Ichi the Killer…

From 1/15/2004Response of the day…
getting married is “fun” just do what britney spears did… hah…she is really stupid
— by BarbEric_Bojo

Question of the day…
You have a gambling problem?
— by Shiroi_Norite
Actually no, I had a drinking problem. Anyone else have or had an addiction?

On Wednesday, I saw Ichi the Killer by Miike Takashi, the trendy (in the US) director of ultra-violent blood-and-gore movies in Japan. Now, I am not a fan of slasher flicks. I saw the original Halloween and have since never seen any of its sequels. Nor have I ever seen any of the “films” like Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street. I mean, I barely know who Chucky is (Tampa Bay coach?), and I still don’t know what they did last summer. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself overly sqeamish, and I am certainly not a prude, but when it comes to violence, I want to have the movie place it in a greater social context. Violence for violence sake is, I think, unnecessary and those who relilsh in it are a minute and irresponsible segment of society. Unfortunately, they are also an influential segment as well, particularly on a young, impressionable, mostly male audience. While freedom of speech is an important concept within our society, with freedom comes responsibility and I often wonder if these directors hide behind the flag, behind this basic human right even as they cast a blind (read: ignorant) eye toward responsibility? Do they have any idea that maybe, just maybe, their films may be encouraging a generation of young people who are immune to violence only to crave even greater, more graphic violence?

Miike seems to have a response to this question by offering ultra-violence in this Ichi the Killer. This film focuses on the actions of two polar opposites: Ichi the ultra-sadist and Kakihara the closet ultra-masochist. Kakihara searches for the killer of his Kabukicho gang boss, Anjo, who also happens to be the one who–it’s suggested–developed and fulfilled Kakihara’s masochistic desires. He learns that the killer is a man named Ichi after torturing a rival gang leader. Ichi is a blubbering wimp, who is bullied by his manager at work–go ahead and die you idiot–but gets exxxcited when he sees someone sexually tortured and/or violated. And in the process of killing those who violate others, we learn he does this only so he can become the new violator. Ichi’s violence is being manipulated with some kind of hypnotic technique by someone referred to as Jijii–although dealt with as a proper name in the subtitles and in various reviews, to me suggests his relationship to Ichi, his uncle. Now it is unclear whether Jijii took advantage of an inherent predeliction to sadism in Ichi or if he developed it, but it is clear that he is using it to direct Ichi toward killing all member of the Anjo gang, especially Kakihara.

The movie progresses from one violent scene to another as both Kakihara and Ichi work their way violently from victim to victim. The violence is way over the top. For example, the torture of Suzuki, the rival gang leader who gave up Ichi’s name: this involved suspending him horizontally with multiple meat hooks, then pearcing his body with what looked like a crochet needle only shinier and sharper, and pouring hot oil over his entire body after cooking some shrimp tempura. Yes, this was a graphic scene, but by no means a spoiler. There are worse scenes, from extreme sexual violations to manga-like body dismemberment. You have to see it to “appreciate” it.

The two reach their confrontation at the climax, an inevitability in a Yin-Yang sort of way as they are perfect mirror opposites. Kakihara is in control, violent in public but masochistic in private; Ichi has no control of his fate, is passive in public but sadistic in private. Ichi, sometimes befuddled with his own violence, ultimately kills Kakihara, who for his part achieved a kind of ultimate maoschistic climax. The denouement–unlike the rest of the movie–was thought provoking: a scene with school children going through a park and Jijii shown hanging from a tree apparently having committed suicide. Walking behind the school children is Ichi. The effect is frightening in that it suggests that the manipulator, the one who had the violent intentions is dead, since he no longer had a reason to live as all the gang members had been elliminated. In contrast, the actual perpetrator of the violence lives on innocently like a child, not realizing his own actions, oblivious to any sense of responsibility, unaware to his nascent violent tendacies. Is this how Miike sees the future? Does he see the younger generation–out children–as Ichi? A pessimistic thought suggested by the same person who seems to be promoting it…

So do you watch slasher/violent films? Do you love the blood and gore or is it a complete turn off?

