|Vintage Pulp||Jan 3 2016|
Promo poster for Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ’71, aka Stray Cat Rock: Crazy Rider ’71. We talked about this final installment of the Stray Cat Rock franchise and shared the super rare panel length promo last year. The above version is the one that's more commonly seen, but this is a new scan—well, really a digital photo, because who has a scanner that big? Anyway, it's an improvement over what was already out there.
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 28 2015|
This beautiful orange poster showing a brawl in front of the ocean is for the movie Zankoku onna rinchi, which was released in English as Mini-Skirt Lynchers and Cruel Women’s Lynch Law, and is credited as the movie that launched Japanese film's girl gang genre. It starred Annu Mari and Masako Ota, the latter of whom would become pinku icon Meiko Kaji. The film is elusive—nobody we know has seen it, and searching online for reviews just sends you to numerous empty landing pages designed toattract visits while offering zero information (gotta love the rampant false economy of the internet). Well, at least at Pulp Intl. we have this rare promo. It’s so rare, in fact, that we’ve never seen it on another website (though it will soon appear on all those lame landing pages we mentioned). We’ve also included a more commonly seen promo poster just below. We’ll keep searching for this film, and if we ever find it we’ll get back to you. Zankoku onna rinchi premiered in Japan today in 1969.
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 16 2015|
You know those days when you go out at noon and one thing leads to another and you don’t get home until about five in the morning? No? Well, that’s why we didn’t do this post yesterday on Shura-yuki-hime: Urami Renga, aka Lady Snowblood 2: Song of Vengeance, which features Meiko Kaji reprising the iconic role of Yuki the avenging swordswoman. We were going to write a whole deal on this movie, but there are numerous reviews and such online just a few mouseclicks away, so instead we’ll simply give you the rare promo poster above, along with two less rare pieces below. We also have a ton of promo art for the first Lady Snowblood at this link. This is mandatory viewing from the Japanese canon, so if you haven’t seen it, put it in your queue. Shura-yuki-hime: Urami Renga premiered in Japan yesterday in 1974.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 3 2015|
Even Nikkatsu serials eventually end, and this entry in the Stray Cat Rock series, entitled Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ’71, aka Stray Cat Rock: Crazy Rider, was the final outing for Meiko Kaji in the franchise. That’s her, of course, looking exceptionally badass on an exceedingly rare promo poster, and below we have even rarer distributor sheets. Plotwise, Kaji has a boyfriend named Ryumei who has spurned the mainstream lifestyle for hippie freedom. When bikers attack Ryumei and Kaji the altercation leads to Ryumei killing one of the thugs. Unluckily for Kaji, he’s whisked away, leaving her to take the murder rap, in turn leading to her being tossed in jail. Turns out Ryumei’s father wants him to give up hippiedom and join the family business, and sent the bikers to kidnap him and bring him home.
Kaji escapes from jail a while later, seeks out Ryumei, finds him transformed into a cold-hearted suit, and is imprisoned again, this time by the father’s evil thugs. The main problem with this movie for Kaji fans is she doesn’t get much screen time. Instead much of the tale is told from the other end, as Kaji’s friends, led by Yoshio Harada, plot to free her. This isn’t fatal to the movie, though. If you can embrace the other protagonists you’ll find plenty to enjoy. The sentiment of hippies-versus-power may seem quaint, and indeed the film handles certain elements of their lifestyle comedically, but all these years later, with Japan’s rich getting richer while its poverty rate is among the highest for developed nations, is anyone still laughing? Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ’71 premiered in Japan today in 1971, and you can see more posters for the series here and here.
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 30 2014|
This excellent Japanese poster promotes the film Joshuu sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bô, aka Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41, starring Meiko Kaji as the female convict of the title. This is second of ten movies dealing with the character of Scorpion, but Kaji played the role only four times before passing it off to Yumi Takagawa in 1976. We shared posters for Kaji’s four excursions back in 2010 and mentioned there was alternate art we didn’t possess. Well, we do now. This was painted by Toru Shinohara, who also created the manga the movies are based upon. It’s a rare piece.
