Kurando Mitsutake is one of the more interesting filmmakers working in independent cinema. His unique vision is a combination of ’70s and ’80s cult films with a heavy dose of Japanese pop culture. He made his directorial debut with Monsters Don’t Get to Cry (2007), but it would be his sophomore effort, the blood-soaked revenge film Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf (2009), that audiences would begin to take notice of.

From there, Mitsutake would begin to develop his style with unique, bloody, and violent tales of revenge and murder through the films Gun Woman (2014), Karate Kill (2016), and Maniac Driver (2020). His most recent film, Lion-Girl (2023), goes one step further. It combines the violent aspects of his previous work with a message that’s much more uplifting and hopeful, a love story at its core. It also afforded him the opportunity to work with an idol of his, Go Nagai.

For those unfamiliar, Go Nagai is one of the most influential manga artists of all time. He pioneered the medium with titles like Mazinger Z, Violence Jack, Devilman, and Cutie Honey. He’s credited with creating the super robot genre, the magic girl genre, and post-apocalyptic manga.

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I recently had the opportunity to talk with Kurando Mitsutake about his film, its global impact, collaborating with a hero, and much more. You can watch it below and check out my full review of Lion-Girl here.

Lion-Girl synopsis: Meteorites striking Earth carry a mysterious ray that turns humans into horrific beasts called ‘ANOROC’ who hunt and kill human beings for their life force. Will the superhero and Yakuza fighter named LION-GIRL rise up and save the world?

The film stars Derek Mears, Tori Griffith, and Damian Toofeek Raven and is now out on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

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