• Tokyo Caligula (Impulse Pictures) DVD Review

    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: February 11th, 2020.
    Director: Kôyû Ohara
    Cast: Maiko Kazama, Asami Ogawa, Tsutomu Akashi, Rika Takahara
    Year: 1981
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    Tokyo Caligula – Movie Reviews:

    The man who gave us Nun's Diary: Confession and White Rose Campus and the amazing Fairy In A Cage, to name only a few, directed Tokyo Caligula (also known as Madame Caligula and as Lady Caligula In Tokyo) for Nikkatsu in 1981. The sixty-minute film starts off with some pretty slick blues licks emanating from a guitar off screen, the soundtrack for this film is already bad ass (it kind of peaks here though, getting a bit generic after the opening – but it’s not bad), as we immediately head into a bathroom where a nude man (Tsutomu Akashi) is pouring red wine down the back of his naked mistress (Rika Takahara), laid out doggy style over the bathtub. He drinks the wine as it pours off between her cheeks, while she moans – he requests for him to ‘don’t do that’ conflicting with what are clearly sounds of pleasure. Their kink play gets kinkier and he tells her how he’s doing everything his wife will not allow. After that, he shaves her and then injects her with what looks like some sort of peppermint liqueur before then properly boning her. She admits, at this point, that she loves it. After they finish fucking, he decides it’s time to split. He leaves and heads to work and she calls his house, hanging up after his wife ‘answers in a sweet voice.’ She calls him, tells him what she did, and then tells him she wants to watch he and his wife ‘do it’ later that night.

    And so, later that night, the wife complains about all the prank calls that have been happening lately. We learn that the wife is named Soari (Maiko Kazama) when he tries to get her in the mood. She resists but he insists and after he turns off the light, they have sex – except not really. The mistress, who we learn is named Yuka, shows up and walks into the bedroom, assuming he’s told her about them, but nope! Then she plays tape recordings she made of Saori’s husband and her screwing! At that point he figures to Hell with it, Saori knows I’ve been screwing around so I might as well screw Yuka in front of her – which is exactly what he does, to prove how useless Soari is in the bedroom!

    At this point, quite understandably, Saori leaves her husband. By chance, she runs into her old friend Shuran (Asami Ogawa) who, after learning of her plight, decides to head off to talk with her. Saori confesses that her strict Catholic upbringing has resulted in her being less than a ‘fun girl’ in the eyes of horny men, but she is the way she is and that’s that. We flashback to when they were high school girls and came across a man taking a piss in a field. He pees on them and they run away but Saori gets caught and he rapes her for laughing at him. When he can’t get it up he grabs a stick in a genuinely grisly scene, her friend watching from a few feet away. In the present day, Shuran tells Saori that her wound from that day has never healed, and she invites her to stay at her place for a while so she can ‘cure’ her illness. Shortly after, at Shuran’s place, a woman in a Nazi gets hot and heavy with Saori while Shuran, on the other side of a curtain, is chained up and being serviced by a guy in some BDSM gear brandishing some chains and a wine bottle. Nazi gal and Saori watch Shuran’s exploits but Saori chickens out and splits, only to get kidnapped by a black dude who takes her back to his hideout, drinks beer and rapes her!

    Saori splits and heads away from that guy’s place only to be tailed by a guy who comes up to her and says he knows she was having sex all night long. Understandably weirded out, she tries to get away from him but soon enough he’s got her tied up in a basement somewhere, slapping her around and pissing on her before he then gives her an enema before cleaning her off and raping her. Shuran, meanwhile, is projecting some 8mm smut onto her walls and getting down with some other chick who she tells all about Saori and how they grew up together as they have rad lesbian sex as they bust out some sex toys and go to town.

    When Saori goes back to her apartment and starts once again tending to her wifely duties, she becomes so overcome with lust and passion as she thinks back about what has so recently happened to her that she takes matters into her own hands. Clearly a different person than she was forty-five-minutes ago, she decides to sort her personal matters out once and for all… but Shuran has a different plant that involves chains, toe sucking, ass whipping, forced fellatio, that chick in the Nazi outfit from earlier in the film and more!

    There’s a twist at the end of the movie, of course, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Still, getting to the finish line is interesting enough. The movie deals more in terms of submission than empowerment, yet finds empowerment through submission before it’s over. Interpret that as you will, the messaging here is complicated as it tends to be in the Nikkatsu Roman Porno pictures (don’t come to this genre looking for political correctness). Still, we feel for Saori, her husband is obviously a douchebag and while you can’t fault him for feeling the way that he feels or needing what he feels he needs, screwing around on his wife rather than talking to her about it is a band thing for sure, and screwing his mistress in front of her to prove his point doesn’t earn him any sympathy points with sensible viewers. The whole thing starts to shift pretty dramatically once Shuran is introduced, the ‘Lady Caligula’ of the title in more ways than Soari could possibly be. She’s very open about what she likes to do and who she likes to do it with, clearly a woman experienced in fetish and kink and quite obviously comfortable with doing whatever she needs to do in order to satisfy herself. The influence wears off in exactly the way you’d expect it to, there aren’t a lot of surprises here.

    The performances, however, are pretty solid. Maiko Kazama is a very good lead. She’s attractive without looking overtly sexual, which makes her a good choice for the part. As she falls deeper into depravity, her performance gets a bit more aggressive but never so much that we feel she’s learned too much too fast. Asami Ogawa is convincing as the more convincing of the pair, while Tsutomu Akashi plays the shitbag husband with some sleazy authenticity and Rika Takahara plays the horny and oh so willing mistress quite well.

    This isn’t as stylish as some of Kôyû Ohara’s other films but it’s still a worthwhile entry in his filmography and an interesting picture in its own right.

    Tokyo Caligula – DVD Review:

    Tokyo Caligula is presented in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen in a transfer clearly taken from an older analogue master. The image is soft and detail is lacking even by DVD standards but at least the image is stable, no problems with tape rolls or tracking lines of any kind. Colors look noticeably flat and black levels are inconsistent, looking more like a murky grey than true black. This doesn’t looks great but it’s watchable enough.

    The Japanese language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is fine. It’s a bit flat and it has some audible crackle in the opening few minutes but thankfully that goes away fairly quickly. The white subtitles are clean, clear and easy to read and free of any noticeable typographical errors.

    There are no extras, just a static menu.

    Tokyo Caligula – The Final Word:

    Tokyo Caligula is more kink than character development but we get enough of that too and, as such, the movie works quite well even if we can see the ‘twist’ and the end coming from a mile away. The performances are good and the set pieces memorable. Impulse Pictures’ DVD is barebones and it doesn’t look amazing but it offers the only legitimate way to see this one in an English friendly edition and, as such, comes recommended for fans of Japanese sleaze.