I took nearly a year’s break between Lady Ninja Kaede films in an effort to heal the braincells I broke while watching the first one (which you can read all about here) but, as promised, I have now braved the sequel, all in the name of ninjology… This one is directed by Takayuki Kagawa, rather than Hiroyuki Kawasaki, although both directors are equally elusive and obscure. There’s a distinct lack of information available about them or their scant filmographies but, y’know, after watching these films, I feel as if I know what they like. I have peered into their souls and seen their deepest, darkest desires. And it’s weird in there. Properly, properly weird…
The Kaede movies are part of a mini-movement that came out of Japan in the 2000s; low-budget “erotic ninja” films. They’re too tame to really qualify as pornography but, since the plots are driven by sex and the production values so low, they probably bear a closer relation to porn films than to anything else. They’re incredibly dull, slow and semi-coherent and I’m not sure exactly what the appeal would be to anyone beyond just how very strange they are at times. Part 2 picks up where Part 1 ended, although it replaces Mai Nadasaka with Luna Akatsuki in the titular (very titular) role. Kaede is still working with her old buddies Yumeama and Jii and a squad of “ninja sex punishers” who want to rid the local district of anyone with impure thoughts, because they believe sex is evil. They’re supposed to be the good guys, by the way, just in case you weren’t sure. Ninja sex punishment is a good thing, okay?
When the film flashed up its jaw-dropping full title – “Kaede 2 – The Darkness of Cyber Dick” – I thought “cyber dick? how can they have a cyber dick? the film is set in the Edo period!” but was swiftly proven wrong. The opening scene involves Kaede using a secret move called “Ninja Technique Gigantic Penis Evil Governor (Pervert)” to summon a mammoth holographic phallus in front of a (presumably perverted) governor who’s being punished for his desires. She chops the thing in half with her sword and the governor shrivels up in a shrieking storm of CGI.
If you think that’s freaky, it only gets freakier as we’re introduced to a rogue Buddhist who’s started up a sex cult called Tougen and has used dark forces to summon a Lovecraftian dildo. Kaede is sent to destroy him but she, instead, get cursed by the dildo to suffer “The Hell Of Carnal Desire”. This means she is compelled to use the dildo on herself constantly until the spell is broken (you don’t actually see any of this since the film is strangely coy but you get the idea of what she’s meant to be doing quite clearly!). There’s only one thing for it. Jii enlists a gay samurai (who won’t be tempted by her charms) to go with Kaede on a mission to break the curse.
Turns out that the dildo was made from the penises of three men who sacrificed their own (and had them replaced by a weird glowing vortex) and if Kaede tracks them down and sleeps with each of them in turn, using the supernatural dildo as a substitute penis, then the spell is lifted and all is well again. But there are a whole bunch of peculiar twists and obstacles along the way that must be overcome.
There’s not a lot of actual ninjing in the film, sadly. The samurai gets a few fights in but the choreography’s quite basic and not exactly awe-inspiring. Kaede, despite the promise of the title, doesn’t really get to fight at all. The villains look they’ve stepped off the cover of a really bad black metal album, and it’s quite confusing by the end as to who’s working with whom or why.
Ultimately, there’s a huge twist, some sentimental J-Pop songs and then it all goes existential for the mysteriously downbeat final scenes. I wonder if Kagawa was trying to say something meaningful – there’s a lot of dialogue in the film about how sex leads to misery and anger and the void – but, if he was, it’s lost in the ridiculous ninja sex magic and confusing plot.
If this sounds like the kind of wacked-out psychotronic treat you think you’ll love, I can’t stress enough how much better it sounds on paper than when you’re wading through its 71 minutes of its shot-on-video shonkiness. But I will give it credit for the fact that I’ve never seen anything with a story like this one before.