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Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl

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Takashi Hayano
Kumiko Hayano
Takuya Hiramitsu
Toshiyuki Kitami
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During the 1970s. while American cult film lovers were frequenting the Grindhouses and drive-ins,  Nikkatsu was making a name for itself in Japan, with its “Roman Porno” erotic line. Between 1971 and 1989 the studio released over a thousand “Pink Cinema” films, and now, thanks to Impulse pictures, those of us in America are finally getting to see (potentially twenty five of) them for the first time.  Subtitled, chock full of half-naked Asian cuties, and filled with all manner of bizarre Japanese fetishism, let us examine this collection in order of release and see if American audiences have a “yen” for this sort of thing?

Volume #4 is ZOOM UP: THE BEAVER BOOK GIRL, and details the trials and tribulations of Sensei; a renowned fetish pornographer who  specializes in pictures of women peeing. Partnered with his cameraman, Kouichi, and his resident model, Mako, he has made a quite a name for himself by producing piddle porn. In other words, he's  the #1 photographer…of chicks going number one. Yet his golden future seems to be in jeopardy.  

A mysterious woman named Yoshie seems to be stalking him, and gradually ingratiating herself into his life until she eventually replaces Mako as Sensei’s favorite model. This only raises more questions regarding the ultimate motivations of the strange woman.  For example, not only does she leave anonymous piles of money around, but she refuses to accept any sort of payment whatsoever for her photo shoots.

It wouldn’t be a Nikkatsu Pink Cinema flick if there wasn’t some kind of unspeakable, deviant sex action occurring in every other frame and this is no exception. At the conclusion of ZOOM UP when “Sensei” finds himself fastened to a bed in an abandoned warehouse on a location shoot gone terribly wrong, we find out about his secret past and his role in the strange sexual assault that takes place at the beginning of the film. 

This film follows the classic formula for every revenge based tale of an illicit relationship gone wrong, but instead of the “crime of passion” murder which is the staple of every erotic thriller, ZOOM UP features peeing as not only a fetishized action, which will hopefully delight you, but also as an act of communication and plot development, where characters struggle for onscreen visual dominance by pissing on - rather than killing - each other as they would in a more traditional thriller. Water Sports, while not a uniquely Japanese kink, is not something that I (or most American audiences) have ever developed a taste for  and if you haven’t either, you might want to avoid this. The censorship blur is back again, the plot regarding Sensei’s past doesn’t actually surprise anyone when it is ultimately revealed, and the screen is drenched in pee in every other scene.  Still, as all previous volumes in this series, I must concede that it does earn points for being awfully erotic (if not erotically awful), with said eroticism depicted in ways I never thought possible in unrated fashion.  Nikkatsu Pinku films (while deranged) are anything but dry, but I found the ample wetness on display in this film a little “piss poor”. 

Special Features include newly translated English subtitles and those ubiquitous liner notes by Jasper Sharp as well as the original theater trailer.

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