Mutant Girls Squad
Well Go USA // Unrated // $29.98 // May 22, 2012
Review by Adam Tyner | posted May 21, 2012
E - M A I L
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Graphical Version
Okay, so in the first minute and a half of Mutant Girls Squad, this happens:
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I know it's kinda hard to make it out through that geyser of blood and everything, but that's Rin standing over there on the other side with her razor-sharp mutant talons outstretched. ...and that poor bastard's head who was just sliced down the middle? Don't feel too sorry for him 'cause just moments earlier, he and his paramilitary buddies were blasting away at Rin with the semiautomatic machine guns in their noses.

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Kind of a hell of a way for Rin to ring in her sweet sixteen! The mean girls at school torment her relentlessly. Her right hand is aching somethin' awful. The school nurse chains her up all Snidely Whiplash-style. She only has a couple of minutes for it to sink in that her pop has sentient mutant genitalia before his head is lopped off and Mom's noggin goes kaboom. Before you know it, Rin is inducted into a secret society of barely-legal mutant warriors hellbent on reclaiming their rightful homeland of Japan. Turns out that ethnic cleansing isn't her thing so much, and that sparks some mutant-on-mutant rebellion.

Mutant Girls Squad is just...I don't even know what to say. Skim through this big stack of screencaps -- all snapped before the final half hour so I don't spoil any of the truly batshit insane stuff that happens at the end -- and you'll get a preeeeeetty good sense of what you're in for. I didn't even get to the part where Poppa unzips his trousers in front of Rin and says "it's not my pecker!", the genocidal music video, or the "my belly sword's got a hard-on!" deal from the finalé. So, here goes:
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"My treasure is the ass chainsaw!"

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Yeah, so Mutant Girls Squad is gloriously incoherent and sopping with more fake blood than any movie I've ever stumbled across, and if you've suffered through enough of my reviews, you oughtta know that that's really saying something. The low-rent production values wind up infusing Mutant Girls Squad with a lot of charm, and it sure doesn't hurt that the movie's wrangled together some of the most ridiculously cute girls on the that side of the Pacific. Rather than lob out a bunch of absurdly random ideas and then coast for a while, Mutant Girls Squad refuses to ease up on the throttle. There's something bloody or something bizarre -- usually both! -- just about every fifteen seconds. The movie never drags to a screeching halt to dole out a bunch of exposition, always screaming forward, and I seriously wouldn't be surprised if, say, 79 minutes of its hour-and-a-half runtime were devoted exclusively to carnage. It can get exhausting after a while, sure, and Mutant Girls Squad' unwavering fascination with sleaze and splatter leaves it feeling a little less inspired than such other legendary WTF? imports as House, Wild Zero, and Zebraman 2. I mean, I'm all for dick jokes and barrel drums of the red stuff, but it does start to feel as if Mutant Girls Squad keeps hammering away at variations of the same few notes after a while. I dug it, though, and if you're somehow still reading this review, the smart money says you will too. Recommended.

Mutant Girls Squad was shot on the cheap and sorta looks the part, so it's kind of all over the place. Sometimes the digital photography will look pretty slick with its cranked-to-eleven palette, and other
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times it seems like it was shot with a second-hand camera phone or something. Black levels are anemic, darker stretches are usually swarming with an off-kilter digital texture, and there's occasionally some heavy banding and nasty posterization for good measure. Even at its best, Mutant Girls Squad is definitely a lot softer than average. Crammed down to just 14 gigs, the low bitrate AVC encode doesn't help a whole lot either. Reference quality it's not so much, although with a fiercely low-budget movie like this, I do kind of wonder how much of a difference more skillful authoring could realistically have made.

This Blu-ray disc is unmatted and shoved onto a BD-25. The other disc in the set is an anamorphic widescreen DVD.

Presented exclusively in its original Japanese, Mutant Girls Squad's 16-bit, six-channel DTS-HD Master Audio track is kiiiiiiind of a mess. Early on, the audio is really thin, insubstantial, and excessively trebly. The fidelity is piss-poor, as if it were recorded with the mic built into a $400 HDV camcorder at Best Buy. Those early stretches are backed by borderline-zero bass, and a lot of dialogue and effects lurch from five speakers at once. The track does get a little better as it goes along, with dialogue generally rooted up front and the subwoofer kicking in to modestly punctuate the carnage. Mutant Girls Squad never really figures out what to do with the surround channels, though, and some of the shouted dialogue is still peppered with distortion. Yeah, not a whole lot of stars in the sidebar this time around.

Optional English subtitles are enabled by default, and there are a couple sets of Chinese subs that I didn't really try out. There's also a Dolby Digital stereo (192kbps) track if you're feeling masochistic.

  • Yoshie Zero (17 min.; HD): Thrill to the secret origins of Yoshie the Tentacle-Armed Cosplay Nurse and mutant transvestite Kisaragi! It's packing the same delirious sense of humor and is sopping with splatter just like the movie proper too.

  • Opening Day (28 min.; HD): Mutant Girls Squad packs on three sets of Q&As with the cast-'n-crew from
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    assorted early screenings. It's quippy, self-deprecating, and charming, especially whenever Tak Sakaguchi is holding the mic, and that last clip is...definitely something memorable.

  • Making-of (29 min.; HD): Awww...why put something bland and lifeless on the menu like "Making-of" when the actual title is "The Mutant Girls Squad Battle Record"? After briefly touching on the unconventional structure and directorial hierarchy of Mutant Girls Squad, this half-hour featurette unleashes a helluva lot of behind-the-scenes footage. Pretty much every key sequence is tackled, along with peeks at the action rehearsals, and there are very few talking head interviews to get in the way. Plus you get a title card that says nothing but "Anus" in Japanese, and that's gotta count for something.

  • Interviews (27 min.; HD): The extras close out with a set of six interviews. Half of 'em are with actresses Yumi Sugimoto, Yuko Takayoma, and Suzuka Morita. Their conversations are cute and charming enough, but if you've devoured the rest of the extras up to this point, you've heard the same stories about dealing with such an action-oriented flick, struggling with barrel drums of stage blood, and working under three different directors several times already. I won't hold it against you if you fast-forward through those to skip to the interviews with directors Tak Sakaguchi, Noboru Iguchi, and Yoshihiro Nishimura, each of whom helmed one of the three chapters that make up Mutant Girls Squad. Sakaguchi clowns around for most of his and scores a lot of laughs along the way, while the other two deliver more serious discussions of how an ambitious, unhinged project like this came together.

There are a metric ton of trailers for other Sushi Typhoon releases too, and Mutant Girls Squad also sweetens the pot with a DVD.

The Final Word
Mutant Girls Squad is kind of like a horny Japanese fever dream version of the X-Men, and...yeah, I'm not going to think of a better way to close this review than that. Recommended.

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