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Kekko Kamen: Ritanzu

Kekko Kamen Returns

Japan 2004
produced by
Shin Yoneyama, Junichi Matsushita (executive) for Art Port, Dynamic Planning
directed by Takafumi Nagamine
starring Aki Hoshino, Misaki (= Misaki Mori), Kenjiro Ishimaru, Akira Sukamoto, Ryuji Komiya, Yumi Uchida, Yumi Yoshino, Nana Usami, Shinichi Oshima, Taichi Yamada
screenplay by Yuki Okano, based on the manga by Go Nagai, music by Mari Shimizu

Kekko Kamen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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St. Kusunoki High School is a peaceful place, that is until Naruhito Mizuki (Kenjiro Ishimaru) promises the school much-needed financial funding, and in return he wants to gain control of the (all-girl) swimming team. Now that alone would hardly be alarming (well, a bit), but fact is that Mizuki is actually an agent of Mangriffon.

Soon, the swimming team is flown off to a training camp on a deserted island, where the girls are rigorously trained by Mizuki and his tortureloving coach Ian Soap (Taichi Yamada), which is especially bad news for Mayumi (Aki Hoshino), who can't swim, and for that she is soon tortured by Mizuki and Soap ... enter Kekko Kamen (Misaki), the female avenger for mistreated schoolgirls everywhere and prime enemy of Mangriffon, who does all her avengeing completely nude safe for boots, a mask and a scarf, and who ever so often distracts her adversaries by giving them a good look at her crotch. And she soon teaches Mizuki and Soap a lesson.

What nobody (but the audience) knows of course is that Kekko Kamen is really Miss Kaori, the sympathetic swimming instructor, who helps Mayumi to achieve her goal (to swim 25 meters) where the more rigurous methods of Mizuki and Soap have failed. Mayumi gets extra encouragement from the ghost of Hironi, once the best friend of Ms Kaori who has died when training too hard to get into the swimming team (you see, she couldn't swim 25 meters either).

At the final day of the camp, with all the students demonstrating their skills, Mizuki shows his true colours, that he is an agent of Mangriffon and wants to enslave all the girls on the team ... and soon enough he has put all of them in chains. Exit Ms Kaori, enter Kekko Kamen ! But wait, Mizuki holds a knife next to the throat of one of the girls, and the chains the girls are in are set to cruch their bones in three minutes. The key to the chains he throws into the pool - but he gives the girls one chance ... if Mayumi manages to swim her 25 meters and dive for the key within the 3 minutes, she, and only she, can save them. Of course, Mayumi just makes it, and then Kekko Kamen beats up Mizuki and assistants, and restores order at the swimming camp - before doing her disappearing act and reappearing as Ms Kaori.

 

Of course, Kekko Kamen Returns, the third in the Kekko Kamen series, is more of the same, a cheaply made direct-to-video comedy built around the torture of schoolgirls (not too graphic and rather absurd than violent) and opportunities for the titular character to bare it all. What makes this movie - much like the other two - worthwhile though is its conscious, over-the-top campiness, its very straight and honest approach to its subject matter and the fact that its apparent cheapness doesn't stand in the way of some out-of-bounds ideas. Not art, maybe not even a good film, but fun to watch.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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