Executive Koala (Review)

Executive Koala

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…

Keiichi Tamura (???) – Just your regular desk job koala stuck in middle management of a pickle company. Spends most of his day being sweaty, shy, guilty, and weak-willed. His wife Yukari is long missing, and his new girlfriend Yoko is said to be murdered. Keiichi may also have a dark side coming out. We shall see!
Yukari (Elli-Rose) – Yukari is Keiichi’s missing wife. But Keiichi has begun to move on, even as rumors swirl that he murdered her. Then things happen… Elli-Rose (エリローズ/Eri Roozu) is a Japanese model/actress who also does DJ work.
Yoko Abe (Elli-Rose) – Yoko Abe is Keiichi’s new girlfriend. She totally doesn’t look like Yukari, just what are you implying? And it definitely isn’t a plot point!
Detective Ono (Hironobu Nomura) – A suspicious detective who follows around and harasses Keiichi, while his partner Kita seems less interested.
Mr. Kim (???) – Keiichi is given the job to babysit/keep happy the owner of Korean company Bae Foods, to help with a business deal. Mr. Kim has an assistant named Yu and owns Momo the flying squirrel. Practices Sinanju, a Korean martial art that’s actually the fake marital art from The Destroyer novels.
Convenience Store Frog (???) – Yes, even frogs are forced to be register jockeys in Japan. Luckily, this frog knows a thing or two about everything, and slips helpful notes into Keiichi’s bags.
The CEO of Rubbles Pickles Co. Ltd. (???) – Great, every time I invest in a company, they elect a rabbit as CEO! It’s crazy. And they squander the company profits in an attempt to get their hands on Trix!

Continue reading