Miki and Reiko rock and rule Osaka in 1973's Sukeban.
We already shared this rare circular poster for Sukeban, aka Girl Boss Revenge: Sukeban, in a group post years ago, but since it's so rare and interesting we're bringing it back for a solo look, and as you see below we've split it in half to allow you to have your own copy of reasonable size, if you're inclined to put the two pieces together. We might as well comment on the movie too. When we first shared the art for this, we figured why discuss the film in detail when there were already plenty of reviews online? We even linked to one back then. Little did we know that Pulp Intl. would still be going ten years later and would be a top repository for vintage Japanese poster art online. That being the case, we figure we'll tell you about the movie this time.
It stars two of the brightest stars of the Japanese grindhouse era—Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike. Miki plays a gang leader who calls herself Kantô Komasa, while Reiko is the girl gang leader of Namairu High School. They meet in a prison van and escape simultaneously, headed different directions but destined to cross paths again. Miki forms a new gang in Osaka called Gypsy Dance, gets into the usual delinquency, and meets a director of dirty movies who she enlists in a revenge plot. But all the fun and games take a nasty turn when she runs afoul of the North Dragon yakuza and they start dishing out pain and suffering. Only with the help of a young North Dragon footsoldier named Tatsuo is Miki able to escape her predicament.
It just so happens that Tatsuo is Reiko's boyfriend. Reiko has been missing since her escape from the prison van, but arrives on the scene just in time to find Miki in bed with her man. That puts Reiko and Miki at odds in the worst way, but Reiko has no idea Tatsuo is working for the North Dragon. She'll find out, though, via a stunning betrayal. We'll end the synopsis there, but add the warning that the North Dragonare mean as hell and the tortures they administer are hard to watch. But gangsters gonna gangster—if they spent their time at garden parties and poetry readings there'd be a different word for them.
Sukeban, which was directed by Norifumi Suzuki, is a prime example of Toei Company's pinky violence genre—wild, colorful, gritty, and bloody, with moments of humor to leaven the hard tone. Movies of this style influenced many later directors, but apart from Quentin Tarantino and maybe a couple of other mavericks such operatic exploitation is a relic of the past. The film is basically Miki's show, and whether rolling fabulously down a hill in her fur coat and platforms or getting dirty in an alley fight, she delivers a freewheeling performance in a production that isn't for the faint of heart. It's worth watching for its historical value as well as for entertainment, but in either case, hold onto your hat.
As a bonus, below we have some production photos, including a rare image of Miki striking the topless pose used to create the promo poster. We always thought her head looked a little warped on that poster. Turns out it's a defect in the original photograph—someone either shot her off-kilter or introduced the flaw during the developing process, and she stayed that way. We're guessing, but we're pretty sure because normally her head is very symmetrical. As is the rest of her. You'll see what we mean below about the photo. Sukeban premiered in Japan today in 1973. You can see our other write-up on it here.
Tanaka and company roll the dice and all kinds of craps happen.
This poster was made to promote the samurai actioner Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi, known in English internationally as The Naked Seven, starring the wonderful Mari Tanaka, along with Michiyo Mako, Yuri Yamashina, and others. Tanaka plays Eno, leader of a gang of seven female bandits roaming the countryside of Edo era Japan ambushing and stealing to survive. Tanaka hooks up with a samurai and helps him rob 120 rifles from a powerful warlord, at which point she and her bandit cohort are blamed. Realizing they're in the very deepest shit, they head for the hills with the warlord's bad men—one of whom is indescribably worse than the rest—in hot pursuit. Tanaka has a sanctuary in mind, but ultimately she and her gang of deadlies may have to make a final stand with those rifles.
We assumed The Naked Seven was a samurai actioner, and it is, sort of, but genetically it's really a roman porno. The movie's alternate English title (which we didn't know until afterward) gives it away: Civil War Rock: Hurricane Girls! The Japanese word “sengoku,” from the film's official title, refers to the Sengoku Era in Japan, a time of violent upheaval also known as the Warring States Period, so the civil war reference in the alternate English title makes sense. Plus director Yasuharu Hasebe would make a string of roman porno flicks in the next several years, including Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary and Maruhi honeymoon: Boko ressha, which, terrifyingly, is aka Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train. Even without knowing all that, the roman porno thought process behind The Naked Seven became clear as the pursuit unfolded in occasionally shocking fashion.
