Plunged into this maelstrom is Sakura Nishi (Ayako Wakao), a young nurse who is more than willing to do her duty for the motherland but who has no idea what she's in for. At her first stop, a fairly well-equipped hospital, she finds that many of the patients are soldiers are healthy but are managing to hang around rather than head back to the front. On her first night rounds, she's gang raped by several of them, but her complaints to the head nurse fall on deaf ears. After all, they're lonely men, she's a pretty woman. What did she expect?
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It matters for the reason that Suzuki's muscular Fighting Elegy, which opens in 1932, follows the exploits of a middle school student named Kiroku (Hideki Takahashi) as he fights his way to the top of the testosterone-fuelled machine that this rise in militarism first tooled. In this he is driven by patriotism, of course, but his primary motive in building his body and defying authority is to sublimate the intolerable lust he feels toward proper, Catholic Michiko (Junko Asano), with whose family he is lodging. In the gangs with whom Kiroku spends time, chasing after girls is for "sissies." And Kiroku, a Catholic himself, can predict all too easily how Jesus would feel about the whole thing. Masturbation helps, provided you can find a spot in the house where there are no crucifixes hanging in plain view, but Kiroku's primary mode of release remains fighting.
Continue reading: Fighting Elegy Review