Checkers in TAN TAN Tanuki: Crazy Adventures in Obscure Video Game Movie Tie-ins – Dank Zine Podcast
- Checkers in TAN TAN Tanuki: Crazy Adventures in Obscure Video Game Movie Tie-ins
- The #1 Lost Gem of Educational Software: Hot Dog Stand: Survival Math Skills.
- Mahō Shōjo Fancy Coco, a Japanese Princess Maker game with an obscure origin story.
- Star Virgin: The Crazy Obscure Game of an Even Obscurer Movie
- Labyrinth: The MSX2 Game & Wild Reflections
Star Virgin is an hour-long straight-to video film from Japan, created along with the little-known game of the same name by Pony Canyon. Star Virgin was released in August 1988 on MSX computers and remains obscure even years after its release! Star Virgin has never been released on any other platform, and despite being a weird promotional marketing package, it has garnered a cult following. The biggest possibility is that it stars Japanese megastar Eiko Kuroki.
That’s not how things usually happen. Usually this happens the other way around where the movie gets made, and a video game promotes the movie. This isn’t the case for Star Virgin. The game was released a month after the movie came out on June 21, 1988 and was created during the movie’s production as an entire package. This implies that Star Virgin was an early example of a business doing something for the first time, and doing it entirely within their powerhouse entertainment company.
Okay sure, it’s not a major block-buster, and this film was released straight to VHS. However, I would hardly say this is a low-budget fan made film, as the entire production of this movie was overseen by Pony Canyon, who is responsible for producing movies, anime, music and even games, and is still a major company in Japan today.
A bit of back information. Ponican (Pony Canyon, Inc.) is a Japanese corporation founded on October 1, 1966. It is affiliated with the Fujisankei Communications Group. Pony Canyon is a major player in the Japanese music industry, with its artists frequently topping the charts. Pony Canyon is also responsible for releasing many anime series and films, as well as several film adaptations.
And that’s where Star Virgin comes into all this. It’s not unheard of when companies come up with clever marketing projects. And for a company like Pony Canyon, they had all the resources at their fingertips, being the mega entertainment corporation they were in those days.
This Japanese live action film follows the exploits of Eiko, an extraterrestrial girl with a unique superpower: she transforms into her battle fighting abilities when an opponent tries to get a bit too fresh with her. Her super powers are kept in a Chastity belt in an adorable arm band accessory.
You get the feeling that no other blog on the internet is talking about Star Virgin as one of the first movie adaptations of a video game? Could it have something to do with the bat-shucks insane plot of this game? One could say, “Oh, Japan, what are you doing?” as you spit your tea out reading this. Or it could be that the game and the movie are so obscure and unheard of that only a localized margin of people in Japan would know of its existence. Maybe it’s both.
Star Virgin is definitely something that should be talked about as one of those obscure and weird pieces of media. For years, the hunt for copies of the VHS was somewhat of an internet legend where only a few clips or screen shots existed. There was also the game itself, and I would feel most people learned about the existence of the movie years later like I did pawing through the MSX game library.
Thanks to the never ending quest to preserve media, you can now watch the entire film on the Internet Archive, though a proper translation is still not available.
Should you watch Star Virgin? Should you play Star Virgin? Maybe. Times two.
Star Virgin is a weird and obscure piece of media that has garnered a cult following. It is definitely one of those things you have to experience for yourself. It would be like trying out that new flavor-of-the-month ice cream. Then again, Star Virgin might not even taste good depending on your personal tastes!
I would say if you like pistachio flavoured ice cream, then this is a perfect movie and game for you, because you have to be a little bit of a nut to get behind what’s going on here.
The game is an action adventure story where Eiko needs to “power up” to fight bosses to complete each level. You do this by moving around each town map, talking to people to find out where your missing nerd boyfriend is. Eiko is madly in love with her dork main squeeze because he’s a goof and gets nervous holding her hand, so he’s a perfect match for any alien girl who instantly murders anything that tries to sleep with her. It’s a wholesome game. That’s why it seems everyone is stuck in horny jail, and as more people tell Eiko they want to marry her (or worse), she gets annoyed and powers up her battle armor.
Should I play Star Virgin for the MSX?
This isn’t a lengthy game, but what will keep you replaying it over and over again is figuring out the pixel perfect locations of the boss’ hit box. It’s not easy to figure this out, even when NPCs flat out tell you where to attack. That boss hit box is elusive, small, and often flicker, making landing an attack a truly glorious feat in itself. With practice, you’ll get it. You’ll get lots of practice too, as every time you die, you can continue, but it kicks you back to the start of the stage where you need to collect all the power-ups again.
What’s rewarding about this game is that it’s fun to play as Eiko! Everything points to this game being a hot horny mess (especially with a name like Star Virgin). However, Eiko is a young woman who has her priorities in order to fight back, no matter what to defend them. She’s also super cute, and for a 1987 MSX game, the game has excellent graphics and sometimes jaming music. Eiko’s transformation animation is well done, but the most charming feeling is when you watch the film and play the game. Scenes follow pretty close to the movie, and I would say your experience will not be ruined if you watch or play first.
The other great thing about Star Virgin is that there is a new English fan translation available for the MSX game. This means this obscure game is more accessible for more players and enthusiasts to enjoy. Hopefully in time, the equally weird, yet enjoyable movie will get that treatment.
Consider Star Virgin for the MSX and in the meantime, chill out with the soundtrack. Oh shucks, I forgot to say that Pony Canyon also tied in a jamming soundtrack in this crazy media marketing package. The prolific Kenji Kawai composes and arranges the entire soundtrack, so yet another reason to pick up Star Virgin.
I give the entire Star Virgin Experiance 12 bionic bikinis out of 17.
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