Media Blasters to Release Toho’s RICA Film Series
1970s sex and violence trilogy comes to DVD
Author: Keith Aiken
Source: Media Blasters, Inc.
Special Thanks to Richard York, Oki Miyano, and Anthony Romero
Half-breed Rica was born under a very bad sign. Her mother was raped by American GIs and Rica was the result. Rica herself was raped by Hirose, one of her mother’s johns, at an early age. Scarred for life from Day One, Rica was practically raised with a knife in her hand and hate in her heart for all men!
Soon Rica is mixed up in a world of trouble, running with gangs, scrapping with hoodlums and excelling in the ways of the underworld. But no matter how many times she ends up in jail or gets manhandled by thugs, nothing can stand in the way of her ultimate goal: Revenge! –Plot synopsis for RICA
Media Blasters has acquired rights to Toho’s RICA series, and will be bringing all three films to DVD. The first movie, RICA (Konketsuji* Rika, aka RIKA THE MIXED-BLOOD GIRL, 1972), will go on sale August 14, with street dates for RICA: LONELY WANDERER (Konketsuji Rika: Hitoriyuku Sasuraitabi, 1973) and RICA: JUVENILE’S LULLABY (Konketsuji Rika: Hamagure Komoriuta, 1973) to be announced.
Made at the height of “pinky violence” fever in Japan, RICA was produced by Office 203 and the Modern Movie Association, and released theatrically by Toho on November 26, 1972. The film was based on the manga by Taro Bonten (who has a cameo role in the movie). The screenplay was written by Kaneto Shindo, who is famous in Japan for such films as THE TALE OF GENJI (Genji Monogatari, 1951), CHILDREN OF HIROSHIMA (Gembaku no Ko, 1952), LUCKY DRAGON NO. 5 (Daigo Fukuryu-Maru, 1959), BLACK LIZARD (Kurotakage, 1962), THE WHALE GOD (Kujiro Gami, 1962), MANJI (1964), ONIBABA (1964), and DEATHQUAKE (Jishin Retto, 1980).
RICA was directed by Ko Nakahira. A graduate of Tokyo University, Nakahira joined Shochiku as an assistant director in 1948, then moved to Nikkatsu in 1954. He made his directorial debut with CRAZED FRUIT (Kurutta Kajitsu, 1956) and primarily focused on social commentary and action films such as TEMPTATION (1957), FLESH IS WEAK (1957), THE GIRLS AND THE STUDENTS (1960), HE AND I (Aitsu to Watashi, 1961), THESE YOUNG PEOPLE: BAD AND TERRIBLE (1962), BRIGHT SEA (Hikaru Umi, 1963), WHIRLPOOL OF FLESH (Onna no Uzu to Fuchi to Nagare, 1964), and THE DEVIL’S LEFT HAND (1966).
Lead actress Rika Aoki followed the RICA series with STUDENT GANGSTER (Gakusei Yakuza, 1974), but apparently retired from acting by the mid-1970s. The supporting cast includes Ryuhei Uchida (THE HUMAN CONDITION II, THE THIRTEEN ASSASSINS, CONFLAGRATION), Masumi Muneta, Fuminoro Sato, Taiji Tonoyama (THE TALE OF GENJI, GATE OF HELL, HOGS AND BATTLESHIPS, ONIBABA, STRAY DOG), Mizuho Suzuki (SUBMERSION OF JAPAN, PROPHECIES OF NOSTRADAMUS, BULLET TRAIN, GODZILLA 1985), and Urufu Ohtsuki (BRAIN 17).
According to reports, Toho’s international division screened RICA at a handful of theaters in the United States. The film quickly faded into obscurity, and the upcoming Media Blasters release is the first time it will be available on DVD.
Rather than release RICA as part of their ‘Tokyo Shock’ DVD line (as was the case with most of their Toho DVDs), Media Blasters has decided to make the film the first Japanese title from the company’s ‘Exploitation Digital’ label. Media Blasters feels that RICA’s subject matter is more in line with Exploitation Digital’s “sleazy Euro” titles like DIVINE EMANUELLE and PORNO HOLOCAUST than other Toho movies like ATRAGON, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD, and GOYOKIN.
Exploitation Digital’s First Japanese Film!
Japanese Mono with English Subtitles
Release Date: 8/14/2007
Trailers for the RICA Trilogy- RICA, RICA: LONELY WANDERER, RICA: JUVENILE’S LULLABY
* “Konketsuji” was a derogatory Japanese term for Amerasians.