PINK LADY AT THE MOVIES
Ladies and Gentlemen, Pink Lady fans of all ages… welcome to the Trooper’s Review!
Konnichi-wa! This Trooper is pleased to share with all of you my personal review of three movies that starred the most electrifying duo in all of Japanese entertainment: Pink Lady! To be exact; both MIE (Mitsuyo Nemoto) & KEI (Keiko Masuda) starred in one, MIE starred in her own feature film, and KEI starred in two (but only one of them will be mentioned in this review).
Pink Lady Katsudo Daishashin (The Big Picture of Pink Lady on the Go)
In the beginning, we see MIE & KEI being followed by cameras and interviewers in New York City. They spoke very little English in the very beginning before some other interviewers started asking questions in Japanese. Then as MIE & KEI make their way toward the exit…
The scene cuts to Tokyo – where two story writers and a rather overzealous director (with his secretary) discuss some stories that they would love to see with Pink Lady in them. During certain parts of the movie, we are treated to some brief clips of their greatest performances.
Scene 1: This is sort of a soap-opera-type story. It starts out with KEI working as a nurse taking care of an old lady. As KEI is tending to the older lady, her son drops in to check on her. It would seem that the young man is in love with KEI and plans to marry her. Unbeknownst to KEI, the young man actually works at a bar (a low-status job). KEI thinks that her would-be fiancé works at some high-paying job, so she runs home to tell her roommate (portrayed by MIE) the news. When the scene cuts to the apartment, MIE is cooking a small dinner (Mackerel Saury Pike to be exact). She leaves the stove unattended to hear the good news from KEI. After hearing this, MIE has some good news for KEI: she too has a boyfriend! But after learning that MIE’s boyfriend works at a bar, KEI displays a look of disapproval. Then MIE invites KEI to lunch with her and her boyfriend… but KEI mentions the possibility of having to work later. In the midst of their talk, a neighborhood cat steals dinner and scurries out on to the street!
We cut to the next day. KEI is about to call it a day and go home, but the head nurse informs KEI that the second shift is a nurse short and asks KEI to stay. She does, much to the dismay of MIE, who was waiting in the restaurant for KEI with her boyfriend. After about an hour, they give up and go home. Then the scene cuts to the apartment, where a rather upset MIE packs her bags and is ready to live with her boyfriend because KEI was “too busy working to socialize”. After hearing this, KEI slapped MIE back to reality and reminded KEI that “work is more important”. After all that, MIE apologized and hugged her friend.
The next day, KEI goes to the bar where her boyfriend works… only to find out that she and MIE had the same boyfriend all that time! This really upset KEI, because she was under the impression that the man she thought she knew was working a high-paying job. But as it turns out, she and MIE had the same boyfriend, and he was working at a bar.
So KEI goes home, upset from learning that her would-be boyfriend was working a low-status job and was actually seeing her roommate. MIE then comes home and tries to console KEI after hearing about what happened.
The very next day, MIE goes to the bar to confront her boyfriend – and to inform him that he needed to choose between her and KEI. But before he could make his choice, KEI comes in – with a man she “hired” to be her high-status boyfriend. While KEI and her kayfabe high-status boyfriend are in there, MIE hides and listens to the conversation. In the midst of the conversation, KEI wishes the bartender much success and a happy life with MIE. As KEI says goodbye (and takes her kayfabe boyfriend with her), MIE is deeply touched by KEI’s selfless act and is then embraced by her bartender boyfriend. Then just outside the loading docks, KEI offers to pay the man she hired to be her boyfriend… but the guy happily turns down the money and wishes her much success in her life. Then we see KEI walking home, sad and alone.
Scene 2: Welcome to PINK LADY UNDER THE BIG TOP! Actually, MIE & KEI are working as ringmaster’s assistants who befriended a rather sad pink alien named Mon-chan. The ringmaster wanted to use the Mon-chan as comic relief… but he was none too pleased with how he was treated. After all the circus employees have gone home, MIE & KEI stay behind to entertain Mon-chan (song in mind: “Monster”). After the entertainment, MIE & KEI break Mon-chan out of that cage and are on the run.
The next day, the clown (one of the ringmaster’s cronies) discovers that MIE, KEI, & Mon-chan are gone… and that Mon-chan left behind [what Jeffrey Branch calls] a “rather large and odoriferous parting gift.” And so begins the chase! While KEI is driving, MIE tends to a rather sad and lonely Mon-chan in the back… while the treacherous trio (the ringmaster and his cronies) are on their trail! Suddenly the trio has a little accident, so MIE, KEI, and Mon-chan are home free! Suddenly, they take a boat to the middle of the lake – where Mon-chan signals to his fellow pink aliens that he is ready to come home… and wants them to meet the nice young ladies who saved his life!
KEI: Mie, I don’t think we’re in Japan anymore.
(Editor's Note: I had put in that caption when I reviewed the PL movie. I don't think the girls actually said those lines. Heh!)
