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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Interesting series marred by censorship, wrong aspect ratioApril 15 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
This series of erotic movies from the Japanese Nikkatsu Studios is collectively entitled "Angel Guts". The movies center around the theme of rape. Although they were meant to be exploitative, they do elicit more thoughtful insights on the subject than the genre would suppose. They portray rape as violent and brutish but they do not sensationalise or glorify it. All 5 movies end tragically, either in death or ruined lives. It's almost like soft-porn with a conscience. As soft-porn stories go, they are pretty interesting. My quibble here is with the censorship.
Although we do get scenes of sexual violence, there is absolutely no depiction of genitalia or penetration to conform with Japanese law. Where these inadvertently appear onscreen, they are digitally fogged away. In fact, look at Chapter 9 (Pillow Talk) in "Red Vertigo" and you see a huge foggy cloud over the 2 actors' lower halves. To me this kind of censorship is ludicrous, laughable and totally unacceptable, especially in a DVD release that touts itself as a Collector's Edition. Even if it was censored in Japan, this DVD is an international version and we are not subject to Japanese laws. Why couldn't the producers have sourced for the original negatives? Why are we being foisted with censored prints? What we have left are some scenes of toplessness. Although it's unrated, it would probably merit an R-rating, mainly for the violence. Because it's meant to be erotica, there are some scenes included simply for titillation purposes. Some fairly kinky scenes include a girl using a condom-wrapped egg as a toy, and another involving a wooden table leg. If you like weirdness, there's one where a girl gets peed on. And likes it.
A major problem with the set is that the transfers are all over the place. The first 3 films, "High School Coed", "Red Classroom" and "Nami" are supposed to be in 2.35:1 format. However "High School Coed" only begins with the credit sequence in 2.35:1 before suddenly changing to a cropped 1.85:1. The other two are transferred in their Original Aspect Ratio (Anamorphic). "Red Porno" and "Red Vertigo" are supposed to be in 1.85:1 but have been cropped into 1.78:1 to make a perfect fit for widescreen TV. The transfer is also pretty dark with much of the darker scenes appearing almost black. A lot of action that takes place in the dark is hard to make out. The worst culprit is "High School Coed". There is scattered dirt, nicks and circular imprints throughout. Image quality tends to be on the soft side. Colors are pretty good. Optional English subtitles are provided. Sound is the original 2.0 mono or a remixed 5.1 surround. Many of the actors look like they were dubbed post-production. There's no booklet, leaflet or anything to tell you what's on the DVDs or even the running time for each movie. The only way to find out is to play the discs. I'd say rent it before you decide to buy. I for one do not keep censored videos as part of my collection. Damn.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
response to first reviewerOct. 27 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
i have not seen these, though they are on my list, so my star rating can be completely discounted. this is simply a response to the first reviewer. it is not possible to remove the visual fogging from japanese movies from this time period because these alterations are generally to the master, so they literally become part of the film.