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Ichi The Killer!
by: Dr. Boogie


After a brief visit to the hospital, Kakihara hooks up with Karen to check out a lead on one of the cleaners. I wonder if the hospital is used to treating people dressed like the Joker with tongue trauma. Anyway, he reassures Karen that the human body regenerates itself and that, "If I keep talking, it'll get better." More importantly, Karen has found the location of Kano's heroin dealer, and so the two of them pay her a visit. The dealer isn't in much of a mood to talk, but Kakihara manages to get into her apartment anyway.

Unfortunately for her, she doesn't know of Kakihara's antics, and so she continues to give him lip. To make her understand just how badly he wants to find Anjo, he grabs her hand and bends her fingers back all the way. That does the trick, and once she finishes screaming, she divulges the location of Kano's hideout.

Meanwhile, at said hideout, Kano is having a major fit over his lack of heroin. Little does he know that the Anjo gang is onto him, and that with Kakihara on the way, his problems are about to get much worse.

They find Kano stuck inside a TV, and Takayama remarks that he taped the TV and stand together so that he couldn't get out. How the hell did this guy hollow out a TV and then crawl inside of it? Is this what people at Betty Ford do to get off the smack? Despite such obvious questions, Kakihara is content to ask him about the location of the boss. One of the other gang members finds the missing, blood-stained money in another room, and Kakihara confirms that it's Anjo's blood with a taste test.

Reassured that he is indeed speaking with Anjo's kidnapper, he returns to questioning Kano, at which point Kano reveals that he is the same Kano that used to belong to the Anjo gang. The revelation stuns Kakihara Takayama, and Kano goes on to say that Ichi was the one who killed Anjo. He goes even further, explaining that he knew Kakihara had the hots for Anjo because of the pain Anjo used to inflict on him. Whether this was emotional pain or getting-stabbed-with-needles-while-hanging-on-hooks-from-the-ceiling pain I don't know, but it must have been pretty good to net a nut like Kakihara. Man, this junky is a real well of knowledge. He asks for a shot of heroin in return for his cooperation, but Kakihara has a different needle in mind for Kano...

What a shame. He's definitely going to need some plastic surgery now. To add insult to (fatal) injury, they leave his body stuck in the TV and discard the whole thing in the trash by the curb, which doesn't seem to alarm anyone.

At the hospital, Suzuki is mulling over how badly he wants to kill Kakihara when a pair of masked men storm his room and demand to know the location of Anjo's girl, who disappeared along with Anjo. It's never really explained in the movie what happened to the girl, but I suppose it doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter is that the two men intend to finish Suzuki off if he doesn't answer them. Of course, he has no idea, and so they resolve to take his head.

His life is saved, however, when the men receive a phone call saying that person matching Kakihara's description was seen attacking Anjo's office. What Suzuki's fear-addled mind doesn't realize is that this whole event was staged, and that the two men were really Jijii and Long, perhaps hoping to foment further distrust between the two gangs.

Getting back to happier times, the pimp is back to his old tricks, this time roughing up his ho with a metal bat. He is still confused as to why she isn't pulling down much money, and he still hasn't figured out that it might have something to do with her face looking like a grape. Once more, he takes out his frustration by raping her, and once again, someone is watching from the balcony.

This time, however, the pimp spots the Peeping Tom (or Peeping Ichi in this case), and he drags him into the apartment to ask him why he was peepin', and why he's wearing what looks like a black catcher's outfit with a giant yellow "1" on the back ("Ichi" is the number "one" in Japanese). All Ichi can do is apologize, and so the pimp slaps him around a little bit. Not the way he was slapping his girl around, just open-handed, Three Stooges-style slaps. Ichi starts crying, and that just makes the pimp angrier. When the pimp calls him on his crying, Ichi just loses it.

With a simple "sching," a blade pops out of the heel of his right shoe. The pimp is understandably confused, and at this point is probably wondering what good a boot razor is going to be, especially when the sharp part is on the heel.

Ichi starts crying big time, and unleashes a lightning-fast axe kick. The boot razor goes right through the pimp. For a moment afterwards, the pimp just stands there, unsure of what happened, but like I said, it only lasts a moment.

The pimp splits in half with the help of some crummy CGI. It's an interesting sight nonetheless, and at the same time, you do find yourself laughing at the whole turn of events. Also, Ichi spends a moment adjusting himself because killing the pimp has apparently gotten him... excited. The girl is positively stunned. Ichi explains that he was following through on what he said to her while she was giving him a BJ, but she's still a bit frightened.

He reassures her that everything will be alright, and that, "from now on, I'll beat you up." She looks at him in disbelief, realizing that her knight in shining armor is not quite up to snuff. Still, in typical Japanese fashion, she thanks him. And then she grabs the bat.