The movie itself is sinister, psychedelic, and extraordinarily stylish thanks to director Shunya Itô’s clever set-ups and shot-framing. For most fans, Kaji is the only Scorpion that matters, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. She’s about five-feet-four and probably didn’t hit triple digits on a scale back then, but with eyes and posture she radiates lethal menace. As far as plot, this fits end-to-end with the previous movie, so consider watching that one first. Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 premiered in Japan today in 1972.
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 1 2014|
The action drama Shurayuki-hime, aka Lady Snowblood, is considered classic cinema for good reasons—it’s bold, lyirical, and stylish, with an unusual narrative structure and a great star in Meiko Kaji. Every piece of art we have on this game-changing movie appears below, and as far as we can discern much of it has never before been shared online. Shurayuki-hime premiered in Japan today in 1973.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 22 2014|
Since we featured Reiko Ike yesterday it seems only right to have Meiko Kaji today. Which of them is the real queen of 70s Japanese action cinema? It’s up for debate. Maybe it’s even someone else entirely. Anyway, you see above and below two posters for Nora-neko rokku: Mashin animaru, known in English as Stray Cat Rock: Machine Animal. It was the fourth of five Stray Cat Rock films, and Kaji starred in all, though as different characters in each.
The series is about juvenile delinquency and takes place against a backdrop of industrial cityscapes and inside the sorts of groovy nightclubs you might associate with Austin Powers. The plot involves Kaji and her cohorts planning to sell stolen LSD in order to help a soldier escape the Vietnam War, but getting entangled with rival gangsters who want to horn in on the deal. It’s very much worth a viewing, and stacks up well against the previous entries. Wild stray cat—you’re a real gone girl. Nora-neko okku: Mashin animaru premiered in Japan today in 1970.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 17 2014|
This poster for Shin joshuu sasori: 701-gô, aka New Female Prisoner Scorpion: 701 promotes the first film in what today might be called a franchise reboot. Meiko Kaji established the character of Prisoner 701 in four hit films, and a few years after she left Toei Company decided to resurrect the series with Yumi Takigawa in the lead. Framed for murder, she ends up in a women’s prison where she’s harassed, sexually assaulted, and marked for death. A prison riot finally gives her the chance at revenge, and lets just say she takes full advantage.
|Femmes Fatales||Sep 28 2013|
When pondering which femme fatale to post today, looking toward Japan seemed fitting. Japan’s Cinema Caravan will have its finale in San Sebastian tonight with several short films, plus live music from Cro-Magnon, DJ Mitsu the Beats, and more. The above image has never appeared on the internet before, as far as we can tell, and shows legendary actress Meiko Kaji. The year on this is 1969, back when she was still quite well known as Masako Ôta, having acted in four movies using that name. We’ll tell you all about Cinema Caravan’s finale tomorrow, and next week we’ll get back to our usual books, tabloids, and general pulp weirdness.
|Musiquarium||Mar 1 2013|
When we saw this 7-inch gatefold over at Harakiri Chamber scanned and posted in two pieces we couldn’t resist Photoshopping it into one. It’s got Meiko Kaji, and if you’ve watched her movies you know it was her enemies who wound up in two pieces, not her. Anyway, Kaji is attired here for her role as Akemi Tachibana in Kaidan nobori ryu, aka The Tattooed Swordswoman. We took a close look at that movie back in October. You get two Kaji songs here—the a-side “Jingi Komoriuta,” which was featured on the soundtracks of Kaidan nobori ryu as well as 1971’s Ginchô wataridori, and the b-side, which is entitled “Koi ni Inochi wo.” This 1970 pressing is very rare and costs the equivalent of $100, which is quite a sum to drop on two tunes. But if you’re curious you can listen to the first one here and the second one here.