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Nuigulumar Z ("Gothic Lolita Battle Bear")

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2014
  • 101 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
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Can anything possibly spoil the tender joy of a precious little girl’s birthday, shared with her beloved parents? Oh, here’s something that might — a horde of hideous, ravenous, rotting zombies that (following a terse existential justification of their actions, just to rub it in) savagely slay mom and dad! And they’re about to do more than ruin her happy day when a savior appears. Seemingly a gentle teenage girly-girl in a lovely rose-tinted “gosloli” get-up, the zombie threat makes her reveal her alter ego. Fusing with a button-eyed, talking teddy bear, she transforms into a bionic, bear-clawed, bubblegum-pink space warrior — Nuigulumar, the Stuffed Avenger! No shambling zombie can withstand her lethal fighting techniques, or even her blustering teddy Busuuke’s mean right hook. The stuffed toy in fact houses a powerful entity from a far-flung, dying planet. He’s the lone survivor — or is he? Could there be… another costumed doll/human/space-being super-hybrid ultra-fighter… except, like, EVIL?!

Otaku overload alert! Noboru Iguchi wallows in neo-Victorian cosplay, the adorable anthropomorphism of kawaii, and the jumpsuits-and-judo of tokusatsu film ’n’ TV, and comes out covered in cutie-pie pink and grisly blood red! A master artisan of the lowbrow, lurid and laugh-out-loud — responsible for DEAD SUSHI, MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD, ZOMBIE ASS and lately LIVE, also at Fantasia this summer — revisits the nostalgic tokusatsu (“special effects”) genre he explored in the quirky, affectionate KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR, only this time tapping into the wealth of wacky crap that Japanese pop culture pitches at girls. Of course, he doesn’t skimp on the sanguinary side of things! Based on a novel by Kenji Ohtsuki that was itself was based on a song his by rock band, otaku-culture hit-paraders Tokusatsu. GOTHIC LOLITA BATTLE BEAR is a bright and bloody bundle of J-pop fun. Get ready for sugar and spice and everything nice — set on maximum slice and dice!

— Rupert Bottenberg