Twitch – You Are My Toy (2004)

I have much affinity towards the Japanese Pink Eiga genre. Though the movies are basically just low budget softcore pornography with simulated sex scenes, pink films are special because they hold this very fascinating, inherent potential to go beyond cheap titillating pornography and tell some very unique, funny, sometimes even absurd and foremost, interesting stories about the human condition within the consigned 60 minutes or so long running time that the genre rules insists upon. Being such unpredictable, broad and fickle genre is exactly what makes them so incredibly fun to watch, and Twitch – You Are My Toy is no exception to this.

Exploring the existential crisis of a female photographer after one slightly disastrous job assignment, we have the illustrious Yumeka Sasaki play the lead role with her usual natural girl next door and homey charm .  She won the the Pink Grand Prix Best Actress Award for this particular movie and it’s easy to see why: Sasaki is able to turn what is on paper a very morally questionable role, a woman who has a proclivity to go after taken men and has no qualms about her chosen seedy lifestyle, into a not only a likable but  also very compelling, flawed and under the surface, very vulnerable protagonist you want to cheer for. It’s commendable how the movie is able to tiptoe through the minefield of bad taste and moral judgment by making the entire movie feel so lighthearted and relaxed despite its chosen subject matter. It’s actually a  bit bizarre in hindsight how easygoing it is as a story.

This could have very easily been just a laughable attempt at trying to turn a skin flick into a pseudo art film with faux depth, but Tajiri truly shows his skills as a director by conveying the entire story with a very gentle, true to life touch. The characters feel very real, and the philosophical side of Sasaki’s character questioning her lifestyle is kept as a subtle subtext, which allows the movie to unfold very naturally, rather than degenerate to pretentious drivel. The story itself doesn’t quite manage to build a cohesive and satisfying narrative around the plot due to the restricted length, the mandatory sex scenes taking their fair share of the running time after all, but this surprisingly does not  end up harming the movie that much. Sasaki and her character are simply too charming for you to mind such insignificant trifles, and her subtle attempts to change her decadent lifestyle is fascinating enough for you to gloss over the issue. It’s not a masterpiece, but  it does make for an interesting and maybe even a bit compelling little pinku.

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