Shoujyo – An Adolescent

3.0 out of 5 stars So-so vanity film

Shoujyo – An Adolescent

Directing his first and only feature film, Japanese movie star Eiji Okuda made an unabashed vanity film. He cast himself as the ultimate man’s man, a former gangster, complete with full yakuza tattoo, who reformed and has become a small-town police officer. Of course, beneath his brusque exterior beats a heart of gold, shown by how he spends his free time taking care of a local teenage retarded boy. He is a man so completely dripping with sex-appeal that he can’t even return a missing dog without the happy owner insisting that he come in for a little afternoon delight. This poor guy is so tired out by refreshing the housewives that he tries to have a quiet rest and a beer in a local bar. Ah, but even it is too much for the ladies, as a cute 15-year-old jr. high school girl soon plops down at his table and introduces herself with the line “Hey Mister! You up for some sex?” Its a hard life indeed.

“Shoujyo – An Adolescent” is ostensibly based on a short story by Mikihiko Renjo, but it plays off as more of a soft-core “Lolita” clone. The story line is full of coincidences. Okuda soon begins a relationship with the 15-year old Yoko (played by 22-year old Mayu Ozawa), and finds that she is the brother of his little retarded pal. On top of that, Yoko’s grandfather is the one that gave him his tattoo many years ago. Yoko’s mother, of course, demands sex from Okuda when she uncovers the relationship with her daughter, and Okuda willingly sacrifices himself, soon bedding both mother and daughter. None of the characters are even slightly realistic, with Yoko being little more than a fanciful image of youthful beauty and a middle-aged man’s wish fulfillment.

The only redeeming feature of “Shoujyou” is that it is well-filmed. The story is shallow, but the pictures are pretty and so are the girls that Okuda trysts with. As a soft-core pink film with a lolita theme, there are certainly worse movies out there. Just don’t set your expectations too high.

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Maid’s Secret

 

3.0 out of 5 stars Maid vs. Dominatrix

Maid’s Secret

“Maid’s Secret” (A direct translation of Japanese title “Maido no Himitsu”) is another in ADV Films’ line of Japanese V-Cinema softcore pink films. And if you know enough about the genre to know what “V-Cinema softcore pink film” means than you pretty much know what to expect.

Is there a story? Of course there is! Two girls, Harumi and Misuzu, are after the same boy Keita. He is of the indecisive nature, but promises to make his decision after he returns from grad school in a year. The two girls have a year to prepare themselves and to become the type of girl they think Keita would want. Harumi decides to become the ultimate submissive, saving herself sexually and learning how to serve men while working at a maid café. Misuzu decides that Keita would prefer an experienced gal, and works as a professional dominatrix and building her skills as a dominator. Before the year is up, Misuzu discovers that Harumi has secretly met with Keita, and gets her revenge by having her slaves kidnap and rape Harumi while videotaping it, thus ruining Harumi’s plans of presenting herself to Keita as a pure and innocent virgin.

All and all it isn’t much of a story, but stories aren’t why you would buy a film called “Maid’s Secret” in the first place.

The two leads, Harumi (Momose Emiru) and Misuzu (Hirasawa Rinako) spend just as much of their time undressed as dressed, and when they are in clothes it is usually in something interesting. The contrast between the innocent maid and the experienced dominatrix is nice, with a little something for everyone. Hirasawa Rinako is a veteran of the pink film industry, and is definitely the more attractive of the two. Momose Emiru is a bit on the homely side, to be perfectly honest. Not really to my tastes.

The action here is all strictly softcore, and tame even for a pink film. All tops and no bottoms. Shirts get unbuttoned by the underwear never comes off, although hands do go inside the underwear which is always a nice treat. The sex scenes are a bit boring to be honest, except for Misuzu’s turn with a modified, oversized teddy bear that is a stand-in for her fantasies about Keita. Only the two main girls get naked, which is disappointing as some of the supporting cast at the maid café where quite cute.

The production values are what you would for this kind of V-Cinema release. Shot on digital video with about two sets and three costumes, there wasn’t a lot of money put into making this film look nice. “Maid’s Secret” is seventy-eight minutes long, and in Japanese with English subtitles.

