Shoujyo

"Good"

Shoujyo Review


Shoujyo hits new heights of confusion and questionable comprehensibility, but it's a curious and frequently enjoyable ride into oblivion. See if you can figure this out.

Tomokawa (Eiji Okuda, who directs himself here) is a rather ineffective Japanese policeman who'd rather be wooing housewives than stopping criminals. Eventually he attempts to bust up a teenage prostitution ring, only to be seduced by Yoko (Mayu Ozawa), a 14-year-old girl who happily sleeps with him for free. Soon it is revealed that Yoko is the sister of Sukemasa (Akira Shoji), a mentally disabled boy who Tomokawa cares for and who is the son of an old girlfriend. Presumably Yoko is not related to Tomokawa, but who knows. This culminates with Tomokawa trying to care for both kids while still getting busy with the young girl (which, when Sukemasa catches them) has disastrous consequences.

Somewhere in all of this we learn that Yoko's grandfather is a tattoo artist and has painted an elaborate design on Tomokawa's back. The film culminates with Yoko getting a complementary design of her own.

Is this a love story? A family drama? A cop tale? It's all and none of these, and Okuda, in his directorial debut, is decidedly unsure behind the camera. The movie meanders all over the place to the point where we frequently get lost, bored, or both. While this does effectively put is in the mindset of the oblivious Tomokawa, who frequently runs around with sex toys in his pocket and bumblingly spills them out ("That's important evidence!"), but that's hardly a way to capture the audience's attention.

Eschewing the bright lights of Tokyo for a smaller town, Shoujyo reminds us that all of Japan is not glitter and glamour, and that mundane tales like this play out every day. But then again, do they all involve 55-year-old men sleeping with a teenager and getting enormous tattoos? To confuse this with a touching May-December romance like Lost in Translation could bring a very early end to date night.

Aka Shôjo , An Adolescent.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Zero Fiction Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Eiji Okuda

Producer: Eiji Okuda, Ben Yamamoto

Starring: Mayu Ozawa as Yoko, Mari Natsuki as Yukie, Eiji Okuda as Tomokawa, Eiji Okuda as Tomokawa, Akira Shoji as Sukemasa, Hideo Murota as Shozo, Hideo Higashikokubaru as Sonomanma Higashi

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