The Adventure of Denchu-Kozo (1987)

adventures of denchu kozo poster 1987 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 7/10

Promising visuals that lead into Shin’ya’s other films

Very low budget and low quality

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Adventure of Denchu-Kozo

Studio:  Kaijyu Theater

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comedy

Release Date(s):  1987/August 30, 2008 (Macabro Film Festival)/April 21, 2017 (Harvard Film Archive)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

adventures of denchu kozo nobu kanaoka n senba

Use your pole for good, Hikari!

Hikari (N. Senba) is an outcast among his peer due to the large light pole growing out of his back.  Saved from bullies by Momo (Kei Fujiwara), Hikari reveals a secret…he has a time machine.  Hikari finds himself flung into the future where the world is ruled by the Shinsengumi Vampire Gang.  Dr. Sariba (Nobu Kanaoka) finds Hikari and realizes that Hikari could be the future’s only hope to end the vampire gang’s reign of terror forever!

Written and directed by Shin’ya Tsukamoto, The Adventures of Denchu-Kozo (電柱小僧の冒険 or Denchû kozô no bôken aka The Adventures of Electric Rod Boy) is a Japanese sci-fi horror comedy short film.  It was released in 1987 but received new attention following Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s following films.

adventures of denchu kozo vampire shinya tsukamoto

Die, Electric Rod Boy!

I was familiar with Tetsuo:  The Iron Man, but not much of Shin’ya’s other work.  I did a blind order of Full Metal Nightmares which had a collection of Shin’ya’s films.  Each of his movies takes a bit more work to watch than the standard movie, and The Adventures of Denchu-Kozo (despite being under an hour) is no exception.

You can’t go into any of Shin’ya’s movies expecting a standard plot and this one kicks off much of his obsession with the combination of metal and flesh.  The movie has an unexplained power pole growing out of the lead character and besides making him a target of bullies, no one seems to question it.  In the flash-forward future, the power pole becomes the future’s hope…it makes about as much sense as it sounds, but you just have to let it ride and enjoy the weirdness.

The acting for many of his films isn’t spectacular as well.  The movie (and many of his other films) are a gathering of available actors and friends.  This generally means that no acting award will be handed out, but the way the film is constructed, acting isn’t a big deal because it is largely a visual movie.

adventures of denchu kozo kei fujiwara n senba

I love you Electric Rod Boy!

The budget for the film is obvious low, but the filmmaker does his best with what he has.  There is a lot of stop-motion animation, quick edits, and intentionally jerky and snap-zoom style camera shots.  Even on good prints the film is really washed out despite being shot in color, and the student-film vibe does dominate the movie.

The Adventures of Denchu-Kozo is a movie for real fans of Shin’ya and probably not for the casual viewer.  It carries the themes of his other films and therefor feels like both an addendum and a spiritual successor to the more wildly well received Tetsuo:  The Iron Man.  Regardless what you think of the movie, it is a strange trip.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response