Kekko Kamen: Anime Classics Edition
"Something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt." That's the definition of guilty pleasure, which isn't a lot of use. Do you like something because it is pleasurable, or are you getting that pleasure simply because it is wrong? Perhaps it's something that you have to do alone, furtively, lest someone find out and tut at you in an accusative manner. One thing I have noticed is that there are a lot more guilty pleasures around now than there were when I was a kid. Back then, guilty pleasures were all dictated by the church, and boiled down to that which gave you hairy palms and short sight. With the invention of political correctness though, guilty pleasures multiplied like rabbits. Now that the establishment and polite society tells us what is bad and wrong, there are whole lot more prohibitions to indulge in. Go Nagai, who created Cutie Honey, created Kekko Kamen, perhaps the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. Kekko Kamen is a superhero whose costume boils down to a mask, red gloves, red boots, and nothing else. As she says, "Everyone knows my body, no one knows my face." She's the one defender protecting the hapless students of the Spartan Institute of Higher Education from the depredations of the faculty, and Principal Big Toenail of Satan. Kekko Kamen was animated in 1991 and brought to the UK in 2007 by ADV Films. Four OVA episodes are presented on one disc.
1. Here I Am: The Messenger of Love and Justice
The midnight concentration camp is in progress to sort the wheat out from the chaff amongst the students, so that the chaff can receive chastisement. The new Punishment teacher, Ms Gestapoko, fresh from the Auschwitz Academy will deliver that punishment, and as Big Toenail of Satan states, anything less than death is permissible. When Mayumi Takahashi falls asleep during the exam. it's time to get creative with some whips. Will no one save Mayumi? One person stands tall, proud and erect, Kekko Kamen, and she snatches Mayumi away from the grasp of the vicious teacher. Mayumi's back in her grasp the next day though, stripped and strapped to a revolving Swastika, target for her knives, bait for Kekko Kamen. Gestapoko dares Kekko Kamen to come out in broad daylight, and her instinct lies with the owner of a suspicious pair of panties, Yuka Chigusa.
2. Crash! Kekko Kamen vs. Muscular Master
Big Toenail of Satan is more determined than ever to bring Kekko Kamen to heel, but Mayumi is busy nursing a crush on the new Phys Ed teacher, Shuwartso Negataro. He's muscle upon muscle, and not afraid to flex it, and Mayumi's swooning so badly that she's sent to the nurse's office to recuperate. Shuwartso is soon there with flowers, get well wishes, and a torture device. Torture device? Oh no! Shuwartso is actually the new Punishment teacher, and he's determined to get Mayumi's muscles into shape. Soon she's stripped naked, suspended from the ceiling and having her Gluteus Maximus pummelled by a robotic massager. If only Kekko Kamen could save her. The trouble is that the male body beautiful is Kekko Kamen's weak spot, and there's no hope left when Shuwartso starts flexing at her.
3.Mystery! The Legend of the Evil Android!
Now Mayumi even has nightmares about punishment. But could her misery be coming to an end? There is a new student in her class, a beautiful, elegant and intelligent girl named Hanako Tanaka. She is so smart that she aces all the tests, and she's even inspiring the other students to greater achievements. She also helps Mayumi with her homework, encouraging her to do better. Mayumi's beginning to think that Hanako is in fact Kekko Kamen coming to her aid once more, but her friend Yuka is more suspicious. It doesn't matter; Mayumi is smitten, has a crush, and is falling in love with Hanako. And as so often happens, such feelings distract Mayumi from her schoolwork. It forces Hanako to enter punishment mode. Punishment mode? Oh no! Hanako is an android, created by the faculty to improve the students' grades and since Mayumi isn't following the program, out come the tentacles, stripping and a-whipping, groping and delivering with the electric shocks. Can anyone save Mayumi?
