Nihon NihilismIf there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my visits to Japan it’s that when it comes to porn Japan has everyone covered. Pluck any possible fetish from your recesses of your brain, no matter how obscure, odd or stupid, and I can almost guarantee you’ll find a shelf in a porn shop blossoming with overpriced DVDs that share your fantasies. The endless variety obviously comes from having a large population crammed into a small space, but I’d wager it’s also partly compensation for the much discussed (and hated) pixelated censorship of genitals.

“Japanese porn would be amazing if it wasn’t censored!” is a common complaint screeched by millions of infuriated Pornhub users (only it would most likely be written with a more creative use of the English language). Fair enough. But somehow I think with the pixels taken away, the creativity would go with them. Not that I’m an advocate for censorship but I remember a conversation that helped me see pixels in a new light. A friend had just bought a Japanese porn DVD (the cover showed a girl’s face being drowned in honey). He excitedly played me a scene featuring a guy with an enormous and clearly fake censored dick spewing fountains of fake jizz. As he pointed out, the pixels had made this sort of madness possible. In Eastern Bloc countries and Iran, from limitations came new visions from brilliant artists. And in Japan, from limitations came enormous fake dicks from filth-peddling perves.

Some time ago I posted a clip from a pornographic parody of Ultraman. It’s our most popular post (which is sort of depressing), and the top search term that brings people to our site is “ultraman porn”. This clip marks the beginning of my fascination with the world of Japanese superhero parody porn.

Perusing porn stores in Japan, I discovered the aforementioned clip was no oddity in the world of Japanese porn. The superhero parody genre is, in fact, enormous, taking up rows and rows of jam-packed AV stores. This in itself isn’t surprising. The American porn industry, especially in the last few years, has released oodles of popular superhero parody porn, but the Japanese stuff is far stranger.

Ultraman and its Tokusatsu brethren have always seemed to me about as devoid of sexuality as you can get, yet its pornographic sub-genre is rather incredible in its output. In my exploration to find more weird Ultra-porn, I came across Giga – a Japanese porn production company – and that’s when I really tumbled head first down the spunk-laced rabbit hole of mind-melting pornography.

Giga and its myriad of sub-labels produce “heroine” porn – pornography that centres on girls dressed up as Japanese superheroines. Within this genre, there’s a series of sub-genres, some of which are truly bizarre. Some of my befuddling favourites include: “Breast Milking”, “Giant”, “Knotty Rope”, “Ecstasy Hell”, “Non-Transformation”, “Muscle”, “Naked”, “Scatology Heroine”, “Sticky”, and “Suppression”. There is, of course, the inescapable “Rape”, “Gang Rape” and “Torture” sub-genres, but honestly, most of them seem rather rapey already.

The most alarmingly specific sub-genres are “White Eyeballs” and “Stuffed Animal Suit”. The former is a sub-genre that focuses on… ahem… the whites of a heroine’s eyeballs as their eyes roll back either in pleasure or pain. Heroine Pregnancy, Rape, Giving Birth, Ecstatic Face, Orgasm Hell – Pride Five (2012) – an entry in the “White Eyeballs” sub-genre – features the tentacled assault of a heroine whose costume resembles that of a Power Ranger.

In the proud director’s comments, he boasts: “This film contains some extreme content, but with great scenes of a heroine exposing the whites of her eyes and showing her orgasm face, this will satisfy the most discerning viewers.”

The “Stuffed Animal Suit” genre is straight out of my nightmares. The actresses are dressed in full body (face included) anime suits.

Their never-changing smiling faces are haunting as fuck as they’re painted with jizz and tentacle slime. The images above and below are from Giga’s Full-body Suited Heroine Sticky Facial Cum Hell – Witch Girl Sweet Maple (2011).

But Giga’s website – which is, by the way, available in English with some films even providing English subtitles – doesn’t advertise its strangest and most vicious series and the focus of this article: the Heroine Zankoku Monogatari (ヒロイン残酷物語) series, produced by the label Zeus. It’s rather difficult to describe this sub-genre within a sub-genre, but perhaps in the simplest terms it’s Guinea Pig in cosplay.

