Executive Koala (Review)
aka Koara kacho
Directed by Minoru Kawasaki
Written by Minoru Kawasaki and Masakazu Migita
Executive Koala is a animal-suited joint from Japanese cult director Minoru Kawasak. His start in movies begane with low budget direct to video junk, but his genius became apparent even with some of the trash, as good jobs on manga films such as Maboroshi panty vs. Henchin pokoider lead to him getting financing for The Calamari Wrestler. He also gained fame with kaiju fans for The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit, even if most didn’t like it. One of Minoru Kawasaki’s favorite themes seems to be putting anthropomorphic animals in human settings, be it wrestling squids, goalkeeper crabs, or wrestling beetles, Minoru Kawasaki just loves it. And so must someone, as the films kept making money for a while, but by Neko Ramen Taisho things had slowed down and he’s been less active recently with wacky fun films. I guess the market for animal suit films is the first to go when the economy implodes.
The focus here is on Executive Koala, the film about a koala who is an executive, as the title states, quite clearly. He also might be a murderer, and there is a lot of weird memory things going on. It’s a pretty good memory loss thriller, with a mystery that slowly unravels as we go along. The presence of the animal suits turn what is a Lifetime movie level script and elevate it into something memorable. We can all agree that Cyber Seduction would have been ten times better had the lead character been a wallaby.
Kawasaki’s exploration of genres with his unique convention of both parodying them with visuals, but playing it mostly straight, give his film an added quality that gave him a deserved cult following in the US. So let’s get going, shall we? Mustn’t keep the cult followers waiting…
Opens with an animated opening and the Executive Koala theme song! Keiichi Tamura is our Koala, and he works at Rubbles Pickles Co. Ltd. as some sort of middle manager. The ladies steam up as rumors swirl about him being single, while Keiichi is working on the presentation of his life for the pickle company to team up with a Korean company. One neat touch is Keiichi has a Calimari Wrestler keychain on his phone.
As it turns out, the rumors of his singleness are unfounded, for Keiichi is dating a nice girl named Yoko Abe. They get it on, Japanese girl and Koala style, but luckily it isn’t shown. The idea is probably enough for furries, so I wouldn’t doubt there is much horrid “fan art” on the internet, because furries ruin everything.
Keiichi’s proposal is approved the next day at work, but he is visited by two detectives, Ono and Kita, who inform him that Yoko has been murdered!
Keiichi is interrogated, Kita is uninterested but Ono is convinced Keiichi is hiding something. Did you know that in Japan, they give criminal suspects pork chops? I’m going to go to Japan and be suspicious just to get some free grub! Important back story is that Keiichi Tamura’s wife Yukari disappeared one day with no clue and Keiichi remembers nothing. Despite the detectives letting him go, work knows all about why Keiichi was brought in by the next day, and the newspaper even has a story about it (with Keiichi’s eyes covered by a black bar, because he could be any koala living in Japan working at an office!
The CEO of Rubbles Pickles Co. Ltd. wants to meet with Keiichi, and he is a White Rabbit! He is not late for a very important date, but he does look creepy. Disturbing rabbit guy…if vortex things start coming out of people’s chests while Patrick Swayze is a pedophile then this movie is going straight in the garbage! None of that happens, but CEO Rabbit is cordial. Ono is now spending all his time tailing Keiichi, while Keiichi has some flashbacks due to a psychiatrist, because of missing memory.
The next day Keiichi’s job is to show the CEO of Bae Foods, Mr. Kim, around Tokyo. Bae Foods is the company they are partnering with. Mr. Kim is joined by his assistant Yu and his pet flying squirrel Momo, who is played by a puppet. Mr. Kim practises his martial arts, but his attempts to get Keiichi to spar with him cause Keiichi to go all red eyed for a few seconds, disturbing Mr. Kim. The deal goes through, but Mr. Kim tells Tamura that he was Yukari’s boyfriend before she left him for the Koala. And that she sent him a photo of her beaten up a month before she disappeared, saying the Koala did it. Keiichi Tamura is upset because he doesn’t know what the heck is going on, but he sure doesn’t think he is a wife-beater!
At the convenience store, the Frog at the counter gives Tamura a note – “Your Shrink Knows”! Oh, no! Wait, knows what? Stupid cryptic notes from frog clerks! He’s not even supposed to be there today! Keiichi goes to visit his shrink, who keeps telling Koala he is normal, but then has a suspicious phone call afterwards to a mysterious third party.
