Thursday, December 25, 2003


The other day I rented the film Bounce Ko Gals, directed by Masato Harada, which has acquired some notoriety because it's about Japanese schoolgirls who engage in "paid dates," a euphemism for prostitution. The plight of Japanese adolescents has been a fertile theme for Japanese popular culture: e.g. All About Lily Chou Chou and the anime Boogiepop Phantom. But Bounce Ko Gals has neither the depth of these two films, nor the vitality of a B-movie like Alleycat Rock: Sex Hunter. Instead, it's a plodding, moralistic "expose" of a social problem, of the sort associated with Hollywood in the 1950s. The two central characters are both cliches: the inexperienced girl who at first just dips her toes into the world of paid dates to make a quick buck, but is inexorably sucked in deeper, and the streetwise girl who robs her customers instead of having sex with them. Nor did the film provide any sociological insights about the "paid date" phenomenon beyond what I'd already read in newspaper articles. I watched it for about an hour, and decided there was little point in watching further.

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