• She Cat



    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: May 7, 2013.
    Director: Shingo Yamashiro
    Cast: Ai Saotome, Koichi Iwaki, Yoshie Otsuka, Sachiko Ito, Kotomi Aoki
    Year: 1983
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    The Movie:

    Japanese Playboy Playmate Ai Saotome plays Doctor Kagami, Cat to her friends, in this directorial debut from Shingo Yamashiro, the same man who acted in films like Baby Cart In The Land Of Demons and loads of Yakuza movies, including Kinji Fukasaku’s famous Battles Without Honor And Humanity series. Cat’s not just any doctor though – she’s a foxy obgyn who used to be involved with the son of a prominent politician. She’s also recently found herself on the bad side of some killer thugs!

    Early on in the picture an assassination attempt is made on her life but she escapes, more or less intact. Now Cat’s as pissed off and revenge hungry as she is lusty for lesbian sex with her lover, Kotoe Hiratsuka, another doctor with a strange past. Cat’s only too happy to get herself a gun and deal out justice in her own unique style. Hanging in the balance is the fate of a prominent Japanese company – but Cat’s got some pretty weird skeletons in her closet and her past is about to catch up with her. Let’s leave the plot synopsis at that, intentionally vague as it may be, because this is a movie littered with bizarre surprises and unexpected twists.

    At eighty seven minutes in length, She Cat is considerably longer and more mainstream than a lot of Nikkatu’s Roman Porno pictures. That’s not to say that it skimps on the requisite sex scenes, because it offers those up in spades as dictated by the established format of the line, but it does have a more traditional narrative. It’s also got some seriously steamy lesbian sex, some not quite as steamy but still welcome hetero sex, a few decent action scenes, some sleazy abortion related subplots and bad guys aplenty.

    The movie throws characters are you quickly and sometimes for the sole purpose of having them get naked and fool around, but some legitimately interesting plot twists help to keep this one moving at a good pace. There’s a good story here, underneath the sex and the violence, and if a few of the supporting characters are completely disposable, so be it. The real star of the show is obviously Ai Saotome, top billed and top heavy, she’s a looker and on top of that brings some good screen presence to the movie. She’s a good lead and the camera loves her. If her performance isn’t always completely convincing, you’ll forget that as soon as her clothes come off – which is entirely appropriate in a Roman Porno movie and not at all a slam against this particular picture.

    There is a grisly rape scene, there’s some odd comedy that toys with gay stereotypes and there’s an amazing girl on girl shower sequence that turns into more than just routine hygiene – so despite the more intricate than usual plot the movie still delivers in terms of titillation. It might not be the most artistic of the line so far nor the sleaziest, instead it goes for flat out entertainment value instead, which is never a bad thing. The fact that it succeeds as well as it does means it’s a picture with some solid replay value and maybe a good gateway drug to get those new to the genre interested and primed for some of the more esoteric entries that Nikkatsu produced.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Like most of the other Nikkatus releases from Impulse so far, She Cat looks good in this 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are handled well and look quite natural as do skin tones, of which there are loads on display. Black levels aren’t quite inky deep but they’re strong and detail is pretty good across the board. There are no issues with print damage to complain about and overall this is a clean, sharp, good looking picture though it should be noted that a few scenes were shot with some softness in mind and that comes through in the transfer (as it should).

    The Japanese language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is crisp and clean though occasionally just a tiny bit shrill. The levels are well balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion. The optional English subtitles that are provided are free of any typos and easy to read. This won’t floor you but it sounds fine, there are no problems.

    Extras on the disc are limited to a menu and chapter selection and the film’s sleazy theatrical trailer. Inside the case, however, is an insert containing original poster art for the feature and liner notes from film scholar/author Jasper Sharp that provide some details on the film and on the cast and crew involved in the production. Sharp notes the career of the film’s director and how the movies he made earlier on affect this particular film, making it as much a crime picture as a sex picture. He also details the career of leading lady Ai Saotome and offers up a nice snapshot of what sets this particular film apart from so many of Nikkatu’s other Roman Porno movies.

    The Final Word:

    She Cat works really well as a nice mix of your standard crime/revenge thriller and what you’d likely expect out of an eighties Nikkatsu sex movie. Trashy but with a mainstream sensibility towards putting entertainment front and center, it’s well paced, steamy, intriguing and it offers up a whole lot of gritty, scuzzy thrills. Impulse’s DVD is typically short on extras but the liners are as good as they always are and the presentation is strong. This movie steps outside the Roman Porno box a little bit but it’s all the more interesting for it.