Friday, June 12, 2009

Female Demon Ohyaku

Let's get something straight right up front: "Ohyaku" is bad romanization. What's the H doing in there? That's not how you render Japanese into English (there are conventions for such things). The proper spelling would be "Oyaku." However, the O is most likely an honorific, so it would more properly be "O-Yaku." So there.

Anyhow, this is a pretty good flick if you enjoy bloody revenge, Toei exploitation-style, in a jidai-geki setting. O-Yaku (Junko Miyazono) is an acrobat desired by many a horny old samurai and her boss keeps arranging these after-show meetings with them. But our O-Yaku's no whore, and lets these guys know it in no uncertain terms. One creepy fellow, a government official, takes her rejection particularly badly and ends up torturing her, beheading her lover with a guillotine, and finally shipping her off to Sado Island to work in the mines (while trying to fend off scores of male prisoners). Now she's out for revenge, and boy does she get it.

Junko Miyazono went on to star in Nobuo Nakagawa's even more ferocious Quick-Draw Okatsu the following year, a film I review in my forthcoming book Warring Clans, Flashing Blades: A Samurai Film Companion (which ships from the printers June 17th and will appear in retail outlets a few weeks thereafter). She's also good in Hideo Gosha's Samurai Wolf as a blind biwa-playing boss of a courier service (that one's in the book too). So I guess what I'm saying is I think you should buy my book.

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