Slavemen (2017) by Noboru Iguchi

When the preposterous becomes highly entertaining

One of the latest trends in world cinema is the "Greek Weird Wave", with films like "Dogtooth" and "Attenberg," that take reality and push it to its borders, occasionally surpassing the lines of surrealism. Regarding weirdness however, if Greece has a wave, Japan has a tsunami, and has been having one for decades now. With films like "Robo Geisha" and "Dead Sushi", Noboru Iguchi is a definite member of the genre, and his latest movie, "Slavemen" is a testament to the fact, as it takes the concept of the "masked hero" to its most extreme, despite the fact that gore is totally absent from this film.

The film will screen at the 18th Japan-Filmfest Hamburg, that will be on 31.05-04.06.2017


Yasuyuki is a true loser. He aspires to become a filmmaker, but is only a cleaner, spending his days mopping floors, and living with his somewhat abusive sister. Nothing seems to improve his life, and things become even worse when, one day at work, he stumbles upon a sexy photoshoot presided by Kiryu, a former classmate of his. Kiryu is the son of a mogul, but, most importantly, he used to bully Yasuyuki, terribly. Their encounter ends up in another traumatic experience for the protagonist, who ends up running away, this time stumbling upon Ayano, a girl handing packs of tissues to passerby, dressed as a maid. He becomes infatuated with her, but as he realizes what a loser he is, he starts feeling hopeless once again.


Enter the masked hero concept. On a rather absurd sequence of events that involves three individuals selling a mask that makes its wearer all powerful to Kiryu's dad, Yasuyuki ends up with it, becoming himself the masked hero. His new equipment makes him much stronger and an expert on martial arts, but most importantly, when he "scans" his enemies, he is able to change his past for the better. After his first scanning, Yasuyuki's life improves vastly and he sets again on getting the maid. However, he soon realizes that changing the past is not always so beneficial, and at the same time, his enemies (who are actually people from his life who, for some reason, change into monsters when he attacks them) become much stronger. Lastly, the voice of the mask warns him that if he fails to scan his opponent twice, his future will become terrible and even proceeds on showing footage of this horrible "what if?"

Noboru Iguchi directs and pens a film that, if it was to be described with one word, that would definitely be "preposterous." Nothing seems to make sense in this movie, and the concept, characters and narrative are nothing less than absurd. The fact that Iguchi seems to make an effort to fit some social comments regarding bullying, regret and corporate greed in this chaos, succeed only in making this sense even greater, in a tactic similar to the one Minoru Kawasaki implemented in his films ("The Calamari Wrestler", "Executive Koala", etc).

However, as the film functions as a parody of the "masked hero" concept, and through a number of hilarious concepts, like the way his opponents try to defend from his scanning, results in a highly entertaining spectacle, that is bound to make its audience laugh, particularly the ones who appreciate the Japanese sense of humor.


The combination of Yasuhiko Fukuda's music (and the theme by BRATS) and Demo Tanaka's fast editing make the film function as a preposterous combination of music video, anime and video game, while the fanservice elements definitely move towards the same direction. Lastly, Tsuyoshi Kazuno and Tomoya Ohata in the special effects and Miho Yoshida in the costumes have done a great job, presenting the film's impressive visuals.

The acting also moves in accordance to the general aesthetics, with Yuichi Nakamura as Yasuyuki and Ryohei Abe as Kiryu playing their parts with a fitting excessiveness. Kayako Okuda as Ayano looks sexy enough for the apple of discord role she has, and Chieri Ajioka as Yasuyuki's sister plays the most sensible (for this particular movie that is) role.

"Slavemen" is a very entertaining film inside its preposterousness, which all fans of Japanese weirdness will adore.


