Mutant Girls Squad is a three way collaboration between directors Noboru Iguchi (Robogeisha, Machine Girl), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) and Tak Sakaguchi (Star of Versus) in a film that results in an all-you-can eat Japanese punk rock gore splatterganza. Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura are probably two of the most prominent directors working in Japanese transgressive films, with such films as Tokyo Gore Police, Mutant Girls Squad and Machine Girl to their credit.
Little known fact? This film was actually conceived on American soil during a film festival where all three directors were guests. One night they met up at a bar and conceived the plot and when they returned to Japan they immediately started production, writing and shooting and Mutant Girls Squad.
The film is tells the story of Rin a normal Japanese school girl who, one day before her 16th birthday, finds out she has mysterious powers: she can turn her right hand into a hideous claw which can deflect bullets and tear through almost anything, turning it into a bloody mess.
Upon confronting her parents about her discovery she finds out she is half mutant (on her father’s side) and an anti-mutant security force promptly shows up to kidnap Rin, killing her parents. In retaliation, Rin kills the entire town. I assure you this is not an exaggeration, in one of the most hilarious and bloody scenes ever committed to digital film. Rin is then recruited for the mutant girls squad by a militant anti-human group and must decide which side, since she is half human, she will choose.
Mutant Girl Squad, like most films coming out of Japan by these directors, is super gory, violent, completely over the top, and comes equipped with a wicked sense of black humor. The theater I caught this in at the Philadelphia Film Festival was full of laughter as scene after scene of gore and transgression filled the screen, each a step up in insanity and audacity from the last. The story was a series of one-ups where each gag had to be more mind-boggling and use more blood than the last, until the grand finale which brought the insanity in the film to a boiling pitch.
The film appears to be very low-budget and very DIY and VERY punk rock which is part of the charm of Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura’s films. When the seams in their monsters show we don’t seem to mind, it just makes the film and characters even more endearing. Not too mention the actors and actresses who put forth a genuinely convincing performance in some amazing circumstances… such as a girl whose mutant power is the ability to summon a chainsaw from her rear end.
The pacing of the film is pretty frantic going from scene-to-scene and gag-to-gag with almost no room to breathe, and the editing is pretty tight. While lacking in budget, the film is very well made, directed, and is not afraid to be exactly what it is, which helps its punk rock aesthetic tremendously.
If you’re a fan of either of the directors you really need to check this out, you wont be disappointed. Not only will you find yourself cheering by the end for the mutant girls squad you will also be hoping for another chapter of their adventures as well.
While this film lacks the mainstream appeal of Robogeisha I still think it is a worthy successor and really showed me why I fell in love with Japanese Cinema in the first place. I give Mutant Girls Squad a 4.5 out of 5 stars, hopefully we haven’t seen the last of this Triad of Gore.