Kunoichi Ninpocho - Ninja Tsukikagesho (Japan 1996)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Lady Ninja (UK title)
Review Date: 5/8/12
Cast: Yuka Onishi, Miho Nomoto

More ninja naughtiness in the "Kunoichi Ninpocho" vein. These films are as awful as they are outrageous, but I felt compelled to check this one out because it features two of my favorite Japanese B-movie actresses, Yuka Onishi ("Sukeban Deka") and Miho Nomoto ("Fudoh: The Next Generation"). Given the title of the film and the editing structure, this looks like a condensed version of a longer series, highlighting all of the best bits. Without the benefit of subtitles, it makes absolutely no sense, and it's not even clear what our nubile ninja cuties are even doing in the film - apart from having sex with the bad guys and then killing them in amusing ways. In typical kunoichi fashion, a lady ninja faces off with an ogre in a duel to the death. The ogre overpowers her with his ogre magic and attempts to rape her, which is her cue to unleash her ninja magic. The most amusing scene is when Miho Nomoto's character is being raped by a six foot long penis, and she applies vaginal pressure to explode the ogre's balls in a shower of gold glitter. Another ninja girl kills an ogre with her own flying decapitated head, while a third ninja girl utilizes her vagina cannon to pelt an ogre with colored billiard balls. (?!?) There's also a blonde white girl (the Witch Of The West) that speaks absolutely horrible Japanese, who uncorks her breast to unleash a high powered spray of intoxicating wine. Who comes up with this stuff?

The kunoichi and ogres fall one-by-one in standard fashion, until only Yuka Onishi is left to fight the leader of the ogre gang. Curiously, she has no naughty ninja tricks up her kimono, but the spirits of her fallen sisters come to her aid and destroy her foe. Then, for reasons I cannot fathom, Yuka decides to give up her life as a ninja and become a concubine for a high ranking official with a dubious background. Huh? I expected this to be a set-up for an assassination or revenge plot, but no, she just decides to have sex with him and then the film ends on a freeze-frame of her smiling. Whatever.

Anyway, the film is pretty terrible, but the production values are surprisingly good given the nature of the material. The kunoichi costumes are laughably garish, and there are numerous wardrobe continuity flaws. Yuka Onishi is adorable as always, and tries to conjure up as much dignity as possible for the role, which is clearly not to her liking. Miho Nomoto is stunning, and is the only kunoichi in the bunch who looks threatening with a sword. She is fiercely seductive, and her disdainful gaze is spell-binding. The filmmakers realize this, and actually give her TWO fight scenes, which is unheard of in kunoichi lore. (it's typically a lady ninja's duty to die while fighting) The lead actor is actually pretty decent and does a good job, although it's never clear what his role is and why he hangs out with the ninja girls. The action scenes are woefully pathetic, and there's a surprising lack of blood. Given the outrageousness of the ninja magic scenes, I would have expected to see lots of arterial spray from the sword fighting, but there is none. If you're a fan of the "Kunoichi Ninpocho" films, this just offers more (or less) of the same. It's not as insane and over-the-top as the earlier entries, and it attempts to construct a more serious and dramatic narrative similar to "Kunoichi Ninpocho Yagyu Gaiden" (1998). A guilty pleasure at best.