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JAPANARAMA! Psycho TV From Japan

HITCH - The Journal of Pop Culture Absurdity

Japanarama! Volume One

No wonder the Japanese are such a stressed-out society: They enjoy mutilating and torturing each other just for the hell of it...not to mention for the benefits of the television cameras, and Japanarama! Volume 1 captures two hours of only the very twisted of psycho TV from Japan.

Much of this party tape utilizes footage from bizarre and cruel game shows, including:

-Super Jockey, in which contestants immerse their bodies in scalding hot water in exchange for commercial time to plug their various wares. As an added twist, they also have to change into a swimsuit beforehand within an allotted amount of time or the modesty-protecting curtain drops on them.

-A quiz show in which if you answer a question wrong, you are catapulted via bungie off a cliffside. Many of the contestants do not leave the ramp with their clothes intact.

-A beachside wrestling match pitting hulking pros against 90-lb. weaklings. Said weaklings are always tossed out of the ring, either onto an electrically charged platform or a giant glue trap.

-A one-on-one fight with buckets of hot wax. The players repeatedly squared off until one of them is a human candle.

-Break, which allows four bikini babes to compete in a race to see who can knock a bar down by jumping up and hitting it with their head. The purpose? To see their breasts jiggle in slow motion during the instant replays. If you doubt this, round two has them doing push-ups, much to the delight of the cameras mounted in the floor.

-One in which animals from rabbits and porcupines to snakes and scorpians are placed on the heads of unsuspecting players.

-A tug-of-war, where players are competing not with rope, but string tied to clothes-pins attached to their bare nipples.

Someone please send a copy of this tape to FOX so we can get programming like this here.

Rounding out the tape are some great cheesey commercials, mostly for foods that look grossly unappetizing (i.e. Funky Egg), and some with sell out American celebrities like Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, Christian Slater, Ray Charles, Michael J. Fox, Juliette Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Naomi Campbell, and Quentin Tarantino. (Even the Three Tenors shill for yen.) There are a couple of musical numbers, most notably by a pompadoured pop outfit called Piss Kids. Several scenes from Candid Camera-type shows are included, such as footage of transvestites trying to affix lipstick while riding a roller coaster, or the clip in which a man gets a firecracker lit between the cheeks of his butt. COMEDY!

A few (precious at that) scenes are shown from various weird Far East movies, including one where a robotic superhero battles a spiked beetle monster, and another that has two female gymnasts infiltrating the lair of a crime boss.

From beginning to end, I didnt understand a word, but I laughed my ass off. Its fascinating to see how obsessed the Japanese are with American culture, and then just how far theyll be able to go in their prime-time line-ups. Considering there is evidently a surplus of this crazy shit emitting from Japanese cathodes, wed better damn see Japanarama! Volume 2 before I commit hari-kari.

A total professional job, Japanarama! Volume 1 is well worth owning.

-Rod Lott

Japanarama! Volume One

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