RoboGeisha (Robo-geisha) (2009)
Short Film-Geisha Cop - directed by Noboru Iguchi
Trailer-Eastern Eye Trailers
|Year Of Production||2009|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Noboru Iguchi|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Unknown||
Japanese Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Geisha Kikuyakko (Hitomi Hasebe) and her younger sister Yoshie (Aya Kiguchi) are recruited by Hikaru (Takumi Saito) and his father Kenzan (Taro Shigaki), chairman of Kageno Steel, to join their army of geisha assassins. This female army has been created from strays and runaways, trained in martial arts, killing techniques and surgically altered to become almost robots. The Kageno’s believe that Japan needs cleansing and are developing a secret weapon of huge destructive power. In the meantime, the geisha army is used to eliminate opposition.
Initially Kikuyakko is the stronger, but Yoshie has hidden powers that come to the fore and she becomes the top assassin aided by surgery to implant weapons into various parts of her body. However, when she is tasked with killing a number of elderly people including Kinu (Etsuko Ikuta) and ex-Kageno Steel employee Kanai (Naoto Takenaka) her resolve falters. Kinu and Kanai are part of a group who have lost daughters and granddaughters to the geisha army, and they want them back. Betrayed by Hikaru, an injured Yoshie is saved and reconstructed by Kinu. She turns all her fighting skills, body weaponry and training onto the destruction of the geisha army and to foiling Hikaru’s plans for an apocalyptic cleansing of Japan. This leads to a climax within a giant castle robot (don’t ask) on the slopes of Mt Fuji where the sisters must come to terms with their relationship with each other and their humanity, or inhumanity. Are they human, or robot?
There is nothing even remotely subtle about Robogeisha. We get breast machine guns, swords protruding from all parts of bodies, including arms, arm pits, mouths and back sides, acid breast milk, ninja throwing stars that fire from bottoms and enough blood and gore to sink the Titanic. The dialogue is a treat at stating the obvious; when a man is blinded by fried shrimp being thrust into his eyes he cries “Fried shrimp in my eyes!! I cannot see!!” or when acid breast milk is sprayed on a woman’s face, making it start to turn red and blister she says “my face is melting away”. Yep.
Robogeisha has been criticised on a number of sites as providing nothing new in a genre that includes The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police (both 2008) which both share the same special effects supervisor as Robogeisha in Yoshihiro Nishimura. The CGI in Robogeisha is pretty corny, although one cannot help enjoying the castle robot, and the martial arts segments pedestrian: three women fighting with swords protruding from their backsides may have seemed a good idea in theory, but it is difficult for a fight choreographer to make it look anything other than ponderous, stilted and just plain silly. Yet Robogeisha has enough insane moments, blood, gore and silliness to satisfy and if one goes with the flow it is great fun. Amid the obviousness there are also sublime moments: a massive castle robot rampages through the city on the way to Mt Fuji destroying buildings which spray blood; when Yoshie’s lower body is destroyed in an explosion she is rebuilt and becomes a “transformer geisha” capable of converting into a tracked vehicle and racing down the highway!
While not without its faults, Robogeisha is a full on assault to the senses that never takes itself too seriously. It may be obvious, but director /screenwriter Noboru Iguchi delivers, despite what some critics think. It is insane, but is worth a look! The cultural differences between Japan and Australia are also interesting: here the film received an R rating (for high impact violence) – in Japan it received a PG-12.
Robogeisha is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.
This is an acceptable print. A number of scenes seem to lack sharpness, but this is not a distraction and in fact the detail is good enough to see clearly the dodgy CGI effects! Blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness, contrast, skin tones and colours vary occasionally from pale to vibrant. I doubt that this is the DVD, but feel it was probably original. I saw no film artefacts and only minor grain. .
The English subtitles are in a yellow font. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.
Audio is a choice between Japanese Dolby Digital 4.0 (L-C-R-R) at 448 Kbps and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. This seems a strange choice when the Japanese Region 2 version is reported to contain a 5.1 audio track.
Both tracks sound a bit flat and neither is exceptional, but do an acceptable job. Dialogue was clear, the rear is used for music and some effects; I noticed nothing in the subwoofer of note. At about the 55th minute the sound level on the 4.0 track seemed to fall away for 10 minutes and I was forced to increase the volume.
Lip synchronisation is fine.
The music by Yasuhiko Fukuda is over the top and so effectively supports the film.
|Surround Channel Use|
A geisha cop infiltrates the headquarters of Kageno Steel to free her brother from the geisha assassins. More blood, gore, silliness and bottom swords ensue. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 225 Kbps.
Trailers for other films from Madman. Included is Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl (1:14), Tokyo Gore Police (2:20) and The Machine Girl (1:35).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The two disc Region 2 Japanese version includes the spin-off short film plus a “making of” but lacks English subtitles for feature or extras. The Region 2 UK version has Dolby Digital 5.1 audio listed on some sales sites; but the Region B Blu-ray is confirmed with DTS-HD 4.0 audio so the DVD is likely to be the same. The trailer is listed as the only extra. At this time I cannot find a Region 1 version. Region 4 would seem the best choice for English speakers.
There is nothing even remotely subtle about Robogeisha but it has enough insane moments, blood, gore and silliness to satisfy. The video is acceptable, the audio a mixed bag. The short film is the main extra – there is nothing about the film itself.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|