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Korea,74,S.Korea,2,Saayak Santra,9,Sabrina Baracetti,1,Sabu,4,Sade Sato,1,Salaam Bombay,1,Samui Song,1,San Diego Asian Film Festival,17,San Diego Film Festival,2,Sanjay Leela Bhansali,2,Sanjeewa Pushpakumara,2,Sankha Ray,33,Sarita Khurana,1,Satan's Slaves,3,Satoru Hirohara,1,Satoshi Kon,3,Satya,1,Satyajit Ray,2,Say Yes,1,Sayandeep Bandyopadhyay,6,Scarlet Heart,1,Score,1,Sea Fog,1,Seijun Suzuki,3,Sekigahara,1,Serga Mathang,1,Sexy S.W.A.T. Team,1,Sha Po Lang,1,Shake Rattle and Roll,1,Shakti Sounder Rajan,1,Shanjhey Kumar Perumal,1,Shanker Raman,1,Shaw Brothers,2,She Remembers He Forgets,2,She's the Boss,1,Shehjar,1,Shiboprosad Mukherjee,1,Shift,2,Shigeru Umebayashi,1,Shikhar Verma,13,Shikhar Verna,3,Shim Sung-Bo,1,Shinichi Fukazawa,1,Shinichiro Ueda,1,Shinji Iwai,1,Shinji Somai,2,Shinji Sômai,1,Shinjuku Swan,1,shinjuku Swan II,1,Shinjuku Triad Society,1,Shinobi no Kuni,2,Shinsuke Ogawa,1,Shinsuke Sato,2,Shinya Tsukamoto,4,Shireen Seno,2,Shirley Abraham,1,Shock Wave,1,Shôhei Imamura,1,Shoot for the Contents,1,Shorts,9,Shotaro Kobayashi,1,Shu Qi,1,Shuna Iijima,1,Shunji Iwai,2,Shutter,1,Shuttle Life,2,Shyam Ramsay,1,Siddiq Ahamed,1,Sidharth Bharathan,1,Sidi Saleh,1,Signature,1,Silent Mist,1,Silver Spleen,2,Singapore,3,Singh Anand,1,Singing Chen,1,Sinophone,1,Sion Sono,10,Siti,1,Sixth Sense Hooker,1,Slavemen,1,Sleep Curse,1,Small Talk,2,Smriti Mundhra,1,Sogo Ishii,2,Soichi Umezawa,1,Solanin,1,Solitude,1,Solo,1,Someone To Talk To,1,Sompot Chidgasompongse,2,Song Hae-sung,1,Song Kang-ho,1,Song of the Week,22,Sopawan Boonnimitra,1,Sopon Sakdapisit,1,Soul,1,Soul Mate,1,SoulMate,2,South Korea,24,Sri Lanka,3,Sridevi,1,Srijit Mukherji,8,Stammering Ballad,1,Stanley Kwan,1,Stanley Tong,1,Steel Rain,1,Stephen Chow,1,Stephen Fung,2,Steve James,1,Still the Water,1,Stoneman Murders,1,Story in Taipei,1,Strange Circus,1,Studio Ghibli,1,StudioCanal,4,Subenja Pongkorn,2,Suffering of Ninko,2,Sugihara Survivors: Jewish and Japanese,1,Suicide Club,1,Sukita: The Shoot Must Go On,1,Suman Mukhopadhay,1,Summer Snow,1,Sun-ho Cho,1,Sunao Katabuchi,3,Sunday Beauty Queen,1,Sung-hong Kim,1,Sunk Into the Womb,1,Sushama Deshpande,1,Susumu Hirasawa,1,Sweating the Small Stuff,2,Sylvia Chang,1,Tadashi Nagayama,1,Tae Guk Gi,1,Tag,1,Taiwan,28,Takaaki Hashiguchi,1,Takahide Hori,1,Takahiro Miko,1,Takahisa Zeze,1,Takao Nakano,1,Takaomi Ogata,4,Takashi Miike,10,Take Care of My Cat,1,Take Me to the Moon,1,Take Off,1,Takeo Kikuchi,2,Takeshi Kaneshiro,1,Takeshi Kitano,1,Takuro Nakamura,2,Talop Wangchuk,1,Tamil,4,Tamura Senichi,1,Tang Seng Kiat,2,Tanit Jitnukul,1,Tanvir Ashraf,2,Taste of Rice Flower,2,Tatara Samurai,1,Tatsuhi Omori,1,Tatsumi,1,Tatsumi Kumashiro,1,Teddy Soeriaatmadja,1,Teenkahon,1,Teppei Nakamura,1,Tetsuo the Iron Man,1,Tetsuya Mariko,1,Tetsuya Nakashima,1,Thailand,21,Thanatos