Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Natsuki Yoko Is a Beautiful Target

 I first came across Natsuki Yoko in the 1995 Toei/V-Cinema film XX Beautiful Target (Utsukushiki Hyoteki), one of the best non-SM SM films I think I have ever seen.

Natsuki plays a coroner or a forensic pathologist (or whatever it's called) who is out to capture a deranged, sadistic murderer since the fellow seems to have taken a personal interest in her and the police haven't been successful in rounding him up.

She teams up with a juvenile delinquent with a butch blonde hairdo (the actress Shiho -- yeah, just the one name) and they finally get their man but not before they've both been captured, stripped and menaced by the chisel-wielding lunatic -- Natsuki on two occasions.

Utsukushiki Hyoteki, 1995, Toei/V-Cinema
This film gets extra points for not skimping on the bondage and nudity like so many other films do in this particular genre.

It starts out with an innocent young girl naked and immobilized by wires wrapped tightly around her neck and up-stretched wrists. When she tries to pull her arms down, the wire tightens around her throat. While in this diabolical position, water splashes on her from above and the crazy guy takes his time sizing up her luscious body with a video camera in one hand and a chisel in the other.

The demise of the young beauty brings Ms. Natsuki in to investigate but, unbeknownst to her, the murderer is watching and decides to make her his next victim. He breaks into her apartment while she is sleeping and she is roughly stripped, then gagged and blindfolded with duct tape. Her thumbs are pinched together tightly with plastic handcuffs.

But before the evildoer is able to carry out his foul plan, Shiho rings Natsuki's doorbell. Yes, it's the middle of the night but, whatever... Anyway, the bad guy splits and Shiho gets in and frees Natsuki.

The acting and cinematography in this film are topnotch. Ms. Natsuki appears suitably distraught now freed from her bonds and her nightmare aborted.

So, how to go about tracking down the psychopath? Why, go to an SM club, of course! This is probably the weakest part of the script but we soon lose track of the absurdity of this investigative technique once the SM show gets underway, which is soon after the two women arrive.

Onstage, a girl is ball-gagged and stripped topless. Plastic clothespins are applied to her tits which are then removed with crackling whip strokes.

Now, I'm pretty much going by memory here as I saw this movie a long time ago and the parts I have reviewed more recently represent just the good stuff. Suffice it to say the two ladies and the nutcase manage to run into each other again and this time Shiho gets stripped and strung up and Natsuki once again becomes his plaything.

I can't remember how they get out of their fix this time. Probably the cops show up -- or something.

All's well that ends well and this flick must have ended pretty well in terms of the bottom line as it inspired at least two sequels. Which reminds me: I'm pretty sure I've seen at least one of the follow-ups to XX Beautiful Target and it was a severe letdown. As mentioned above, most movies in the sexy-horror-with-some-SM-thrown-in genre disappoint. XX Beautiful Target is a refreshing and much-appreciated exception to the rule.

Natsuki Yoko was an actress who also pleased her fans with some nude modeling on the side. The photos below were discovered on this site.

Natsuki Yoko outdoors
Natsuki Yoko indoors
Her filmography can be found here.

Ms. Natsuki starred in Sonny Chiba's 1977 Karate for Life (Karate Baka Ichidai) in her acting debut.

Chiba Shinichi, Karate Baka Ichidai, Toei, 1977
Natsuki Yoko in Karate Baka Ichidai
And remember that TV series I wrote about previously that was based on the grisly tales of Edogawa Rampo? Well, Ms. Natsuki appeared in at least two episodes as far as I have been able to determine.

Natsuki Yoko left; unknown right
Not Ms. Natsuki but an example of what TV watchers saw in the early '80s
Ms. Natsuki was born in Mie prefecture and is currently 59 years old. It appears she has been active as an actress at least up until last year. Wikipedia also mentions something about her being a jewelry designer.

All good wishes to Natsuki Yoko who, as an actress in films and on television, made one of the best damned SM films that wasn't even, strictly speaking, an SM film.

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  1. As with some others in the XX series - of which this entry was not the first, as your review perhaps suggests - the director was a veteran of Nikkatsu RomanPorno's, (which might almost be viewed as the Japanese equivalent of Roger Corman's New World...though not quite), and he made his debut with this, now available on DVD in the US:


  2. That explains a lot. And thanks for the link.