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Eclectic DVD presents
Tokyo X Erotica (2001)

Haruka: I've fantasized about doing this.
Kenji: I'm in bad shape.

- Yumeka Sasaki, Yuichi Ishikawa

Review By: Robert Edwards   
Published: October 27, 2003

Stars: Yuichi Ishikawa, Yumeka Sasaki
Other Stars: Mayuko Sasaki, Takeshi Itoh
Director: Takahisha Zeze

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (pervasive language, nudity, sex, and loathsomeness)
Run Time: 01h:17m:01s
Release Date: October 28, 2003
UPC: 022891204596
Genre: late night

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Often a film will leave a viewer uninterested, unmoved, or merely bored. Less often, at least in the case of this reviewer, a film will actively annoy and repulse. Films in the latter category can often be turned on their heads and be used to actively analyze the whole cinematic apparatus, or alternatively used as a tool for insight into the viewer's psyche. Takahisha Zeze's Tokyo X Erotica, the inverse chronological (more or less) tale of the relationship between Kenji (Yuichi Ishikawa) and Haruma (Yumeka Sasaki), certainly fits into the "annoying and repulsive" category.

But even multiple viewings of this episodic, narratively impenetrable film prove less than enlightening, so let's just skip to a list of what this reviewer found annoying about it:

1. The first two episodes, after a variety of sexual acts (not the annoying part), end in verbal and physical abuse, in both cases of women (definitely the annoying part).
2. The semen in the squirt gun looks more like hand lotion than the real thing.
3. A strange gift of what appears to be a ball attached by a chain to a spoon is bent, Uri Geller-like, by one of the protagonists, but is never further explained.
4. Any potential eroticism that the sex episodes might have otherwise had is destroyed by references to both the 1989 Tianenmen Square massacre and the 1995 terrorist sarin poisonings in the Tokyo subway.
5. Characters somehow related to the two protagonists are shown, but never introduced, and their names and relationships remain ambiguous.
6. Repeated references to dreams of Death are followed in the last sequence by Death incarnate (the annoying part), who proceeds to sodomize Kenji (not the annoying part).
7. An old man masturbating in a bunny suit is just not a turn-on.

In the interest of balance, here's the list of what this reviewer did NOT find annoying about the film:

1. One of the protagonists wears a really cool "The Velvet Underground and Nico" t-shirt.

In the end, this film is even less than it seems, if that's possible. The ugly DV images, matched with the mean-spiritedness of the sex scenes, the pretentious pseudo-philosophical "insights," and the confusing, jumbled narrative, just made this reviewer wish that he could turn back the clock and recoup his wasted time.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Filmed in DV, the image is never attractive. Plagued by jaggies, and with colors that rarely approximate reality, the often over-exposed, over-processed video is not pleasant to look at.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japaneseyes

Audio Transfer Review: The sound is always serviceable, although this reviewer wished occasionally that both it and the subtitles would drop out completely.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Japanese with remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Thirteen chapter stops are provided, but as there's neither a scene access screen nor a printed chapter listing, they are pretty useless. I guess one should be grateful for the subtitles and plastic keepcase.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Takahisha Zeze's pinku eiga Tokyo X Erotica should really be entitled Tokyo R Offensiva, since it's neither X-rated nor erotic, but is certainly offensive. Filmed in ugly, over-processed digital video, this is a nasty, pretentious slice of nothing.


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