Kandagawa Pervert Wars

KPW_1 It’s not hard to see why the pornographers Kiyoshi Kurosawa was working for were none too pleased with his output. While it fits the parameters of the soft-core material – semi-graphic simulated screwing, some perversity and plenty of naked folks – Kandagawa Pervert Wars is too odd, too off-putting to sit easily in the genre. It’s a weird movie, strange in its conception, odd in its actions, with likable but oddball characters who do strange things.

When first we meet our heroine, Aki, she’s being sexed by her boyfriend, who has been keeping a running count of their love-making on a poster in Aki’s bedroom – we watch the completion of number nine. Aki doesn’t seem terribly interested in the event, and says in voice-over that however attentive her boyfriend has been, he hasn’t actually hit her spot yet. Sad and bored, she spends her time rear-windowing an apartment complex across the river, keeping tabs with her friend Masami. Aki uses a telescope, Masami uses binoculars.

In this be-voyeured complex, the girls spy new tenants, a diligent student and his mother, sitting before an open window. What the kid is studying is difficult to discern, though for some reason it involves entire walls postered with sheets of paper with the names of movies written on them. One suspects there is no rhyme or reason beyond the fact that they are Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s favorites.
Then mom, after patting her son on the head, lifts up her dress, and pulls off her underwear. Dutifully, he starts playing with her package.

For Aki and Masami, this cannot be forgiven, and they set out to rescue a boy who may have no desire to be rescued. Their attempts are repeatedly thwarted, there’s some creepy sex scenes with the boy and his mother. Eventually, they get into the boy’s apartment and try to sex him up right, the mother locked in a sleeping bag.

Much like the other (semi-)pinku movie directed by Kurosawa, The Excitement of the Do Re Me Fa Girl, what makes this not just a bunch of naked folks pretending to bang is the odd, distancing sense of humor. There’s a literal throwaway joke where Aki, sitting in bed, throws things behind her out the window. First her bottle of J&B, then her cigarettes, then her lighter. Eventually her posters and telescope go. Soon she has to go out the window herself, and is surrounded by an apartment’s worth of detritus at her feet.

KPW_3A lesbian scene is threatened when Aki visits Masami’s apartment. Its starts off with Masami asking for a massage, and Aki giving her one…with her pelvis. That’s not a euphemism. She gets on the ground underneath Masami, and lifts her up with hips. They assume various positions and move around one another in something that almost looks like sex, but isn’t. It’s intentionally awkward, like a parody of the balletic physical enthusiasm most pornographic films employ for their own scenes.

The battle for the incested son ends up in a pitched fight in the Kanda river (which is a concrete basin between the apartments, and is barely knee deep), his mother using shopping bags like morning stars. While broken up with a scene of Masami entertaining Aki’s boyfriend, this weird battle culminates in a single, five-minute long shot that ends with the boy putting his mom on a plank, and shoving her off, like an old Eskimo going out on the ice flow.

Why these women are enthusiastic for this student is difficult to explain. It is as if, in finding something stranger and more perverse than themselves, they have the need to take it over. As to what the student might want, he attempts to jump off the roof of his building, but is stopped by his mother singing a song, then they duet for a while. It’s oddly charming.

However, the requirements of the genre keep the film from being anything more than an interesting soft-core movie. Watching fake sex is pretty dull, and Kandagawa Pervert Wars has a pretty thin story. It ends with the boy rescued, taken for an energetic sex-session on top of the roof. Then, inadvertantly, like everything she had thrown before, he falls off. Aki follows him, turning their fun romp into an accidental death/suicide. It doesn’t mean much, but it’s more than nothing.

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com