Title: Raigyo

Also known as:

Year: 1997

Genre: Drama / Exploitation

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 75 min

Director: Takahisa Zeze

Writer: Takahisa Zeze

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119977/

A confused, disturbed and miserable woman meets up with a man who just became a father for some emotionless sex but ends up taking out her anguish over her past towards him and kills him in the shower. When she then meets another guy with a similar past and problems she feels a bond between them. There's something more to find here than her last one-nighter.

Our thoughts:
Can't say I'm an expert in the Pinkku subgenre (although this one barely fits into that) but there are some interesting titles. It used to be just smut, but when darker themes got involved later on (around 90's or so), it became much more appealing. "Raigyo" isn't really drained with sex OR violence, but the way it delivers it makes it more disturbing than a fairly large percentage of the subgenre that I have seen, and probably has a lot more depth to it as well.

I was confused at times with the story because it left some holes open. Holes that shouldn't be there. Even if interpretation is possible, they just don't belong. That's something that made this movie worse and harder to get into than it should have been. But either way, the story about loss of children, parenthood, emotionally confused grown-ups and them trying to rid the pains makes for a very interesting film. You don't have to recognize the situations from your own experiences to understand why the characters operate the way they do, and some scenes are much more emotionally challenging on the audience than I had expected from a movie like this. Not a weeper movie in any way, there are still intense moments and one specific scene where a guy tells us about his cremated child was really well-written. The title comes out of the metaphor that the movie is playing with. Raigyo is a sort of fish that apparently is so filthy that stores don't want it. I didn't get if it was a virus or just that it came from shitty water. I can see how it works within the movie and how our characters are unwanted like the fish, but it doesn't play with it more than having some scenes involving a fisher talking about it.

As I said, there isn't much in terms of sex or violence in the movie but considering the runtime of 75 minutes, and that when it finally happens they are great scenes, it's important enough to bring up. It's more bloody than gory in the one scene, but the way it was shot makes you forget all about not seeing gore. The focus of the movie isn't in this department, but it's what I had expected to get out of it and I'm not disappointed.

I don't think I will look too much into the director but his film "Tokyo X Erotica" is one I have been meaning to check out eventually anyway. "Raigyo" is a good movie, probably better than it should have been. It's nothing worth going crazy over, however it's good to find a movie like it that had more substance than expected and that actually had some thinking behind it. Highly recommended to fans of the darker Pinkku films. For the rest of you - only watch it if you find yourself in a situation where you can. TV (not likely), a friend's house, in a cheap bin, etc.

Positive things:
- Surprisingly good.
- Seemingly well-acted (hard to tell with some Japanese people).
Negative things:
- A bit confusing at times.

Gore: 1.5/5
Nudity: 2.5/5
Story: 3.5/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 0/5

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