A double helping of bad girls (and some no so bad) to give you more bang for the buck.
What They Say
Superheroes get all the glory... but supervillains have more fun!
Female Combatants Battle
We've all seen hundreds of stories about the origins of both superheros and supervillains, but what about the origins of the supervillain's minions? At long last, the time has come to learn the secret story behind all those faceless, anonymous battle casualties! When a beautiful agent attempts to infiltrate the evil Dark Mist organization, she discovers just how hard (and frequently fatal) learning to be cannon fodder really is!
Demonic Heroine in Peril
A female assassin is sent out on her ultimate assignment: take out Trionger, a trio of semi-retired super-rangers in power armor (who may or may not have their own line of toys). Unfortunately, she doesn't count on becoming friends with Trionger's unbelievably weird kid sidekick, thereby setting up a confrontation with her own malevolent masters!
The features are both Japanese 2.0 only. The audio is rather standard 2.0 fare with the dialogue coming from the front and the side and back speakers providing some music and sound effects. No dropouts or distortions were noticed for either feature.
The colors come across vividly however motion and color blur are present to an extent as well as frequent noise and aliasing are present throughout the presentations. These look to be lower budget idol features as opposed to standard film stock movies though the video is handled competently for the format they use and the features are both presented in 16:9.
The cover is split according to the double features with the Female Combatants Battle school on the left which features the six lead women in their form fitting black with red highlights villain uniforms without their masks on. The right side features the main female character from Demonic Heroine in Peril in her skimpy red costume complete with thighhighs. Two of the minions from the feature are behind her. Both images are against a yellow and white background with bright pink star burst with the titles inside. The back has the original Japanese logos for both features at the top and 5 stills from each film separating the description of each movie with the main characters from Battle School in full uniform with masks at the bottom.
The menu is fairly simple with just a blown up image of Outsider from Demonic Heroine in the left and Asterea from Combatants Battle School in full garb on the right. The screen is divided in half horizontally by a yellow line with the top being red to hot pink as it descends and the bottom being a black to dark blue with marble like lines of purple-white running throughout. The menu is quick to respond and highlights are shown by a yellow box surrounding the choice.
This feature contains no extras.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Female Combatants Battle School is the feature at the top of the menu selection. The feature opens with a variable number of the villains in the black and red costumes running through a park making "Kyyy" like noises and going through various jumps or small stunts common to underlings in sentai series. They are joined by a pig headed creature in a suit that's armor resembles the old iron skirt look of the Roman legions. Whatever evil they may be up to in the park is stopped when they are interrupted by the costumed heroine Asterea. She wears a leather costume and mask that look to be equal parts Ultraman homage as well as a Luchador outfit. Asterea proclaims that she will not allow the villains known as Dark Mist to proceed in theira plans. The pig enemy then directs the army of minions to attack and a rather typical choreographed fight begins (with some moments looking better than others). What stands out most here is that the hero is shown actually killing a few of them and the enemies are often shown as they have fallen-playing up rather than minimalizing the impact on the fallen minions. Asterea then fights the pig guy after dispatching all the minions using a variety of wrestling and fighting moves before he explodes. She returns to the main square to find a couple dozen minions bodies still laying where they have fallen. She carefully and respectfully lines up a few of them before leaving.
The scene shifts as a young woman is fleeing from the police for attacking someone and she encounters a recruiter for Dark Mist who agrees to help her escape in return for her allegiance. The recruiter than strips her of her name and gives her a number. Next the recruiter is approached by a woman who has decided through her studies that the country needs to be destroyed which amuses the recruiter. She accepts the young woman and gives her a number as well. The final recruit is a woman from Under Cover Agent who is to infiltrate Dark Mist as the organization can't depend on Asterea to do all the fighting of Dark Mist for them. From here the new recruits are introduced to being part of a cell lead by the woman who recruited them. They are then beaten in various manners as both initiation and to see how they fight-mostly through wrestling moves in a fake ring in an old industrial room. After a nights sleep they are sent to the park to fight Asterea where it is discovered that the recruiter (named Reika) and Asterea have a past connection when Asterea is captured and tortured. From here Asterea is freed but what follows is a spiral of death and unhappiness from which few will survive.
Demonic Heroine In Peril introduces a strange boy named Shota who has a weird mask that is apparently supposed to be his face. He is found skipping school in the park by a man in Western dress (boots, blue jeans, a brown vest and leather cowboy hat) named Akira who confronts him for skipping school. Shota says he is skipping since it is an open house but he has no family who would come. Akira tries to give him a pep talk that the whole town is behind him and that Akira will go to school with him. As they are playing Shota runs into a leather clad woman who had been watching them who warns Shota to be careful. Two other men approach and it turns out they are all friends who were out looking for Shota. Meanwhile a man dressed as a villain and a few minions watch the scene and gloat that the happiness won't last long.
As Akira is returning home he is followed by some minions that he leads to a roof. He transforms into a blue sentai outfit and easily defeats the minions. Then Outsider (Saki, the woman from the park) appears wearing a rather scanty red outfit and resoundingly beats him. She doesn't kill Akira but watches as the minions then pummel him mercilessly. Saki watches as the villain from the park then steps forward and snaps Akira's neck which disgusts her. The scene shifts and Outsider is being praised by the leader Go-ma (who is in an incredibly cheap rubber mask and black robe) for finishing off the blue Trionger at the villain's base.
The scene shifts back to the park and Saki (in her black leather cloths) meets with Shota and connects with him while he morns the loss of Akira. When Shota declares he wants to become a Trionger in the future and avenge his friend she tries to warn him to stay away. Another of the surviving Triongers arrives and tries to fight Saki in his civilian cloths but she easily beats him down. He is forced to transform and then so is she though the results of the fight stay consistent. Even the arrival of the yellow member isn't enough to change the tide of battle and Outsider tells them to leave-though she is seen by the villain from before. She is branded a traitor which is confirmed when she won't shoot the yellow member in the head with a gun and shoots a minion instead. She is captured when the yellow member has been caught again and being held at gun point-though he is shot after her surrender anyway. Outsider is then tortured before she can make an escape. When she is found badly wounded by the red member will he enact revenge or mercy? And if he chooses mercy, what will Saki's response be when the threat facing them is now so overwhelming?
Both features have some interesting points with their approach to the villains and how they interact with each other and the heroes. Battle School in particular has a number of ideas that may make for interesting storytelling in the world of sentai shows. Sadly neither stay very creative and quickly become more pedestrian fare with a lot of scenes of women acting in pain and being beaten. The shows almost feel like a cheap pro wrestling show with the limited time spent on characters and the amount of fighting and acting in pain that show throughout the features. The draw clearly is the skin tight of skimpy costumes which the main actresses wear well but isn't enough to hold up a feature on their own.
The double feature feels like it falls flat not just because of it's generic parts but more so because there are a few parts, especially in Battle School, that feel like they might be onto something brilliant. Sadly the new and inventive parts are quickly smothered in favor of lots of scenes of fighting (some staged better than others) and women looking to be in a good deal of pain. The features suffers a bit due to this and takes what could have been a really inventive attempt into slightly less than average fare. Fans of sentai series may find some passable entertainment here but it is a disc likely to quickly be forgotten by most others other than for maybe the costumes.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Reciever with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, JVC DVD player XV-FA95GD