When I was a young lad, my family had a Doberman pinscher by the name of Willy, a wonderful dog who loved to pounce on top of me every chance he could. One day, Willy caught me behind one of the many sheds that adorned our property, with my own willy hanging out from my pants. I was caught in the act of relieving myself by my dog. Willy however had never seen a human being in the process of urination (let alone a five-year-old who thought very little of what he was doing) and the whole procedure simply left the poor pooch feeling overwhelmingly thunderstruck with confusion. With his eyes as wide as they could be, Willy tilted his head to the side — completely unsure of what the hell it was I was doing — and, while the memories of my many pets since then seem to sometimes merge into one and fade into obscurity, the vision of Willy leaning his head to one side in bewilderment has never escaped my memory.
Now, while I am not in the habit of routinely relating sordid and uninteresting tales of my youthful micturating escapades, the blank-but-baffled expression that tends to accompany a dumbfounded Doberman is nevertheless an appropriate analogy to my ability to comprehend Japanese movies. It’s kind of odd, too, especially when I think back to just over decade ago, when I was reveling in the sights and sounds of releases like the excellent Lone Wolf And Cub series and the misadventures of Tenchi Muyo (not to mention the magnificent world of El-Hazard). After that, I was blown away by the despairingly auspicious Battle Royale — for a while, it seemed that Japanese movies would never rub me the wrong way.
And then I watched several films by Takeshi Miike — and I suddenly hated Japanese movies and wanted nothing to do with them ever again. Either I had changed or they had (and, in all honestly, it’s a little bit of both). Still, to this day, the odd Japanese-made title lands on my doorstep to review. And when I say odd, a name like Minoru Kawasaki comes to mind.