What a disappointment. Zen Pictures / Akiba Heroine’s Smart 109 features the stunning Sayoko Ohashi wearing one of the sexiest costumes in the history of the heroine peril genre (possibly inspired by the old animated series Aeon Flux). As a result, it promises to be one of the best heroine adventures ever offered by Zen Pictures. It has all the ingredients necessary, but unfortunately, isn’t even very enjoyable.
Sayoko Ohashi is just gorgeous. There’s no two ways about that. And her outfit in this movie is just a piece of art. Probably less than .02% of women in the world could wear it successfully. Fortunately, Ohashi is one of them. So when the first scenes of Smart 109 feature Ohashi running around, getting into various fights with bad guys, giving us glimpses of her awesome, scantily clad body, everything is good. If your “thing” is watching hot women beat the crap out of guys, you’ll probably love this.
The first signs that something is awry begin in the next sequence. Our heroine is captured by the bad guys (with very little effort), and Ohashi is brought into something that resembles a hybrid between a torture chamber and Old Navy dressing room. She is strip searched (I think). We don’t actually get a good view of this. Instead, we see Ohashi’s silhouette as she removes her clothes, one article at a time. This is all fine, but would obviously be much better if we were offered a glimpse at the goods. As it is, it’s pretty much like watching a “cage dancer” in one of those Hollywood movies that takes place at a random nightclub.
This scene goes on forever, and really isn’t that interesting to me, even though I love Sayoko Ohashi. She seems to be mildly uncomfortable as one of the bad guys removes a diamond from… some unidentified part of her body. Without using Google, I’ll be there is a “strip search” fetish out there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Zen Pictures was attempting to grab a piece of that audience. Since nothing overtly graphic is shown here, I doubt it would appeal to fans of that particular fetish, however.
The next sequence looks much more promising. Ohashi is now tied “AOH” style (although the bad guys were kind enough to put her clothes back on first). A henchman stops by and feeds her a Twinkie. I have no doubt that this is yet another fetish that Zen Pictures decided to try to interest with this film. So fans of strip searches and Twinkie eating should be pretty happy so far.
She breaks free and makes her way outside, where she escapes from the bad guys. In the next noteworthy scene, she fights a few bad guys and finds herself outnumbered and overpowered by them, only to rescued by a janitor with martial arts training.
The bad guys capture her again (this time with literally no effort). She is once again tied AOH. Now, finally, we’re about to be offered some of the heroine torture we’ve all come to expect from Zen Pictures. The earlier scenes were just a joke, and now we’re in store for the real thing. Right?
Nope. Instead, Ohashi is untied and made to fight a huge guy who resembles a Japanese professional wrestler. This fight scene is comical and played for laughs. It’s also pretty boring. Ohashi is squeezed for a long time, but not much else happens. Finally, the fight ends, and Ohashi is forced to fight the villain’s female assistant, played by Toko Hatori. The fight is okay, but there really hasn’t been the proper build-up through the entire movie. Instead of developing the character dynamics (as in most other heroine movies), there’s been too much a focus on Twinkie eating and other uninteresting things. The fight goes on for a while, ending with Ohashi being defeated.
Once again, the heroine is tied up. At this point, I’m starting to wonder why they keep untying her. It would seem pretty time consuming to have to keep tying her up again and again. In any event, she’s tied with her arms over her head, and now I’m finally starting to think this will be the scene I’ve been waiting for. After so many disappointing fight scenes and strip searches and forced pastry feedings, this will be the torture scene.
It is, but it sucks. Ohashi is tortured with… a light bulb. A bad guy gently presses a lamp to her skin, and she is lightly singed. That’s it. Either this was a total miscalculation by Zen Pictures, or perhaps this was the last sub-fetish left unexplored by this video. Light bulb torture?
In fairness, Ohashi looks amazing here, as she does throughout the video. But the scene is just too silly to be taken seriously. She passes out, we see a weird flashback scene (I think) and then the movie just ends.
This is probably one of the most disappointing films I’ve seen from Zen Pictures. The fact that Zen wanted to explore other, less popular fetishes, namely strip searches, Hostess cake products and light blubs, doesn’t necessarily irritate me. What infuriates me is that they chose this movie for it! Of all the films to experiment with. This film features possibly the hottest heroine ever, in the hottest costume ever, and if Zen Pictures had simply stuck with the tried-and-true heroine formula, as they do 90% of the time, I have no doubt that this could have been the best film in the genre. But instead, the producers choose to waste the talents of Sayoko Ohashi with a bunch of silly fetish stuff that most viewers won’t find appealing. What a shame.
There is a sequel to Smart 109, which I haven’t seen yet. [Update: Now I have! It's reviewed here.] I’m curious to find out whether or not the same strategy was followed, or if Zen Pictures returned to the basics and made a superior heroine movie. In any case, I give Smart 109 a C+.