Erotibot Review

Erotibot is an awful piece of filmmaking, but then it’s also one that knows exactly what it’s doing. Written and directed by Naoyuki Tomomatsu, the man behind Zombie Self-Defence Force and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, this is another cheapo softcore-slash-splatter movie that simply adheres to formula. Rather than provide any kind of synopsis it would perhaps be more instructive to merely reel off the various ingredients: young girls either nude or in the skimpiest of outfits, occasionally carrying some form of weaponry; sex scenes that waver between the coy, the leery and the dubious (it’s debatable, in a couple of cases, as to whether the BBFC would have been quite so lenient just a few years back); martial arts sequences that go all-out on the gore front; and minimal plotting so that all of this sex and violence can take a front seat, albeit with slight generic underpinnings so as to attract a science fiction and/or horror crowd. Clearly such a recipe does the trick as Tomomatsu and his ilk have been making films in this vein for a number of years now. Meanwhile Erotibot is making it all the way to the UK courtesy of this particular DVD release, so an audience is surely out there. Indeed, those who find themselves under such a category should stop reading now; this review will have already told them all they need to know.

Yet whilst Erotibot may satisfy those looking for its particular brand of Asian exploitation, the rest of us should be aware of the other ingredients that have gone into its making, each of which is even less enticing than those already mentioned. There are the poor production values for starters. Of course, films like Erotibot are made on the cheap and barely register as proper features what with their simple and often handheld digital photography or the running times which just about make it past the hour mark. Yet this doesn’t necessarily excuse the poor production values - lighting which is either overexposed or underexposed without ever quite finding the correct balance - or the mundane compositions. It also doesn’t excuse the lacklustre performances, although at least here those in front of camera have the flimsy screenplay to blame. (For those wishing to know more essentially we have a young girl reaching sexual maturity and lusting over her servant androids whilst her evil aunt and cousin attempt to secure the family fortune via martial arts in tiny outfits…) On top of this we also have a hideous score which alternates between identikit heavy metal and some off-kilter, directionless noodling that is presumably intended to match the overall kookiness and oddball charm. Except the humour isn’t really there, just an empty weirdness that is seemingly requisite for such Japanese fare.

THE DISC

Erotibot hits the UK on the 26th of September courtesy of Bounty Films. Encoded for Region 2, the disc preserves the OAR of 1.78:1 and offers up the original Japanese stereo soundtrack (in either two-channel DTS or two-channel Dolby Digital) with optional English subs. Given the low-budget DV source, it’s difficult to ascertain correctly as to whether the flaws relate to the original production or the transfer to disc. The slow motion sequences, for example, demonstrate some heavy interlacing, but then it seems perfectly reasonable to assume this was a stylistic choice on Tomomatsu’s part. As already noted the photography is generally poor which doesn’t help matters whilst ‘jaggies’ are also prevalent. The soundtrack fares better (in either format) though once again flaws are immediately apparent in the source. Extras amount to a trailer and a pair of interview with two of Erotibot’s performers, Asami and Maria Ozawa. The former lasts for 10 minutes and is conducted in Japanese, the latter for 19 minutes and in English. The format is quick questions with quick answers resulting in two generally lightweight pieces. With that said the pair’s prolific experience within the AV (adult video) industry does lead to some more general discussion of their careers which is considerably more interesting simply because it’s an area rarely documented. Nevertheless, a little insight here and there is hardly a strong enough reason to pick up this disc.

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