An inspiring Mangaka, Michio, is struggling to make an impact with his work. His current stories end up getting shut down by his current editor and he finds himself struggling to make enough money to live off of. To add to his frustrations, he longs to make a life with his girlfriend, Suzuko, who is holding out on a sexual relationship until Michio is able to prove himself as an artist.
Inspired by his possible future of sexual exploration, Michio begins to pen an erotic manga starring a scantily clad heroine. After a night of feverish writing, Michio finds that his creation has come to life, and is tasked with helping him become more learned in the ways of women. She transforms him into “Michiko”, which results in the mangaka learning many different aspects of what it means to meet a woman’s sexual needs. The quest is not without peril though, and, the newly named “Michiko” has a lot of obstacles ahead of her on her quest for happiness.
The production looks crisp and clean throughout, which gives it the feel of a bigger budgeted production. Jyunichi Yamamoto is able to make the most of everything he is given, inducing the film with a strong distinctive individual appeal. Made in part with anime director Koichi Ohta, the films matches the pace and visual appeal of it’s inspirations. In this regard, it excels in combining the appeal of Pink and anime film in a strong visual presentation.
The performances throughout the production work well to compliment the absurd script, with a lot of the humor resting on over the top performances, as well as lying within a certain degree of innocence being conveyed in the more virginal characters. The erotic scenes are well handled and will appeal to fans who are most invested in the erotic aspect of the genre. Jyunichi Yamanoto showcases, perhaps above all else, that he understands how to craft gleeful, titillating eroticism.
The film does contain a fair amount of visual gags in order to tell its story, which are often over the top, for example, Michio’s genitals becoming a character in itself through a separate actor. Although these moments do help give the production a more definitive and memorable visual appeal, these gags often fall flat and seem rather forced. On the other hand, when these gags are used to emphasize the “cute or “quirky” nature of its subjects, they work well, creating more interest and development. Overall, the film does teeter back and forth too much when trying to create a character identity, with the end result feeling more focused on the negative aspects of femininity. In a genre which often celebrates the strength of the female protagonists, “Magical Michiko” comes across as mostly derogatory.
The success of the movie will rest largely on its comic appeal. For my own personal tastes, there was a large disconnect from the comedic tone. A large portion of my disinterest came from the perception of the humor being a bit too juvenile, with a lot of the jokes picking at the low hanging fruit. Within exploitation/comedy genre there are many entries that I have thoroughly enjoyed which have would be considered more low brow. However, the jokes in “Magical Michiko” fall so short of the mark consistently, that any positives the production does create just get muddled. Taking a step back, there are a lot of positive aspects of the production, most notably within the crisp visuals and erotic scenes, that do show a great degree of talent on the part of the filmmaker.
Comedy is also often best enjoyed in a group. When you watch comedy solo, it is bound to come under more scrutiny and I am always a bit more willing to give film leeway within the genre, over any other. I believe that “The Adventure of Magical Michiko” would make for a great theater experience among like-minded film fans, just because the group experience always elevates the comedy category. The end product is going to divide fans of the genre, given the amount of depth and varied narratives within Pink film. However, “Magical Michiko” exists as a comedy with some really strong attributes, that is bound to find appeal among certain audiences.