By Lois Kennedy
Director: Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Cast: Natsuki Kato, Toshinori Omi, Yasutaka Tsutsui
Japanese movie from the start of the millennium. In a dystopian future, teenage girls between the ages of 15-17 are first experiencing Near Death Happiness, then dying, then coming back from the dead as zombies, known as Stacies. Despite the efforts of the Romero Repeat Kill Troops, the Illegal Repeat Kill Troops (illegal because only a loved one can kill a Stacy), and dedicated scientist Dr. Inugami, the Stacies are a force to be reckoned with, and the population is beginning to decline.
Stacy is extremely gory. People are torn apart still alive, Stacies are bloodily dismembered, people are shot. But the film is more comedy than drama. The Stacies lurch around with their eyes rolling and tongues lolling, looking more funny than creepy. The Stacies are aglow with “Butterfly Twinkle Powder.” My favorite comedic moment is when Eiko, a girl experiencing Near Death Happiness, approaches a group of Romero troops and tells them she loves and forgives them. They’re overcome with emotion while she’s skipping around having the time of her life.
The storyline revolving around Eiko and her quasi-boyfriend Shibukawa, the man she chooses to kill her when her time comes, (as she puts it, “The weather’s so nice today. I decided to find someone who would agree to repeat kill me”) is a bit disconcerting, as he’s much older than she is. They don’t do anything more intimate than hug, though she does sleep next to him.
The characters, if not likable per se, are interesting. I enjoyed the trio of illegal troops, who are bounty hunters with kitanas and nunchakus and guns. Strong female characters abound, actually. The ending is extremely confusing to me, but I still found it moving and memorable. It’s an interesting study of how people act when faced with “Armageddon.” I don’t really grasp the message, but I had a good time watching it. Check it out if you’re in the mood for something original.