Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Ibitsu (4 Stars)

15-year-old Madoko is on a busy train heading home after school. There's standing room only. She feels a man groping her. What would most women do? Some would be too embarrassed to react and would pretend they don't notice. Others would turn and yell at the man. Others would report the man to the police.

Madoko isn't like most women. First she stabs the perpetrator's hand with a safety pin, making him scream. Then she drags him off the train at the next stop.

The groper is 20-year-old Geigo, a salesman in a large city centre sex shop. He's still a virgin, and groping strangers is his only contact with girls. He's not just a virgin, he's a masturbation addict, unwilling and unable to date girls. Madoko recognises this and takes advantage of him. She threatens to report him to the police if he doesn't pose for photos sucking a dildo. This gives her even more material to blackmail him.

The next day she turns up at his house where he lives alone and demands to move in. Madoko's parents are getting divorced, and she doesn't want to live with either of them. Any hopes that Geigo has that she might become his lover are soon crushed. She despises him, and she wants to humiliate him more and more.

Geigo is terrified of Madoko. He has to obey her every wish, which involves him having to do more and more perverted things which she films. Madoko tells her best friend at school that she has a slave, and her friend warns her that Geigo might snap and kill her. Madoko brushes off the warning. "He's just a virgin. Virgins are pathetic and harmless".

Madoko pushes Geigo's degradation to the limit. She invites him to her school and makes him strip naked in an empty classroom. Then she tells him to hide in a closet while the next class takes place. He stands shivering listening to the history lesson. After the class is over Madoko tells him that his clothes are in her desk and rushes off. No, they aren't. All that's in the desk is one of Madoko's socks. Geigo has to run through the school wearing only the sock. He was lucky. If he'd been caught by the police his sentence would have been a lot more than for mere groping.

All the way through the film I was expecting it to turn into a romantic comedy with Madoko developing feelings for Geigo. That didn't happen. The only change is that Madoko despises him at first, but later pities him.

The film's message is clear: Don't grope women on the train! You could become a slave for the rest of your life.

After the film was over I had to find out what the title means. It's the Japanese word for annoyance. That's all Geigo is to Madoko: an annoying, little virgin. He's only useful for supplying her with food and a free place to live.

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