We thought we'd jettisoned roman pornos after the last effort we watched, but that Naked Seven title fooled us. It's obviously a play on The Magnificent Seven—but naked!—and yup, unclothed debauchery fit for a Game of Thrones episode abounds. There's also a sequence in which Tanaka's entire gang is waylaid bathing in a stream and have to flee bare-assed into the woods. They escape, though it's logistically unlikely. Similarly, roman porno chased us and caught us unawares, metaphorically naked in a streaming. Escape from our waylaying was as logistically easy as pressing stop, but we forged ahead until the end, and we did it for you. Here's the upshot. The period setting helps set the movie apart, so we consider it a passable effort from Nikkatsu Studios. Thankfully, it's not as shocking as some roman pornos, but proceed carefully—there are still scary things in the woods. Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi premiered in Japan today in 1972.
There's hell to pay and the only currency she takes is cold hard ass.
Above is a rare bo-eikibari style promo for Sukeban burûsu: Mesubachi no gyakushû, known in English as as Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee Strikes Again, or sometimes Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Counterattack. It premiered in Japan today in 1971. You can see the standard promo at the top of this group post, and you can see the tateken promo here. Basically, Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto, Yayoi Watanabe, et al are members of a gang of hot young thieves who extort hapless middle-aged squares by luring them, drugging them, and robbing them. The movie has a little of everything—and lot of Ike, one of the towering figures of Japanese b-movies. We find it interesting that Sugimoto didn't make it onto the poster (nor the other promos made for the film) while Yayoi Watanabe (prone and restrained) did. Rest assured, Miki is in the film. She gets as much screen time as anyone except Ike, especially in the first forty-five minutes. Mysterious are the minds of pinku poster designers. This isn't the first time they've thrown us a curve by leaving someone important off a promo. Anyway, this movie is well worth a watch for fans of pinky violence. We already showed you a promo image of Reiko Ike yesterday, but what the heck—let's bring her back, below. And Sugimoto too. We can't have one without the other.
She likes to fly by the seat of her panties.
Just when you think you've seen every mini-trend in Japanese film posters, from sexy nuns to topless pearl divers to dirty teachers, you stumble upon another. Women high kicking with their panties showing seems to have been a thing. Mere high kicking posters, we already knew about. Like here, here, and here. But we'd seen only one previous panty-exposing high kicking poster, here. Now the tally is up to two. Where will it end? No way to know. This was made for Document porno: Shin sukeban, aka Semi Documentary: Truly High School Girl Boss, with Kenji Miyako, who was featured in seven Document porno flicks in 1973 and 1974. It premiered in Japan yesterday in 1973.
We couldn't let her slide any longer.
We've had this sitting around for ten whole years. We were reluctant to post it because it's so rare. This tug of war went on forever, but today we've finally overcome our reservations because, after all, even though the scan will proliferate on the internet—and possibly even end up on Ebay like some of our other scans—we still have the physical item. So above you see iconic Japanese pinku actress Miki Sugimoto, star of such films as Zeroka no onna: Akai wappa, aka Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs and Sukeban gerira, aka Girl Boss Guerilla. A photographer named Takeo Sano was responsible for the image, and it was published as a four panel centerfold in the magazine Purei Comikku, or Play Comic, in 1973. Sugimoto has provided plenty of material for our website over the years. It's difficult to choose her greatest hits, but if forced, we'd say her best are here, here, and here. And maybe here too.
A gun and an attitude will take you far.
This is the rarest of the rare. We've shown you many movie posters foreign to the country in which the original film was made. The most common amongst those have been French, Italian, and Japanese posters for American films. We've also seen a few U.S. and British posters for Japanese films. But we've never seen a French poster for a Japanese film, and that's what you have here. And it isn't just any film. It's for the iconic 1973 Miki Sugimoto pinku actioner Sukeban–Kankain Dasso, known in English as Girl Boss: Escape from Reform School, and titled here Girl Boss - Les Étudiantes en cavale. That would translate: “girl boss - students on the run.”
This was painted using the original Japanese poster as inspiration by Constantin Belinsky, a talent we've discussed a couple of times before. He was born in Bratslav, Ukraine, learned his craft in art school in Chișinău, which was then in Romania but is now in Moldova, and worked professionally in Paris. He painted posters for classic dramas like Laura and Pickup on South Street, but later in his career specialized in genre films such as Creature from the Black Lagoon. He was born in 1904, so we suspect this poster was among his last pieces. But it won't be his last on Pulp Intl. We have more to show you later.
