Hideyuki Kikuchi "Talk Live" Event in Tokyo, February 2003 

The talk live event for this wintry evening was certainly the place to be 
if you like your men like you like your fast food--oily and super-sized. On 
the program this evening was an assortment of loin-clothed musclemen hurling 
paper mache boulders all over the Mediterranean. Back before Kevin Sorbo 
was knee-high to a centaur, Italian production companies were cranking out 
sword-and-sandal flicks using beefy body-builders like Steve Reeves as 
Hercules, Son of Hercules, Lifelong Companion of Hercules, and so on. We 
were to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, to shamelessly swipe 
the Lone Ranger's copy, when men were men and women were plot devices! 

Unlike most talk live events, the topic for this evening hadn't been 
announced until the last minute. That may have had some impact on the 
turnout, which was lower than normal. Of course, coming off the monster 
"bonenkai" party in December, any crowd would be small by comparison. Well, 
the non-attendees loss was my gain, and I took a comfortable seat at a table 
of my own to enjoy the show. 

Kikuchi-sensei began by asking how many of the ladies, or the guys, got 
excited by well-oiled macho men. What the two groups lacked in numbers, 
they more than made up for with sheer exuberance. We then saw a number of 
films that were incredibly similar, with the general plot going something 
like this: 
Herc leaves the room for 30 seconds at most, during which time thugs make 
off with his lady. As he travels the land searching for her and working on 
his savage tan, he meets up with other oily, near-naked he-men. They're set 
upon by an army of soldiers/monsters/aliens (see "Hercules vs. the Moon Men" 
if you don't believe me) and dragged before some domineering queen. The dom 
then attempts to break Herc's ba... er, his "spirit" with a test of 
strength, but he perseveres and leaves the normally frigid queen moist. For 
all the good it does her. In the end, there's no problem the sebaceous 
demi-god can't handle with a skillfully toppled Ionic column. Herc is 
reunited with his lady and returns home to bulk up on gainer's fuel. 

Somehow, Kikuchi-sensei even managed to work his idol Christopher Lee into 
the program. "Hercules in the Haunted World" featured Lee as a heavy who 
sends Herc traipsing all over--and under--the world in an attempt to save 
his significant hostage... um, I mean "other." As with all the other films, 
this tape was a public domain copy from somewhere in the States, so it 
lacked any Japanese subtitles--not that it had the quality banter of "It 
Happened One Night" to begin with. However, I told Kikuchi-sensei over 
coffee that Direct TV's horror and sci-fi channel had shown the film with 
subtitles almost daily before they went out of business. 

Other than that, there's not much to tell, unless you want to hear about 
the transvestite bar "girl" Kikuchi-sensei's friend Ms. Toya brought up on 
stage. Suffice to say in the Wicked City, anything can happen. 

If all this talk about rippling thews has got you all hot and bothered, you 
should keep this in mind when trying to track these films down--each of them 
has several alternate titles (and if you were them, you'd want an alias, 
too). I think I can safely say I had more fun writing about them than I did 
watching them, but if you have some wine to wash down all that cheese it's 
not too bad. Now could someone tell me if this loincloth makes my butt look 

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