“If you ever wanted to see topless swordfighting, you’ll be in heaven.”
Lili is a devotee of Sayama Hashinryu, a deadly form of swordsmanship passed down from woman to woman. She goes through the initiation rite, which involves being blindfolded and given a drink which knocks her unconscious. She comes to, about three hundred years in the past, in feudal Japan, naked. When she gathers her senses, she rescues a local village-girl from some ninjas, but to cut a long story short, discovers in the process that when Lili exposes her breasts, they emit a pinkish glow, and she becomes far better at swordplay. Turns out the poor villagers are suffering extortion from the evil Lady Okini (Asa), so Lili turns into the Magnificent One [or Magnificent Two, if you know what I mean, and I think you do], while also falling for Hikoichi (Matsuda), the brother of the girl she rescued. However, it turns out that Lili is not the only one in possession of a supernatural bosom; Lady Okini is also so equipped. Battle cleavages are thus drawn…
It says something about this film that I am still not sure who actually plays the heroine in it. The DVD has no credits to speak of – though Manga Video did bother to translate the closing song lyric – and the IMDB doesn’t list anyone playing Lili. So, if it’s not Akanishi – and I think it may not be, from what I can tell on a quick Google Image search – then I’ve no idea [Hooray! Reader A.R. comes through, confirming it is Ruru Anoa who plays Lili]. Anyway, it’s every bit as silly as it sounds, and made all the more palatable by being played dead-serious by all concerned. Despite the copious nudity, it’s mostly very innocent, though there are a couple of sex scenes which do bring the film to a bit of a halt – the lead actress isn’t even all that pretty, in my opinion, though Asa has a nice “bad girl” thing going.
The action is fairly basic, but edited in a decent way, hiding the limited skills of those taking part, and it barely runs an hour – likely a good thing, as one suspects much more of this could be outstaying its welcome. Incidentally, “Chanbara” basically means “sword-fighting movie”; the original title translates as “Breast Chanbara,” which is certainly closer to the truth than the Manga title, as the film contains no striptease whatsoever. The same creators had previously done two Chanbara Beauty films, about a bikini-clad zombie-killer, based on a video-game; I think I’ll be fast-tracking those for future consumption, and may even be able to watch them with Chris!
Dir: Akira Hirose
Star: Ryo Akanishi, Ruru Anoa, Yôichi Matsuda, Mina Asa, Sasa Handa