Anime Reviews:

Kekkou Kamen


The Nazi Sparta college is used to train and educate the youth into suitable Aryans. Sparta is run by Satan Toecheese who draws on the skills of his 'punishment educators' to bring unruly students into line by torturing them. Mistress Topoko, the latest punishment educator, soon sets about putting young female students straight. However, her attempts at rehabilitation are hampered by a naked female heroine who flies to the students' rescue. This masked champion is Kekkou Kamen. Now, on top of all that, think of this as an outrageous slapstick comedy and you have the full picture.

As you can imagine, Kekkou Kamen skirts a rather fine line between bad taste and ludicrous comedy. Satan tells Topoko that he is impressed with her references from her last job - at Auschwitz college (!). The dialogue too is often dubious: "Out students have no human rights. As long as they don't leave here in a body bag you can do pretty much what you want with them." The dub East2West have employed is just about as manic as it should be. All the Nazi characters have ridiculous Allo, Allo German accents, while the female students are voiced in Anglicised versions of young and innocent Japanese syrupy sweetness. But the dialogue also offers us some choice lines: "Wait a moment... I don't think this is gratuitous enough", and Topoko's "There's nothing I like more than being unnecessarily strict!" Keiji Ishikawa's music is a suitably daft accompaniment - lots of military snares every time the Nazis march onto the scene. Make sure you read the outrageous subtitled lyrics to the closing theme tune. I cannot testify to the accuracy of the translation, but a clever job it is. It features the words 'balls' 'titties', 'vagina' and it still rhymes just like the Japanese version being sung!

Those who love slapstick comedy from the early days of Hollywood would also appreciate the hilarious sound effects. Things get progressively odd in episode two when a new punishment educator, Taro Schwarzenegger, is assigned to the college. He wears 'Abibas' sports gear and speaks in a pathetic imitation of the real Austrian-born superstar that is funny simply because it is so pathetic. A similar quality impression of Sean Connery is used to voice a character in episode three (of four). Creator Go Nagai is a familiar name to many anime fans, but I've never thought he had much talent, despite his unquestionable popularity. After seeing Kekkou Kamen I would still be cautious about recommending Nagai-san to others - but for different reasons. At its worst Kekkou Kamen may be in extremely bad taste, but at its best it is hilarious. I'm still unsure. You decide for yourself.

Rob Dyer

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