Vintage Pulp Jul 22 2016
STREET MUSIC
Meiko Kaji finds herself in a gang of trouble.


Above and below are two beautiful posters for Hangyaku no Melody, aka Melody of Rebellion, starring Yoshio Harada and Meiko Kaji. We've located and screened some of the most obscure Japanese films of all time. But this one, with two iconic stars—no such luck. But we can tell you that it deals, like many pinku films, with the multifarious challenges of gang life. When (if) we find this one we'll circle back to it. For now just enjoy the posters, which are both significant upgrades from anything currently visible online. Hangyaku no Melody opened in Japan today in 1970.

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Vintage Pulp May 2 2016
MEIKO A STATEMENT
The message is pretty clear—get on her bad side and you’ll regret it.

This beautiful and very rare promo poster was made to promote a Japanese film called Onna banchō nora-neko rokku. In the English speaking world its various distributors couldn't seem to settle for long on a title, and it was called alternately Alleycat Rock: Female Boss, Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl BossFemale Juvenile Delinquent Leader: Alleycat Rock, and Wildcat Rock. It’s the first of five Alleycat Rock or Stray Cat Rock films, and revolves around Meiko Kaji’s girl gang’s unwitting influence over a fixed boxing match. The boxer is supposed to take a dive for a yakuza cartel but instead wins the fight in order to save face with Kaji and her hotties (two of the gang members are played by Bunjaku Han and charismatic pop star Akiko Wada, so we can understand the boxer’s change of heart). But unbeknownst to Kaji, it was her boyfriend who had convinced the yakuza the bout could be fixed in the first place, and now he’s in deep trouble. Wonderfully lensed like so many of these pinku movies, with the requisite grey Tokyo cityscapes, neon splashed nightclub locales, and shots featuring eight or ten characters meticulously packed into the same frame, Onna banchō nora-neko rokku is a nice all around effort. It premiered in Japan today in 1970.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2016
STRAY BULLETS
She's going to Rock your world.


Back in 2009 we shared two posters for Meiko Kaji's action-packed pinku Nora-nekko rokku: Sekkusu hanta, aka Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter. The above tatekan sized poster is an alternate promo for that film, which premiered today in 1971. It's similar to the version we showed you before but not identical—stripes go the other direction, woman pulling her undies down is missing, inset image of girls torturing a bad boy has been removed. Both posters are tops. Take a close look at the other one here (scroll down a bit).

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Vintage Pulp Mar 30 2016
IT'S ALL IN THE JEANS
When two incendiary personalities meet the result is bound to be explosive.


The rare poster above was made to promote the Japanese pinku thriller Asu naki furaiha, aka Jeans Blues: No Future, and it's the only panel-length promo for the movie we've ever seen. Meiko Kaji plays Seiko, who robs the bar where she works. Tsunehiko Watase plays Jiro, who rips off the Yakuza. They crash their stolen getaway cars into each other and from that accidental meeting a partnership is formed and the two scam and rob their way across the countryside like Bonnie and Clyde.
 
Jiro is a bit more serious of a criminal than Seiko, and is in more severe trouble, but Seiko is loyal to a fault now that she's found a kindred spirit. She refuses to leave Jiro even though the Yakuza are destined to turn up—in Japanese movies you can't realistically hope to shake those guys. But even if doom is the final destination there's fun on the road to ruin—speed, adventure, laughs, a little barnyard nookie, and regularly spaced cop murders. Plus you get Kaji and with her you can't lose, even if she does. Watching this was time well spent. Asu naki furaiha premiered in Japan today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 3 2016
RIDER ON THE STORM
Fasten your seat belt—turbulence ahead.

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. 

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Vintage Pulp Jun 28 2015
LYNCH MOB
For a pack of troublemakers they sure are hard to find.

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.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 16 2015
SNOW DAZE
Meiko Kaji and her sword return for another dance of death.

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. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 3 2015
CRAZY FOR YOU
Meiko Kaji takes the Stray Cat Rock franchise out for a final spin.


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.


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Vintage Pulp Dec 30 2014
STRIPED SCORPION
The smaller the animal the deadlier the poison.


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.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 1 2014
REVENGE SERVED COLD
Meiko Kaji takes vengeance to a whole new level.

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. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 23
1984—Miss America Resigns
Vanessa Williams, who had been crowned Miss America and was the first African American woman to win the prize, resigns her title after Penthouse magazine purchases and slates for publication a series of lesbian-themed nudes Williams had posed for when she was younger. After resigning she files a $500 million lawsuit against Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione but later drops the suit.
July 22
1992—Cocaine Baron Escapes Prison
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, imprisoned leader of the Medellin drug cartel, escapes from a posh Colombian jail known as La Catedral after he learns authorities intend to move him to a real prison. His taste of freedom doesn't last—he's killed in a shootout a year-and-a-half later.
July 21
1925—Jury Decides the Teaching of Evolution Is a Crime
In the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, American schoolteacher John Scopes is found guilty of violating the Butler Act, which forbids the teaching of evolution in schools. The sensational trial pits two great legal minds—William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow—against each other. Ultimately, Scopes and Darrow are destined to lose because the case rests on whether Scopes had violated the Act, not whether evolution is fact.
1969—First Humans Reach the Moon
Neil Armstrong and Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. become the first humans to walk on the moon. The third member of the mission, command module Pilot Michael Collins, remains in orbit in Apollo 11.
1972—Chaos in the Big Apple
In New York City, within a span of twenty-four hours, fifty-seven murders are committed.

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