Notes on Sukeban Deka’s U.S. Premiere

Filed in American Wota 1.0

It’s past midnight and I won’t get enough sleep for work tomorrow. The film started forty-five minutes late and we didn’t have the best of seats in the theater… That said, I’m very glad I went to see Sukeban Deka – excuse me, YoYo Girl Cop – and that I hadn’t yet watched the downloaded version of it (though I likely will later this week). Seeing various Hello! Project idols larger-than-life on a movie screen definitely was a thrill – what the heck, just seeing their names in the opening credits gave me chills! – and it was interesting to hear the reactions of an audience which clearly wasn’t dominated by H!P fans.

So here’s some random observations before I call it a night…

This is an interesting way for people to be introduced to Matsuura Aya, Viyuden, and Melon Kinenbi. It’d be like first encountering David Bowie in Labyrinth and only later finding out he’s done other stuff before that. (Which I’m sure is the case for some younger people, but just stick with the idea here.) The cognitive leap between Ayaya in this movie and the cutie in, say, “Ne~e” would be quite amusing for somebody who isn’t a fan of hers.

The subtitles could’ve been better. The subs used had no dots. As in no periods and no ellipses, though a comma or two snuck in somehow. Also, there was a lot more profanity to “toughen up” the dialogue than there seemed to be in the actual Japanese spoken in the movie. I can think of some fansub groups – MM-BBS and HPS, for starters – that could’ve done a much better job of it.

As far as import action movies go, this wasn’t top of the line. H!P fans have been talking about how great it is to have a “real” movie with these girls. And while there was certainly a very healthy budget and a lot of work put into it, I doubt it’d stand out in the eyes of a non-fan looking for the next Battle Royale or Ring or whatever other J-cult flick you wanna name. The action was choreographed well, the dramatic rhythms worked for the most part, the nods to the old series were appreciated. So the main problem for me was the plot: it just didn’t make a hell of a lot of sense. Beyond that, yoyos as lethal weapons just seemed too kitschy despite the attempt to make them look cool.

The viewing audience let out a loud groan of sympathetic pain when Ayaya did that faceplant after breaking from her restraints. That definitely look like it hurt.

The audience also laughed when Rika first appeared in her leather hotpants outfit. That really showed to me I wasn’t in the middle of wota central during the movie. Jpop fans would’ve been too busy drooling or reaching into their pants at Rika’s appearance in such clothing. To the general audience, though, it looked ridiculous. Overall, the audience was pretty good about reacting the way the film wanted it to: laughing at the sillier parts (i.e., the geek with a bomb in the mall, Ayaya’s sentai-esque pronouncement of her identity at the climax). There were a couple of people who were laughing a bit too much, I assume they were seeing kitsch where there was none, but otherwise being in a large group of non-wota actually enhanced the viewing experience in a weird way.

Masae is hot. Just so we don’t forget that obvious bit of news.

Ayaya could have been given more nuances in her role. Really, she was playing the tough girl a bit too much – but it seemed scripted that way. The one point where it worked out best was when it was played for a laugh, as Yui needed a hug and Ayaya just patted her on the shoulder. Beyond that, she mostly scowled and looked angry.

Rika did a very good job with her role. While equally flat script-wise, Rika played the sous villain quite convincingly. The coldness and kitten with a whip vibe was perfect to keep her at a remove, and Rika didn’t overplay it at all.

Yui – surprise, surprise – had the best role of the idols. I was shocked to see how integral Yui was to the story, and the fact that she could gain sympathy in such a convincing manner in her role. I definitely have a new respect for her now as a geinou. It almost makes me want to watch iDoll and self-pollute myself to her image…

Being an H!P fan meant reading way too much into certain interactions. It’s hard for me to watch the Ayaya / Rika encounters without thinking of how it’s rumored that Rika kept Ayaya from becoming a Momusu (and they went with Mikitty instead). Rika bossing around Yui also had certain overtones, as did Yui having a secret love with Erika. But hey, that’s part of the fun, right?

That Ayaya song in the middle of the movie was boring. It sounded like something from her lost years of Nothing But Ballads, at least. It was great to hear her singing voice, and the song fit the mood of that scene, but maybe have Ayaya do something a little harder, more rock-ish to suit her on-screen character?

Mikitty should be the next Sukeban Deka if there’s a sequel. The title should shift from one H!P idol to the next, with Mikitty and then maybe Maimi and then Risako in a few years…

I’m sure I’ll think of some other things to say, but will move it over to the AW Forum

And on a personal note, this is the first movie my Haru Moni ever attended! And she’s not even a month old! Ahh, we’ll make a li’l wota of her yet!

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10 Responses to “Notes on Sukeban Deka’s U.S. Premiere”
  1. Craig says:

    Haru Moni kawaii!

  2. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    ah geez Maimi in the uniform, thanks I won’t be abe to get any work done today with that in my mental rolodex.

  3. niji says:

    Craig, what was that about? LOL XP

  4. Julia says:

    Ehh what about Maasa? She could kick some ass in one of those movies.

  5. Ray Mescallado says:

    I thought of Maasa but she seems too sweet, in a way. Maimi and Risako both have a bit more edge, image-wise…

    And of course, if Mai keeps wearing those sunglasses she can someday star in a remake of Rutger Hauer’s BLIND FURY…

  6. pengie says:

    Masae is hot

    Amen! 😀

  7. Craig says:

    HM is mentioned @ the end here though Niji… I think Ray has to get used to being upstaged by anything his cute kid does hahaha 😛

  8. niji says:

    Yeah, I didn’t notice it the first time. 🙂

  9. Johnny says:

    Hey, what’s with the new look?

  10. Swifty says:

    Oooooh, the new layout is sexy.