© @craigwardscott

The Kaeru-kun Day Thread (December 18, 2020)

It takes a real jolt for a pop-culture memory to survive twenty years of wild hedonism and mental decrepitude. In early December 2001 I visited my local arthouse cinema with a friend to see the preview showing of something called Ichi The Killer. Two hours later when the house lights slowly brightened, the audience sat dumbstruck until one person loudly asked, “What the F%!K was that?!” If you’ve watched, or tried to watch, Ichi, I’d not be surprised if you had a similar reaction.

After that experience I can’t say I was terrifically excited to ever see another film by the same director, Takashi Miike. I’m glad I decided to, though, as Miike is fantastically talented and has a filmography that runs through every genre imaginable. I heartily recommend his samurai revenge thriller Thirteen Assassins from 2010, as well as 2015’s Yakuza Apocalypse, the film in which we meet Kaeru-kun, or The Frog.

Yakuza Apocalypse is a Yakuza (obviously!) film meets a vampire zombie film, meets a … well, it meets a dream you once had about martial artist frogs. It has all the joy of a small child telling you what his action figures are saying and doing when he smushes them together. If you get the chance to sit back and let this movie wash over you like a hot bubble bath of insanity, please do.

Stay warm, stay well, and have an excellent day!