Kyoko VS Yuki A.K.A. Saikyô joshikôsê densetsu: Kyôko vs Yuki
Release Date - 2000
Directed by Daisuke Yamanouchi
Starring - Kyôko Fujikawa, Yôko Satomi, Kinako Satô, Kajitsu Miura
Ahhh, good old Daisuke Yamanouchi. Ever since I got into Japanese cinema really hard, and started to fall down the rabbit hole of Japanese exploitation (J-Sploitation), Yamanouchi-san has certainly been the one that I've been drawn to the most. Sure, I've fallen in love with others such as Kōji Wakamatsu, and I consider Hisayasu Satō a big inspiration on the type of films I want to make, but it seems like Yamanouchi is the one I constantly return to. He's definitely my favorite of the whole AV horror genre, as he is many. His reputation was built on the major impact of MuZan E, and was skyrocketed even more with the two Red Room films, Blood Sisters, Dead A Go! Go!, and Girl Hell 199
But with every director whose world is heralded as being great, there's always that one film that the fans say isn't all that great. When it comes to Yamanouchi, Dead A Go! Go! is definitely the one I've seen get the most slack (I haven't seen it yet, so I have no opinion on it). But the other one that gets crapped on is Kyoko VS Yuki. While the film does employ Yamanouchi's trademark pink/sex film standards, it strays from the horror themes his other known works have, going for more of an action feel. Whether people not liking this due to not being a horror film, or not be all that gory is up to debate.
But is the film any good, regardless of what type of Yamanouchi film it is? Well, let's find out. Now I have to apologize in advance if I miss any real important plot points, or don't get anything major. My DVD-R has no subtitles, so I can't go fully in depth (you won't need subs though as the story is easy to follow). And if you can't tell by the return of my banner, this is a strictly 18 or over article, and not just for violence this time!
So our film opens with one of lead characters Kyoko getting ready for a fight. This fight turns out to be a man, whose pretty bigger then her. The two proceed to go at it, with Kyoko winning the end after she kills the poor bastard. Afterwards, her boss comes out, along with her henchwomen, who are dressed in school girl outfits and wearing blank white masks. Kyoko is an assassin (or at least is one now, with the dead guy being her test). Her boss (whose face we never see) gives her an assignment. This assignment is to track down a businessman who has a briefcase filled with a ton of money and drugs, and obviously, off him.
The two eventually leave the hotel room, and as they leave, they walk past Kyoko who is dressed like a schoolgirl and carrying a machete on her back. Upon coming to the love hotel room, she kills the poor guy, and discovers that he doesn't have the money or drugs on him. She then remembers that the two girls she passed on the way here were carrying a briefcase, and deduces that they took all the good stuff (this making Yuki a lesbian prostitute thief).
Meanwhile, Yuki is trying to open the briefcase by smashing a rock against where the locks are. Eventually it pops open, and she discovers the money and drugs that are housed inside of it. She quickly closes it back up (well the best she can, she did smash it open you know), and starts to walk, to somewhere. Kyoko intercepts her though, and round 1 of our main event starts. The two clash at each other with their weapons (Kyoko with her machete, Yuki with her baton, going back and forth.Yuki ends up de-arming (her weapon) Kyoko, and the fight switches to hand to hand combat. However Kyoko reveals a hidden blade, which cuts Yuki's cheek. Before she can do anymore, Yuki grabs the machete and servers Kyoko's hand. She apologizes as Kyoko picks it up with her teeth, she then proceeding to run away.
After the fight, Yuki finds Miki's locket (Kyoko took it before killing her), and rushes off to Miki's boss' place. Obviously, she discovers that her love is now dead, and weeps over her slain body. So Yuki does what anybody would do upon finding their girlfriend dead, she has sex with the corpse. That's right folks, bloody dead people sex. Why she does it, I don't know. Maybe to have one last time with her, but anybody's guess is as good as mine.