A Narcissistic Moment: A Testimonial…

Kai read yesterday’s entry and instead of leaving me a comment, she posted the following, which was kinda of nice. Makes me feel like its all been worthwhile.

    Onigiriman posted on his Xanga about trying to be a positive influence to his students and that we were probably rolling our eyes about him saying that.

    * He got me really wanting to (finally) get my (jiggly) butt to… Click here to continue on Kai

What Kind Of Asian Are You?
Triphopx sent me a link about Asian American stereotypes. It’s provided by Nemesis, a company that promotes music by Asian American artists, such as Kristine Sa. The focus is on Asia and not on the individual heritage. For example, on kristinesa.com, there is no indication of Kristine’s heritage except for the fact that she is Asian. This is an interesting position to take, as some of you–and I–often make it a point to clearly identify our heritage, be it Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, etc… So instead of categorizing Asian Americans by heritage, Nemesis divides Young Asian Americans, using a criteria that may be familiar to many of you. They indicate that this categorzing is just for fun and not to be taken seriously, and so OF COURSE, I had to take it seriously… But after reading it, I must admit that I have kinda met members of each group, including me. Now, I am no longer a “young” Asian, but if I were to categorize myself when I was 20, it would have to be… Fobsta. Hahahahaha

So which one are you? The following is a list of the categories with just some of the defining characters (Except for Trendy Asian Bitch which had me nodding and cracking up at the same time). Click here for complete definitions.

– Besides your nationality, there is little to distinguish you from white people
– Your significant other is not Asian and never has been
– You have few Asian friends, if any

– You claim yourself as Asian, but real Asians think you’re whitewashed and non-Asians see you as a foreigner. You fit in nowhere
– You are confused about your cultural identity and express this frustration through spoken word performances at your college
– You are only vaguely aware of the other Asians below

Yap (Young Asian Professional)
– You are in one of these professions: a) Medicine / Pharmaceutical, b) Engineering, c) Finance, d) Investment Banking, e) Accounting
– Most of your wardrobe was purchased at Banana Republic
– You did exactly what your parents wanted you to do and as a result, your life is hella boring

Fob (Fresh Off tha Boat)
– You were not born in America
– You do not have any non-Asian friends
– Your fashion sense comes from whatever country you’re from and you incorporate nothing from American fashion into your wardrobe

– Your command of the English language is minimal and you don’t care
– All the lights in your house are fluorescent
– You either smell like cigarettes or food

– You speak perfect English and you are fluent in your native language
– You have Asian friends as well as non-Asian friends
– You are equally aware of both popular American culture and Asian pop culture
– You are a good designer and have superior Html skills

– You are an Asian-American or Twinkie who has recently “awoken”
– You have a newly found fetish of Asian girls/boys
– You have taken the Asian Studies course at college

– When you talk, you sound like a cross between a Fob and an urban black kid
– You have a serious gambling problem
– You want to have a Tab girlfriend, but can only get Hoochie Tabs

Tab (Trendy Asian B*tch)
– You shop at A/X, Bebe and Club Monaco
– You only wear black and will occasionally wear white to “mix it up”
– You do not weigh more than 105 lbs
– You have never paid for dinner at a restaurant in your life
– You are a makeup expert, in fact, you appear completely flawless
– You do not smile in public
– You are the object of desire of all Asian men and you know it
– You smoke
– Your cell phone is completely customized
– On the inside flip of your cell phone is a sticker pic of you and your man
– Somewhere in your purse is a Sanrio item
– You only date Asian and will only date a boy with a nice car
– You are often seen with Rice-boys

Hoochie Tab
– Your boobs are not real
– Your boyfriend is a Gangsta Fob
– You cheat on your boyfriend
– Unlike most Asians, you do not do well in school

– You drive an Asian import. Usually a Honda or Acura
– Your souped up car (known as a Rice-ride or Rice-rocket) is unrecognizable from it’s original stock form
– You are not afraid of dying in a crash, but you are afraid of speed bumps and parking lot on-ramps
– If you drive a Civic, your dream car is a Supra. If you drive a Supra, your dream car is a Skyline (which you can never have). Poor Rice-boy.