Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Daisuke Yamanouchi is consistent. From watching his more infamous videos – titles like Red Room, Mu Zan E and Girl Hell 1999 all produced in his oddly busy year of 1999 – it’s clear that the man knows what he likes. I have a lot of love for filmmakers who revel in their own filth, and Yamanouchi’s filth-reveling is like that of a young John Waters. While his production values are cheap and his abilities behind the camera questionable, Yamanouchi’s efforts in disgusting his audience drown out these insignificant quibbles. Kyoko vs. Yuki may not have the infamy of something like Mu Zan E – and for good reason – but Yamanouchi’s greasy fingerprints are all over it.
KYOKO VS. YUKI
Original title: Saikyô joshikôsê densetsu: Kyôko vs Yuki
2000, Daisuke Yamanouchi
Kyoko vs. Yuki reminded me quite a bit of more recent shot-on-video offerings from Japan – silly stuff like Machine Girl (2008) and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009), which to be honest, I find forced and not all that entertaining. I suppose there’s not really that much time separating Kyoko vs. Yuki and the trash of the late-naughties. Still, it’s hard to believe that Kyoko vs. Yuki was released in 2000. Its downright cheapness makes it look at least five years older than it actually is and, for me, that’s part of its appeal, instantly elevating it above the calculated coldness of something like Machine Girl (2008). Still, I won’t lie. This is far from Yamanouchi’s best. Weirdly enough, it feels like a prototype of the Yamanouchi style, as if he was still honing his skills. But, as I pointed out earlier, this came after Yamanouchi’s “masterworks”.
For the most part, Kyoko vs. Yuki‘s miniscule running time is made up of hysterically weak fight scenes, shot with a desperate attempt to make them appear hip and cool. The camera tilts all over the place, powering in for close ups on Kyoko or Yuki’s furious expressions and spinning around wildly to capture the action… or lack there of. Early in the film, we are shown Kyoko beating up a yakuza prisoner. It acts as an excellent introduction to the “fighting” we will witness later:
Amazing stuff, huh? But, unlike what I imagine would be the video’s intended audience, I was not watching Kyoko vs. Yuki for the goofy fight scenes. I was watching it for a handful of solid laughs and consistent gross-out moments. The terribly executed fight sequences crosses my first expectation off and, while Kyoko vs. Yuki is nowhere near as sick as Yamanouchi’s previous videos, there’s some solid filth on display. I get the feeling that with Kyoko vs. Yuki, Yamanouchi may have been deliberating watering down his style in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience, but, being that he is clearly obsessed with depravity, he couldn’t help but throw some obscene shit in. The film’s most “Yamanouchi” sequence involves Maki, Yuki’s girlfriend, submitting herself to an obese woman (an actress I recognised from Girl Hell 1999) who penetrates her with a strap-on dildo. You can practically see Yamanouchi’s joy dripping off the screen as he lovingly captures this horrifying, and strangely funny, moment. We are also given an absolutely hilarious scene of lesbian-scissoring-necrophilia delivered with the sickest sense of humour imaginable.
Kyoko vs. Yuki also deserves kudos for its cast, which fares far better than your usual V-Cinema ensemble. Yôko Satomi is particularly good – not to mention pretty cute. Yamanouchi fills out the supporting roles with a handful of his regulars – I always appreciate a director who has a stable of actors. Not only are there some familiar faces, but Yamanouchi, as if wanting to revisit Girl Hell 1999, once again gives us an obnoxiously caricatured homeless woman who appears for little narrative reason – actually, no reason – in a truly absurd scene. Honestly, I don’t know what he was thinking when he shot this, but I’m glad it exists:
I get the feeling Kyoko vs. Yuki will not impress many. Fans of Yamanouchi will most likely be disappointed by its relatively tame content. And those few who stumble across it by accident will probably find it cheap and stupid. However, there is a tiny number of us masochistic weirdos who dig the filthy styling of Japanese V-Cinema so much that almost anything will entertain. Kyoko vs. Yuki may not be Japanese V-Cinema at its best, but by golly, it’s far from its worst!
Bonus fun fact!