In a 1988 Sight And Sound interview, Patricia Highsmith talks about film adaptations of her novels, from Strangers On A Train (1950) to The American Friend (1977)
Posted January 12, 2006
I first became aware of the Japanese cult-sleaze-comedy phenomenon known as “Kekko Kamen” (1991 aka Kekko Mask) while looking through a grey market video dealers catalogue — you know, one of those photocopied “hard-to-find movies from many lands” tracts that were the only way to find a lot of this stuff pre-internet. The mini review tagged onto the listing in order to fish people into ordering the tape went something like “Japan’s first and only nude superheroine and protector of schoolgirls”.
The thought of a naked cutie leaping into battle to preserve the honour of wronged Asian teen spirit sounded far too intriguing to pass up. Unfortunately, it would have to be, for I was jobless, save for a measly paper route and the occasional part time shift on a local farm cleaning out rabbit hutches. My wife Rebecca and I were trapped in small town British Columbia, and money and forms of entertainment were scarce. At one point I was even riding my bike around trying to find beer bottles along the side of the road to make ends meet.
The 20 American smackers for this bootleg vhs tape were not going to appear magically out of my ass, so forgotten the wonderous sounding Kekko Kamen went for about a year until the title popped up again on a fellow video nerd’s “have” list. Not only was he up for some trading, but he had the first two direct-to-video movies (known in Japan as OAV) and even had some of the Kekko Mask anime as well. Again, the concept of a hero who “streaks to the rescue” was just too funny and cool to ignore.
This was back before I really had much of a video collection at all, and so I was beyond excited when the tapes finally arrived in the mail. The videos, which are based on the Kekko Kamen Manga series of artist Go Nagai (better known for his Devil Man and Cutey Honey creations) were a spoof of Japan’s pioneer TV superhero show, Gekkou Kamen which premiered way back in 1958. While Gekkou Kamen was a man wearing a white costume, cape, mask and turban, Nagai’s Kekko Kamen was a foxy girl who wore only a mask, an occasional cape, gloves, boots, a red scarf, and nothing more!
Part one begins on a cold and lonely night outside “Spartan school”, a nightmarish private school where the teachers think nothing of taking students aside and sexually humiliating or torturing them without provocation. Here a young student named Mayumi Takahashi is horrified to be yanked aside by two hooded henchmen who take her to find her fate in the principal’s office / dungeon. She’s bound and shackled to the wall and has her clothes violently chainsawed right off her shivering body.
“Even though you are a student, you have pretty underwear!” cackles the insane looking principal, resplendent in an outlandish purple jester’s outfit and gold and white face make up that brings to mind an goofy Asian member of KISS.
“You can have my intestines, not my underwear!” she yips at him before screaming out for Kekko Mask to rescue her. KAPOW! Bad ‘80s pop spills from some hidden casio keyboard somewhere and broken glass comically pierces the goofy faces of the henchmen before they take up prone positions on the floor.
The principal, aka “Mr Director”, aka “Demon Nails” is so surprised by our hero’s entry that he panics and disappears in a puff of smoke, so as to impose his evil incarnate upon lithe and innocent teen flesh another day. A very lesbian looking hug is exchanged between the rescued Mayumi and her naked hero, although before long two bounty hunters will be hired on my Demon Nails to stay hot on Kekko Kamen’s naked ass for the rest of the film.
The next day in a beret-wearing art teacher’s class, who is of course, a pompous dickhead and a no good scoundrel towards the Spartan girls, and there is trouble again. Her artsy tormentor ties up Mayumi (who wonders out loud why this keeps happening to her…) and starts exposing her firm, succulent breasts to her classmates as he rants on and on about how the female form is a work of art and should be studied up close.
“I’ll teach you to treat girls like a piece of meat!” howls Kekko as her cheezy theme begins to ring through our ears. It’s time to nunchuck some artist ass before vanquishing the didactic buffoon by soaring through the air, arms and legs spread WIDE apart, towards his gaping face and yelling: “This is for yoooouuu!!!”
Streams of light pour from her honey hole, blinding her enemy and rendering him totally immobile before she clamps her powerful thighs around his face and searing her pussy light into his brain, driving him insane before he finally falls down dead — totally drained from the vaginal ordeal. Just like that — poof — she’s gone and there is one less teacher to take advantage of her cherished students, who are quite delighted by the death of the lecherous instructor.
This is no ordinary pussy, Kekko’s greasy meatflaps are MAGICAL, and a school-wide search is now underway to expose which girl has a cunt that emanates heavenly rays of insanity-inducing sunshine. Assumptions are made, and many a innocent girl is interrogated. One poor teen’s panties are yanked down while the powers that be search for the super-twat in question, all while one of her dorky class-mates who is known as a porn enthusiast stares at her mons pubis and excitedly shrieks “There’s no fogging! There’s no fogging!”.
A few more gratuitous titty-packed fight scenes take place between Kekko and various teachers, and it’s on to the big battle royale with all of Demon Nail’s hired bounty hunters and thugs. The amazing Kekko shows absolutely no fear, and wails out her slogan “I hide my face but not my body!” and commences with the ass-whuppin’ vagina-glowin’ calacade of carnage — all while some Japanese Debby Gibson bleats out her bubble-gum pop theme song.
Demon Nails retreats again, luring our hero into a room with a low ceiling (it’s not low at all, they just say it is and hope the audience will play along with the concept) to prevent her from leaping into the air and using her flying heavenly vulva against him. But ga-hey, the joke is on him because Kekko has a secret move she calls “Rolling open thigh trick!” which just seems to be her turtling onto her back, holding her legs wide apart, and blasting him with a labia light show. As is said on the official japanese fan page for Kekko Mask: “A person tasting the ultimate weapon gets a lot of satisfaction and falls.”
The tyranny of evil is over, but before he unceremoniously kicks off, the principal openly laments: “How could a great person like me be dwarfed by a woman’s sexual cavity? If Japan Films allowed me to do a sequel, I would definitely discover her true identity!”
Guess again, Mr. Director! SHE’S KEKKO-RIFFIC!
Kekko Kamen (1991) Directed by Hikari Hayakawa
Kekko Kamen 2 (1992) Directed by Yutaka Akiyama
Kekko Kamen 3 (1993) Directed by Yutaka Akiyama
Kekkô Kamen: Mangurifon no gyakushû (2004)
Kekkô Kamen: ritânzu (2004)
Kekkô Kamen: Surprise (2004)