Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nikkatsu cashes in with their own extreme film label - Sushi Typhoon

by Chris MaGee

Everyone out there knows how New York-based distributor Media Blasters have created their own empire by not just translating and publishing manga, but by creating Tokyo Shock, a DVD distribution wing that releases the more "extreme" end of Japanese filmmaking. On top of that though they've jumped into the deep end in the past few years and have gotten into the film production business. "Death Trance", "Oneechanbara: The Movie", and "The Machine Girl" all got made, or shall I say tailor-made, for North American gore and extreme Asian film fans with money from Media Blasters. It's very smart business sense, but I question how it affects Japanese film at large. Well, if the reports that are circulating around the net today are any indication it affects Japanese film by them wanting to cash in on the phenomena.

Nikkatsu, Japan's oldest film studio and co-producer of Noboru Iguchi's "The Machine Girl", have announced that they have created their very own distribution wing dubbed Sushi Typhoon that will be releasing "extreme gore" films from Japan on DVD in North America. Sushi Typhoon is the brainchild of producer Yoshinori Chiba, the man behind such films as "Zero Woman", "Fudoh the New Generation", "Tokyo Gore Police" (above), and such well known filmmakers as Sion Sono, Takashi Miike, Yoshihiro Nishimura are already hard at work prepping films for this new endevour... and gore/ genre film fans are going to hate me on this, but I hope that it's an endeavor that's too little, too late.

Are we at the Pow-Wow fans of such goofy/ violent films as "The Machine Girl", "Tokyo Gore Police", "Dead or Alive" and "Battlefield Baseball"? Yes (I'm a huge fan of Yudai Yamaguchi's "Battlefield Baseball"), but sometimes you have to wonder what the impact of these films are when you talk to people and ask them what they think a Japanese film is and they answer, "Stuff like 'Tokyo Gore Police' and 'The Machine Girl'." Are these films opening doors or are they narrowing people's perceptions of Japanese film? I think the latter, but I also think that, like the J-Horror boom of the late 90's and early 2000's, the "extreme/ gore" trend of Japanese films is just that, a trend and one that in a few year's we'll be a bit embarrassed by. I wish studios like Nikkatsu all the luck in the world, but maybe with another line of films.

Have your say about this and my take on Sushi Typhoon in the comments. Thanks to Wildgrounds for being the first to get the word out on this news.

1 comment:

keeperdesign said...

I'm pretty sure that films like "Tokyo Gore Police" and "Machine Girl" only reach the audiences they're intended for. I can't imagine Joe Q Public at the video store saying, "Well, honey, what do you want to rent? How about something about Japanese culture? Let's try 'Tokyo Gore Police'." With titles like those it's not like you're going to fool anyone--they're for gorehounds & extreme film fans only. At worst they scratch an itch, and at best they might be a schlocky entry point into jfilm.