DVD Review: Softcore Sci-Fi Silliness in ‘Erotibot’
Sukekiyo (Yuuya Tokumoto) is not the greatest android in the world. The third robotic manservant of his household, he is neither as charming as Number 1, nor as physically powerful as Number 2, but he has one quality they lack: feelings. Specifically, he has feelings toward their mistress, the fabulously wealthy young heiress Tamayo (Mahiro Aine). To say Tamayo lives a sheltered life would be a severe understatement; she has never been beyond the confines of her mansion home, and lives alone with only these droids who have been programmed to serve her every need. Given that she is ‘of age’, these needs grow more varied as time goes on. But whilst a romance of sorts blossoms between nubile rich girl and bumbling robo-butler, unbeknownst to them they are under surveillance by a long-lost relative of Tamayo, a samurai sword-weilding badass bitch named Tsukiyo (Maria Ozawa). Wanting all the family fortune for herself, she and her minion Azami (played by – er – Asami) hatch the requisite nefarious plot. But have they reckoned without the strength of the love a third-rate malfunctioning robot has for his human charge?
Phew. I can’t quite believe I just spent around 200 words on a respectful synopsis of what is, obviously, an extremely silly and inconsequential film. But what can I say; whether it is in spite of its knowing stupidity or because of it, Erotibot rubbed me up the right way. And you can take that statement any way you like.
I’ve had a definite change of heart on the subject of the low-budget sci-fi/splatter/sexploitation films coming out of Japan recently. Reviewing RoboGeisha, I declared “all that shit has gotten old extremely quickly (…) that which is intended to appear wild and anarchic just feels stale, predictable and wince-inducing.” Just over a year later, not only do I feel most grammatically uncomfortable with the phrase “extremely quickly,” but also the exhaustion I expressed has all but reversed itself. Yes, these films are very silly indeed, but that is part of their charm, part of what makes them so very entertaining. Most significantly, this wave of Japanese cyber-splatter is something truly distinct and unique; these films comprise a body of work as individual as, say, Hammer Horror, the Italian zombie cycle, or the first wave of slashers. That combination of DV cinematography, excessive body horror and larger than life characterisations make films of this ilk unmistakable products of Japan in the early 21st century, and there is not a doubt in my mind that (assuming 2012 doesn’t result in the end of days) history will recognise these films as such.
That said, Erotibot might not necessarily be counted in quite the same class as its splatter-heavy predecessors (including some of writer/director Tomomatsu’s other work, like Vampire Girl Versus Frankenstein Girl). While the gore is suitably excessive when it arrives, it is limited to the final scenes, and as such Erotibot is unlikely to quench the bloodlust of diehard gorehounds. However, that’s clearly not the kind of lust this film is most interested in satiating.
Yes, the emphasis here is clearly more on flesh than blood. It’s apparent from the get-go that the leading ladies did not land the job on the strength of their acting ability; like Big Tits Zombie, the cast consists largely of AV stars, but whilst that film was far from the skinfest that the title suggested, Erotibot is pretty much soft porn. Still, in-keeping with the overall goofball tone the sex scenes are largely played for laughs, a particularly amusing sequence featuring an android in ‘deflowering mode.’ However, be prepared for that distinctly Japanese approach to sex scenes; i.e. the ladies squeaking in a childlike fashion, with somewhat creepy overtones of paedophilia and rape fantasy.
If you’re not yet converted to the cause of modern J-sploitation (as I understand the kids are now calling it), I rather doubt that Erotibot will be the one to win you over. But if you have a taste for oriental trash, you’re sure to lap this up. Disengage good taste mode and enjoy.
Be warned that the trailer below features mild spoilers, and boobs.