Ajia no Gyakushu
1983 / 30m - Japan
Sci-fi, Music
Asia Strikes Back poster


May 01, 2021


One of Gakuryu Ishii's early cyberpunk shorts. It's not really a typical narrative, instead Ishii shot the footage to use it as backing video for the concerts of one of his punk bands. That makes the short a little disjointed, on the other hand Japanese cyberpunk isn't really known for coherent narratives, so who cares.

There's an underlying plot about psychic soldiers who fight wars from an underground bunker. They start a revolt and manage to make their way to the surface. Bits and pieces that work well within the setting of the film, but in the end it's all pretty garbled and messy, with Ishii paying more attention to mood and atmosphere.

Ishii's punk aesthetic is already well-developed here. The soundtrack is raw and loud, the setting is grungy and dirty and the camera work explosive and intense. If Japanese cyberpunk is your thing then Asia Strikes Back delivers in spades, if not then there's probably nothing here for you. Not quite up there with Ishii's best, but a lovely treat for cyberpunk fans either way.