HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Were Never Really Here
Lovely But Deadly
Unsane
Smithereens
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
   
 
  Underwater Love Turtle DiaryBuy this film here.
Year: 2011
Director: Shinji Imaoka
Stars: Sawa Masaki, Yoshirô Umezawa, Ai Narita, Mutsuo Yoshioka, Fumio Moriya, Emi Nishimura, Hiroshi Satô, Yutaka Ônishi
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Sex, Weirdo, Fantasy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The kappa is a water spirit which dwells in rivers and lakes, resembles a half man-half turtle beast, and needs to have water poured onto his bald pate at regular intervals to keep him going. Another thing which sustains him are cucumbers, his favourite food, but this particular kappa has a tragic backstory. He used to be a high school student but was drowned, and now around twenty years later he has returned in spirit form to look up the girl he had a crush on, apparently not realising that time has moved on and the girl, now a grown woman Asuka (Sawa Masaki), is about to settle down with her boss at the fish factory...

Not only that but her colleagues call her "old woman" because of her positively ancient age: she's thirty-five. To rub it in, they even perform a song and dance about this, because Underwater Love was a musical as well as a fantasy flick, and as if that wasn't enough it was one of those Japanese Pink Films as well. That was their equivalent of softcore porn, meaning plenty of sex scenes but nothing more explicit than boobs and bums to be seen, although director Shinji Imaoka got around the censors by showing us the kappa's erect member by having the actor (actually a non-actor, Yoshirô Umezawa) sport a rubbery green appendage - notably shot by the much respected cinematographer Christopher Doyle.

As if that were not odd enough, Imaoka wasn't simply out to titillate the audience, he was here to pay tribute to a deceased friend of his who had committed suicide a while before, leaving the director bereft of his pal, so he began to wonder if the dead man could return as a spirit, thus the kappa here was intended to represent his late friend. Some might have thought that was a downright disrespectful method to adopt, but there was a strain of deeply sincere sentimentality running through the film, making it quite unlike anything you would get in the West, especially with its aims to cheer you up with the tunes, turn you on with the sex, and move you with the sense of losing a loved one.

Even more bizarre was that Imaoka did achieve these goals with some skill, although the sauciness was more humorous and, well, weird than actually erotic, not always at the same time. Asuka is happy to see the kappa when she recognises who he is, having encountered him at the dock when she was saving a fish she rescued from the food processing factory where she works. He then begins hanging around her, obviously infatuated thanks to his memories of what she was like as a teenager, and goes to the extent of getting a job at the factory disguising his beak and bald dome, though his shell still shows through the tear at the back of his shirt. Somehow it's not Asuka he ends up with, but her curvy co-worker Reiko (Ai Narita) who takes him to his old house and seduces him.

Yet the plot doesn't end there, as Asuka's fiancé finds out the turtle man is living with her, and flies into a rage, then the kappa reveals he knows something alarming about the woman: she will die at sundown tomorrow. Like a fairytale but definitely for adults only, Underwater Love may be dealing with serious issues, but its goofy and kooky presentation marked it out as intriguing and finally quite endearing; those songs by German group Stereo Total were very catchy if a little samey, and the way the cast danced to them without much evidence of any talent in that area was highly amusing. There were other indications of a rather slapdash attitude though probably not by design: when the kappa takes Asuka to his elders to save her, the lyrics to their big number are about killing him because he's a liar (!), apparently because the songs were finished well before the shooting was started, so changes had been made in the storyline. With a climax which was sexual as well as wrapping it up, this was ridiculous, but very sweet.

Aka: Onna no Kappa
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 608 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Arif Kabban
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
   

 

Last Updated: