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While "Nami" is the most brutal of the series, it is a fitting end to one of the most shocking, influential, and in some cases, erotic film series ever produced.
Review By: Anime Boy
Company: ArtsMagic DVD
Running Time: 80 minutes
Rating: NC-17 (Violence, nudity, rape, adult situations)
THE FOLLOWING REVIEW IS ONE OF AN ADULT NATURE. PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Nami is a reporter for "The Woman", a the second largest women's magazine in Japan. She is working on a series of articles profiling rape victims and what happens to them after the event. While her articles are very popular with the public, her interview subjects are not always as grateful. As far as Nami is concerned, her articles are going to help women, even though she shows no real sympathy to the victims.
While she is doing research on one of her subjects, Nami runs into Muraki, a reporter for an underground magazine. He warns her that if she goes in too deep, she may find herself too far gone. She thinks he is trying to scoop her story, and initially blows him off. However, as she looks into his past, she discovers a dark truth about Muraki.
Can someone who constantly exposed to such vile and deprave acts not be affected by what they see? Can one who has been raped ever truly find happienss? Nami is about to find out.
STORY: Just like all the other movies in the Angel Guts series, "Nami" is very different in tone from the other films. This one deals primarily with the aftermath of rape, and how it affects its victims. Through the eyes of Nami, we see not only the humiliation of the actual event, but their continuous degradation the victims experience after. While some may find similarities to this movie with "Red Classroom", writer Tatsua Ishii goes one step further and presents a frank and disturbing depiction of rape victims.
ACTING: Pretty much the entire movie rests on Eri Kanuma's shoulders. Fortunatly, she is able to handle the load quite well. She does an excellent job going from cool professional, to repulsed observer, and even aroused voyeur in just a few seconds. Her commanding stage presence compels you to watch.
Takeo Chii does a fine job as Muraki. He add just the right amount of sleazyness to keep the you guessing what kind of guy he is, but add in some emotional depth to keep the character interesting. When he "looses control", he is a little too over the top.
SEX SCENES: There more rape scenes in this movie than in the rest of the "Angel Guts" series. I lost count of how many rapes there were. Not a single sex scene was in any way erotic. Only when Nami masturbates do you find any kind of "excitement".
The Angel Guts series continues to astound me. Each movie, while thematically the same as the others, the tone and the presentation is always different. From erotic to disturbing, "Nami" combines all the elements of the series into one earth shattering conclusion, at least from my perspective.
For those of you who are new to Japanese Cinema, a quick overview of "Roman Porno" or "Pink Films". A genre of adult films that started in the late 70's, these self contained movies, usually 70 minutes in length, provided erotic content just shy of being truly hard core. The "Angel Guts" series is considered one of the definitive examples of this popular format. Thanks to the rise of the adult home video market in the early 90's, "Roman Porno" quickly faded into the distance. Yet, its influence can still be felt, in films like "Weather Woman" and "Visitor Q".
While technically the third film in the series, this was the last one I watched, due to the original order the films were sent to me. In many ways, this should be the last film instead of "Red Vertigo". Watching "Nami" is like watching the end of a woman who has seen so much horror in her life, she no longer has any kind of grip on reality.
The Nami character in this film is nothing like her predecessors. She is a strong willed, very cool professional woman, believing in herself, and her ability to cope with all the strange things she encounters. Nami has no problem chasing after rape victims, forcing them to tell her something that most would rather forget. In many ways, Nami becomes a rapist herself, only raping their memories for a story, instead of their bodies. It doesn't help that she find a lot of the degradation these women experience after their rape some what sexually arousing, and the more she learns, the more she become excited.
That is until she encounters Muraki.
As always, Muraki is a catalysis for bad things to happen. Her "red tinted" view of the world begins to change once she learns about Muraki, and why he works for a sleazy underground magazine. He tries to warn her about the dangerous path she is traversing, but she pays him no mind, until the worst thing that could happen, does. Not going to spoil the movie, but the ending is not quite what you expect.
By far the most exploitative of the series, there is a lot, and I do mean a lot, of rape. We have men raping women, obviously. There is one scene of a man having anal sex with another man while he rapes a woman. We even have the only rape of a woman by a woman. While there is a message about how awful rape is, it will be lost to many because of the explicit nature of the scenes.
Never fear, like the other movies, every female, including the main character, gets naked at some point, although it's usualy not in a flattering way. However if you are wanting to see some "pink", you won't see it here. Anything south of the equator has something in the way, like a man's ass, somebody's head, or a bright light from the hooch.
As this is the end of my watching of the Angle Guts series, I am suitably impressed with the different takes on Takashi Ishii's seminal work all of the directors have taken. While "Nami" is the most brutal of the series, it is a fitting end to one of the most shocking, influential, and in some cases, erotic film series ever produced. While I will not recommend it for everyone, any true fan of Japanese cinema owes it to themselves to take a look at "Angel Guts".
FIRST MOVIE: High School Co-Ed
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