Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A Hole in my Panty (4 Stars)

Ahead of me there is no road,
Behind me I'll find a path.

This is a Japanese coming-of-age comedy starring Ai Shinozaki. It was made in 2011 when she was 19. This is the only one of her films that's been released on DVD in America. She also appears in "Virgin Psychics", which has been released on Blu-ray in Germany, but she only plays a small role in that film. In "A Hole in my Panty" she's the main female actress. At the time the film was made she was a singer in the J-Pop girl band AeLL (Activity eco Life with Love). The other three band members appear briefly as schoolgirls at the beginning of the film.

The film is about three 16-year-old boys, Hiroshi, Takuro and Ryota, who want to lose their virginity in the school holidays. At that age boys are usually awkward and inexperienced, but these three boys are downright stupid. They really think they can find a woman by ringing a telephone number written on the wall of a public toilet. A man answers the phone. Well, what did they expect?

Hiroshi has been living with his grandfather since the death of his parents. His grandfather is a horny old man with a girlfriend 30 years younger than him. Hiroshi finds this embarrassing, but he overcomes himself and asks his grandfather for advice. The advice he's given doesn't lead very far.

While his two friends chase different women, some of them married, Hiroshi meets a beautiful girl called Narumi, played by Ai Shinozaki, from whom he learns important lessons. Sex isn't necessarily desirable. Virginity can also be a thing of value. That's the significance of the poem written by Kotaro Takamura quoted above. Sexual intercourse is the end of the road. Why go on? It's better to return the way you came.

Narumi is walking the path of virginity. She doesn't want a lover, she wants a fellow virgin to walk with her as a friend. It's not a matter of remaining chaste until marriage. That would be the end of the path. She wants to remain on the path.

Prolonged virginity is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan. A poll held in 2015 revealed that 42% of Japanese men and 44% of Japanese women aged between 18 and 34 are still virgins. Takamura's poem treats virginity as something spiritual, but today's reasons for virginity are more mundane. It's been suggested that Japanese young people prefer pornography to sex, but I don't know why this should be the case. Young people in other countries use pornography as well, but there isn't a large trend towards virginity.

The film is primarily a comedy, but it's not as primitive or as vulgar as the title suggests. On the other hand, panties always have holes. If they didn't, women wouldn't be able to put their legs in them.

My regular readers already know that I consider Ai Shinozaki to be the world's most beautiful actress. That's a matter of opinion, of course. If you think anyone else looks more beautiful than her, feel free to write a comment and tell me who it is, but I doubt you'll be able to change my mind.

This film is no masterpiece, but it's an enjoyable comedy romp. It has similarities with the American teen comedy films of the 1990's, but the philosophical elements are pure Japanese. I'm hoping Ai Shinozaki will soon be offered a big role in a better film. She should be given an opportunity to show off her talent.

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