Bounty Films // 2011 // 71 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // August 19th, 2011
"Miss, you sent me into extreme mode!"
Tamayo (Mahiro Aine) is the sole heiress to her family's considerable fortune. As such, she lives a life of comfort, protected and served by her three faithful androids. These androids: one smart, one strong, one a bit of a klutz, attend to Tamayo's every whim, which has recently seen them divulge her growing sexuality, which has caused tension between the droids.
Tamayo's seemingly perfect life is at risk as Tsukiyo (Maria Ozawa) -- rueful at not getting what she considers her rightful share of the family fortune -- formulates a plan to take what she so desperately craves. Accompanied by her servant, Azami (Asami), and a pair of katana blades, Tsukiyo prepares a bloody revenge on Tamayo, with only the three androids standing in her way.
Look, I'm as much a sucker for fantastically titled Japanese movies as the next man, but whichever way you slice it, Erotibot just doesn't cut the mustard. Coming from Nishimura Tomomatsu, the director of Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl, the very least you would hope for is a film so jaw-droppingly insane that any shortcomings with the plot could be overlooked, but that simply is not the case here. Erotibot (Region 2) is a dud.
Too much of Tomomatsu's focus is spent on the relationship between Tamayo and her androids, and is mined mostly for its (limited) comedic potential. Even Tomayo's burgeoning sexuality, which sees her partake in some after dark activities with her droids, is neither amusing nor titillating. The fact is, the erotica (which is all too often infused with comedy anyway) is no more risqué than your average British sex comedy of the Seventies, just less fun. Amazingly Tomomatsu seems unaware of the energy sapping effect this has on his film. Despite only having a 71-minute runtime, Erotibot feels far too long.
Despite the main plot being a particularly feeble and half-baked revenge story, which sees Tsukiyo attempt to claim Tamayo's inheritance as her own, it is in truth never given a chance. For far too long it's left in the background, making it pretty redundant. This has a knock on effect, as Tsukiyo and her servant, Azami, the film's villains, aren't afforded the time to develop, and as such lack the gravitas they so desperately need. Instead Tamayo's three androids are given the majority of the screen time, most of which is spent with inane squabbling over who is going to "service" their mistress.
It should also be stated that, aesthetically speaking, Erotibot is disappointingly lackluster. I understand and accept that a large number of the exploitation movies coming out of Japan are very raw, but here the film's total lack of artistry becomes distracting. Thanks to a combination of shooting the film digitally, with an apparent total disregard for the importance of lighting, it looks like something a few friends have knocked together over a weekend. Something further compounded by the abysmal special effects.
The final nail in the coffin, the bit that really sticks it in and brakes it off, is that having endured Erotibot for the better part of an hour, the film's climax features a barnstorming-and completely bonkers -- five minutes of carnage that go some way to delivering on the much promised violence, with fountains of gore and dismemberments aplenty. It's all too little too late, of course, and the film very quickly reverts back to form as it closes in much the way as it began, but for an all too brief moment, Erotibot shines.
Now, despite my overly negative reaction to the film, I'm still not prepared to totally demonize Erotibot and am in something of two minds over it. Though I was unable to get past the film's total and utter lack of a point, I know that -- were I still 12 -- I'd have been all over this movie. The combination of oddness, female nudity, and (eventually) graphic violence would have been the talk of the schoolyard for weeks, if not months. If Erotibot can introduce just one young movie lover to the wonderful, f'ed up world of Japanese exploitation and splatter (as it undoubtedly will), I cannot hate on it too much.
Onto the DVD itself, and Bounty Films offer up exclusive interviews with AV (that's Adult Video, if you weren't sure) stars Maria Ozawa and Asami, who play the film's villains. Both make for surprisingly good interviewees, and discuss the film and their career in general. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer contains good -- if not great -- black levels, and is for the most part sharp, though there are occasional moments of softness (some clearly intentional). The stereo soundtrack is clean, if a little lifeless, but still serviceable.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Bounty Films
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* DTS 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 71 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated