Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis (2016) review [Fantasia 2020]

Introduction

In 2013, Yuichi Fukuda introduced the world to Keishu Ando’s Hentai Kamen, the world’s most pervert hero. Three years later, in 2016, Hentai Kamen finally returned. In the director’s seat? Once again, Yuichi Fukuda. Can the sequel, a sequel referencing not only Marvel, but also Spiderman, the series Moteki (2010), The Karate Kid (1984), … etc., offer the same visual silliness and explore, in the same way, the truth of neurotic perversion as Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Hero (2013)?

Fantasia 2020 Official Selection

Review

Ever since he defeated Tamano Ogano (Tsuyoshi Muro) and saved his love Aiko Himeno (Fumika Shimizu), Kyosuke Shikijo (Ryohei Suzuki) A.K.A Hentai Kamen has only had petty crimes to deal with. The irresistible call of justice, of course, interferes with his life as college student and his part-time job as delivery guy for Mach Pizza. And Aiko, his love, once again confronted with Hentai Kamen in the newspaper, urges him to really retire and give her panties back.

Then, one day, after his retirement, all the panties of his female classmates disappear during the swimming class. Aiko, of course, suspects Ryosuke, but he swears he didn’t do it. The true culprit is, in fact, Mr. Vacuum (Sarutoki Minagawa), who under orders from Tamao Ogane (Tsuyoshi Muro) tries to get rid of all the panties in Japan. Just in retirement, Kyosuke is forced to pants-up and become, once more, Hentai Kamen, the world’s most beloved perverted superhero.

Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis (2016) by Yuichi Fukuda.

Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis, just like its predecessor, offers a ridicule caricature of the figure of the super-hero, but – and this is something we failed to note in our review of Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Hero – the very visualization of Hentai Kamen and his powers unearths, in a very clear way, the inner dynamic that generally structures superhero narratives.

Most if not all superhero narratives, in one way or another, deal with the notion of transformation – suit-up and suit-down – and the divide between subject as such and his superhero alter-ego. But while in most narratives the inner dynamic underpinning the transformation and the divide remains implicit, the Hentai Kamen films make this inner dynamic explicit. In fact, these movies literally show the dynamic, the dynamic between the impotent wimp and the phallic hero. Without underwear, he is almost nothing (e.g. running away when faced with danger or fighting with no confidence at all), but with underwear on his head, he is not only figuratively a phallic hero (i.e. someone with power), but also literally – just look at his set of perverted moves – a phallic hero.    

The romantic troubles between Kyosuke and Aiko are caused by one simple question Aiko struggles with: Is Kyosuke a pervert like Hentai Kamen or not? When Aiko argues that, at the end of the day, Kyosuke is a true hentai, she assumes that Kyosuke’s call to become Hentai Kamen is dictated by enjoyment, by the fact that he enjoys the perverted nature of Hentai Kamen. Kyosuke counters Aiko’s statement and explains that he is not a normal hentai, but a hentai for Justice. In his view, it is his sense of justice that drives him to become Hentai Kamen and, thus, allows him to enjoy the perverted phallic ways by which Hentai Kamen serves justice.

Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis (2016) by Yuichi Fukuda.

But his reluctance to give Aiko’s panties back to her suggests that the truth of Kyosuke’s perversion, a truth neither can accept, lies in the middle. What Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis in fact alludes to is the fact Hentai Kamen is an integral part of Kyosuke’s being and way of enjoying. One cannot separate Hentai Kamen from Kyosuke. In other words, Hentai Kamen’s existence depends on the perverse element that characterizes Kyosuke’s enjoyment as well as his subjectivity. What Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis attempts to confront the spectator with is the fact that each and every subject is marked by an element of (sexual) perversion and that each and every subject in his own particular way is somewhat perverse. Sadly, Fukuda fails – and this is not really the fault of the silly nature of the narrative – to make the confrontation with the structural perversity of the neurotic subject’s sexuality truly sensible.

The narrative, by revealing how depending Kyosuke’s perverse power is on Aiko’s underwear, also touches upon the relation between love and perverse desire, upon the fact that the perverse impulses of a subject, in a certain way, gravitate towards those who love the most. Or, in other words, that we, as subjects, want nothing other than to be ‘neurotically perverse’ with those we love dearly, either enjoying this perversity behind our beloved’s back or, in harmony, together with them.

While the basis of Fukada’s composition of Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis consists out of an ordinary mix between fixed and dynamic shots, his composition is peppered with a lot of cinematographical ornaments, not only for comedic purpose (e.g. sudden zoom-in movements, … etc.) but also to empower action sequences (e.g. shaky camera, …etc.).

Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis (2016) by Yuichi Fukuda.

Just like in Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Hero, Hentai Kamen’s silly perverted fight moves (e.g. Flying Tortoise-shell bondage, Sushi-Set Spring and Squash, … etc.) are staged in a visually pleasing way. This visual pleasure does not only originate from Fukuda’s use of a diverse range of cinematographical techniques (e.g. slow-motion, zoom-ins, zoom-outs, …etc.) to frame Hentai Kamen’s fighting, but also from visualizing his special moves with hilariously bad special effects and from visually decorating his perverted moves, hereby emphasizing the very impact his moves have and the power he as perverted hero possesses.

Music is applied in a dynamic way – a mix of heroic, rock, mysterious, emotional, romantic, and lighthearted pieces – to dictate to emotional flow of the narrative and further strengthen the lightheartedness. And sound is, in some instances, used to empower the pun of various comical moments. Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis is, just like its previous narrative, riddles with over-the-top silly over-acting. While this over-acting will surely put off many people, the over-acting keeps fits the silly tone of the narrative.  

Hentai Kamen: Abnormal Crisis is a decent sequel to Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Hero. It offers everything its predecessor offered, e.g. crazy perverted moves, phallic jokes – visual as well as speech-related, hilariously bad special effects, crazy over-acting, … etc. But despite offering plenty of fun moments and tons of silliness, the sequel fails to surprise and explore, like Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Hero did, the thematic riddle of the structural role perversion plays in human subjectivity in a truly meaningful way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s