Wet Woman in the wind (2016) by Akihiko Shiota

The narrative shows (...) that only women can go beyond (...) manly silliness and that, in a battle of eroticism, only women can be the victor.


When Nikkatsu was facing bankruptcy in 1971, a shift from action to sexploitation narratives, labeled as Roman Poruno, became their saviour. In the years that followed, more than 800 titles were produced until May 1988, when the competition of the straight-to-video titilation and the increasing popularity of television put an end to the label. 

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Roman Poruno label in 2016, Nikkatsu decided to reboot the label, once again opening the field for playful experimentation and creative cinematic expression. For this reboot, Nikkatsu invited Akihiko Shiota, known for narratives like “Moonlight whispers” (1999), ‘Harmful insect” (2001) and “Dororo” (2007), to create a feature of maximum 80 minutes with pretty much the same limitations in time and money as then, while sprinkling the narrative with erotic scenes.

Only given the theme battle to orient his narrative with, can Akihiko Shiota’s narrative attain the same social and, as sexuality and love is a driving force in human relationships, psychological relevance Roman Poruno once had in its heyday?

"Wet Woman in the Wind" will screen at the New York Asian Film Festival, that will be on June 30 to July 16


One day, while Kosuke Kashiwagi (Tasuku Nagaoka), a playwright who escaped Tokyo’s metropolitan life to seclude himself in a forest, is reading a book at the harbor, Shiori (Yuki Mamiya) rides her bicycle straight into the water. Emerging from the water, she reveals her chest undisturbed, while asking him, point-blank, to set her up for the night. Kosuke coldly ignores her.

Not in the least pleased, Shiori decides to follow Kosuke to try to catch his attention. And even though Kosuke keeps brushing her off, Shiori reveals that she has set her eyes on him and swears to make him want her. When Kosuke and Yuzawa, a friend of Kosuke, go fetch coffee beans at the cafe in the town, he accidentally meets her again. Later, the former theater troupe and its female director, who lusts for him, visit Kosuke. Will Shiori obtain what she is striving for?

While the narrative might be comedic in nature, often bordering on the silly, it also provides a more serious commentary on the position of each gender sexuality conditions. “Wet Woman in the wind” structures itself around the oppositional terms of objectivity/subjectivity, while putting the simple orientation so characteristic of men on display.

Confronted with the disdaining reluctance Kosuke shows towards her promiscuity, the uncomplicated way in which she experiences her sexuality, Shiori has no other weapon than her seductive sexuality. She presents herself as an object for men to enjoy sexually, implying, vaguely along the way that some women only find enjoyment in such objectification.

The effect that Shiori’s willingness to be a mere sexual object in the eyes of men produces, might be surprising for the spectator. Besides glancing at the male sexual aggression such objectification invites, the male competition it instigates, and indicating that male self-worth is often derived from the imaginary possession of women, Shiori playfully reveals that her subjectivity goes beyond any kind of objectification whatsoever, and that the real objectification should be situated at the side of the males (Kosuke, Kobouchi, …). The true objects of the narrative are the men. They do not realize that, in Shiori’s battle, they are revealed as faithfully following their phallus, as the object of their own sexual desire. If there is something that “Wet Woman in the Wind” uncovers vividly, it is the very silliness of the male position in sexuality.

Given the limited time and budget, it might be surprising that “Wet Woman in the Wind” boasts some marvelous and powerful compositions – underlining once more the talent of Akihiko Shiota. Each narrative space, especially the forest where Kosuke lives, is used in the guise of a canvas on which the non-erotic interactions and the erotic encounters are painted on. The long takes, by which the battle of our wet woman is framed, puts the weight on the acting and the chemistry between actors as such.

Both Tasuku Nagoaka and Yuki Mamiya give great performances as their respective characters, but, more importantly, it is the chemistry between them and the sensible tension between the rather stoic Kosuke and the playful and full-of-energy Shiori they evoke, that catches the spectators wishing to know if she will succeed and, if she succeeds, how.

The narrative catalyst of “Wet Woman in the Wind” situates itself in the character of Shiori. All the silly and surprising twist and turns of the narrative are caused by her unpredictability, the aphrodisiac nature of her sexuality, or the seductive objectification of men she introduces. And while many sex-scenes - especially the framing of the male within these scenes - border on the comical and the ridiculousness, the energetic final third of the narrative proves to be tantalizing in many ways.

“Wet Woman in the wind” proves to be one funny hell of an erotic battle, with some very powerful and poetic compositions and scenes to boot. And while it uncovers the very silliness men can attain in the field of the sexual, it also shows vividly that only women can go beyond that manly silliness and that, in a battle of eroticism, only women can be the victor.



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Asian Film Vault: Wet Woman in the wind (2016) by Akihiko Shiota
Wet Woman in the wind (2016) by Akihiko Shiota
The narrative shows (...) that only women can go beyond (...) manly silliness and that, in a battle of eroticism, only women can be the victor.
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