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FEMALE GYM COACH: JUMP AND STRADDLE (1981)
Published by David Carter on 2015/5/10 (970 reads)
Directed by Koyu Ohara
Review by David Carter
Released by Impulse Pictures
Running Time: 67 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Mono Japanese/English subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Liner Notes
Trailer Online: No
Japan does things a bit differently than the rest of the world. Pointing this out is a bit of a cliché as this is common knowledge everywhere (including Japan) but it doesn’t make these eccentricities any less fascinating. One of the most unique aspects of Japan is their business culture, which is unlike any seen in other nations. We see one of the more bizarre aspects of Japanese business culture in Impulse Pictures’ FEMALE GYM COACH: JUMP AND STRADDLE.
COACH is the twenty-first release in their Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection, and features the Kara Cosmetic Company’s attempt to capitalize on the attractive women who work for them. Kara has been sponsoring an after-work apparatus gymnastics team coached by former competitive gymnast Kei. Kei is hard on the girls, earning their respect but not making any friends in the process. Rumors that the funding for the team is going to be cancelled causes the girls to go into a panic, but what really occurs is even more upsetting to Kei. Apparatus gymnastics is replaced with rhythmic gymnastics because the company president believes it to be more “sexy” and therefore a better fit for their new ad campaign.
If the loss of the apparatus gymnastics team wasn’t enough, Kei finds herself out as coach, replaced by her former lover Aoki. Kei is now at odds with her former charges both for a position on the team and for Aoki’s attention. Each tries to win Aoki’s heart and unresolved issues from their previous relationship puts more of a strain on Kei than their rigorous training.
FEMALE GYM COACH is, to my knowledge, the only movie ever made about rhythmic gymnastics – that’s the one with the ribbons and hula hoops, in case you’re wondering. It’s not the only movie about gymnastics, however, and while it’s no GYMKATA, it does have its moments. As you would imagine, most of the film is a simply a prelude to a nude rhythmic gymnastics scene which, also as you probably guessed, is shot from about fifty yards away due to Japan’s stringent obscenity standards. The plot of the film takes a standard and predictable course, with the only appearance of Nikkatsu’s normal transgression being seen in the fact that Kei and Aoki’s original relationship occurred when she was still in high school. Their relationship is actually well realized in the film but the majority of the screen time is dedicated to low-angle leotard close-ups. Less emphasis is placed on humor than in other Nikkatsu films, but the entire concept of the film is likely amusing enough to keep any viewer entertained.
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