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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DVD Review: Tsumugi

DVD Released: May 19th, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 62 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Pink Eiga
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99 (BUY)

Tsumugi - Seifuku bisyojo sensei atashi wo daite

The Film

Tsumugi is the latest title from US outfit Pink Eiga who are slowly but surely releasing celebrated “pink” titles into the marketplace. For the uninitiated the “pink” genre must follow some pretty strict guidelines:

1. The film must have the requisite number of sex scenes (typically a minimum of five).
2. The film must be approximately one hour in length (perfect for the Pink Eiga triple-bill format).
3. It must be shot on 35 mm film (or occasionally 16mm) in a week and finished within one month.
4. The film must be completed within an extremely limited budget (around $35,000 US).

Tsumugi stars AV idol Sora Aoi, as the titular student who starts an affair with her teacher Mr. Katagiri (Takashi Naha) who in turn is having a liaison with another teacher, Yoko, despite his wife about to give birth to their first child. In addition to this Tsumugi is very keen on one of her class mates as well, so all in all many love triangles are occurring as we are introduced to each character!

Katagiri despite realising what he’s doing is wrong starts a relationship with Tsumugi as well as keeping Yoko happy as well; Tsumugi is happy with her experienced lover but likes to have fun with Kosuke, her classmate although he is very much less experienced in the bedroom area. We are also introduced to a punk rocker friend of Katagiri who also experiences a life lesson which I won’t allude to so as to not spoil the movie. Yoko however, who seems to very much love Katagiri, soon discovers the tryst between Tsumugi and him and she is not happy....

Director Hidekazu Takahara, has managed to weave a very touching, yet erotic story in little less than 62 minutes which is quite a feat, managing as well to make you care very much for the characters involved especially Tsumugi as Sora Aoi, who while being bewitchingly pretty also does an excellent job in the acting stakes and, not surprisingly given her AV background, very well in the more racy scenes.

The film I feel is trying to teach us that we all need to grow up sometime and face the consequences that life throws at us and this is all too apparent for Katagiri and his punk rock chum as we head towards the end! Tsumugi herself is in a quandary that is resolved in a surprising way in the film’s finale, as she is perhaps loved too much by Katagiri and too little by Kosuke, so what is she to do? Overall an excellent little entry into the Pink Eiga genre, and although director Takahara veered away from the main story with the punk rocker subplot, the accolades for both the film and Sora Aoi are well deserved.

Definitely one of Pink Eiga’s best releases so far, Tsumugi strikes the right balance of story, empathy and eroticism; Definitely add this to your DVD shopping list.

Transfer and Audio

The transfer is problematic but this seems to be a problem with many films within this genre, with the 1:85:1 non-anamorphic image being quite soft at times with some vertical banding apparent as well. This is due I would imagine due to it being mastered from a tape source rather than from a 35mm print which is a shame given it was only released in 2004. The 2.0 audio is fine with no real problems and the hard-matted subs are fairly precise and well translated!


The film has been released in both a Standard and Special Edition, I was given the standard edition and it includes: Hidekazu Takahara’s Director’s Notes, Tsumugi International Movie Trailers, Cast and Crew Biographies and Filmographies, Still Image Slide show, Original Japanese Movie Poster and Sneak Peeks: More PINK EIGA Trailers. Also note that the Special Edition also includes a 5.1 DD soundtrack as well as 3 featurettes, production diaries as well as a music video as well! Congratulations to Pink Eiga for such a great package as it’s always fantastic to get a bit of background into these interesting movies!

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