Crab Goalkeeper (2006)

Directed by
There must be something only a crab can do?
Reviewed by Simon on 2020-08-22

It's 2006 and man-made climate change has caused mutations amongst many animals. One such mutation creates a giant crab, who washes up on the beach one day. A young boy takes the crab home, and after initial resistance from his parents the two become firm friends.

When Crab learns that the boy's deadbeat father secretly plans to sell him to a restaurant he leaves home and heads into Tokyo, where he finds work in a hostess bar and a soapy massage. When a football coach sees him serving drinks he sees the potential a crab's lateral movement might have in goal.

The God Hands team definitely need something to break their losing streak, but will the Football Association accept a crab as a goalkeeper?

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It's good to see Kawasaki Minoru returning to the seafood sports genre that made him famous, two years after the unprecedented success of Calamari Wrestler. I assume it played in cinemas worldwide to great acclaim anyway, I haven't checked.

Crab Goalkeeper mostly stays in safe territory, with plot lines that have been done many times before - there's a kid who loves his commercially valuable friend, a hooker with a heart of gold, an underdog sports team, etc. To the best of my knowledge it's the first film that has these plots and a giant crab as protagonist, but again I haven't checked.

You have to appreciate Kawasaki Minoru's dedication to the Animal + Job genre, and for being mad I guess. If it was about a person Crab Goalkeeper would be a terrible film... the story is drivel, the acting is awful, the production values non-existent... but put all that together with a talking crab and vice becomes virtue.

On the other hand, if your talking crab movie had a big budget and a well crafted story it probably wouldn't be as entertaining. It's not exactly one of those films that's "so bad it's good", but rather one that's "good because it's so bad". The distinction is subtle, I'll grant you.

It even makes some thoughtful points about exploitation in the sex industry, so it is definitely art.

What more needs to be said? If you don't know by now if you will like it, let Naoto Takenaka's wig decide for you.

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