Back at assassin HQ, Kyoko is at work repairing herself. Why did I say repair instead of heal? Well, because Kyoko ends up reattaching her hand via screws and a blow torch. She even equips herself with some Freddy Kruger like claws (Kyoko Kruger sounds kinda cool). As one of the henchwomen pass by, Kyoko grabs her, and slits her throat with her new claws.
Kyoko and Yuki meet up again under the highway (or what I assume is the highway). They are joined by a homeless woman who is eating a sandwich. The two girls run at each other in typical samurai fashion, causing Kyoko to get hold of the briefcase, Yuki's weapon to break, and for the homeless lady's sandwich to fall to pieces. Kyoko runs away, and Yuki follows, taking the homeless person's umbrella with her.
They arrive at the Assassin Cave, and the final round is ready to start. The back and forth fighting carries on, each giving it all of their might. Legs get kicked, Yuki's clothing gets torn, all of your typical chick weapon fight moments happen. Things get crazy though, and Yuki takes off her bra, and uses it to choke Kyoko (that's innovation folks). She breaks free though, and pinks Yuki up against a wall. Yuki ends up getting stabbed in the shoulder, but Kyoko definitely gets worst, as Yuki stabs the umbrella through her mouth. OUCH! It appears that Yuki is the winner.
Kyoko's boss then shows up, and it appears that it's Miki, or somebody that looks like her. They talk about, something, not sure what though due to the lack of subtitles. The boss offers her the suitcase, but Yuki turns it down, opting to grope and kiss her. Kyoko however isn't quite dead, and gets up, taking hold of the umbrella. She charges at Yuki, with Yuki taking a claw that was sticking in her shoulder as a weapon. They scream in unison, and the movie ends there. Yup, we end with a cliffhanger. But at least the credits have some awesome ass music. It sounds like something you'd hear in Batman Beyond.
The acting is, alright. You can't really judge Kyoko since she's silent most of the time. But Kyôko Fujikawa (the actress who plays Kyoko)'s physical acting is very good. Before the fight with the man, we see a montage of her working out, and it shows off how physical she actually is. Yuki is honestly the only one who I can really judge as far as acting goes, as she does the most. Yôko Satomi does a pretty good job with the role. When she's upset, you can feel that how upset she really is (even if it's discarded a minute later by some mecrophilia). She isn't as physical as Fujikawa, but she does well in the fight scenes as well. The rest of the actors are good for what they have to do. Overall, it's really hard to judge how well the acting is. Yuki is the only one who has to act the most, so on her own merit alone, I'd say the acting is pretty good. But combining that with the rest of the acting, it's more alright then good.
The fight scenes are obviously what we all came to see, and they are well done. They're pretty short, but for how short they are, they get the job done of leaving an impact with the viewer. They're very entertaining, and make for some good action. This also leads us to the gore. Yamanouchi's name was created on how gory his films are, and I gotta say, Kyoko VS Yuki isn't that bad on terms of the red stuff. The most graphic scene is when Yuki stabs Kyoko in the mouth with the umbrella, but other then that, there isn't really anything that rivals his other films like Red Room or MuZan E. If you're going to watch this expecting buckets of blood, you're going to be disappointed.
In the end, Kyoko VS Yuki is a pretty good film. The story while not great, and probably not needed does help move the film along, and gets us to our destination in a good quick manner. The fight scenes are good, and should be able to entertain anybody. The acting is so so, there's not much of it. But the acting that is in it is alright. The gore is almost nonexistent, but when it does finally rear it's head, it's really good.
If you can find the movie, definitely pick it up. It pops up on Ebay every so often, and there's a few stores online that sell it. You won't get much with bonus features (a small behind the scenes video and trailers for Yamanouchi's other films), but since when did bonus features matter with a sleaze film?
In closing, Kyoko VS Yuki is a pretty good movie. Is it Yamanouchi's best? No. Is it his worse? Nope. It falls somewhere in the middle (though I do consider it my second favorite film of his). It makes for a good hour of entertainment, and shows that he can do stuff outside of the horror he's mostly known for. As long as you go into it not expecting it to be as violent as MuZanE, you'll have yourself a pretty good time.
*Photos courtesy of Google and Servered Cinema*