Synopsis by Jonathan Crow
After a 14-year-absence, Teruo Ishii returned to the director's chair with this anthology film based on the works of manga artist Yoshiharu Tsuge. The main character in all four segments is a fledgling cartoonist named Tsube (Shiro Sano). In the first segment, Tsube encounters a dotty old man named Ri (Akio Yokoyama) after renting a tumble-down cottage in the country. The following day, Ri, his equally weird wife (Chika Nakagami), and his two squalid children move into his house. Soon the wife is stealing the cucumbers in his garden while the two kids devour all the food in the house. This leaves Tsube more bemused than angry. Later, while his wife is bathing in an oil drum, Ri decides to show his unwilling host how long she can hold her breath. When seconds stretch on into minutes, they pull her out of the water. At that exact moment, Tsube trips and falls face first onto her crotch. The second segment -- entitled "Akai Hana" -- opens with Tsube watching a boy trying to look up the skirt of a young lass selling tea. Instead of berating the kid, Tsube follows the lad to his favorite fishing spot. The river's edge is covered with beautiful red flowers. Later, they both spy the tea seller wading in the river with her skirt hiked up to her waist. To their surprise, the same red flowers pop out from between her legs. In the third segment, Tsube ventures to a town populated entirely by old, very wrinkled women. The owner of the candy shop tells him that he is the spitting image of the former master of the local Gensenkan Inn. The film flashes back to the story of the master, who looks remarkably like Tsube. When visiting said inn, he encounters the inn's mistress, a beautiful lass with an ugly facial tick, rendering her mute. Later while entering the public bath, he sees her naked while she prays before a candle-lit alter. He forces himself on her and eventually they couple in her room. The fourth and final section finds Tsuge, along with his literary friend (Mayo Kawasaki) and his friend's lover (Nana Okuda), trying and failing to run a magazine. When the magazine finally does fold, the writer returns to his wife in the country. Though Tsube has fallen for the girlfriend, she can't forget the writer.
artist, comic-book, family, poverty, seduction, traveling