Drunk,1,That's It,1,The Adventurers,2,The Apology,1,The Bad,1,The Blue Redemption,1,The Boy and the Beast,3,The boy from Ipanema,1,The Brink,1,The Chase,1,The Cinema Travellers,1,The Crawler in the Attic,1,The Crazy Family,1,The Day After,1,The Detective,1,The Discloser,1,The Dollhouse,1,The elephant and the sea,2,The Empty Hands,1,The Executioner,1,The Eye's Dream,1,The Forest Whispers,1,The Forsaken Land,1,The Fortress,1,The Gangster's Daughter,1,The Girl Who Never Knew War,1,The Golden Fortress,1,The Good,1,The Great Buddha+,1,The Great Passage,1,The Hole,1,The Hungry Lion,1,The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles,2,The Inugami Family,1,The Iron Ministry,1,The Island That All Flow By,1,The Isthmus,1,The Kid from the Big Apple,1,The King of Pigs,1,The Last Executioner,1,The Last Painting,1,The Long Excuse,1,The Looming Storm,1,The Lowlife,1,The Magic Blade,1,The Man Without a Map,1,The Mayor,1,The Merciless,2,The Mermaid,1,The Muse,1,The Naked Island,1,The Name,1,The Net,1,The Night of the Earthquake,1,The Outlaws,1,The Prison,1,The Promise,1,The Raid,1,The Raid 2,1,The recipe,1,The Road Home,1,The Road to Mandalay,1,the Robber's Daughter,1,The Room,1,The Sacrament,1,The Salesman,1,The Seen and Unseen,1,The Shoot Must Go On,1,The Sleep Curse,1,The Snow King,1,The Sower,2,The Story of the Disappearance of Maryam,1,The Strange Saga of Hiroshi the Freeloading Sex Machine,1,The Suicide Chain,1,The Swindlers,1,The Table,1,The Third Murder,1,The Thousand Faces of Dunjia,1,The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale,1,The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue,1,The Tooth and the Nail,1,The Truth Beneath,1,The Vanished,1,The Villainess,3,The Violin Player,1,The Way We Are,1,The Weird,1,The Windmill Palm Grove,1,Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru,1,Third WIndow,1,This Is Not What I Expected,1,This Is Not What I Expected!,1,Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum,1,Thop Nazareno,1,Three Sisters,1,Three Times,1,Tiffany Hsiung,1,Tik Tik Tik,1,Tôkaidô Yotsuya kaidan,1,Tokyo Ghoul,1,Tokyo Heaven,1,Tokyo Idols,1,Tokyo Vampire Hotel,1,Tolerance Film Festival,1,Tom Waller,2,Tony Leung,1,Tony Takitani,1,Torico,2,Toronto International Film Festival,1,Toshiaki Toyoda,2,Toshihisa Yokoshima,3,Toshimasha Kobayashi,1,Toshio Matsumoto,1,Toshiya Fujita,1,Toshiyuki Teruya,1,Town in a Lake,1,Traces of Sin,1,Trailers,85,Train to Busan,1,Tran Ham,1,Translated articles,1,Trapped,1,Travellers and Magicians,1,Treb Monteras II,2,Trinh T. 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Asian Film Vault: Slavemen (2017) by Noboru Iguchi
Slavemen (2017) by Noboru Iguchi
When the preposterous becomes highly entertaining
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Asian Film Vault
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