Ready to take her own life by jumping
off the school roof, young Aoi Kadokura (Saki Kagami) receives an e-mail message
on her cell phone. It was meant for someone else but the sentiment expressed
gives Aoi enough solace that she steps down the ledge. Having been gang-raped
by some "friends" on her 17th birthday, the girl finds that her
parents are totally unsympathetic and concerned only about what the neighbors
think. Aoi leaves home and tries to get by on the streets. She finds more
success as a club girl and is soon earning very handsome tips from middle-aged
patrons. That does not come close to covering over 3 million yen in debts
she has accumulated via designer brand shopping sprees, so Aoi reluctantly
accepts the advice of her sleazy "manager" (Taishu Kase) and enters
the adult video business on her 18th birthday. All the while, she stays in
e-mail contact with Toshi (Joe Odagiri), the young bartender/club DJ who mistakenly
sent her that message a year earlier. When the two finally hook up, the loneliness
they have felt is finally alleviated. Toshi is extremely conscious of what
others think, so Aoi borrows money from a "professional benefactor"
(TOKYO RAIDERS' Hiroshi Abe) in order to break her five picture AV contract.
However, this quick fix ultimately does little to ease the troubles ahead.
PLATONIC SEX is based on the autobiography
of the same name by ex-AV star Ai Iijima and it is difficult to say how closely
that bestseller really mirrors her life or how closely the movie adheres to
either. However, like Masato Harada's BOUNCE KO GALS (1997), it manages to
depict sordid subject matter without resorting to brazen exploitation (some
nudity is shown on the set of an AV production but it is used to convey the
unerotic nature of the shoot). The film's events occasionally seem a bit too
pat and, while lovely, Toshihiko Sahashi's score is far from subtle but female
director Masako Matsuura does successfully imbue the project with a welcome
degree of sensitivity. First time actress Saki Kagami is remarkable as Aoi;
she not only has the necessary look but also communicates volumes with her
eyes and face. Even while the story touches on all of the adversities one
would expect a girl in her situation to confront, Kagami still engages one's
sympathy without being flagrant. Her performance is almost matched by Abe,
whose unsavory eccentric derives great pleasure from seeing how people will
lower themselves in pursuit of his money (he even goes to an orphanage and
throws coins to watch the children scramble for them!). As cautionary tales
go, PLATONIC SEX does not provide many new lessons in life but does offer
another terse reminder of what an uphill battle Japanese women can face should
they fail to adhere to societal expectations. Trivia note: according to the
IMDB, a two part miniseries adaptation of the book by different personnel
premiered on Japanese television four weeks before Matsuura's film debuted
Cover art courtesy Edko.
|Edko #03-EDVD-06 (Hong Kong
Dolby Digital 5.1
Optional Subtitles in English and Traditional Chinese
12 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Clips
Enhanced for 16:9 Displays
Coded for Region 3 Only
Contains brief nudity, mild sexual content, mild sexual
violence, and mature themes
DVD menu courtesy
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
Hong Kong: IIB
Aside from some unstable edges, the transfer (presumably
identical to the Region 2 edition) looks excellent, with a crisp image and
deep colors. The mix is suitably expansive during club sequences, but subtle
during most of the running time, with subdued use of the surround channels.
Toho's theatrical trailer (with Chinese and English subs burned on) and single
page cast/director bios are included. No points to Edko for using the awful
paper and plastic "snapper" packaging.
PLATONIC SEX is
available at Poker Industries.
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© John Charles 2000 - 2003. All Rights Reserved.