She almost gets a hit in, but Ichi manages to block it and, in the process, he boot razors her right in the neck.

That's really too bad. Oh well, you know what they say: it's better to have killed your girlfriend and her pimp, than never to have loved at all. Ichi realizes what he's done after the fact, and lets out another childish cry of anguish. This time, however, his crying doesn't end with someone being sliced.

Getting back to Kakihara, things have finally gone too far for the syndicate's liking. He has been officially ejected for his activities. It doesn't seem to bother him too much; he hands in his syndicate membership pin(?) and leaves the restaurant without incident. Everyone in attendance is stunned by how easy it was to eject the psychotic gangster, but he quickly returns to the restaurant to inform them that he is taking over the Anjo gang. Correction: the Kakihara gang. Well, no, they stick with the old name, but you know what I mean.

Kakihara briefs the remaining gang members on the situation: they're out of the syndicate, and all the other gangs are out to get them. He says that anyone who wants out can leave, but the other gang members are smart enough to know better. Well, almost all of them.

The greasy-looking guy from the beginning of the film wants out. Apparently, he didn't understand that he was already in hot water for telling Kaneko to leave Anjo alone and subsequently getting him killed. Despite this, though, Kakihara doesn't kill him.

Instead, he nails the man's foot to a scrap of wood with one of his needles. To further drive his point home, he makes the greasy guy walk around with the needle in his foot and the wood still attached.

And that's why no one bows out of the Anjo gang.

Unbeknownst to Kakihara, however, Suzuki has gotten him ejected from the syndicate as part of his revenge. The other part consists of him getting Jijii to get Ichi to kill off Kakihara and the rest of the Anjo gang. The price: a cool 3 million yen (again, around $26,000 or 209,997 yuan). It's a deal, and now all that's left to do is get Ichi moving.

Jijii deduces from the shoe that Ichi's been busy. Ichi confides in him that he had another dream about Ms. Tachibana. You see, during the scenes where Ichi was watching the pimp beat and rape the prostitute (very heartfelt scenes indeed), he would have short flashbacks of a girl being raped by a group of high school students. The girl in question is Tachibana, and she was raped after she stood up to the guys that were bullying Ichi. He tells Jijii that he still remembers how she cried out to him, and Jijii asks him if he wanted to save her that baldly. No, Ichi remarks, he just wanted to rape her, too. Aw, that is so sweet. Jijii tries to reassure him that surely he just wanted to save her, but Ichi remains adamant that she wanted him to rape her. Jijii finally has enough and smacks Ichi. Not hard enough to knock some sense into him, but still fairly hard.

Next, yet another foolish person decides to tempt fate with Kakihara. This time, it's the owner of the club where Karen works. He says that there might be trouble if he lets the exiled gang in, but not as much trouble as keeping them out, as he's about to find out.

Kakihara goes for a grandmother-style cheek pinching, and then he takes it a step further. He knocks the owner down, and starts pulling on his check with both hands. He doesn't say anything, he just pulls. The owner calls for Karen to come help, but this is definitely not what he had in mind:

She takes a seat and starts pulling on his other cheek. The other Anjo gang members look on in disbelief as the couple yanks with all their might on the owner's seemingly elastic cheeks.

Karen seems to be enjoying it. I mean like really enjoying it, to the point where moaning is involved. Of course, this just makes Kakihara's smile all the wider. Ah, romance.

Getting back to the other insane guy, Ichi is headed down an alley when he spots some kids bullying Kaneko's kid, Takeshi. From the kids, you learn that Kaneko used to be a police officer, but that he was fired for losing his gun. I can see how that might lead to disciplinary action, but then why would the yakuza be interested in a guy who can't keep track of his own gun? More on that later. The kids also point out that those guns are paid for by the taxpayers, and that they want their money back. At first, I thought this was absurd, but then I remembered that I know nothing about Japanese tax code. Maybe kids do pay taxes in Japan. Anyway, they spot Ichi staring passively at them, so one of them heads over to mess with him a little. Said kid makes the mistake of knocking Ichi's bike over.

Ichi plants a solid kick right in the kid's chest, and he goes down hard. Let me tell you, there was much laughter in the theater when they showed that moment. The other two back off from Takeshi, and Ichi hops on his bike and races off amidst the soft moaning of the injured kid.

Across town, a different kind of beating is taking place. Karen and Kakihara are really hitting it off, no pun intended, and so they decide to take it to the next level: Karen starts beating the shite out of Kakihara. He eggs her on, giving her instruction on how to maximize the pain and to focus not the pain he feels, but on the joy of causing him pain. Still, she puts her all into her punches, but it's not enough for Kakihara. He tells her that she disappointed him, and walks off.




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