Color, 1972, 69m.
Directed by Yukihiro Sawada
Starring Miyoko Aoyama, George Harrison, Hiroko Isayama, Akira Takahashi, Kaori Misato
Impulse (DVD) (US R1 NTSC) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9)

Color, 1981, 66m.
Directed by Koyu Ohara
Starring Junko Asahina, Yumi Hayakawa, Mari Kishida
Impulse (DVD) (US R1 NTSC) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9)

Sex Hunter Wet Target The Nikkatsu Roman Porno parade continues with another pair of endearingly degenerate releases, the fifth batch from Impulse in a laudable missioSex Hunter Wet Targetn to bring as much vintage Japanese twisted smut to western eyes as possible. (You can catch up on the past releases here, here, here, and here). First up is Sex Hunter: Wet Target from 1972 (original title: Sekkusu hantâ: Nureta hyôteki), which is more perverse revenge shocker than twisted sex epic. Sure, you still get a crazy naked nightclub dance and an anti-hero with a frizzy afro, but this one has a lot more on its mind as it delivers a particularly '70s twist on the old Cornell Woolrich/Bride Wore Black formula of a protagonist going on a systematic spree of violence to avenge a loved one. In fact, if you slapped a less salacious title on this film like, say, Dark Vengeance, it could almost pass for an art film release.

Not to be confused with Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, the story (penned by Branded to Kill's Atsushi Yamatoya) charts the mayhem unleashed when sweet young thing Natsuko (Aoyama) is chased down on foot by a bunch of inebriated American servicemen wheeling around at night in their jeep. Assaulted and humiliated by circumstances initially left a bit vague, she's foundSex Hunter Wet Target dangling from the end of a noose on a scaffold by the local authorities. Her half-black convict brother, Okamoto (Jôji Sawada, adopting the baffling screen name of "George Harrison" here), immediately goes into revenge mode and enlists the aid of another woman who survived that evening, stripper Etsuko (Isayama), to wipe out the men responsible.

This very dark film (both figuratively and literally) benefits considerably from its pared-down running time, notching off the characters' path to bloodshSex Hunter Wet Targeted with brutal efficiency and really only pausing notably for that aforementioned nightclub dance, a bizarre and dreamlike tangent that walks a thin line between experimental artiness and ridiculous camp. Not surprisingly, it all winds up with a very violent climax complete with characters spitting gobs of blood at the camera; it's an appropriately rough and rousing finish designed to whip the audience into a frenzy. The smoky jazz music adds to the thick ambience, creating a vicious and very effective crime thriller that happens to have lots of naked flesh in it.

Then we jump ahead nine years to much lighter fare with I Love It from Behind!, which actually doesn't have that much to do with girls who love back door lovin'. Instead it's the story of cheerful Mimei (Asahina), who's been arranged to marry in a month. That doesn't leave her much to time finish her favorite hobby: collecting ink penis prints of all of her sexual partners, with an ultimate goal of 100. She's already gotten toSex Hunter Wet Target 70, so now she has to be more resourceful to fill up the rest of her dance card before the big day. Not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, she sometimes dunks her partners' tackle in ink before getting down to business, which poses some obvious hygienic issues for the rest of the evening. Anyway, her quest soon involves her two Tokyo roommates, Masumi and Rei; the former is so traumatized from a co-worker's inappropriate use of ropes and a dildo that's she become a lesbian, while the latter tends to shove any handy objects wherever they might fit. The rest of the mission on the way to that crucial final print (which proves thSex Hunter Wet Targete most challenging of them all) involves lots of men, some of whom get a pretty raw deal when Mimei comes up with an extreme way for Rei to treat her sexual dysfunction.

A deliberately goofy treat from director Kôyû Ohara, better known for rougher fare like True Story of a Woman in Jail: Sex Hell and its sequel, I Love It from Behind! (original title: Bakku ga daisuki!) plays like a romantic comedy gone completely insane and taken over by nymphomaniacs. Even in the strangest moments (like that trauma flashback and a bit with Mimei hooking up with a bartender who likes to dress in drag), it's all so good-natured you can't help but go along with wherever the nutty story decides to go. As usual you get tons of nudity (with hilariously enthusiastic fogging in a few shots), moaning, and politically inappropriate plot twists, especially the decidedly iffy attitudes towards lesbianism.

Both films are presented in solid anamorphic transfers, comparable to the earlier entries in Impulse Pictures' Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection. (And as usual, the cover art for both is stunning and guaranteed to make shoppers stop in their tracks.) Sex Hunter: Wet Target also has a theatrical trailer, while I Love It from Behind! is bare bones. (The mere idea of trying to cut a socially acceptable trailer from that one is pretty amusing.) Each films comes with a typically excellent set of liner notes from Jasper Sharp, who covers everything from other films' grim depictions of American G.I.s in Japan to the ranks of Nikkatsu directors in the studio's heyday, not to mention a fine Ohara bio and coverage of the studio's recent comeback attempts. Two very, very different releases to be sure, but you need 'em both.

Buy Sex Hunter: Wet Target from Diabolik.
Buy I Like It from Behind! from Diabolik.

Reviewed on November 28, 2012.