Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis

Poster
movie poster
Directed by
Yuichi Fukuda
Trailer on
More info on
Buy it on
rating
4.0* /5.0*

There are only a select few films that, against all odds and better judgement, got made anyway. Films are big ventures and producers don't like to take many gambles. Ironically though, these films often turn out to be pretty damn awesome. It's even rarer to see one of those films get funding for a sequel, so when I read the announcement of Yuichi Fukuda's Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis, I couldn't quite believe me eyes. Despite its obvious flaws, I really liked the first film. Even so I tempered my enthusiasm, because how do you write a sequel to a film like that?

screen capture of Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis

Representation in films is a thing these days. When it comes to race people are asking for more equality (as in: more Asian and African-American actors in Hollywood films), but when it comes to gender, demands tend to get a bit more repressive. Words like objectification start flying around and sexuality is slowly becoming somewhat of a taboo again. Clearly director Fukuda doesn't agree and tries for a different approach. Mind you, this is no Japanese Magic Mike, but the male body does get plenty of opportunities to shine.

Female superheroes in particular are often looked down upon because of their skimpy, sexualized outfits. Well, Hentai Kamen one-ups them. Wearing just stockings and underpants (stretched all the way over his shoulders), Hentai Kamen's costume leaves very little to the imagination. And when it does, there's always Fukuda's camera ready to serve you plenty of butt and crotch area shots. The main characters isn't just some shabby, geeky pervert either, Hentai Kamen is quite buff and shiny (not to mention well-shaven).

The plot is incredibly silly, but what did you expect from a film like this. Hentai Kamen's arch nemesis is back and this time around he brought a vacuum cleaner with him. Why? To suck up all the used panties in Japan (which is what gives Hentai Kamen his exceptional powers). Things become a bit more complicated later on and there's actually quite a lot of lore to go through, but needless to say the story shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's little more than a hook for the film's wacky sense of humor.

screen capture of Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis

Visually the sequel is a clear step up from the first film, no doubt due to a bigger budget. But don't go expecting Hollywood-style imagery, the focus lies on comedy and the visuals play a big part in that. Cheesy CG effects and goofy practical effects make for a fairly simplistic look, but if you're fine with kaiju cinema (or Sushi Typhoon's work) then this will be easy enough to stomach. If anything, it looks way more accomplished than a film like this has any right to.

The soundtrack is a clear knock-off of other super hero themed films. It's cheesy, it's bombastic, it's not really all that good but it has enough comedy value for it to be excused. It's also not all that present or demanding, so it's quite easy to ignore if you really can't stomach this type of soundtrack. Films like these are rarely dependent on a good score anyway, so considering the fact it's good for a few laughs the film could've done much worse.

The acting is way over the top, so that's another thing to take into account. Hentai Kamen is filled to the brim with larger than life caricatures, expecting anything remotely natural or immersive is just going to kill the fun. Ryohei Suzuki and Fumika Shimizu take up their old parts again, with Suzuki being visibly comfortable in his weirdly uncomfortable role. It's a key element to the success of the film, as the Hentai Kamen part requires him to be as in your face as possible.

screen capture of Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis

What made this film way more fun than I'd expected it to be is the many different flavors of comedy present. There are of course the obvious kaiju and Power Ranger-like influences throughout the film, there's also an unmistakeable middle finger towards the politically correct (though with a big twist), there are some smart parodies of Japan's pervy hang-ups (much like Colorful - the 16 episode mini series) and some surprisingly deadpan deliveries. It all adds up to something quite weird and quite unique, but also quite specific and niche. Going in with a good understanding of how and what the film makes fun of is probably a prerequisite.

Hentai Kamen's manga origins surely helped to make this film become a reality, even so it's remarkable that Yuichi Fukuda managed to make it into something bankable. The film is pretty corny, it's pretty childish and it definitely has its flaws, but it's also pretty smart, confident and goofy. And it made me laugh harder than any other film this year, which is what a good comedy is all about. It's not easy to recommend, especially if you're not familiar with this type of film, but if you're feeling adventurous and you don't mind gratuitous exposure of male butts and crotch areas, be sure to give this one a chance.