Dead Sushi (2012) by Noboru Iguchi

An aspiring sushi chef protects others at her hotel work from ravenous attacking sushi.


One of the most prominent names in the Japanese underground splatter scene, Noboru Iguchi has made a living being involved with films featuring plenty of extreme gore and wild exploitation elements. Working well within his means on this latest project, he surrounds himself with familiar faces as well as popular exploitation-friendly names to craft a fun and wild offering.

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Trying to appease her grandfather, aspiring sushi chef Keiko (Rina Takeda, from "High-Kick Girl") bows under the pressure and eventually leaves her training where she takes a job from Yumi (Asami, from "Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead") at a high-class hotel. Finding no more respect from her peers or the customers there either, her attitude about how the preparation differs from her training gets her in trouble with the rest of her employees. While attempting to figure out what to do with her, a curse uttered on the food by a distempered ex-employee suddenly turns the fish into voracious flesh-eating beings, and forces her to put her skills to the test in order to save everyone at the hotel.

This emerges as an incredibly fun and goofy splatter comedy. Among the better qualities of this one is the fact that there's plenty of fun in how it tackles the extreme concept. This one gets a lot of mileage out of sushi preparation and the extreme lengths people go to in order to make it servable to others. This is an incredibly goofy concept in general, focusing on her exacting processes and martial arts training, which is where this one really goes overboard with the silliness. That carries over into the central premise of selling the idea that reanimated sushi are capable of going on a rampage and eating people alive. This is such a goofy idea that it becomes a plausible storyline here, with the series of outlandish antics. That provides the film with plenty of strong action, from the opening attack on the couple to the first attacks on the staff at the hotel, where the reanimated pieces begin flying around grabbing everyone, there's a sense of fine cheese on display that continually appears to be featured.


The action is utterly enjoyable, from the sushi going wild on the corporate guides flying around the room and slicing up their bodies in reckless abandon, to the individual battles against the creatures inside the hotel where the voracious creatures attack or manage to get put down temporarily, to the later action of the ravenous swarms appearing as a group to launch their attacks by embedding themselves into different parts of the body, make for a lot of fun as well as funny, cheesy goodness. Even the kung-fu scenes look good, and Rina Takeda is allowed plenty of opportunities to showcase her skills against the zombified followers of the sushi or the rude hotel guests that not only displays her skillset. Along with the enhancement of the giant fish-headed creature in the final half, it has a lot to enjoy about it overall.

The few bits we get about the cast are quite enjoyable. Rina Takeda as our intrepid heroine Keiko delivers a stellar, worthy performance here. Her put-upon demeanor and introverted personality after the abuse of her father and bosses, makes her a sympathetic force. Granted the opportunity to showcase her martial arts prowess at several intervals, she acquits herself well and we certainly follow her along the journey. Kanji Tsuda as her mentor Chef Tsuchida is a spectacular figure that's quite appealing. Given plenty of backstory to denote his place at the hotel and why he's no longer working there, and it's quite fun to notice him running around with her in the later half. As well, we get rousing turns from a series of regulars in these films from Kentarô Shimazu, Asami, Takashi Nishina and Tôru Tezuka who play their roles rather nicely without overstepping anyone. They're familiar with these films and respond to their characters accordingly.


Still, this one does have it's few minor flaws. The main issue here is the atrocious CGI that propels it forward which is just utterly abysmal in how it handles the creatures. There are a plethora of scenes here that play-off a swarm of sushi-shaped globs floating around in mid-air attacking the people, and CG Director Miyuki Wakamatsu's work never looks even remotely believable. The creatures come off as laughable blobs that barely interact with their surroundings, only for a series of ridiculous streaks of blood-splatter to come flying out of wounds they supposedly inflict on everyone. Some of the humor might not be for everyone, as there's a wide realm of body humor and silly sight-gags that might not be suitable or appealing to all audiences. As is typical with Iguchi, there are times where everyone tends to fart at the right moment or to engage in odd bodily functions which is the hallmark of his humor that runs rampant in the film. It really does become somewhat of a distraction.

While it does have a lot to like, the film has problems involved that are somewhat troublesome to get over. This one is really only inviting to fans of Iguchi's other films or fans of the underground Japanese splatter scene, while those that don't play into either fan-group are advised to steer completely clear.


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Asian Film Vault: Dead Sushi (2012) by Noboru Iguchi
Dead Sushi (2012) by Noboru Iguchi
An aspiring sushi chef protects others at her hotel work from ravenous attacking sushi.
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