Greetings from the Edge!
This week on the Edge, we dive back into Japanese cinema, but instead of the spooks and spectres of the Yokai series, we’ll be taking on a whirling engine of delinquent splatterpunk destruction with Bloody Chainsaw Girl. In the tradition of Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl Versus Frankenstein Girl, and Mutant Girls Squad, I just knew I had to give it a review. Let’s see if this little slice of life school drama with mutant-cyborgs, slacker teachers, mad science co-eds, transgender ninja, and power tools of mass destruction can make the grade or if it’ll end up in cinematic detention here on the Edge!
Starring Rio Uchida as Giko Nokomura, our titular chainsaw-wielding delinquent, Mari Yamachi as Nero Aoi, the high school mutant-cyborgs creating mad scientist out for revenge, Seira Sato as Sayuri Bakutani, the cyborg captain of the cheer squad, now augmented with a missile launcher in her… nether regions, and Yuki Tamaki as Hanzo the gender reassigned leader of the Ninja club.
Based on the manga “Bloody Delinquent Girl Chainsaw” ( which is apparently pretty popular in France, believe it or not ), Bloody Chainsaw Girl recounts the story of Giko Nokomura and her trials and tribulations attempting to take a makeup exam to graduate high school so she can join her family’s architectural demolition firm ( no explosives certifications for dropouts in Japan, it seems. ) However, Nero Aoi, the local mad science girl, has taken over the school and turned most of the students and facility into mutant-cyborg killing machines to extract her vengeance on Giko for some slight that Giko just can’t seem to remember. Thankfully, Giko never comes to school without her industrial wreckers chainsaw and her delinquent attitude. Will Giko manage to pass her makeup test, fight off the mutant minions of Nero, and save her school, or will she have to face a repeat year of high school? Oh, and be torn limb from limb by the mutant-cyborgs…
The effects in Bloody Chainsaw Girl aren’t great, but they do have a certain cheesy charm that was fun to watch. Plenty of fake blood and body parts flying and, for such a low budget, they manage to mix CGI and practical effects in a pretty balanced fashion. Each where they’d be most effective.
It’s kinda sad that higher budget productions don’t take a hint and learn how to better utilize both effect types instead of just slapping cheap CGI over everything regardless of its suitability to the actual effect or scene.
A lot of the mutant-cyborgs are unimpressive, to say the least, and serve mainly as chainsaw fodder for Giko to carve her way through. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say that there is a chainsaw duel at the movie’s climax, and while I appreciate the effort put into it, the villain’s skull saw comes across as pretty rubbery. A+ for design and inspiration, C- for actual implementation, I’m afraid.
Bloody Chainsaw Girl is an odd mix of teenage manga humor and splatterpunk aesthetic. It’s not entirely successful in either regard and some of the jokes are hit and miss or require a knowledge of the basic background genres to recognize. It’s too bloody for most humor fans and not nearly bloody enough for the real gore fans. I don’t think it’s destined to be a favorite of fans of either genre and I was left with a feeling that they could have done more in either direction to make it more memorable.
If I’d actually had a chance to read some of the manga, I’d be in a better position to judge if Bloody Chainsaw Girl is true to the spirit, if not the actual story, of the manga. So I’ll have to judge it on its own merits and not as an adaptation of the original. I’m betting, however, that the comic was far more gonzo than the movie, and after watching Bloody Chainsaw Girl, I’m going to see if I can find any copies of the manga.
I couldn’t help but feel that Giko herself is the best thing in the whole movie. Her “Don’t give a Damn” attitude and blasé reaction to seeing her school overrun with mutant-cyborgs provides most of the best humor in Bloody Chainsaw Girl.
I’m going to be honest here, Bloody Chainsaw Girl just isn’t as wild and off the wall as I’d hoped. It has moments, but when compared to the real insanity of Machine Girl or Mutant Girls Squad, it doesn’t cover any new ground. If you’ve seen Tokyo Gore Police or Vampire Girl Versus Frankenstein Girl and enjoyed the splatterpunk and insanity, there is fun to be had in Bloody Chainsaw Girl. Giko is a fun protagonist and the more sedate pace of the movie is positively restful compared to most other Japanese splatterpunk comedies. However, if you’re not already a fan of the genre, Bloody Chainsaw Girl might be a decent starting point. I’m pretty sure if I plopped a bunch of unknowing friends in front of a screen and shoved Mutant Girls Squad on the player, I’d probably be minus a few friends by the end of the night. Bloody Chainsaw Girl, however, is a friendly option to stick your toe into the genre.
So if your curious about the genre or you’ve just burnt your way through most of what’s out there, I recommend Bloody Chainsaw Girl. If, however, you’re an aficionado of splatterpunk, it might be a little too tame compared to what you’ve already seen.
Now what we need is Leatherface versus Giko, let’s hope that the inevitable panty shots are from Giko and not everyone’s favorite cannibal.
Nerdy Speculation Corner: Warning, may contain both spoilers and dangerous amounts of geekery!
I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention the reloading scene. Sayuri has expended all her… crotch rockets ( yeah, let’s go with that ) and two of her cheer squad minions come out of the… see, I was going to say bushes but that seems inappropriate given the circumstances. Undergrowth? The sheer level of uncomfortableness that they radiate makes the scene worth while. Especially since it soon becomes obvious they have no idea how to actually reload Sayuri. It’s memorable if nothing else, especially when Giko simply states that she’s got no reason to wait for this and punches out Sayuri’s cheer squad backup.
I thought I’d throw in a picture of Giko from the manga for comparison sake: smaller saw, more berserker rage!
Next week, more movie maleficence, cinematic sass, and motion picture madness here on the Edge!