Sukeban Deka 2: Counter-Attack from the Kazama Sisters

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Perhaps the most startling thing here is the amount of political subtext, albeit likely somewhat unintentional. Saki Asamiya (Asaka) is part of the student police force, but feels they are overly brutal, beating anyone who “isn’t a straight arrow”, to quote Asamiya. This leads her to quit, heading off for a spot of slow-motion horse-riding more befitting a feminine hygiene commercial. However, she returns, teaming up with her sisters, when she discovers that her erstwhile colleagues are staging terrorist attacks, and blaming them on a group called the Outcast League, a with the aim of strengthening their position and gaining even greater powers. Asamiya joins the League, only to find the full force of the law now turned on her.

From a post-9/11 and Patriot Act world, this has acquired a weird resonance that, presumably, was nowhere in the creators’ minds at the time. This reminds me somewhat of Demolition Man, in which Stallone teamed up with those beyond the pale, to take on the authorities; here, the head of the League is a drug-dealer; that he is portrayed even vaguely sympathetically, is remarkable for this kind of movie. Unfortunately, the other aspects of the film are a great deal less interesting, and Asaka’s deficiency as any sort of credible action heroine are painfully obvious – she doesn’t get to do very much except look stern and repeat the same yo-yo throw over and over again. I was amused by the scene where she and her sisters are tagged with grappling hooks, swept off a balcony and towed along a river for a bit, before Asaka somersaults out of the water to land – completely dry – on the deck, to battle the bad guys with highly-mediocre martial-arts.

The movie also slows to a crawl for about twenty minutes after she teams up with the League, though Things do perk up somewhat down the stretch, with the student cops launching an assault on the Outcast League compound [shades of Waco here!], starting with water hoses and escalating up to a flamethrower-equipped tank, against which our heroine’s yo-yo proves ineffective. However, she escapes and has to catch a lift from a conveniently passing Kodak blimp – no, I couldn’t make this kind of stuff up – in order to stop another of the fabricated terrorist attacks. There, we learn the answer to the burning question of the day, “Is it possible to bring a light-aircraft down, using only a yo-yo?” Though if you’ve read the synopsis to the previous movie, you are probably a good way along towards working out the answer.

Dir: Hideo Tanaka
Star: Yui Asaka, Kosuke Toyohara, Minako Fujishiro, Yuma Nakamura

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