If you are into the maid look then there might be something in “Maid’s Secret” for you. I can’t say I was disappointed, because my expectations were pretty low to begin with and this film just about met them. Another star added for Hirasawa Rinako’s teddy bear scene, although I would personally just rather watch The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai again than this film.

Legends of the Poisonous Seductress #1: Female Demon Ohyaku

5.0 out of 5 stars Buckets of awesome

The first thing that surprised me about this flick is that it is in black and white. Obviously, I could have read that from the product description, but I just sort of passed over it and seeing that vivid color cover I was expecting something different. Not that this is anyway a bad thing. There is something unexpected about a sexual and violent black and white film that makes them all the more stunning, just because I am not used to seeing such extremes in the classic format.

“Female Demon Ohyaku” (“Yôen dokufuden hannya no ohyaku”) is just a fantastic flick. The first Pinky Violence film, and the one that would inspire many other rape/revenge flicks like Lady Snowblood and Kill Bill it has all the classic elements. Ohyaku Dayu (Miyazono Junko) is a beautiful acrobat/prostitute who is sold to the highest bidder following each show. Capturing the eye of a handsome thief, he rescues her from a bureaucratic rapist and claims her for his own. She is just the bad girl a guy like him needs as partner and wife. Ah, but a happy life was not meant for Ohyaku, and she soon finds her self without a lover, disgraced and exiled on a prison island. There is only one thing for a desperate gal in that situation….revenge.

Now, being an older flick “Female Demon Ohyaku” is not as extreme as some of the later Pinky Violence offerings. There is no real nudity to speak of, and the gore is limited. But they make do with what they have, as Ohyaku seduces and kills her way through a number of hapless men, and even one woman (very sexy scene!), working her way towards her target. Lead actress Miyazono Junko is quite the beauty, although believable tough and deadly as well. She doesn’t let anyone take the easy way out in her revenge, but gets creative with her cruelty. Wakayama Tomisaburo, of Lone Wolf and Cub fame, plays a supporting role but never really gets into the action.

The DVD has some great features as well, including an essay on the Sword and Girl genre, and a nice commentary. The cover is reversible so you can have the original Japanese artwork instead of the shown cover, which is really cool. This is followed by two other loosely-connected color films in the series Legends of the Poisonous Seductress #2: Quick Draw Okatsu. and Legends of the Poisonous Seductress #3: Okatsu the Fugitive. They don’t continue the story, but feature the same lead actress and themes. I am anxious to pick them up, and see if they are as magnificent as this gem.

Entrails of a Virgin

4.0 out of 5 stars Enter the Mud Man

So, if I told you that this movie had a scene with a woman sucking off a monster while simultaneously masturbating herself with a disembodied hand, would that make you pop the DVD into the player, or throw it across the room? Because that is the kind of question you have to ask yourself before buying “Entrails of a Virgin” (“Shojo no harawata”).

Firmly in the Erotic/Grotesque genre of Japanese film, this is the directorial debut of Kazuo ‘Gaira’ Komizu (writer of Go, Go Second Time Virgin). Everything about this flick screams “the 80’s”, from the cheesy hairdos to the cheesier synthesizer music reminiscent of every sex/slasher film popular at the time. This film once had an infamous reputation amongst Japanese horror fans, both for it’s rarity as well as for pushing the boundaries in gore and sex far beyond previous levels. However, since then the boundaries have been pushed so far that much of “Entrails of a Virgin” comes off as tame.

The story is the basic “cabin in the woods” motif. Three guys, three girls, it’s a foggy and dangerous drive and they all decide to stop by a deserted house in the woods to pass the night. Everyone pairs off and the pants come off. Enter the monster.

For a Japanese pink film, “Entrails of a Virgin” does push some serious boundaries on sex and nudity. Far more than the occasional glimpse of T&A, all the gals here get very, very naked and look good doing so. Kizuki Saeko (Angel Guts), Hagio Naomi (“Wife Collector”) and Kawashima Megumi (Onimusha 3 of all things…) all manage to lose everything they have, get raped by man and monster alike, and squeak as only Japanese actresses can in a pink film. There were a few shocking shots, stuff that I haven’t seen in any other pink film, and the director clearly wanted to walk that fine line between soft and hardcore.

