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Film Review: Kyoko vs. Yuki (2000)

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Kyoko, a 17-year-old assassin, finishes her training and is sent after her first target. Meanwhile Yuki, a teenage prostitute, has lured an unsuspecting customer to a hotel room, where she knocks him around, ties him up and steals his briefcase. Before leaving, her girlfriend Maki arrives, and they engage in a little bump and grind to celebrate Yuki’s success. Kyoko finds out that the man Yuki robbed is actually her target, and she attempts to retrieve the briefcase, which is full of money and dope. This marks the start of a fierce ongoing battle between the icy killer and the thieving hooker.


Kyoko vs. Yuki is a bizarre piece of trash that barely qualifies as a feature-length movie, with a running time that falls well short of even 50 minutes. It is usually stated as being longer, although it’s likely that these figures are inflated due to the inclusion of bonus features, or simply as a way for distributors to cover up the fact that the film is so damn short. Having said that, fans of over-the-top Japanese mayhem will agree that it has enough action, weirdness and lesbian necrophilia to make for a substantial viewing experience.

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The film begins with Kyoko (newcomer Kyoko Fujikawa) reaching the end of her training with a final test. This involves kicking the ass of a yakuza, whom her boss tells her ripped off their organization. Proving she’s got what it takes, Kyoko is then sent after another gangster. This eventually brings her into contact with the person who will unexpectedly prove to be her nemesis, Yuki (pink film actress Kinako Sato). The opening titles introduce us to the characters by referring to the event as if it were some mythical battle, overlaid with a moody rhythmic synth score that recalls vintage Tangerine Dream, anticipating the violent eruption to come.

Kyoko vs. Yuki is in many ways a reflection of a fantasy that is prevalent in Japanese popular culture, where ordinary people are reimagined as mythical figures with extraordinary skills. Instead of caped crusaders and masked avengers, a hero in this world might appear to be nothing more than a simple housewife or humble businessman. In this case, it’s a schoolgirl in a sailor outfit. The few men in this film are no match for the girls, as punishment is meted out with a machete, an extendable baton, a bra (used for its strangulative properties), a robotic hand with Wolverine claws, a strap-on dildo, and – in the film’s most memorable gore setpiece – an umbrella.

As if that weren’t twisted enough, director Daisuke Yamanouchi offers us plenty of his trademark steamy, sleazy thrills. Not long after a passionate scissoring with her beloved, Maki is killed, and Yuki cannot help re-enacting the earlier scene – this time with less movement from Maki and with the aid of plenty of sanguine lubrication. Dildos feature prominently; Yuki and Maki go at it with a double-ended ribbed rubber phallus, which has Yuki’s name – literally – written all over it. In another scene, an overweight KFC-engorged woman (a ruthless loanshark) decked out in a fishnet bodysuit screws Maki with a strap-on, after using her mouth to warm up. The squelching noises in these scenes are typically embellished, sounding like Maggie Simpson sucking on her pacifier in overdrive.

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Director Yamanouchi is an expert in the field of no-budget shot-on-video smut and splatter. In the year before Kyoko vs. Yuki alone he delivered a memorable batch of depraved films including Girl Hell 1999, the first Red Room and Muzan-E, a masterpiece of depravity that is also smartly plotted and darkly funny. Approach Kyoko vs. Yuki like an entrée for these other demented dishes – or supplement it with 2LDK, a Japanese film from 2003 in which two young women sharing an apartment provoke each other to extremes of ruthless violence in a more realistic (and socially conscious) fashion. Hell hath no fury like a woman gored…


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