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Image Entertainment presents
Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969)

"It's easy to kill if there's a reason. Still want to die?"
- Tsukio (Michio Akiyama)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: December 29, 2000

Stars: Mimi Kozakura, Michio Akiyama
Director: Koji Wakamatsu

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, nudity, rape)
Run Time: 01h:05m:28s
Release Date: December 26, 2000
UPC: 014381896725
Genre: offbeat


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B-B+C+ C-

DVD Review

WARNING: The following review contains content of an adult nature, as does the film discussed. It may not be appropriate for younger readers.

Koji Wakamatsu's 1969 underground film Go, Go Second Time Virgin (Yuke yuke nidome no shojo) tells the story of Poppo (Mimi Kozakura), a disadvantaged girl raped (for the second time in her young life) by a gang of street ruffians one August night in Tokyo. Left bleeding on a rooftop, she survives the night and meets Tsukio (Michio Akiyama), a fellow teenager with problems of his own. Together they explore the darker side of life and sex, with Poppo's suicidal obsessions matching similar threads in Tsukio's unsuccessfully published book of poetry. The joy they find in each other inflames their rage at the unjust world around them, and their love engenders a tragic killing spree.

The title refers to Poppo's vaginal bleeding after her second rape; the cause is not made clear, but it doesn't seem to be the result of internal injury, and the film seems to treat it as a metaphor for setting aside the past. The boy Tsukio has also been sexually abused—a flashback sequence depicts his unwilling involvement with four hentai residents of his apartment building, two men and two women who subject him to groping, fondling and a "golden shower" before setting him aside to indulge their lusts with each other. Wakamatsu's film implies that, for his characters at least, sexuality is dark and dangerous—while Poppo spends most of the film in the nude, she and Tsukio never consummate their love physically. Rather, their joy in each other expresses itself through games, chases around the rooftop and bloody revenge on their tormentors. Tsukio resists Poppo's advances, perhaps because her offered "You can rape me" bespeaks a mutual misunderstanding of sex. While Tsukio fantasizes about raping Poppo while witnessing the rape-in-progress, he is impotent with her; he also imagines that he killed his abusers, though they appear in fact to have been stabbed by someone else. Poppo's love opens this second floodgate at least, and Tsukio finds himself willing and able to knife Poppo's rapists and their girlfriends to death in the film's violent final scenes.

Go, Go Second Time Virgin was shot in four days as a "pink" underground film, distributed outside the normal channels of the Japanese film industry, and its style and tone seem more influenced by Europe's New Wave and American pop music than Kurosawa or Godzilla movies. The film is beautifully photographed, its rooftop locale hosting a wide variety of textures and mechanical symmetries, and Wakamatsu's camera finds visual splendor in its down-and-dirty subject matter. Most of the film is in gorgeous black-and-white, with a few tinted sequences and a full-color flashback to Tsukio's unfortunate orgy experience, and the movie's 2.35:1 aspect ratio provides a wide canvas for Wakamatsu's disturbing imagery. He finds beauty in Tsukio's bloodstained glasses and Poppo's not-quite-womanly, chubby-cheeked face, and he stages his action skillfully, somehow managing to tell this story without violating the traditional Japanese taboo concerning onscreen pubic hair.

Go, Go Second Time Virgin is exploitative in some ways, but far from campy; it's a highly artistic effort that just happens to deal with extremities of sex and violence, presaging the current independent film scene in many ways. Koji Wakamatsu's films have rarely been seen in the US, and this is an eye-opening introduction to his darkly stylish cinematic world.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Image presents Go, Go Second Time Virgin in its original 2.35:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio, with a solid anamorphic transfer. There's a bit of shimmer on thin horizontal edges, and the source print is in less-than-perfect condition with a lot of dust flecking and a few splices. Still, the largely black-and-white film looks great, with sharp detail and well-balanced contrast, and the film's few tinted and color sequences feature bright, consistent hues. Image Entertainment deserves kudos for treating the DVD release of this relatively obscure film with such visible care.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoJapaneseno


Audio Transfer Review: Go, Go Second Time Virgin features its original monophonic Japanese soundtrack, presented in true Dolby Digital 1.0 on DVD. The 1969 soundtrack suffers from significant analog hiss, popping and crackling, but is competently transferred to DVD; the film's quiet dialogue scenes and Japanese pop music selections are presented with reasonable clarity and frequency range. A bit of electronic cleanup would have been greatly appreciated, but the film survives its audibly dated audio.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
Packaging: Snapper
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Director Koji Wakamatsu
Extras Review: There's not a lot of additional material here—Image's DVD features 11 picture-menu chapter stops and burned-in English subtitles which unfortunately cannot be switched off. However, the single "extra" feature is a substantial forty-nine minute interview with director Koji Wakamatsu. The interview isn't specific to Go, Go Second Time Virgin, though it is discussed briefly; rather, it informally covers Wakamatsu's career, many of his films, and his life in general (including his association with the PLO, a possible factor in the limited exposure of his films in the West). It's nicely photographed on video with a pleasantly casual, off-the-cuff style as Wakamatsu discusses his gang labor entry into the film industry, educational handicaps, anti-Establishment views and his low-budget movies. Unfortunately, the interview is presented with an overdubbed (sometimes clipped) English voiceover, rather than subtitles, obscuring Wakamatsu's own voice and inflection; still, it serves as an entertaining introduction to the filmmaker and is enough to bring this grade up substantially.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Koji Wakamatsu's Go, Go Second Time Virgin is a violent, haunting underground film, filled with oddly beautiful images of rape and murder on a Tokyo rooftop. Image's DVD features a solid image transfer and an extensive interview with Wakamatsu. Surely not to everyone's taste, but a worthwhile film by a filmmaker whose work seems ripe for rediscovery.

 


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