10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl 
Written by: on June 2nd, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1981
Director: Takashi Kanno
Writer: Chiho Katsura
Cast: Kumiko Hayano, Takuya Hiramitsu, Toshiyuki Kitami, Ryoichi Kusanagi, Junko Mabuki, Yoshiko Sasakii

DVD released: June 12th, 2012
Approximate running time: 64 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Impulse Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Synopsis: A photographer is cranking out fetish toilet photo sets with his live-in model and young photographer. First a bundle of Yen notes is found in the newspaper box, then a mysterious woman appears from nowhere.

This film is a perfect example of top tier Nikkatu Roman Porno. Yes, beautiful naked women but also a literate script, engaging characters, exceptional cinematography and art direction. Practically every sex scene raises an eyebrow or drops a jaw, as do some of the non-sex scenes. There are incredible sets and locations, fully fleshed characters, and an intriguing mystery to boot. The primary fetish here is ‘water sports’, but it’s obviously fake which makes it humorous rather than gross. And except for the shadowy pre-credits sequence the women may be victims of exploitation but it is entirely voluntary..

Director Takashi Kanno was an experienced assistant director prior to making this intense directorial debut. It’s a shame he was only primary director on one other feature (?), because this work begs comparison with the Nikkatsu product of Norifumi Suzuki. He was blessed with an exceptional cast including Junko Mabuki, who had a brief career as the successor to Nami Tani as reigning bondage queen. Discovered and often showcased by Katsuhiko Fujii, this role features some mild bondage but really projects her abundant physical charms and provides her with a sulky, smoldering, and mysterious persona. Based on a manga (as are most of the great ones).

The DVD:

Due to the excellence of the original cinematography, this is a superior release in the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, Japanese mono soundtrack, and removable English subtitles. The translations were obviously done with great care and at times verge on exquisite. A folder contains original poster art and some historical background from Jasper Sharp. There is optical fogging on a t-shirt emblem and one superimposed ‘censor’ shot near the end, but mostly creative framing does the trick quite nicely.

Besides being a mystery much of the first-run enjoyment comes from discovering the unconventional relationships. Any further specifics would serve to dull the edge of this razor fine release that I must highly recommended.

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