someone will be getting revenge, as up steps Misaki. The bullies are like “Hey, baby! How YOU doin’?” and when one lays a hand on her she beats them the frak up. The fight choreography is surprisingly not terrible. Though you can see a few shots where they are obviously missing their kicks because this is all fake, overall the choreography was pretty good for an amateur production and is better than a lot of dtv movie choreography. Which is good, as this is the whole selling point of these dvds, so it better be at least passable. The other selling point is the panty shots at Misaki kicks high, but let’s just not talk about that.
Ayaka is given the task by some boss guys to befriend Misaki, then everyone is alerted to the Misaki/gang brawl, and they come out just in time to see Misaki finish them off. Nerd Guy is now smitten with Misaki, who acts bored that a nerd is pursuing her, but might be that way just because she’s so cool that everything is boring. Ayaka then worms in to try to be buddies. She tries to recruit her to be a Sukeban Fighter, Misaki seems excited, but then wanders off and is chatting with Nerd Guy in a field until four masked goons stop by for another fight.
Ski masks and camouflage? You would think that would stand out like a sore thumb in the park. Masked so you won’t know they are the same four actors who are also probably the four gang goons from the prologue. The four goons get their fight on at the convenient empty abandoned warehouse that was right next to the park (what are the zoning laws like in that Japanese town???) and as the goons are no match, their boss, Evil Girl, is there to take on Misaki.
We know Evil Girl is evil because:
1. She is wearing leather
2. She is bored while talking, even more bored than Misaki
3. As being bored is cool, she is the coolest which also makes her evil
4. She’s dressed to emphasize toughness and not schoolgirlness, thus she’s the giant villain to the heroine’s tiny schoolgirlness
Oh, and that she just attacks Misaki. But then, almost everyone has, so that by itself doesn’t prove any evil at all. The fight goes on and on. You know, these characters get punched in the face a lot for having no bruises or blood. Misaki loses this fight and is soon getting punched in the stomach very slowly and very often by the masked goons. He must punch her like 25 times straight. But that just makes Misaki mad… So she beats up the goons and then beats up Evil Girl, punching her in the face like 30 times. If you watch any movie where a girl is punched in the face 30 times, than it is probably this one.
At school, four masked goons attack Ayaka as well and she fights those guys off. Misaki hobbles back to the school and is helped by Nerd Guy. The Big Evil Boss (a guy whose face you don’t see and is wearing a suit and studded leather gloves) has his goons and Evil Girl grovel before him as he decides what to do. So he calls up Misaki for some threats. He has her cell phone number for some reason, and she stays in an abandoned subway platform listening to his taunts until some goons can arrive to stungun her. Thus, she’s stungunned.
Misaki awakens tied to a chair while threatened with exposed wires. Those electricity special effects that I think come standard on some video effects programs are put to use here as she is zap tortured. If you like girls being zap tortured it happens like 200-something times. I am not joking about 200 times. I stopped counting and was surfing the net as it was repetitive and the only change was at one point they made a few zaps slightly longer.
Wait, something is happening! Now Ayaka is walking and is captured by goons because they have one of her bosses hostage! Evil girl helps capture her, just so you know. Now everyone is captured, and they should renamed this Captured Sukeban Fighters. Now Misaki has her hands tied to the ceiling while a goon works her over with punches to the face. Many, many punches to the face and gun, one at a time. We’re approaching triple digits for this one as well, while I’m back to surfing eBay looking for cool Battle Beasts.
Finally, this scene ends, then Misaki kills one of the guards by grabbing his neck with her feet and breaking his neck. Two other goons try to kill her for that, but a mysterious guy who looks a lot like the Nerdy Guy in a wig, sunglasses, and gloves, kills those guards and saves her. He had plenty of time to get there, what with the slow punches.
Ayaka is brought before the Evil Boss, who is some guy I don’t recognize. Maybe I should have paid more attention? But then I wouldn’t be watching these three eBay auctions… There is also a random guy with a Mardi Gras mask as a henchman in addition to the four normal skimask goons. I guess someone got displaced after Hurricane Katrina!
Ayaka is attacked by swords, because bringing the girl before the evil boss just to kill her totally makes sense. But even several guys with swords are no match for Ayaka. A guy in a Mardi Gras mask, however… They swordfight for a while, but even though she wins, the other goons are revived and she’s not going to get out of this alive. They must have had their energy bars recharged by some power mushrooms.
Misaki saves the day when she shows up with nunchucks and KO’s one of the goons. The two Sukeban Fighters team up and fight the remaining goons. It is nunchucks vs swords for Misaki as the girls beats the goons during an extended fight sequence. Next up is the Evil Girl, and Misaki even drops her nunchucks so they can fight with their fists. Never do that, nunchuck the frak out of her! Fighting fair is for dead people!
Soon the catfight turns into wrestling on the ground. This is the best movie ever! A slowmo spin kick takes Evil Girl down for the count. When someone is kicking you in slow motion, you have extra time to get out of the way. There is a guy down at the bus stop who is still doing a slow motion kick aimed at me that he started last week. I even went by yesterday and gave him some coffee.
Ayaka is still fighting Mardi Gras with the swords, who I guess came back non-defeated when I was paying attention to the catfight. Ayaka finally gets him, and I think he’s gone for good now. Misaki takes on the boss, but we don’t see the fight, just the aftermath of Misaki on the ground unconscious.
The end?? I guess I have to watch the sequels or something to find out if these Sukeban Fighters ever beat up Evil Boss. Well, I liked it, as all I needed was some good action scenes, and the film delivered. It also delivered a bunch of weirdo stuff, so let’s just ignore that and focus on the parts I didn’t fast-forward through!
Besides the film, there is a brief behind the scenes video that has a lot of shots of the actors and actresses eating sushi. Their sushi budget must have been enormous! There are a few sample trailers for many of the other weird girl fighter series. There are literally dozens and dozens of these, you could have a website devoted just to them and never keep up. There probably are websites devoted just to them, but nothing comes to mind out of my thousands of bookmarks.
According to my hours and hours of research, the next film Sukeban Fighter Ayaka reveals that Misaki was defeated by the boss’s super power fighting techniques, so she returns to gain more training, while Ayaka also trains to fight the bad boss herself. I couldn’t find plot synopsis of the other two films.
Rated 8/10 (teacher, aging “teenage” gangster, aging “teenage” gangster, Revenge of the Nerd, aging non-teenage masked gangster, aging non-teenage masked gangster, torture!, Mr. Evil)
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