Definition: Extreme Japanese Cyberpunk is a sub-genre in cyberpunk that was brought to prominance by Tetsuo – the Ironman. By no means are all cyberpunk movies made in Japan considered to be in this sub-genre. Japanese cyberpunk films are characterized by extreme sensory assaults that serve to remove the boundaries generally placed on the human condition. We see extreme violence, torture, invasive body modifications, bizarre sexual experiences, a merging of life and death – all of which provide a “no boundaries” feeling that pervades the experience. More often than not, Japanese movies do have very interesting message, but they provided through symbols and visuals more than through the narrative.
You NEED to Watch One: I truly feel that it’s important for everyone interested in understanding cyberpunk as a genre to watch at least one good Japanese Cyberpunk movie. The feeling you get – a detachment from what we think of as humanity, is an important aspect of cyberpunk. By the way, by good movie, this means that Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer (the one that seems to have broken into the mainstream) does not count, as it’s not very well executed. Also, I understand that many cannot take the intense violence we see in most Japanese cyberpunk movies. For those who can’t stomach violence at all, I would suggest I.K.U. as an option – this movie provides the same feeling through bizarre sexual experiences. Also, for a movie with at least a beginning feel of Japanese Cyberpunk, but which is not as extreme, I would recommend the wonderful Korean production, Save the Green Planet.
Also, realize I don’t have all cyberpunk movies uploaded. So if you don’t see it on the site yet, it may be because I haven’t reviewed it…yet. Also, in this list, I don’t distinguish between movies and animes (which are very influential in cyberpunk) – you may see both listed.
- 964 Pinocchio
- Death Powder
- Electric Dragon 80,000V
- Guinea Pig: Android of Notre Dame
- Hellevator: The Bottled Fools
- Rubber’s Lover
- Save the Green Planet
- Tetsuo (The Iron Man)
- Tetsuo II: Body Hammer
- Tokyo Gore Police