From Go Nagai, comes the comedy-gag story Kekko Kamen, a parody of the Japanese children’s cartoon hero Moonlight Mask from the 70s. Go Nagai supposedly proposed the concept on a whim. What follows is an OVA that relinquishes all remaining sense of class and common sense. A testament to the nature of Japanese media in the 70s, the manga was published in Shonen Jump’s monthly issue.
Kekko Kamen is one huge satirical take on the Japanese education system. The premise is perhaps one of the craziest in a theoretical sense. Due to Japan’s very competitive academic system, students enrolled in the “Spartan Academy” are forced into grueling late night study sessions. Students who do not perform are punished. Of course, in classic Go Nagai fashion, the punishment usually entails a variety of torture, humiliation, and various other perverted shenanigans of which the teachers may employ. However, Kekko Kamen always appears at the last moment to save the students from each
monster punishment teacher of the week.
The titular character Kekko Kamen surprisingly does not receive much character development. The joke is that there needn’t be any considering her hero “outfit.” Also a running gag is the fact that every episode features the same girl, Mayumi, being punished. Mayumi initially becomes the target of punishment due to her low grades, but as the story progresses, the teachers begin to use her as the bait to lure out Kekko Kamen. The show plays the sadist principal trope for laughs when he turns out to be just another pervert who can’t get enough of Kekko Kamen. Despite the nonsensical plot and all around dull characters, the principal is one I surprisingly found quite funny. Dressed in a jester hood and named the Toenail of Satan, he is a direct reference to the main antagonist of Gekko Kamen, the Claw of Satan.
Kekko Kamen is very much Go Nagai’s brain hooked up to a storyboard with no clear direction or ending in sight. The first episode already set the bar pretty low, and the show only gets worse. Every episode features a new monster of the week in the form of a “punishment teacher.” Go Nagai is not afraid to push the envelope with his characters. The first episode features a “fresh out of Auschwitz Academy,” nazi badge toting, military hat wearing, whip wielding, female teacher by the name of Gestapoko.
Final Thoughts: 4/10
Kekko Kamen felt like something that Go Nagai never intended to be “good.” The show is bad, but you shouldn’t feel bad for watching it. The way it spirals out of control, completely forgoing all form of common sense, is a testament to an age where kids were exposed to so much more than they are now.