Tsumugi (Sora Aoi) is a seemingly typical teenager; however, she just happens to have succumbed to a suffocating crush on her stiflingly conventional teacher Katagiri (Takashi Naha). Tsumugi successfully seduces expectant father Katagiri but, the deed done, Tsumugi can’t help but have her head turned by handsome classmate Kosuke (Satoshi Kobayashi) as Katagiri’s affection for her turns to obsession. Now trapped in a triangle from which none can escape undamaged, each will question the nature and purpose of their own particular lives…
Not quite what you might initially envision for an entry into the Pink cinema pantheon (despite the original Japanese title which translates as Uniform Beauty: Shag Me Teacher!), Tsumugi is a refreshingly mature take on a troubled, and forbidden, teen-teacher relationship. Ultimately, despite the regular sex scenes, it’s an exploration of the nature of conventionality and conformity with both Tsumugi and Katagiri at a crossroads and unsure where the next step should take either of them.
Tsumugi and Katagiri are themselves confused characters. Tsumugi, carried along by her own misguided innocent enthusiasm, is a wilfil but not wicked girl, manipulative but misunderstood. Tsumugi has no idea about the nature of her purpose in life, or the nascent desires which propel her into dangerous situations. Unable to separate love from sex, Tsumugi is a volatile proposition. Similarly, Katagiri knows not what he wants, or even needs, from the stupor of his staid existance, only that Tsumugi’s adolescent energy is burning him to rediscover the youthful vigour which has long since been drained from him by the dicates of married life and employment in an educational institution.
Putting aside the predictably uncomfortable interpretation of pigtailed pubescent fetishism, Sora Aoi is sensational as the titular high schooler, by turns carnal, questioning, contrary, caring and capricious. Her first foray into more mainstream fare alongside a very successful AV (i.e. hardcore) career, Tsumugi marks the entry into “serious” acting which has taken her to the excellent Thai portmanteau piece Hormones and the superbly silly Big Tits Zombie (reviewed here). It’s not an easy assignment to essay the qualities of a girl whose greatest mystery is her own developing sense of self but Sora Aoi acquits herself admirably.
Takashi Naha is good value too as Katagiri, particularly in his stop-start relationship with a former childhood friend played by Shigeru Nakano of the legendary Japanese punk band Anarchy. Shot in only five days, directing with quite some dreamy flair, Hidekazu Takaharu manages to cram in some subtle cinematographic touches among the obligatory carnal couplings.