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Blu-ray Review: RoboGeisha

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Written by Caballero Oscuro

Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? Is there just some big lottery ball machine somewhere in Japan where filmmakers randomly pull genre title phrases out for combination? Whatever the genesis, the latest entry to arrive on this side of the Pacific continues the anything-goes gore esthetic of predecessors such as The Machine Girl and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. This is the movie for anyone looking for butt swords, spinning sawblade mouths, or “demon milk”.

Our star arrives on the scene in protection of a high-ranking VIP about to be dispatched by an inferior RoboGeisha. Upon defeating her foe and receiving the eternal gratitude of the VIP, she’s asked how she became a RoboGeisha, causing her to reflect on her origin for the rest of the film. As the younger and down-trodden sister of a renowned geisha (think Cinderella), she is recruited into a group of geisha assassins by a powerful factory owner. However, simple martial arts training isn’t enough for these girls, as the factory specializes in cybernetic enhancements to allow them to achieve more than their full potential as the ultimate fighting machines. That’s where the butt blades (and armpit blades for that matter) come into play, along with the factory owner’s diabolical secret plan to slip some nuclear potential into his girls to destroy Japan . RoboGeisha works to thwart the plan and the other warriors while also trying to save her older sister.

As this fare goes, it’s fairly middle of the road. It’s not overly offensive or exploitative in spite of such touches as butt-deployed ninja stars and demon milk sprayed like acid from demon-faced bras. Its final battle isn’t completely over the top, and its connecting material between opening and closing battle is a bit sluggish. Still, there’s much to appreciate in the always-inventive ways director Noboru Iguchi dreams up to enhance and destroy his cast of characters, and he keeps a light touch throughout so the gore is always played for laughs more than gross outs. It’s definitely good for some late night b-movie fun and completely unlike anything made in the US , so adventurous viewers should rest assured that it delivers on its potential, it just doesn’t do much to rise above and become a memorable classic.

The film does not benefit much from Blu-ray presentation due to its low-budget origins, with pixelation readily evident and a just passable sound mix. There’s also a bare-bones approach to extras, with only a brief offshoot short film available.

RoboGeisha is available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16th, 2010. For more information, visit the FUNimation website.

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