Sunday, August 17, 2008

Denchu Kozo no Boken – review

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

First released: 1987

Contains spoilers

A year before he directed Tetsuo, Tsukamoto made this oddity that uses many of the stop motion over live action techniques that he would employ in Tetsuo. To be honest this is a film that you will love, hate or recognise as a milestone on the way to Tetsuo.

Whilst I subscribe to the milestone position myself, more than anything, I was not particularly enamoured by the film in its own right.

The film is centred around Hikari, a young man who happens to have an electricity pole growing out of his back. As such he is bullied and we see him chased by some boys. He is rescued by a school girl named Momo and, to thank her, shows her his time machine, which he then triggers.

He is pulled into the future, a dark world, and comes face to face with members of the Shinsegumi Vampire Gang, who are hunting professor Sariba (Momo’s future self). She explains to Hikari that she has awaited his arrival, it is twenty five years in his future and only he can save the world.

It seems that the vampires have used a bomb to darken the skies, and keep detonating such bombs as the cloud cover breaks. They have designed a device that will permanently darken the skies. The device is powered by a human, Eva, and will trigger when she reaches sexual maturity. Remember, this talk of darkened skies and machines powered by human batteries was some 12 years prior to The Matrix.

Of course, during all this he meets his future self.

The story is surreal – no doubt about that – and the vampire lore is sparse. The vampires suck blood, they burn in sunlight and beheading does not kill them. As a vampire movie this is poor, the story lost within the surreal boundaries and very poor effects – though stop motion wise the piece to look out for is Eva being subsumed into the machine, which was very Tetsuo.

I can only really offer this 2 out of 10 from my point of view. This may have been an important milestone on the way to Tsukamoto’s more famous body of work but it didn’t have the power or storyline to hold its own. Many, I am sure, will disagree (as I said at the head, it is a love or hate film really)

The imdb page is here.


Anonymous said...

I may see if I find this one line though I doubt I will like it for some reason, but I am curious. i liked Tetsuo of course but not the sequel and was not wowed by Tokyo Fist despite all I had read.

I really seem to feel i should like Asian cinema more than I really do sometimes. I like moments of films to be sure (and older films before from Japan before 1970 or so in another story)...

But I am searching for this now as I type

Taliesin_ttlg said...


it didn't strike a chord with me, as you will have been able to tell.