Movies

DVD Review: New Manager of the Sumo Club

9-450Mai is caught having an affair with one of her teachers (the exact nature of which is  a little fuzzy as she seems to like him, but at the same time has him alter her grades for the better).  As punishment, she is forced to take over the managerial duties of the university’s sumo club, which has fallen into disrepair after it was banned from competition.

New Manager of the Sumo Club is another low budget ‘pinku eiga,’ which is Japan’s colourful term for an exploitation film; but I have to give it credit for trying to stretch the genre, if only a little.  Mixing the tropes of the ‘pink film’ (see what three years of Japanese classes gets you?)  with a generic underdog sports team story makes it all seem new, even though it’s made up entirely of cliches.

The sumo team storyline is played mostly for comedy, in a style that will be very familiar to anyone that’s seen a comedy anime from the 80s or earlier.  There’s also something of a redemption Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 11.14.25 AMstory for Mai, as she comes to care for the team and learns to choose men for love, and not for what they can do for her (of course, this also involves her stabbing her roommate in the back, so it’s not much a redemption, really).

The other side of the story is sort of an emotional drama, though not a very deep one.  The problem is the fuzzy relationship between Mai and her teacher; they aren’t clearly close enough for their problems to carry any weight, so the attempted drama falls flat.

The actress playing Mai, Azumi Suzuki, seems disengaged through most of the film; but that kind of suits her tough, ‘I don’t care about anybody else’ character.  She’s competent in the role, but doesn’t really have the spark needed to headline a movie like this.

So, yeah.  What do you say about this thing?  It’s okay?  I guess if you want to see a pinku eiga, and want something with a little more substance than is normally found in the genre, this might be the pick for you.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 11.14.50 AMThe video quality sucks.  The DVD from Switchblade Pictures is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, and there are no extras.

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