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Japanese Cyberpunk is a genre of underground film produced in Japan starting in the 1980s. It bears some resemblance to the high-tech and scientific Cyberpunk as understood in the West, however differs in its representation of industrial and metallic imagery and an incomprehensible narrative. The genre is primarily defined by the movie Tetsuo: The Iron Man.
Japanese Cyberpunk generally involves the characters, especially the protagonist, going through monstrous, incomprehensible metamorphoses in an industrial setting. Many of these films have scenes that fall into the experimental film genre; they often involve purely abstract or visual sequences that may or may not relate to the characters and plot. Recurring themes include: mutation, technology, dehumanization, repression and sexual deviance.
Burst City, since its release in 1982, has had a strong effect on the underground Japanese film scene. This starred Shigeru Izumiya, who would, four years later, go on to direct his own Cyberpunk film, Death Powder, in 1986. The Phantom of Regular Size was Tetsuo: The Iron Man's precursor, a 1986 short by Shinya Tsukamoto. He himself expanded this a feature-length film three years later, in 1989.
Some defining films in the genre include:
- Death Powder (1986)
- Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
- 964 Pinocchio (1991)
- Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)
- Rubber's Lover (1996)
Related films include:
- Meatball Machine
- Electric Dragon 80.000 V
- Tokyo Gore Police
- Anatomia Extinction
- Tsuburo no gara
- The Guinea Pig 2: Android of Notre Dame
Western film inspired by Japanese Cyberpunk
- Dandy Dust (1998)
- Ultra-Toxic (2005)
- Zoetrope (1999)
- Automatons (2006)
- TokyoPlastic (2004)
- Flesh Computer (2014)
- Computer Hearts (2015) (with direct quote from Tetsuo: The Iron Man)
Anime and manga with elements similar to Japanese Cyberpunk
- Player, Mark. "Post-Human Nightmares: The World of Japanese Cyberpunk Cinema". Midnight Eye.
- Todd Brown. "Burst City / Electric Dragon 80000V Review". TwitchFilm.
- "JAPANESE CYBER-HORROR". fright.com.