When an evil corporation enacts a plan to destroy Japan with a comically huge bomb, only RoboGeisha can stand up to them.
What They Say
Kikuke is a geisha known for her glamour and grace. Yoshie is her abused sister, banished to the shadows. When a mysterious corporation transforms their soft bodies into murderous machines, the rival vixens rush toward an ultra-violent final confrontation.
For this viewing, I listened to the Japanese 2.0 track. An English dub is also provided in 5.1. The mix is fairly basic, with dialogue spread evenly along both channels but some decent directionality with the sound effects. A spot check on the English dub suggests that there is little movement front to back, but the overall effect of the 5.1 is naturally more robust.
The video came through really well on this release, though that is a bit of an empty blessing since RoboGeisha does not exactly challenge the technology with special effects. Colors are bright and the transfer is free of technical issues, and that is all I ask for.
Pretty standard amaray packaging for this release. The front cover has a picture of RoboGeisha posing with her attack shamisen while the two members of the Goblin Squad stand behind her. The back has another shot of the Goblin Squad with a movie summary, some screen shots, and the technical details. The cover is reversible with a picture of RoboGeisha in combat with the Goblin Squad (notice a theme here?).
The menu is a pretty basic affair. It features the same picture from the front cover of the case, with the selections overlaid to the left of RoboGeisha and the main theme playing in the background. The highlighted selection turns a shade of grey, which might be a bit tough to see on lesser setups, but it is otherwise fine.
Aside from the original trailer, this release also has a short movie (called Fearsome Geisha Corps'"Go to Hell) that offers a bit of an alternate story to the main movie. This mini movie tells the story of young police officer who is sent undercover into Kageno Corp. ostensibly to investigate their rumored evil plans, but with her own plans for revenge. It features the same kind of B-Movie hilarity of the main feature, but compacts it down to 15 minutes, so it does not stop often for a breath.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I love B horror movies, in particular Japanese B horror movies as they tend to contain the sort of randomness that is otherwise relegated to anime, but I cannot pretend that the concept for RoboGeisha interested me that much. However, when I heard it was by the same people that did The Machine Girl (one of my favorites), I was immediately sold.
Kikue is a geisha, albeit not a very good one. She is particularly clumsy and is often upstaged by her younger sister, Yoshie, who acts as her assistant. But Kikue has eyes for the handsome Hikaru Kageno, the heir to Kageno Steel Manufacturing, and hopes to be the future Mrs. Kageno.
But her hopes are dashed when it appears that Hikaru is interested in Yoshie. His interest is solidified when he sees Yoshie single handedly fight off a group of thugs, so he extends an invitation for Kikue and Yoshie ot join him and his father for dinner. But when they arrive, they are abducted and forced to join the Geisha Corps, a secret group of assassins that further Kageno's plans.
Sisterly competitiveness sees the two willingly give their bodies up for cybernetic enhancements so that they are that much more effective at their jobs. Yoshie undergoes such radical enhancements that she becomes RoboGeisha, the ultimate assassin. But when she uncovers Kageno's true goals, to destroy Japan with a bomb hundreds of times more powerful than a nuclear warhead, she turns against her benefactors in the effort to save her homeland.
RoboGeisha follows in the tradition of all Japanese B horror movies: buckets of blood, a plot that vaguely makes sense only if you are not paying attention, and enough random insanity that it makes you question what substances the writers/directors were on when they created it. One need look no farther than the scene where RoboGeisha is dueling the Goblin Squad (elite assassins that wear Goblin masks - complete with phallic noses - and bras with Goblin masks - complete with phallic noses) with their ultimate weapons, the ever-so-dangerous 'ass-swords' to understand what level this movie is on. And do not get me started on the Goblin Squad's dreaded 'acid breast milk' attack.
And just like all other B horror movies (Japanese or not), you really need to enter it with an open mind. Yes, this movie makes no sense. Yes, the humor is juvenile. Yes, the special effects are laughable (I loved the Power Rangers-esque scene where Kageno headquarters becomes the Castle Robot'so wonderfully absurd). We get it. If you take your movies too seriously, then the last thing you want to do is watch RoboGeisha. All it will do is confuse and infuriate you. But if you are have an open mind, or if you already love movies of this ilk, then RoboGeisha is 100 minutes of pure fun.
RoboGeisha is a great entry in the absurd world of the Japanese B horror genre. It is funny, gory, oddly sexy, and best of all, it does not take itself seriously at all. If you love this genre, then you definitely cannot go wrong. If you are interested in the genre, then RoboGeisha would be a good one to start with because if there is a more random movie out there, then I have not seen it. Yet. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Spinoff Episode
Magnavox 37MF337B 37' LCD HDTV, Sony BDP-S360 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection upconverted to 1080i, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System