"Ichiko Izumiya is an eighteen-year-old woman who goes to language school in university and works part-time at a music store. She lives with her father, Housei Izumiya, who translates English novels into Japanese for a living. Her mother died seven years before the story begins. Ichiko also has a girlfriend named Eri Joujima. When she comes out as a lesbian to her father, her father shocks her by telling her that both he and her mother are also gay. They had wanted to raise a child, and had agreed to marry in name to raise a child in Japan, while mutually being in their own relationships. The rest of the story shows Ichiko meeting her parents' lovers, her daily life and love with Eri."That's the basic gist of it, although the story also heavily centers around Eri's insecurities with her own family and the rift it eventually creates between her and her girlfriend. There's also a subplot about one of Ichiko's gay (male) friends and his depression.
It's very rare for me to find a lesbian film from Japan that not only completely normalizes a lesbian relationship, but also celebrates the fact and, gasp, has a happy ending! Most of the films I've seen, such as the iconic and always remade "MANJI," basically comes down to "lesbians are deviants and will hack your balls off, bro." I also appreciated that this wasn't a "fall in love" story like most are want to be: Ichiko and Eri are well into a relationship at the start of the film. Instead, the film is an explanation of the lengths some queer people go to in order to achieve a "traditional" and happy life.
It's low budget (I laughed every time they were in a completely empty including devoid of staff restaurant) but the acting is superb. It even has a cameo from the great 80's idol Kyoko Koizumi! I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Asami Imajuku, the actress who plays Eri, also appeared in the lesbian film "BLUE" as a minor character. Hmm, think that means anything? ;) All I know is that young lady likes kissing.
The movie is very PG13, with almost no foul language, and very little nudity (only at the end.) The main characters are depicted as having sex occasionally, but nothing about it is graphic. (In fact, if you're looking for HAWT LEZBO SEX you will probably be disappointed.) But I find myself continuing to watch this movie every couple of weeks, as it remains one of the best films I've seen in the genre yet.. Why isn't everyone watching this?
Here is the trailer, sadly, without any subtitles.
You can also watch the first ten minutes on youtube, with subtitles! (Might be NSFW, since the opening is a weird pass-the-gumball scene that you see in the trailer above.) The rest of the movie missing, however, unless you rent the whole thing from youtube, buy it off Amazon (with subtitles) or probably Netflix it. Or, I'm sure you'll find...some way...of watching it. *COUGH*
I'm always looking for new Japanese lesbian films to watch (or manga to read) so if anybody knows of anything good, let me know! Except MANJI. That's the stuff of weird-ass nightmares.