Last seen in Female Teacher: Dirty Afternoon [M] (1981), the beautiful Yuki Kazamatsuri returns in this morally bankrupt entry which, quite frankly, makes absolutely no sense. This may seem like an oxymoron – porn lacking a plot – but at least with most of the Nikkatsu Roman Porno releases, there’s the thread of a dramatic arc which reaches some kind of resolution. Dirty Afternoon had a serious storyline that dovetailed into complete wrongness, but it flowed, so to speak; Hunting begins with a hook, gets very clumsy in the plotting, and writer Hiroshi Saito then made his characters variably affected by Jekyll-Hyde Syndrome.
Shimako (Kazamatsuri), a teacher engorged in an affair with a married man who’s currently researching a project on rape, bans a student (Hajime Ishigami) from school after he’s reported to have raped a girl after a midnight skinny dipping session. Taisuke figures ‘Well, if that’s what they think I did, then I’ll just do it!’ and proceeds to finger his girlfriend while the school P.A. system is live, and then smacks down teacher Shimako because, well, what’s he got to lose?
Taisuke then heads off to a coastal resort town where he gets beat up for being annoying, and is taken in by a local fish monger and his sexually over-active girl, both of whom use Taisuke as a fluffer. It’s during his tenure with the mongers that Taisuke bumps into his teacher, and through a convoluted series of schizophrenic events and oblique scenes which sometimes transgress into a nightmare sequence, the teacher discovers Taisuke was innocent.
In a secondary storyline, Taisuke's girlfriend is nearly raped by the student who ‘fingered’ Taisuke to school authorities after absconding with the girl’s clothes for a private washroom sniffing session. The conclusion to this melange of sexual mayhem? Taisuke rapes his teacher because, well, what else is he gonna do in a boring tourist town?
As the film's dramatic strands are clumsily knotted into some kind of unified vision, the high school pool ultimately becomes a place of cleansing in Junichi Suzuki’s bonkers film. In the film's opening scene, Taisuke’s innocent love is consummated during that otherwise ill-fated skinny dipping session. Near the film's end, having returned from the beach town, teacher Shimako decides to take a midnight dip to rinse all microscopic remains of Taisuke's assault; feeling empowered, she not only forgives the punk, she reinstates him as a student. And in the film's finale, Shimako invites Taisuke’s girlfriend to take a purifying swim after the latter is raped by Taisuke and her clothes-sniffer when she refuses to forgive the two bozos who've restored their own friendship. The film's closing sounds are water bubbles, and giggling.
Saito’s script is an escalation of increasingly revolting schizophrenic behaviour which is indicative of Nikkatsu's dilemma in offering fresh and distinct scenarios when pretty much every popular tail-chasing saga had been done by the early eighties (if not earlier).
By having people smile, then smack-down others; shake hands in good standing, then finger someone else's genitals; seek counsel and contrition, but give into wrong behaviour like an animal, Hunting lives up to the outrageous content typical of the titles Impulse has assembled so far, which may not be a disappointment to connoisseurs of the Roman Porno stream, but a let-down in terms of narrative originality, if not quality. Shock replaces storytelling skill in Hunting – there really is more skill and (initially) compelling drama in Dirty Afternoon – and what ultimately exists here is something completely insane.
Impulse’s DVD features a decent transfer from a clean print, and although several scenes featured pickles & beaver, these momentary glimpses are fogged. The adult scenes are frank and sometimes a little wet (there’s much wiping of residue), whereas the assault material features a lingering camera – sometimes close, sometimes at a fixed distance - that infers a stance of stern judgment against the characters’ wrong behaviour, but is really just sexploitation masquerading as social commentary.
Yonezo Maeda’s cinematography is really first-rate, boasting striking compositions and colours in the film’s rather odd ratio, (the box states 1.85:1, but the slight pillar-boxing suggests maybe 1.80:1?), and the only extras are a trailer, and Jasper Sharp’s liner notes.
Kazamatsuri’s better known today for small roles in Ichi the Killer (2001) and Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003). Director Suzuki directed a small share of films for Nikkatsu, graduating to directing after serving as assistant director on franchise entries like Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Club [M] (1981).
© 2013 Mark R. Hasan