She's the boss of her gang, but not of her panties, apparently.
Above are two similar but not identical high kicking posters for Document porno: Sukeban, aka Dokyumento poruno: Sukeban, known in English as Porn Document: Sukeban. At some point the original panty shot must have been deemed inappropriate, because as you can see it was covered with black paint. It's like her crotch went into mourning. And we did too, a little, when we saw it. Was the retouch effort supposed to look like tights? We suppose so, but it's a pretty ham-handed effort. We'd love to know if the second poster is an official promo from Purima Kikaku, the studio that made the film, or a one-off from an individual cinema. We'll never know, we're sure. Document porno: Sukeban premiered in Japan today in 1973. It was the prequel to Dokyumento poruno: zoku sukeban, aka Porn Document: Sukeban 2. You can see that poster here. Also, you can see another high kicking Japanese poster here.
Kanô and company are still Crazy after all these years.
Today's deep dive into the pinku pile has produced this two panel promo for Sukeban: Tamatsuki asobi, aka Girl Boss: Crazy Ball Game, which starred Yûko Kanô and premiered today in 1974. Not every pinku movie had these types of posters but we've acquired quite a few. We'd upload others, but we don't know what films some of them are for. We'll get around to sharing them anyway, though.
Looking below, you'll see we've grabbed some promo photos. These came from an online auction. The last panel shows Yûko Kanô's co-stars Ritsuko Fujiyama, Emi Jô, Harumi Tajima, Rie Saotome, and Ryôko Ema having some wild and watery fun. Sukeban: Tamatsuki asobi has it all—violence, sex, violence, Yakuza, violence, and more. You can read a bit more about it at our write-up from some years ago, located at this link.
Seems like she gets tougher to work for every year.
The internet is all about change. When we first wrote about Miki Sugimoto’s 1973 pinku flick Sukeban–Kankain Dasso, aka Girl Boss: Escape from Reform School, we shared a rare tateken sized promo poster and mentioned that it was the first of its kind to appear online, while the standard sized promo could be found anywhere. Six years later it's the tateken poster that's everywhere online, while good scans of the standard promo seem to have disappeared. So here's a good scan of the standard promo. Sukeban–Kankain Dasso premiered in Japan today in 1973.
Igarashi shows Japan who's the Boss.
This high kicking poster is for the Japanese pinku flick Semi-dokyumento: Sukeban yôjimbô. It's an obscure movie. It never had a western release, thus has no western title, but it would translate to like, “Semi-document: Girl Boss Bodyguard,” or “Semi-document: Girl Boss Bouncer.” It has nothing to do with the Noir City Film Festival that we've been looking at the past week, but we wanted to slip it in because we're dogmatic about sharing movie posters on premiere dates and this film opened in Japan today in 1974. We have another Noriko Igarashi movie poster which you can see here, and a summery promo image below.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1964—Soviets Shoot Down U.S. Plane
A U.S. Air Force training jet is shot down by Soviet fighters after straying into East German airspace. All 3 crew men are killed. U.S forces then clandestinely enter East Germany in an attempt to reach the crash but are thwarted by Soviet forces. In the end, the U.S. approaches the Soviets through diplomatic channels and on January 31 the wreckage of the aircraft is loaded onto trucks with the assistance of Soviet troops, and returned to West Germany.
1967—Apollo Fire Kills Three Astronauts
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although the ignition source of the fire is never conclusively identified, the astronauts' deaths are attributed to a wide range of design hazards in the early Apollo command module, including the use of a high-pressure 100 percent-oxygen atmosphere for the test, wiring and plumbing flaws, flammable materials in the cockpit, an inward-opening hatch, and the flight suits worn by the astronauts.
1924—St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad
St. Peterburg, the Russian city founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and which was capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years, is renamed Leningrad three days after the death of Vladimir Lenin. The city had already been renamed Petrograd in 1914. It was finally given back its original name St. Petersburg in 1991.
1966—Beaumont Children Disappear
In Australia, siblings Jane Nartare Beaumont, Arnna Kathleen Beaumont, and Grant Ellis Beaumont, aged 9, 7, and 4, disappear from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, and are never seen again. Witnesses claim to have spotted them in the company of a tall, blonde man, but over the years, after interviewing many potential suspects, police are unable generate enough solid leads to result in an arrest. The disappearances remain Australia's most infamous cold case.
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