Title: Underwater Love

Also known as:
Onna no kappa (Original title)

Year: 2011

Genre: Musical / Pinku / Fantasy / Comedy

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 87 min

Director: Shinji Imaoka

Writer: Shinji Imaoka & Fumio Moriya

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1678054/

Asuka is working at the local fish factory together with her needy boyfriend who always wants a good hump. One day she stumbles upon her ex-boyfriend, who died 17 years ago, reincarnated as a kappa. A mythical creature of the sea. Their romance takes off where it ended back in school.

Our thoughts:
This is one of those films where you constantly think "this could only be a Japanese movie". No other country dares to mess around with such strange ideas and play them off seriously. And even though this film had plenty of comedy in it, the messages it deliver are all very serious.

This comedic semi-erotic love musical is about the love between a woman, Asuka, and a mythical sea creature, a kappa. It's a creature with a shell on its back, a weird plate on the top of his head, and a beak. Its her dead ex-boyfriend who died 17 years ago who was reincarnated as one of these. Meanwhile she works at a fish factory together with her sleazy current boyfriend, where wedding plans are right around the corner. Love is blooming between Asuka and the kappa, Aoki, and she has to decide if she wants to stay with her boyfriend or leave with the kappa.

The story does feature some heavy subjects such as love, death, reincarnation, sacrifice, life and so on, but it never keeps the movie from being focused on entertainment. Within the first second I couldn't keep myself from laughter because of how intentionally poor the creature FX were, and seeing him sitting in the swamp eating a cucumber (because they love that) was hilarious. The songs are very uplifting, and the dance-numbers are rather sloppy which makes them fun. Overall it offers plenty of laughs, even when it's not trying to.

The cinematography is something people have been especially focused on with this movie, and there are some really good shots but I think the majority of scenes are very typical pinku (whatever that might mean). The good shots are great, but it's never what drew me into the film. I guess I was a bit disappointed by that, but it's still not bad.

As for being an erotic film, I wouldn't say it's a porno as some have stated. There's erotica in it - some good female boobage, love scenes and a very strange looking creature penis. But it's not enough to say that the film is porn or really erotica. I do understand why it would be labeled as such, it's just never what drives the movie. It's not what categorizes it, to me.

Ultimately, "Underwater Love" is an alright movie. It's fun at times, sexy at times, serious at times, and sometimes just utterly retarded. You can't expect much else from a story like this. But most of the stupidity comes out of the lack of attention they put on the creature mask. It can't be unintentional! But I guess it adds to the charm, and it manages to draw you into the movie even though you don't buy the look. Check this out if you want to watch something strange. Doesn't matter if you dislike musicals, as this is something different.

Positive things:
- Fun and stupid.
- I dug the strange musical numbers.
- Creature sex!
- Has some deeper meanings behind it too.
- Sawa Masaki as very good as Asuka.
Negative things:
- Some of the acting.
- Its main force is that it's strange.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 3/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 0.5/5
Comedy: 2.5/5

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