While the three entries in the series I’ve viewed don’t feature any pornographic content in a traditional sense, they are undoubtedly porn. Each Heroine Zankoku Monogatari entry is essentially the same: a costumed hero is abused and violently tortured by supervillains until she dies. Unlike other Giga productions, Heroine Zankoku Monogatari features geysers of blood and employs bargain-bin recreations of Guinea Pig-esque effects.

Being the sicko that I am, on my recent trip to Japan, I became obsessed with tracking down some Heroine DVDs. It proved more difficult than expected. Each porn shop was stocked with piles of Giga titles, but Heroine Zankoku Monogatari was nowhere to be seen. Whether its absence was due to its extreme content or simply because it was too old to be sitting on the shelf, I’m not too sure, but finally I resorted to Amazon Japan where I found an affordable copy of Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III (2004).

As fascinating as the series concept is, Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III was a chore to sit through. Like all modern pornography, it lingers on its repetitive scenes of titillation for what seems like forever – only instead of dicks pounding in and out of vaginas, I was watching a spiked ball rolling around inside the bloodied mouth of a crying superheroine.

Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III begins with a trio of men in zebra-striped body suits chasing a man with a metallic suitcase. He shoots one of them. Cut to a pile of dead zebra-striped body suit guys lying in a supervillain’s dungeon, our starring heroine (Aika Miyazaki) stands silhouetted, fists outstretched and breathing heavily.

Amongst the hanging chains, more zebra-striped body suit donning villains appear. Cue Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III‘s fabulously shitty title sequence, which consists of shots of Aika Miyazaki looking sad and loitering in the dark chain-decorated lair.

After the lengthy opening titles, we cut to a silhouetted villain who looks like something out of a Kamen Rider episode. He delivers a monologue to two underlings: a masked tough guy (who receives a few electric shocks from his boss) and a sour-faced villainess in a skin tight outfit.

The film then returns to our heroine, Aika, post battle with the zebra-outfitted lackeys, healing a bloodied wound using her super powers. We flashback to her receiving an injection from a scientist – her father – which I suppose gives a back story to her powers… I don’t know… my Japanese is mostly nonexistent.

The supervillain’s underlings then enter the scene confronting Aika. A lengthy and intense exchange of words takes place. We see another flashback to her father, covered in blood and holding the briefcase we viewed in the film’s opening. Aika comforts her dying father and takes a bracelet from the briefcase for some reason. Her father dies, Aika dramatically screams “FAAATHER!”, then we cut back to the present as the male masked villain begins beating the crap out of Aika, slamming her head against a pillar several times.

He pushes her head against the pillar. We hear a painful creaking, which sounds like a balloon readying to pop. A few more sickeningly meaty blows are delivered to her stomach. The sound design of Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III is surprisingly good. The camera rocks and rotates in a seasick motion. The villain wraps a chain around Aika’s neck, choking her until sticky white vomit dribbles from her bruised maw.

The villain swings Aika by her hair and tosses her to the ground, tearing a bloodied chunk from her scalp. He then focuses his attention elsewhere and breaks her ankle. Aika stands and attempts to fight back, but this only encourages the villain to pummel her arms to smithereens.

The torture continues with repetitive kicks to the lower back. The grumbling soundtrack becomes more prominent as Aika’s back bruises and the villain rips half her arm off with his bare hands. He tosses the torn off limb in front of her.

Aika uses her powers to meld her severed arm back on. She stands up, some fight still left in her, and runs headlong into another one-sided beating. Gurgling blood from her mouth and lying half-dead on the ground, Aika falls into a dream. She wakes up strapped to a chair with the lady supervillain seen earlier looming over her.

A few broken few fingers, more white phlegm vomit, and balloon-scraping sound effects later, the villainess takes a drill to Aika, creating a few holes in her abdomen and chest. Taking things to the new levels of foulness, she digs around in the wounds, pulling out some innards and throwing them back at Aika.

