The adult video star and action queen simply known as Asami has made a name for herself during a relatively short career in gonzo spectacles like Machine Girl (2008), Robogeisha (2009) and more recently Mutant Girl Squad (2010). Recently at the New York Asian Film Festival she sat down to answer a few questions about her work and career.
I'm happy to meet you. [Translator] There's a Japanese greeting which means, when you're about to start something literally, "please take good care of me."
So how have you been enjoying the fest so far?
What's the response been like to your films back home?
Within the already small world of Japan, the audiences for the films that [Noburo] Iguchi and [Yoshiro] Nishimura make are honestly really small. Still, their numbers may be small but they make up for it with great passion and great support.
What's the appeal of working with Iguchi and Nishimura on these projects?
[Thinks it over] That's both a simple and complicated question. Compared with working with more normal, mainstream directors, the working relationship is very different. Working with directors like Iguchi it's really a family environment - you're part of a family. So to answer your question the most simple way I'd have to say it's just fun.
How long have you been in the industry now?
How'd you become involved in this very niche genre of films?
When I first started in this business, it was in adult films and I was also doing V-cinema, which in Japan are sort of low-budget, direct-to-video movies. I was basically doing those two different types of film and while doing V-cinema I met Iguchi-san. And then on his locations and his shoots I met Nishimura. That's how I got to know them and start working on their films.
The first film I worked on was Sukeban Boy.
Based on the types of movies that they are, do you find the shoots pretty grueling?
I think for someone who might encounter that kind of shoot for the first time it could be really difficult - and honestly there might be some people who might say "I can never do this again." But for me, it's so much fun and I've never experienced any kind of shoot that's as much fun and I could do it for any number hours, any day and I could do it without sleep.
Still, do you ever think, "Alright guys, let's just do a nice, quiet romantic comedy?"
So when Nishimura made a romantic comedy, for him it was Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. Of course, the romantic comedy scenes were handled by another director [Naoyuki Tomomatsu] but that's sort of how it came out. And if you had Iguchi-san make a romantic comedy it wouldn't be like anything else in the world. It'd be very unique. So even if they did go and try to make a romantic comedy it wouldn't be anything like a mainstream rom-com at all. It wouldn't be what anyone would expect but it'd be a lot of fun, so I'd love to do that too.
It always seems like these films are about challenging expectations or doing something weird and different. Is that a conscious decision on the parts of Iguchi and Nishimura?
I think with Nishimura, it's really on purpose. He's the kind of person to say, "Okay, this is what you want - so I'm going to do something completely different." But with Iguchi-san, it's not always a conscious decision, that's just the way it ends up.
Have you had much experience with your American fans?
I've met fans at film festivals in Texas and Korea. So being part of the festivals, and on-stage QA, and parties I've been able to enjoy meeting my fans overseas.
What kind of challenges are you looking for beyond action and horror?
I started working as an action actress through Machine Girl and I have the honor of being called an "action actress." But I don't feel that I've yet pushed myself to be the best that I can be or the best that can be in this category. So before I challenge myself in different areas I'd really like to establish myself in action films.
Do you have anything lined up that will allow you to keep meeting this challenge?
I've got two films in the can that are in postproduction right now. Iguchi's film, Denjin Zaborger and also another Nishimura film called Hell Driver. He's actually editing it right now in the hotel room! I'm also in another film, the one on my t-shirt (points to shirt), Sukeban Hunters. I also have another film, a new project that I can't talk about right now lined up with Mr. Iguchi as well.
Please be patient!
It sounds like you're really busy right now.
Yes I am - but I've very grateful.
I want to thank you for taking the time out to speak with us.
[Laughs] I even more grateful for you taking the time to speak to me!
Charles is a freelance writer and game designer. Check out his blog, Monster In Your Veins.