Document type
15 May 2001
Format viewed
Mo Asia / Japan Shock Video
The Netherlands

Fudoh: The New Generations

picture: Fudoh: The New Generations (1996)picture: Fudoh: The New Generations (1996)

Original title
Gokudo Sengokushi - Fudoh
Takashi MIIKE
  • Shosuke TANIHARA
  • Marie JINNO
  • Mickey Curtis
  • Takeshi CAESAR
Running time
99 mins.

picture: Fudoh: The New Generations (1996)

Tom Mes

Despite Takashi Miike's recent emergence on the international cinema scene, his 1996 production Fudoh has been doing the rounds of film festivals for quite a while and has gained a fervent fan following. Little wonder, since this celebration of excess will leave few souls untouched. Be it in a good or bad way.

Set on the island of Kyushu, it tells the story of successful high school student Riki Fudoh, who leads a double life in organised crime. With his gang of underage assassins (forerunners of the kiddie killers in Dead or Alive 2 (2000), including five-year olds with hand guns and a teenage stripper shooting deadly darts from her vagina) he not only controls the goings-on at his school, but aspires to take over criminal affairs on the entire island. Fudoh's true motivations are not just a lust for power. An extensive flashback at the film's opening shows how as a child he witnessed the grisly murder of his older brother at the hands of his yakuza boss father and his subsequent wish for revenge. Buckets of blood flow (literally) when Riki and the kids start an assassination campaign against the top figures of the local yakuza, with his father as the ultimate goal. The underworld goes into a state of panic and calls in mysterious and powerful problem solver Nohma (Riki Takeuchi looking every inch the comic book tough guy). Riki's father meanwhile sends out his own weapon in the shape of a former government agent, who goes undercover as the high school gym teacher and uses methods even more violent than those of young Fudoh's minions.

Based on a manga series, Fudoh's unflinching approach is not without basis or precedent. In fact, it is very much in tune with its origins and cultural roots, in manga but also in cinema. The term 'comic book movie' is often used for derision, but this attitude, born of cultural elitism, brushes over the centuries old legacy of the Japanese manga, which is as culturally valid as the jidai geki genre. Fudoh follows manga's stylistic (in terms of for instance composition, framing and costume design) and narrative trademarks quite closely, and adds to that a strongly developed generational gap theme, foreshadowing Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale by four years. In Fudoh as in Fukasaku's film we find the youth-gone-wild theme that has been a staple of Japanese cinema (and also in manga) since the emergence of the 'seishun' genre in the late 50s. Like many of those films, Fudoh sides with the young and bears a sense of distrust in the behaviour of the old.

Director of photography Hideo Yamamoto (a Miike regular who worked on Bird People in China, Blues Harp and Dead or Alive to name a few) gives the film a striking clarity in lighting. This crisp, clear image, also seen in Miike's Full Metal Gokudo (made one year later, but lensed by Shohei Ando), is a very effective counter point to the garish colour that floods the film's numerous action sequences (reminiscent of the colour palette used by George Romero in his comic book horror movie Creepshow, 1982).

Fudoh is deliriously violent and packed with the kind of outrageous, transgressive details (hermaphrodite sex, anyone?) that have become Miike's trademark. It's the kind of film that has 'guilty pleasure' written all over it. In 5-foot high neon letters. It's another testament to the talent of Takashi Miike that Fudoh is thematically provocative and thoroughly inspired at the same time.

As might be guessed from the film's very open-ended finale, the struggle between Riki Fudoh and Nohma would continue in two decidedly inferior sequels, Fudoh II - Nohma Strikes Back! and Fudoh III - Revenge of Fudoh, both from 1997 and directed by Yoshiho Fukuoka.


Media Blasters (USA)

picture: DVD cover of 'Fudoh: The New Generations'

Region 1. English subtitles.

Media Blasters (USA)

picture: DVD cover of 'Fudoh: The New Generations'

Deluxe Edition. Region 1. English subtitles.

Artsmagic (UK)

picture: DVD cover of 'Fudoh: The New Generations'

Region 2. English subtitles.

Studio Canal (France)

picture: DVD cover of 'Fudoh: The New Generations'

Region 2. French subtitles.

Buy at:

Taki Corporation (Japan)

picture: DVD cover of 'Fudoh: The New Generations'

Region 2. No subtitles.