DVD Underwater Love
Sometimes putting two things that should never go together actually works. So what happens when you combine a soft core porn film with a musical? You get Underwater Love (subtitled ‘A Pink Musical’), a love story between woman and kappa – a mystical creature that lives underwater, speaks perfect Japanese, is highly trained in the art of medicine, and loves cucumbers and sumo wrestling. This is a film that has everything from mythical Japanese creatures, sex, singing, dancing and a prosthetic penis. Honestly, it has to be seen to be believed.
Asuka lives a simple but happy life. She works in a lakeside fish factory, and is engaged to marry her boss, Hajime. When returning a fish to water, she spots a kappa, who later appears to her when she’s driving home. The kappa turns out to be the reincarnation of Aoki, a high school friend who drowned seventeen years ago.
Asuka takes Aoki home with her, putting him in the bath, as he needs water every so often to stay alive. After seeing Asuka and her future husband have sex right in front of him, Aoki’s long forgotten love for Asuka soon becomes clear. After learning more about sex from one of Asuka’s co-workers, he confesses his love, much to her surprise. Soon their relationship begins to blossom, leading to jealousy from Hajime, who makes Asuka choose between the two of them.
But their tale of rediscovered love is met with disaster when the drunken God of Death tells Aoki that Asuka will soon die, prompting them to go on an adventure to the kappa swamps to find a mystical anal bead – the only thing that can save Asuka’s life. But the God of Death isn’t going to give up so easily, cultivating in a wrestling match himself and Aoki!
Unfortunately, calling the film a ‘soft-core porn musical’ is giving it a bit too much credit. Whatever the director had in mind when making Underwater Love, the end result is more a soft core porn film with some singing and dancing every so often. The first musical number is promising, with both the main and background characters breaking out of their routine into the kind of performance you’d see in a Bollywood film. Sadly, it’s all downhill from there – the rest of the songs are actually played over the top of the film rather than have the characters singing (or mouthing) them, and the lyrics have little relevance to the plot itself. So, what you get are scenes where the characters just dance about to some music, if you can even call it that.
Any scene that could be perceived as being serious is countered by something that relegates it back to being completely ridiculous.
Choreography in Underwater Love is near non-existent, so most of the time any dancing is, in reality, just the actors flopping about awkwardly. On the one hand, this does give the film a somewhat more natural feel, but, on the other hand, it just looks and feels cheap, as if there wasn’t really any sort of rehearsals and the cast were told to just do whatever came to them during filming.
Despite this, it is refreshing to see a film that embraces its own absurdity. Unlike the musical sections, which severely suffer from the little effort, the aesthetic quality of the film actually benefits from being simple. The kappa costume amounts to little more than a few obviously prosthetic turtle parts.
Aoki is a great character; his casual reactions to what anyone else would find a bizarre situation provides the source of much humour. Fumio Moriya also seems to have great fun in his role as the completely unorthodox Death God, his outfit apparently made up of some clothes and a wig Moriya just brought along to filming,
Any scene that could be perceived as being serious is countered by something that relegates it back to being completely ridiculous. While Aoki’s first sexual experience was never going to be particularly tasteful given the film’s subject matter, the reveal of a huge scaly prosthetic penis instantly dispels any drama the scene was supposed to have straight out of your mind. His battle to save his lover’s life is metaphorically something we could all engage with, but is literally a bad sumo wrestling match between two grown men, and the film’s Disney-esque conclusion is greeted by a more appropriate than you’d think riverside sex scene.
The film’s soundtrack was provided by French-German duo Stereo Total, which is included on CD with a limited edition run of 2000 copies of the DVD.
Underwater Love had the potential to be fantastic, combining two things that should never be combined into one film you won’t forget in a hurry. While it’s certainly both funny and memorable, it fumbles through its musical sections with little life in terms of singing and dancing. Definitely one to see just for the novelty factor, but unlikely to have any charm in repeated plays.
See The Film For Yourself!
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