This ribald 1973 satire on the wave of pornography then washing over Japan, from racy photos in weekly magazines to adult films in Shinjuku grindhouses, represents a departure for both director Masaharu Segawa and star Frankie Sakai, both then better known for their popular and utterly un-erotic Journey (Ryoko) series.
Frankie plays Nagato Kinoshita, a straight-arrow cop who is transferred to the vice squad and feels hugely uncomfortable with the job. His first big assignment is to nab the boss of a shady outfit that is producing porno movies. First, though, he reluctantly makes the acquaintance of a sultry stripper, Tome (Kiwako Taichi), and begins shadowing her in the hopes that she will lead him to bigger game. Meanwhile, at home, his fleshy wife Masayo (Masumi Harukawa) is anxious to start a family, but Kinoshita’s libido has been extinguished by his work, which has made him allergic to anything sexual.
He finds relief at a reunion of his former army mates, effusively greeting his old best pal Fujimura (Takuya Fujioka). But Fujimura becomes strangely uneasy when he learns about Kinoshita’s new job — since he is the boss Kinoshita is supposed to bust.From here, as Kinoshita fumbles closer to his prey, the farce escalates to absurd heights, although the film remains grounded in the realities of the era’s sex industry, starting with Tome’s strip joint, where males surround a circular stage to gaze at the wonders of the female anatomy at eye-to-groin level while Kinoshita tries to look anywhere but at the winking, writhing Tome.
Another, more inside gag revolves around Chishu Ryu’s elderly “eminent director” who is still devoted to his art but has been reduced to churning out quickie blue films. The star of Yasujiro Ozu’s internationally acclaimed masterpieces, Ryu reveals a dryly comic side to his acting persona seldom glimpsed in Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari, 1953) or Late Spring (Banshun, 1949).
Of course, to film directors of the time, Segawa included, the director’s descent was no laughing matter. Devastated by competition from television, studios were downsizing their staff drastically — or going bankrupt. One former major, Nikkatsu, turned over nearly its entire production to soft porn the year of the film’s release.
Segawa was luckier than most, making a successful transition to television later in the decade, although he returned to the big screen in 1984 with his first porn feature, Turkish March: Castle of Dreams (Toruko Koshinkyoku: Yume no Shiro). He did not, thankfully, have to run from the vice squad.