4. Crisis! Kekko Kamen Only Lives Twice!
In a last ditch attempt to improve student results, Big Toenail of Satan hires a new Punishment teacher, a Samurai whose wont is to slice the clothes off the girls with his sword, and then take plenty of polaroids as blackmail material. But the truth is that he's eager to face Kekko Kamen, to test his strength, and he even has a defence against her lethal finishing move. Once again, poor Mayumi is stripped, humiliated and abused, all as bait for Kekko Kamen, but this time, when Kekko Kamen appears, and the Samurai dodges her attack, Big Toenail of Satan looks… disappointed.
Dating from 1991, you won't be surprised to read that the image is a venerable 4:3 regular transfer, although the transfer itself is unproblematic. Age does tell on the animation though, it's certainly not up to modern CG standards, and it even looks a little dated for its 1991 vintage. It does get the story across, even if the character designs aren't all that consistent across the episodes. You have a choice between DD 2.0 English and Japanese, with optional translated subtitles or signs. It's a goofy comedy dub, in both languages, and I urge you to give the English a try, it's a more recent dub, and not too raucous. Besides, where else will you hear the immortal line, "Please take your tentacles off my titties."
The extras are confined to 3 minutes of a production sketch slideshow, and trailers for This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, Cosplay Complex, Pani Poni Dash, and Jinki Extend.
I'm going to be shunned by polite society, aren't I? Kekko Kamen is about as guilty as a guilty pleasure can get, it's the sort of anime that the Daily Mail warned your mother-in-law about, the sort that should be burned, burned, burned with all the other filthy foreign muck that infects our shores and casts a pall on the decent hard working everyday man in the street. That's usually what the higher up muckety-mucks usually tell you, while they keep all the good stuff for themselves. And let's face it, the first episode on this disc is just the sort of thing that Max Mosely would approve of, so it can't be that bad. Besides, if a naked superhero, whose finishing move is the Open Legs Jump to the face of her foes is wrong, then… no, not even I can justify that. But I can happily watch it, and laugh uproariously.
The set up is simple, a strict school where discipline and humiliation is applied violently, frequently, to naked female students, while the male faculty look on and letch. It's supposed to spur weak students to do better, but there's no hope for some, and Mayumi Takahara is the perennial victim of the teachers' perverted ire. It's a rare episode that she isn't bound, stripped and whipped on more than one occasion. Fortunately there is a heroine looking out for her, one who uses her body to distract her foes by fighting in the nude. It also means that if her enemies meet their demise with a smile on their face, it's apt to make them gluttons for punishment. Kekko Kamen is all about punishment, perversion, nudity and S&M, all for comedic effect.
It also blows its wad in the first half of the disc, and you've already run up against the brick wall of breakable taboos once you've had a Nazi Dominatrix as the Punishment Teacher of the week. It's also the most risqué episode of the lot, as she's a character that is sexually aroused by both delivering and receiving punishment, and it's that which probably earned the 18 rating. The following episode has the added delights of the gay muscleman Shuwartso Negataro (yes, that name is for real), whose attacks on helpless females amount to flexing his pecs at them in a provocative manner. The second half of the disc is a little disappointing though. The characters aren't half as interesting, while the show settles down to the routine of Mayumi getting caught by the faculty, stripped, punished, and then rescued by Kekko Kamen.
As for the nudity, well I wouldn't go investing in any Kleenex for this show. The character designs aren't exactly appealing, while the boobs on the female characters are as rigid and inflated as those you see on those late night TV call channels. As for the nether regions, Kekko Kamen makes use of shadow, comedy pixellation, comedy floating heads, bright sunshine, or the animators don't bother drawing anything, leaving Kekko Kamen as offensive as a shop mannequin. You'll just have to imagine the effect when her Legs Akimbo attack hits Big Toenail of Satan straight in the kisser.
Kekko Kamen is a great laugh, perfect post-pub entertainment (the alcohol will probably be required as it's rated outside its age range a tad), but I do feel that even at 4 episodes it starts to outstay its welcome. Now where do I find these live action Kekko Kamen movies I have heard spoken of…?
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