Ono visits the home village of Keiichi, the people are afraid and refuse to talk about the koala. Keiichi gets a new note – “You have killed Yukari”! By now I would be freaked out, but Keiichi heads home and soon is freaking out as a beaten Yukari emerges from behind the couch and attacks Tamura with an axe. They struggle and she ends up dead while he ends up with blinky red eyes. He’s gone rogue! The psychiatrist gets axed as well, but he’ll still have to charge for the full hour. Keiichi also kills the most gossipy girl at work…but wait! The movie cuts and we see behind the scenes as the crew packs up…
It was just a dream! No murder spree! But the window is open…
Back at work, Keiichi Tamura goes to see boss, but the psychiatrist is also there. They explain that Tamura founded the pickle company and made it number 1, as he was super-ambitious. He was also a wife beater, and eventually killed her! CEO Rabbit burned Yukari’s body in the woods. Wow, talk about your company loyalties! Keiichi tried to erase his memory, but they were replaced with the wrong images so it is all breaking down.
The two won’t let the koala go to the cops because it would harm the pickle company. Of course. Enough of that, it is time for you readers to take some acid. Go grab some LSD, and ingest mightily. Did you do so? Good, because it is time for Executive Koala to go bonkers!
We are now in a musical, for the trial of executive koala Keiichi Tamura is now happening, Broadway style! There are even singing villagers, the whole thing takes place on a sound stage somewhere. Ono is prosecuting, and Keiichi is accused of beating old women, burning down houses, raping three schoolgirls at once, and crippling yakuza. That last one isn’t that bad, but raping three schoolgirls at once? Our hero is a mass rapist? And Japan just shrugs it off because crippling yakuza is somehow more shameful? Oh, Japan. You are so delightfully awful.
Some dude then flies down, demanding to know if the Koala has ever been in love. The flying dude sentences Keiichi to death, but then the koala wakes up. The psychologist and CEO Rabbit are dead, then Ono walks in and instantly accuses Keiichi. He is sent to Alcatraz. Yes, Alcatraz. Don’t question, we have a talking koala here.
In prison, Keiichi is bullied by the boss of the cell Kariya, who beats up the koala and steals his food. Keiichi later kills everyone in the cell, bursts out of jail and then kills the guards, but then wakes up because this is all a dream again! More dream effects? No more, please, you run the risk of me never believing any of this happens and it is all a dream. He is still in jail but didn’t mass murder anyone.
Keiichi then has a new flashback of his engagement to wife, and remembers that she wanted him to find her in the same place the next year to see if the love will last. It is anniversary date, but too bad you are trapped in jail, idiot! But then…Savior! Momo appears with keys!
Keiichi heads to the park, where Mr. Kim is waiting for him. And so is Yoko, the murdered girlfriend. And Yoko is…Yukari! Holy plot twist you wouldn’t see coming if you didn’t recognize her in both roles. Yukari wants revenge for her death. Yeah. She is a master of Sinanju also, one of the things she learned is Resurrection, so she rose from the dead. That’s very…yeah. We all know what that is. But I don’t care, as the movie is getting interesting, so bring on the reanimated dead wives.
Keiichi apologizes to her for his bad behavior and she hesitates, but fires the gun she has. Ono appears and takes the bullets, he reveals that Kim and Yukari killed the CEO Rabbit and the Psychologist. Keiichi now has the power of all the koalas killed by greedy humans, so he will fight Yukari and Kim to Matrix music!
Keiichi’s fight with Yukari is crazy, as he keeps slamming her around and killing her, but she just reanimates! Eventually she doesn’t reanimate right away and Keiichi can fight Mr. Kim, who was just waiting all this time I guess. Mr. Kim can resurrect as well. Who can’t reanimate themselves? So the three fight all night and wake up the next morning to the dawn, all is forgiven. Just like that. Keiichi Tamura even gets Yukari to marry him again! Ono is also not dead, he gets up and is find as well. The End!
The end??? Wow. Huh. That was a weird film. Weird weird weird. Just weird. It was fun, much funner than I thought, though it went in directions you would never think. I recommend it because it is just so weird, but I can see why many people wouldn’t like it. There are flaws, and there are many, but it keeps you entertained, and that is what I want more than anything. So there!
Rated 7/10 (Koala, Koala, Koala, bunny, bunny, fruit, fruit)
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