And so, they meet Mon-chan’s family. Shortly after the initial meeting, the Ladies are asked to lie down on an experimentation table… where they are eventually made invisible! (song in mind: “Tomei Ningen [Invisible Man]”) While the song is played, we cut to a few scenes where some young men are acting unruly – but are almost instantly humiliated as payback. First, they start in a park where they literally get the drop on some low life perverts terrorizing helpless schoolgirls. After that; a boorish, noodle slurping buffoon cuts in front of a hapless girl at the bus queue, but he swiftly gets his well deserved comeuppance (his soup is poured on top of his head, and passers-by are laughing at him). After that, we see clever crooks digging underground and using dynamite to break into a bank vault… just to see their fiendish plan [literally] blow up in their face.
Scene 3: We now go to Western Town, where the Ladies are performing in a local saloon for some rather rowdy cowboys. Suddenly, this villain (we’ll call him Black Bart) looks at them as if he wants them to himself in the absolute worst way… until Sugar Brown (Japan’s version of “Billy The Kid”) comes in and recues KEI (who happens to be his girlfriend in this scene). In the midst of the shootout, Sugar is slightly injured… and Sheriff Pepper comes in to try and straighten things out. By then, Sugar and KEI have gone off to find somewhere to rest for the night – leaving MIE behind to deal with the Sheriff. He then tried to get information on KEI and Sugar’s whereabouts, but not even MIE knew where they went. The Sheriff then posted a $10,000 reward for Sugar’s capture.
The very next night, MIE & KEI are performing at the local saloon once again… but KEI is worried that Sugar might be in danger. It turns out that Sugar was in the audience – poorly disguised as a local hombre. Unfortunately, one of Black Bart’s goons recognized Sugar and was ready to shoot. KEI notices this – and immediately jumps off the stage and takes the bullet for Sugar! Mad at the fact that his lover was now dead, Sugar shoots at almost all members of Black Bart’s gang. One member managed to take Sugar down… but was then quickly bested by Sheriff Pepper. As Pepper went to see about MIE and her fallen friends, Black Bart himself held Pepper at gunpoint. After a few seconds; MIE took a whiskey bottle and smashed Bart’s hand, giving Pepper the opportunity he needed. Black Bart and his gang are now all dead. The good guys win, but at a terrible cost.
Epilogue: Back in New York, MIE & KEI check in to see what’s happening with the movie. Unfortunately, the director and his story writers made a mess of everything. However – to everyone’s surprise, MIE & KEI are impressed. In the midst of the phone call, KEI dropped her phone in the tub. And right after Pink Lady said something clever, the phone sprayed in the director’s face! And Pink Lady gets the last laugh! The End. Sayonara.
Call Girl (starring Mitsuyo Nemoto)
This was the beginning of MIE’s career as an actress. In this movie, Mari (MIE’s character) was forced to work as a prostitute to save her lover from bad guys. And if Mari is not in bed with a customer, she is whipping him into submission (much to the customer’s delight)! But at times when she wasn’t working, she was at home saying hello to her baby bunnies (Awww how sweet!).
I didn’t fully get the rest of the movie – other than when Mari’s friend needs help in nursing her boyfriend back to health. He is eventually fixed up so he and his girlfriend can go on living a peaceful life. And at the end of the movie, MIE and her “pimp” are back in business as usual.
Code Name K: Lady Connection (starring Keiko Masuda)
This movie really tested KEI’s skills as an actress. I like to think of it as “Kill Bill” meets “Golgo 13”. KEI plays a professional hit woman who obtains information on an on-going war between the Japanese Yakuza gang and some Chinese Triad thugs. Shortly after obtaining the required information, KEI gets involved and quickly rolls with one of the Yakuza gangsters as they are briefly attacked by the Triad. Little did they know, KEI was packing heat – and made her first kill! Later that evening, KEI is relaxing in her hotel room when she is quickly attacked by a Triad thug (dressed as a hotel room service employee). But KEI is not one to take this lying down; she kicked his ass and killed him with a fork to the neck! Then she hits the shower to wash the blood off of herself… but is then attacked by another Triad thug! But she quickly makes short work of him and kills him with his own knife.
KEI hits the streets again, and the war continues. By the next morning, the Triad has KEI and the Yakuza outnumbered. Apparently, numbers don’t matter as the Yakuza does away with the Triad… one – by one – by damn one! All that is left now are the bosses of both the Triad and the Yakuza. They eventually shoot each other dead… but a representative of the Triad was the last man standing… until KEI comes out of hiding and throws a knife at his heart. Now they are all dead… or are they? It turns out that Boss Triad went back home to “get busy” with some young female… until KEI interrupts the fun and shoots Boss Triad dead. The End.
Well this is it for now; I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I have enjoyed these three movies. Once again, I thank my fellow Chicagoan Joshua Parris for bringing Pink Lady back to my attention back in 2009, I thank Jeffrey Branch for creating the “Pink Lady America” website, and I thank Mitsuyo Nemoto & Keiko Masuda for bringing Pink Lady to this world. And most of all, I thank all of you for loving Pink Lady as much as I do. See ya next time, Think Pink, and God Bless.