The Machine Girl (2008) poster

The Machine Girl (2008)


(Kataude Mashin Garu)

Japan. 2008.


Director/Screenplay – Noboru Iguchi, Producers – Yoshinori Chiba, Yoko Hayama & Satoshi Nakamura, Photography – Yasutaka Nagano, Music – Takashi Nakagawa, Visual Effects Supervisor – Tsuyoshi Kazuno, Special Effects Supervisor/Makeup Effects – Yoshihiro Nishimura, Production Design – Yasuo Kurosu. Production Company – Nikkatsu.


Minase Yashiro (Ami Hyuga), Asami Miyajima (Miki Sugihara), Kentaro Shimazu (Ryugi Kimura), Nobuhiro Nishihara (Sho Kimura), Honoka (Violet Kimura), Ryosuke Kawamura (Yu Hyuga), Noriko Kijima (Yoshie), Yuya Ishikawa (Suguru Sugihara)


High school student Ami Hyuga and her brother Yu support one another following the suicide of their parents who were falsely arrested for murder. However, Yu is being badly bullied by the school gang led by Sho, the son of local yakuza head Ryugi Kimura. Sho and his bullies then shove Yu and his friend Takeshi over the side of a parking building to their deaths. A distraught Ami reads Yu’s journal where he names his bullies. She refuses to accept the official police claim that Yu’s death was a suicide. She goes to confront Sho but his father and mother imprison and torture her, severing her right arm at the elbow. Ami makes an escape and stumbles to the garage of Takeshi’s parents Miki and Suguru Sugihara. They help Ami recover and replace her arm stump with a machine gun. With Miki by her side, Ami returns to wipe out the Kimura clan.

In the 00s, Japanese horror cinema rediscovered itself away from a steady output of ghost stories with a series of ferocious and entirely tongue in cheek Splatter Films. These include the likes of Meatball Machine (2005), Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead (2007), Hard Revenge, Milly (2008), Tokyo Gore Police (2008), Samurai Princess (2009), Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl (2009), Big Tits Zombie (2010), Gothic & Lolita Psycho (2010), Helldriver (2010), Yakuza Weapon (2011) and Bloody Chainsaw Girl (2016), among others. These are films that specialise in bio-mechanoid transformations, bizarrely over-the-top gore and splatter, a surreal sense of humour and an obsession with schoolgirls wearing panties.

Amid these, director Noboru Iguchi has been one of the more prolific. A director of Japanese porn films since the late 1990s and still supplementing his career by a prolific output of films in that genre, Iguchi had a hit with The Machine Girl. He subsequently went onto a number of similar films in this vein with the likes of Robo Geisha (2009), Mutant Girls Squad (2010), Karate-Robo Zaborgar (2011), Zombie Ass: The Toilet of the Dead (2011), Dead Sushi (2012), Live (2014) and Ghost Squad (2018), as well as the F is for Fart segment of The ABCs of Death (2012).

The film sets the stage with a great opening where Minase Yashiro wades into action to defeat a gang of youth thugs. This involves her severing one youth’s head with a sword in a massive gout of arterial spray, followed by her placing a Gatling gun attachment on to her arm stump and blowing away the rest of the bullies in huge sprays of blood and splatter, alongside kicking pipes right through the head of one gang member and even perching on the shoulders of one bully and firing her gun right down into his face. It could well be that when it came to the central character Noboru Iguchi was inspired by Rose McGowan with her machine-gun leg in Planet Terror (2007) from the year before.

Minase Yashiro with machine gun arm attachment in The Machine Girl (2008)
Minase Yashiro with machine gun arm attachment

Unlike many of the other Gonzo Japanese Splatter Films, The Machine Girl is not overtly fantastical in that there are no wild mutations or monsters and everything that happens could be considered within the broad frame of a Revenge film. Although whether you could say it is realistically grounded is another whole debate – everything is pushed to the point of cartoonish absurdity. Minase Yashiro goes to accuse the police chief’s son of bullying her brother, whereupon the man and his wife attack her then shove her hand into a cooking pot from which she emerges with her entire forearm cooked like a tempura. At another point, a failed chef is made to eat sushi made with his own severed fingers.

And there are scenes that have been set up solely for the purpose of novelty gore sequences. The screen is frequently sprayed and covered in blood. We see one character have nails hammered into their face. In another, a yakuza acolyte is stripped to the skeleton under a hail of machine-gun fire. The climax features the yakuza head (Kentaro Shimazu) wielding a claw trap on the end of a chain that snips off arms and legs, while his wife (Honoka) wades into close-quarters combat with a bra that sports two drill heads in the cups.

Rise of the Machine Girls (2019) was a sequel.

Trailer here

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