October 31, 2012
Koi ni Itaru Yamai
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2012
There have been plenty of films about people switching bodies (and in the process genders) but I can’t think of a flick where the principles just switch genitalia. Now we have one.
This first feature by director Shoko Kimura is unsure whether it wants to be a straight-up comedy or some kind of think piece and it ends up being neither. High-school student Tsubura (Miwako Wagatsuma) has a mad crush on her biology teacher Madoka (Yoichiro Saito), and like all puppy love swooners she obsessively follows his habits and idiosyncrasies. The instructor is actually a mild-mannered and not the type to take advantage of a pupil, but one day Tsubura steals into his office for a planned seduction. When the deed is done the two have exchanged body parts, a scenario the girl oddly foresaw. Appropriately shocked the teacher takes the pesky student an empty family residence out of town to figure things out.
While there are clear attempts at slapstick and gags, the piece never connects as a comedy. It’s too schlocky and mannered to be offer any real insight to gender identity so we’re left with an interesting idea and little development. English title: The End of Puberty (116 min)