Review: HENTAI KAMEN Delivers A Face Full Of Crotch

There's an all too common formula for trailers for domestic titles in Japanese theatres: shots of a high school age daughter, a jovial old rascal, a man running through the streets, and a lot of crying. So the HK: Hentai Kamen commercial came as quite a shock. I was already aware of the manga - having been shown it by a friend - and it is not something easily forgotten, but the movie adaptation had passed me by until the perverted super hero was up there on the big screen in all his mankini, stockings and panty wearing glory.


Book and film tell the story of a high school student, Kyousuke, a sweet natured doofus with the heroic heart of his deceased detective father but without the brawn to stand up the local bad-guys and bullies. When the object of Kyousuke's affection, Aiko, is taken hostage in a bank robbery, it's up to the smitten student to rescue her. In attempting to disguise himself as one of the masked criminals the boy accidentally picks up a pair of girl's panties, pulls them over this head and - too late to realize his mistake - breaths deep of the panty odour. A transformation occurs and he becomes the super-powered, and utterly perverted super-hero, Hentai Kamen (Pervert Mask). Exploding onto the screen wearing nothing but a pair of very skimpy white speedos he proceeds to beat the crooks with an assortment of extreme sexual poses and martial arts / wrestling moves that always leave the villains with a face full of crotch.


Suzuki Ryohei, soon to be seen in the upcoming Gatchaman (aka Battle of the Planets) movie plays the hero with a combination of charm and innocence as he struggles to accept his perverted alter-ego. His performance really centres the film and gives it a little heart, creating a tender balance between the love-struck high school kid and the over-the-top super hero.


When in action Hentai Kamen looks incredible, the wild moves, in-your-face crotch attack techniques and outlandish sexual poses are all very funny, and surprisingly they don't get tiring as the film goes on as the abnormal superhero continually finds new and entertaining ways to stick his package into the face of his opponent. Suzuki's physique is pretty impressive and his extreme sexual posturing can leave you laughing and feeling very uncomfortable at the same time. 


The villain of the piece comes in the form of Muro Tsuyoshi's Oganetamo, an effeminate hair twirling weirdo and the head of a kenpo martial arts club rival to Kyousuke's own. Additional support comes from a variety of bizarre characters which results in the plot becoming cluttered in the middle, and adding to an overly long running time. A fight sequence introduces a gallery of villains who, after being introduced are soon forgotten as the movie shifts its focus to Ken Yamada's antagonist, a teacher who has taken to impersonating Hentai Kamen and taken Aiko under his spell. 


The costume design of these villains is poor and feels cheap, the evil masked men wear simple face paint and even Hentai Kamen's eyes and facial features, visible under the panty mask, could have perhaps been improved with some simple prosthetics. An unnecessary CGI robot which makes an appearance also jarred with the look of the rest of the film and cut have been cut entirely. Yamada however is utterly disgusting, in a good way, as the lecherous teacher with his ageing, soft body and and ill-fitting panty mask proving him to be an even greater pervert than Hentai Kamen himself.


Director Fukuda Yuichi has another film out at the moment with Kodomo Keisatsu (Kids Police), and it seems he can handle the comedy / action mix competently, with a tighter script and slightly less ridiculous subject matter it would be interesting to see what he could come out with. I'm not sure I would go as far as saying this is a satire, but the film certainly seems aware of certain panty-obsessed aspects of manga and anime culture and has taken it to hilarious extremes. HK: Hentai Kamen has it's flaws but it's a big, colourful, bizarre comedy that is a lot of fun and has enough effective visual jokes to make it well worth a watch, if only for its novelty value.

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