Strike of the Jaguma

Director: Kiyoharu Akimoto

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Strike of the Jaguma The Jaguma or Jakuma encountered in Strike of the Jaguma (Kaiju Jaguma no Moshu, 1961) are a gang of thieves who dress up like demons. Peasants superstitiously believe they may be real demons. Iwami Juzaemon (Ryuji Shinagawa) investigates the case of the Jaguma assisted by Hirose Gunza the clan's chief sword instructor.

But the real hero is the young swordsman Jutaro (Kotaro Satomi), Iwami Juzaemon's goodhearted wayward son who steps in to assist his father behind the scenes as well as to save the damsel in distress (Keiko Ogimachi).

Actor Kotaro Satomi was known as "Boys' Kotaro" because of the juvenility of his films &mp their appeal to pre-teens but not so much for adults. Strike of the Jaguma film is a perfect example, for in spite of very appealing widescreen b/w cinematography & more than adequat performances, the story is aimed a bit too young rather than at the whole family.

Strike of the JagumaAmong the Jaguma is a white gorilla which one might be attempted to suppose is fake the same as the demons, especially since it really is only a stunt man in a gorilla suit.

But as the film progresses it seems we're supposed to believe the white gorilla is as real as all Japanese monster suits even if the demons aren't. It would make more sense, though, that the guy wearing the gorilla suit is totally insane & refuses ever to take it off or speak or stop pretending to be a gorilla.

The white gorilla knows sumo & general fighting arts, & even if it takes a sword deep in its spine, it'll be fine afterward. This is just the most overt evidence that even as a children's film, this one's slight & silly.

The film is a scant one hour in length but seems so much longer. At the end the hero sets out on a mission of vengeance because not quite all the bad guys have been killed, which is how these sorts of kiddy samurai flicks ended when they were distributed as a pair, adding up to a full two hour film when viewed in tandem. But I've not been able to find out if there ever was an immediate sequel. If the rest of the story is never made available, it's not likely to be a loss.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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