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Film Review: Erotibot (2011)

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SYNOPSIS:

A Rich Heiress Receive a Third Butlerdroid for Her Birthday in Which She Begins Lusting After Him

REVIEW:

I’m a sucker for stories about robots. Whether it’s an android that longs to be human, or a computer that realizes its superiority to its creator, there is something about artificial intelligence that is immediately sympathetic and fascinating. It can be a tragic love story, a Pinocchio tinged fairytale, or a cautionary tale in the vein of Frankenstein. In reality, we are inching ever closer to the day that our robot overlords finally bring us down, led by Sophia of Hanson Robotics and her army of Alexas. But until that day, we busy ourselves with that most crucial question that has led to so many terrible discoveries: can we f*ck it?

As always, Japan has the answers to all your questions, complete with insane visual aids of what the future holds. Erotibot portrays a world where robotic servants are luxury items that are capable of many features including raising a human girl. Tamayo has been waited on hand and foot by synthetic manservants presumably since birth, and they have sheltered her from the outside world so effectively that instant ramen strikes her as exotic. The three android butlers are various ages as far as model, the latest addition being Sukekiyo, a birthday present from Tayamo’s father. This new model has abandoned most recognizable human features into a practical effects take on the more futuristic I, Robot look.

Logic states that the most recent model of technology would be superior to previous versions, but not if you ask the robots. The oldest android, referred to as First and the only one of the three with a human face, pulls rank on fresh out of the box Sukekiyo, telling him he is worthless and riddled with imperfections. This gives Sukekiyo a complex where he comes to believe he is just as useless as First claims, despite Tamayo’s obvious affection for her newest boytoy.

Out of devotion to “My Lady,” he runs to the store to pick up some of the coveted instant ramen to prove his love. While he’s away, the dastardly First sneaks up to Tamayo’s room, informing her that since she is now officially eighteen years old, he has been newly programmed with “bed service.” Naturally curious and raging with hormones, Tamayo lets First help rid her of that pesky virginity, which of course breaks Sukekiyo’s titanium heart.

Meanwhile, the granddaughter of a comatose yakuza boss has hired a private detective to spy on Tamayo’s little robot-run estate. Turns out that Tamayo is the result of the boss’s tryst with a maid, and being a more immediate heir, she stands to gain an enormous inheritance. The katana-wielding granddaughter and her sexy ninja sidekick are out for blood, and they want Tamayo’s droids to sweeten the deal. Their detective hacks into the robots’ network and causes the two earlier models to do his bidding, while Sukekiyo’s superior software keeps him from being corrupted. Sacrificing battery life and limb, he rises to the occasion to protect his beloved Lady at any cost.

This movie is kind of a p*rno. The general quality of the film, the nature of the story, the fact that our villains are both known XXX actresses and they wear the Sexy Halloween Costume versions of yakuza badasses—not to mention a handful of drawn out sex scenes and leering shots of naked breasts—all indicate this is just a high concept skin flick. But it doesn’t really have enough sexy stuff to be considered true p*rn, and it’s not really funny enough to be considered a softcore titty comedy.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some jokes that work, like First instructing Tamayo through sex—he informs her that usually women are embarrassed to be seen naked, and her response is a dull “Oh, okay…Oh yes, I’m embarrassed.” But while some jokes may just be lost in translation (there’s a running gag about people getting the detective’s name wrong that prompts him to repeatedly introduce himself, which only struck me as annoying and useless), many barely live up to sexy comedy standards.

Still, the movie gets by on sheer weirdness, and is totally enjoyable for the sheer spectacle. There are many little moments of low budget charm and self-aware silliness, and it’s worth it to stick the whole thing out just to see what could possibly happen next. There is a brief bit of gross out horror/humor at the climax, but the gore is small potatoes compared to a fairly standard sex scene that warps into a weird bit of surreal comedy.

Actually, in writing this review, I realized I just might like this horny robot love story. Despite the slightly sleazy feel, it does have a soft heart beating under its metallic exterior. And wackiness alone can indeed carry a film, as well as feed the fantasies of certain young women who wouldn’t have minded growing up in a house with three adoring electric manservants to care for her every need.

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