Hiroyuki TanakaJapanese
Medium: short film
Year: 2003
Writer/director: Hiroyuki Tanaka ["Sabu"]
Keywords: SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Shiho Harumi, Takanori Higuchi, Yamada Meiiko, Shimoyama Sakaye, Yuji Sawayama, So Yamanaka
Format: 17 minutes
Url: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1686302/
Website category: Japanese SF
Review date: 7 June 2016
It's a silly short live-action film by Sabu, whom I love. He's great. You couldn't say the same of this particular film, alas, but it's kind of amusing. At 17 minutes, that'll do.
We start with an army base. A soldier runs to tell the Chief of Operations that A1012K has escaped! Crisis! Their top secret robot is in an inhabited area! (To be precise, it's in Shibuya, Tokyo. Perhaps it wanted to go shopping?) How can our heroes neutralise the threat while minimising civilian casualties? Big vehicles drive up! Lots of soldiers jump out! It all looks serious and macho!
...until you see A1012K himself, who's a middle-aged actor in silver body paint, with "A1012K" written on his hat. It's like something from a school play. What's more, he's cuddly. He likes going into shops, putting on display headphones and grooving to the music. When the soldiers attack, he'll fight back with a Carrot Gun (designed to be harmless to humans) and Onion Gas (which I'd guess at worst smells bad).
A1012K is also the name of a mobile phone, incidentally.
One wonders why Sabu made this film. It can be funny, but it didn't make me laugh enough for me to call it a comedy. A better description, to me, might be doodling with a video camera. Sabu was feeling playful. You could call it a genre parody if you felt like it, since the Bomb Button Duel gets half of its laughs from the fact that we've often seen similar scenes played deadly straight. (This is, um, less serious.)
There are plot developments. (A1012K meets mother.) There's also a surreal ending. I'd have to think about that for a while to decide what I thought Sabu was getting at there.
I don't have much more to say about this one. It amused me. It's mildly diverting, but not enough for a recommendation. I don't expect to watch it again (and I say that as a Sabu fan). I like the robotic robots, with very deliberate movements and loud clanking sound effects. Thinking about it, I'm reminded slightly of Miss Zombie (made exactly a decade later), in which Sabu again explored the humanisation of something dehumanised. They're very different tonally, though. This is a minor work, but I'm glad I watched it.