Hentai Kamen Review (Fantastic Fest)

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Hentai KamenDirected by: Yuichi Fukuda
Written by: Keishu Ando (manga), Yuichi Fukuda and Shun Oguri (screenplay)

Cast: Nana Katase, Fumika Shimizu, Ryohei Suzuki, Takashi Tsukamoto, Ken Yasuda

Superhero movies are tremendously easy to make fun of. The plots are formulaic. The dialogue is cheesy. They are often so fantastical as to be outrageous. That being said, they’re super fun and I love them so much. Apparently Yuichi Fukuda, the director of Hentai Kamen, feels the same way. The movie lands several jabs at the superhero genre. From origin stories to super powers, love interests to villains, no aspect is spared. The jokes are always loving though. No one could make this movie without first having gotten deep into the genre it so eagerly satirizes.

In the opening scene, we see cops bust into a bondage club in order to catch a serial bomber, only to be confronted by a dominatrix with immense perverted powers. She incapacitates the leading agent and begins to whip him. The cop eventually cries “I kind of like it . . .” A voiceover comes in, and deadpans, “this is how my mom met my dad.” That is the sort of movie we are talking about. Hentai Kamen literally means masked pervert in Japanese, and perversion is precisely the source of our hero’s power.

Kyosuke Shikijo (Ryohei Suzuki) is the son of the cop and dominatrix from the opening sequence. He has inherited his father’s sense of justice, but none of his strength. He also missed out on his mother pervert genes. She informs the audience of this with an assault of bondage camp (it’s perfect). When his crush Aiko is taken hostage in a robbery gone haywire, Kyosuke tries to rescue her. He manages to drop one of the bad guys, and attempts to disguise himself as the villain. Instead of putting on the mask his opponent had been wearing, he accidentally dons a pair of panties. On his face. Awesome that I got to type that. These panties activate Kyosuke’s inherited pervert genes and give him super powers. Thusly is Hentai Kamen born, and the new superhero quickly occupies the consciousness of the Japanese media.

The movie basically follows the Spiderman arc. Boy gets superpowers. Boy saves girl. Girl loves hero. Boy keeps secret. Villains emerge. There is much combat. While it cops the formula top to bottom (even the opening credits explicitly rip off Marvel), Hentai Kamen feels original. Not just because of its bizarre conceit, but because it truly cares about its characters and builds a unique world populated with real people.

It also mirrors Spiderman thematically, though, of course, it’s with a twist. While Spiderman is clearly a story about puberty, this is a story about sexuality. Peter Parker feels weird because his body is changing. He is becoming unfamiliar to himself, and he worries that he’s the only one. Hentai Kamen states its message early on. Kyosuke’s mother asks him what happened to his pervert genes, and why he hasn’t pursued any girls. He claims that he’s not interested, but eventually he has weird feelings about a girl in his class. It is around this time that he becomes Hentai Kamen. Just like Peter Parker, Kyosuke feels ashamed of the changes he’s going through and what he is becoming. It isn’t until he comes to terms with these changes that he truly finds happiness and accesses his true powers. Sexuality, like physical puberty, is different for everyone. That’s ok, and Hentai Kamen isn’t afraid to address that in the weirdest way possible. Explicit messages relayed bizarrely. That’s what superhero movies are all about.

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About the Author

Mike Luxemburg
is a writer, filmmaker, and general troublemaker living in Austin Texas. I spend most of my time watching movies and plotting pranks. Then sometimes I write things down. Also I love Karate. Once I thought I had 17.8 billion dollars, but then it turned out I didn't. I still don't. Get at me on twitter @fiat_lux_karate
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