Her attention turns to the vice that has ominously waited its turn with Aika’s head sandwiched between it. The wheel is turned squeezing Aika’s skull to a squeaky breaking point, making blood pour from her eyes. The music score’s grumbling tones raise in pitch adding to the unpleasant atmosphere.

Then comes the most alarmingly specific torture device of the film. TA drill with a spiked ball attached to it is shoved in Aika’s mouth. It rolls around inside her gob for the next five minutes.

The effect is not particularly well executed – it consists of little more than some blood dribbling out of Aika’s mouth as the ball gently spins around – but the concept alone is enough to trigger a few cringes.

The villainess takes a break to laugh evilly and experience a flashback of her own: she’s strapped down, naked, and injected with something by Aika’s father. This is the first time and only time Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III features nudity – impressive considering the film’s leading cast consists of AV stars, and that, you know, this is porn.

Back to present day: the villainess returns to torturing Aika who is now strapped down to a table, mirroring the flashback. Using Wolverine-esque claws, the villainess slices up Aika, and, once again, digs around in the wounds with her hands, pulling out bits and pieces and occasionally breaking the fourth wall. The Wolverine routine is completed with an aggressive, gruesome disemboweling and Aika’s heart being torn from her body.

In her death throes, Aika is devoured by the zebra-suit wearing lackeys who chew at her guts and neck; even her ear is bitten off. The hammy music from the opening titles fades in as Aika dies. As the back of the DVD says: Bad End.

An hour and ten minutes of torture and gore has past, after the credits we are shown dull behind the scenes footage as the theme song plays. This is a strange reoccurring feature of Japanese videos: behind the scenes footage that appears almost entirely unedited and random, whether it be footage of Aika practicing fights or eating noodles. I can’t imagine how ripped off the patrons who forked out ¥10,000 would have felt. I would, however, love to know what Aika has to say in her onset interview.

The remaining twenty minutes of the DVD is packed full advertisements for some horrendous looking scat porn. Most of the footage is made up of girls forcing out unhealthy turds, then holding them up on a plate to camera with ashamed expressions on their faces. One preview rather hilariously melds the heroine torture genre with pissing and shitting.

Like watching a dull and repetitive porn film, the urge to fast-forward Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III to the good bits was ever-present. It must be said though that its production values, for what it is, are not all that bad. Shot with some flair – though in a style I don’t particularly like (too many Dutch tilts) – and featuring a creative use of sound (albeit a poorly mixed one), Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III is slicker than some non-pornographic shot-on-video efforts I’ve seen from Japan.

The leading lady – AV actress Aika Miyazaki – is dedicated to her role, screaming and crying up a storm, putting in an effort far more energetic than most of her American porno contemporaries. Despite not having to take part in any penetrative sex, the role was clearly a demanding one.

I’ll avoid going into too much detail in describing the other Heroine Zankoku Monogatari volumes I’ve endured. I’m sure you can guess, they’re all much the same. Heroine Zankoku Monogatari XI (2008) even features Aika Miyazaki in the lead once again. This time she dons a pink nurse’s outfit.

Heroine Zankoku Monogatari XI‘s opening scene is much heavier on the fight choreography in comparison to Heroine Zankoku Monogatari III, and, even though the zebra outfits are recycled for the lackeys, it seems more effort has gone into the supervillain’s costumes.

It doesn’t take long before the punching, kicking and strangling begins this time at the hands of a cyborg, who even delivers a few inspired wrestling moves upon Aika’s abused body. By the times the weapons come out, Aika is already a battered mess.

Things pick up for Aika for all of a few minutes when she transforms herself into her superheroine form, but after throwing just a few punches in she’s back to being beaten and stabbed, villains cackling madly (and repetitively) at her grunting and groaning. Strung up from the ceiling, the torture is stepped up a notch into pervy fetishistic territory.

Aika is poked, prodded, squeezed and stabbed with a variety of nasty instruments; some being rather absurd (for example the gigantic pliers used to crush her limbs). In a particularly unpleasant moment, the overacting villains push pins into her fingers and rip her nails off with (regular sized) pliers.

The torture continues with boiling water being poured over Aika’s abdomen and down her throat. Then there’s the inevitable hacking off of fingers, which escalates to dismemberment with the assistance of an electric saw.

Heroine Zankoku Monogatari XI completes the proceedings with the two idiotic villains pulling Aika’s guts out and slapping her insides on her face. With the eleventh volume of Heroine Zankoku Monogatari, Zeus has upped the ante in terms of gore and stripped back anything resembling plot or stylistic flair. Heroine Zankoku Monogatari XVI (2011) continues this trend, this time featuring Anri Suma in the lead as “Special Girl”.

Special Girl at first seems a little more able than Aika’s heroines. She kicks some villain ass and manages to avoid torture for the first ten minutes – surely a Heroine record. But never fear, superheroine torture fans, it’s not long before she’s receiving the beating of a lifetime. This time it even becomes a little more sexualised as her boobs and crotch receive a vicious supervillain grappling.

After the obligatory punching and kicking foreplay, Special Girl is – yes, no surprises here – strapped down and prepped for torture. It must be said, the torture chamber set in this volume is a definite improvement over earlier entries.

Special Girl gets beaten with a rubber looking spiked baton for a while. Her torturer pounds nails through her unmoving gloved fingers in a scene that feels as if it will never end. It does, eventually, and is replaced with some hammy foot hacking.

After her foot is partially hacked off, Heroine Zankoku Monogatari XVI returns to more impaling. The torturer pounds a stake into Special Girl’s guts, and then, disturbingly, into her crotch.

The added sexual violence interspersed between cheesy dismemberment effects certainly makes this entry a more repulsive affair. Taking its cue from the previous Heroine volumes, Heroine Zankoku Monogatari XVI moves on to a disembowelment with guts being thrown into Special Girl’s face (surely the series’ signature move). But it’s taken to the next level when the cackling torturer tears the eyeballs from her skull and popping them like eyes in a ridiculous but entertaining effect.

Special Girl’s corpse is put through a paper-mâché meat grinder. The end. Watching three Heroine volumes in a row, I felt myself starting to go mad. Not because of the violent content but out of sheer boredom. Much like most modern porn, each volume follows the same structure. Its predictability is mind-numbing, and the repetition is as torturous as anything on the screen.

Despite having the cheesiest special effects and hammiest music score, Heroine Zankoku Monogatari XVI was the most unnerving of the three that I viewed. Its inclusion of vaginal destruction took the series to even seedy lows. At times, it seemed more concerned with sex and abuse than goofy gore. It even included an extra scene at the end of the film featuring Anri Suma masturbating, still covered in fake blood.

I don’t know how I feel about the Heroine Zankoku Monogatari series. Its combination of fetishes is so outrageously specific that it’s difficult to believe that it could get anyone off.

Each volume is a repetitive clusterfuck of superheroines, silly costumes, cackling villains, cyborgs, poor fight choreography, torture chambers, wrestling moves, jizzy vomit, dismemberment, guts slapping on screaming faces, and endless, endless, endless punches. The violence is absurd, lacking any kind of realism, but is that also part of the appeal? Fuck! I’m so confused!

And as much as I can’t imagine anyone getting off on this, I find it hard to imagine anyone getting too offended by it either. It’s just too ridiculous and too damned strange. Unlike the Guinea Pig series, which is clearly going out of its way to drag its viewership over the coals, Heroine Zankoku Monogatari lacks any real sense of grimness. The closest it gets is in its third entry, which is still, despite the sound design and sleazy location, silly as heck.

But with so many volumes under Giga’s belt, Heroine Zankoku Monogatari must have at least been somewhat of a success. And I suppose they must be congratulated for satiating those with the unfortunately specific fetish of superheroine abuse.