The gore scenes where a little more disappointing. The director obviously didn’t have the budget or skills to make a genuinely sticky mess of things, but he gave it a good try. There are a lot of intercut shots of slabs of meat getting pounded that work effectively but are still somewhat of a cop-out. The giant mud-man monster elicits a giggle rather than a scare, but I think they did their best with what they had to work with.

Personally, cheese aside I enjoyed this flick a lot. It is about on the same level as Bloodsucking Freaks, an oddity with a few over-the-top scenes that deserves its cult status. Japanese films got gorier, starting with later flicks like Evil Dead Trap, but they rarely hit the sex boundaries like this again unless they went full hardcore. It would be easy to find a lot of flaws with this flick, but just as easy to have a good time.

The DVD is really well done, with fantastic audio and visual cleanness. There is an interview with the director, which is continued on the sequel Entrails of a Beautiful Woman. Also included is an essay on why Japanese films “fog” the genitals of actors, even when it is obviously a sex film. Very cool and informative for first timers into the pink film genre.

The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai

sachiko

5.0 out of 5 stars George W. Bush and Sachiko Hanai – A Love Story

I am a big fan of the Japanese Pink Film genre. Quite different from straight porn, they were a hugely successful category of film mainly in the 70’s, where they played to packed theaters, but now mainly exist on straight-to-video releases and still manage to thrive. Most of the time they are just cheesy as hell; some hot naked girls and only a stitch of plot, like the Ninja Vixens series. Sometimes they are dark and plumb psychological depths, like the infamous Flower & Snake. And sometimes they are just plain weird.

“The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai” is clearly in the last category. Although it started out as a straight Pink Film, with the more explicit title of “Horny Home Tutor: Teacher’s Love Juice”, director Meike Mitsuru decided to re-cut and re-shoot it as a flick that has all the nudity and sex required, with a bizarre plot that could play at an Indie film festival. In fact, this is the first Pink Film ever to get distribution in US theaters, mainly on the festival circuit.

The story revolves around Sachiko Hanai, a prostitute who works at an Image Club doing a “seduce the teacher” routine that is a common fantasy of Japanese guys. One eventful night leaves her with a bullet in her head and in possession of the cloned finger of George W. Bush. The bullet has logged against her brain, giving her a genius-level intellect and various mental abilities. Bush’s finger has a mind of its own, being able to move and communicate to Sachiko via television screens, as well as some more subtle manipulations.

While the political message is hazy at best, with the cloned finger being hunted by North Korean agents in order to gain access to Bush’s fingerprints and thus America’s nuclear arsenal, it is mainly just decoration and a bit of a McGuffin. The real fun is just in following Sachiko Hanai’s glamorous life, and her lust for knowledge and other things. Along with her genius IQ, the bullet also delays all of her body’s responses, so that she experiences things after the fact, such as when she makes a super-spicy curry but thinks it is too bland until and hour later when her mouth is one fire. Given that this is a Pink Film, several of her other body responses also happen to delayed and hilarious effects.

The lead actress, Kuroda Emi, makes a very hot school teacher and isn’t ashamed at all in showing off her talents. This was her only flick, and she soon gave up the Pink Film genre for a new career as a fighter in the Mixed Martial Arts circuit. Most of the other actors are veterans of Japan’s various underground genres, like Hotaru Yukijiro who appeared in the strange zombie flick Stacy. The sex in the film isn’t explicit, but is definitely good enough and it is great to see Emi do her stuff.

The DVD for “The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai” is a winner, with some cool extras thrown in. The original incarnation, “Horny Home Tutor: Teacher’s Love Juice” is included, as well as a funny little short featuring the Sachiko Hanai character and a George Bush puppet doing a Smack Down style fight against another girl in a ICBM missile costume. That is actually where the cover image comes from, and Emi does not appear in that outfit during the main movie. The only disappointment is that the 2006 documentary “The Making of ‘Sachiko Hanai'” isn’t included, but otherwise this is good stuff through and through.

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