Based on the Gô Nagai manga of the same name, Sukeban Boy centers on a boy named Sukeban who has a problem: outside of having male parts and no breasts, he looks exactly like a girl. He’s constantly mocked by other boys at school for his effeminate face, and is ultimately thrown out after being involved in too many fights. After many failed attempts at being looked at as a man, including punching himself repeatedly to try and harden his look, his father has a brainstorm: he should give in and live life as a woman. Sukeban is obviously completely against it, but his father insists to at least try it so he can be enrolled in an all-girls school to avoid any more confrontations. Sukeban begrudgingly agrees, much to the excitement of his father, who is beginning to develop an odd attraction to his feminine son.
After less than a day at his new school, Sukeban finds himself to actually be enjoying himself, being around so many cute girls and being able to see them in many compromising positions. The switch in scenery doesn’t solve the conflict that seems to follow him everywhere however, and he’s quickly embroiled in battles against half-naked girl gangs and lustful admirers, though it all pales in comparison to the school’s newest menace: The Naked Witch. Her identity is a mystery, but one thing is certain: she’s out for blood. Now Sukeban is put in the perilous position of protecting his new found friends while at the same time attempting to protect his true identity. Ah, to be a teenager again!
If you think Noboru Iguchi reached the pinnacle of strangeness with The Machine Girl, think again; he was doing the same thing two years earlier with Sukeban Boy, and dare I say it’s even more bizarre and mind-warping than his breakout film. All the restraints seem to be off during Sukeban Boy (not that they were really on in The Machine Girl), and Iguchi goes balls-out, testing the boundaries of what exactly he could and couldn’t get away with (and there isn’t much that he couldn’t.) Without the expectations of the film gaining attention in the US, Iguchi was able to cater specifically to the Japanese and their eccentric taste for the excessive, and as such the flick is cranked to 11 on the insanity meter. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the film was shot in only three days, and there was some serious sleep-depravation involved, but you’ll see things here that anyone in their right mind would never even dream of, let alone work into a script.
Throughout the time you’ll spend with Sukeban Boy, you’ll be treated to chicks that spit bullets, tits that double as guns, gangs of girls with names like “The Half-Naked Women”, clothespins attached to the end of chains that are then swung around and thrown to be used as torturous nipple clamps, an uncountable amount of topless women, and a father that’s just as confused as to whether he should be attracted to his son that looks like a cute chick and is all of a sudden growing breasts as any male viewer will be. As proven with Tokyo Gore Police, this random absurdity can definitely overstay its welcome, but at just over an hour Sukeban Boy thankfully never does. It’s also fortunate that nearly all of the comedy and gory FX work actually hits the spot and rarely misses the intended mark.
The singularly-named Asami, one of Iguchi’s regulars (she played Miki in The Machine Girl), does a great job as Sukeban, displaying a wide-range of hilarious facial expressions and perfectly taking on the stereotypical role of a Japanese high school boy looking for a fight, complete with the characteristic thumbing of the nose. The rest of the cast ranges from decent to pretty hilarious, such as Demo Tanaka (another Iguchi regular) as Sukeban’s father, who seems to think having Sukeban lick his nipple will help him out in his current predicament at school. Visually, the film is nothing to call home about; shot on digital, it looks like your standard JAV production, though it does have some flair here and there that harkens back to the days of 70’s Japanese action cinema.
Targeted towards a specific audience, Sukeban Boy won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve enjoyed the recent crop of gonzo film-making from Japan and still get a kick out of grade-school humor, this will not disappoint. The gore meter isn’t as high, but the volume of laughs is much greater, and because of that Sukeban Boy doesn’t feel like a retread of the low-budget madness we’ve been served up as of late from the land of the rising sun. As far as I’m concerned, watching a boy that looks like a lady sit on a chick’s face and blast off a massive fart is more than worth the price of admission!
The good folks at Discotek have created a sub-label for some of their releases entitled Eastern Star, and Sukeban Boy is their inaugural release. Presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed format, the picture looks amazing for a DV film. It’s a shame that it couldn’t get the anamorphic treatment, but what we get is sharp and very vibrant. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track gets the job done just fine, and the optional English subtitles are free of any grammatical errors.
The main extra on the disc is feature commentary with director Noboru Iguchi and actor Demo Tanaka. While it’s a shame none of the female actresses are involved in the track, the two guys we do get relay some nice information about what went into making the film and toss in some entertaining random stories for good measure. Also included on the disc is a “Sukeban WTF Remix”, which runs about 4 minutes and throws all of the more ridiculous elements of the film at you in a condensed format; it will definitely have you saying “WTF!” The disc is rounded out with a trailer for the film as well as trailers for current and future Discotek/Eastern Star releases (can’t wait for Oh! My Zombie Mermaid!)
Please feel free to discuss "Sukeban Boy" here, in our forums!