Sunday, November 6, 2011

A realistic look at lesbian life in Japan: The Plica-chan movie

The Plica-chan movie is a bit of strange beast- not for its story, but its storytelling format. It was produced by the folks at the Love Piece Club (a woman/GSM-friendly sex shop in Tokyo), who wanted to adapt a story by, about, and for the Japanese lesbian community.

The cover of the movie is as seen above because the DVD comes in a CD case instead of a DVD case. When you start playing it, the first thing you'll see is a menu with the option to watch the movie in 日本語 ("Japanese") or English (as in, with English subtitles). I wonder how many people outside Japan have bought this movie.

The first part is titled "Blue Sky in the Window," featuring scenes of Plica and Mari after they've started dating. In the opening scene, Plica stops holding Mari's hand when they're outside because she's nervous about the stares they get for it. She berates herself and swears that she won't let go again. I don't think that this scene was in the original comic, not that that's a negative.

This movie isn't animated. It sequentially shows the panels from different comic strips sans text, with seiyuu voicing the characters and sound effects (people milling in the background, sipping, a knife chopping food on a wooden board, etc) and background music playing. It's like reading the comic while listening to a drama CD. (There is a little animation in one scene.)

At about 9 minutes in, the movie switches to a Q&A that over a dozen women participated in. The questions are: "When do you feel you are lucky being a lesbian?," "How did your parents react when you came out?," "What do you like most about women's bodies?," and "Do you want to 'marry' your girlfriend?" This part alone makes the movie worthwhile.

The next part is inexplicably titled "Useless "How to Sex" Tips for Lesbians." More cute scenes with Plica and Mari. ^_^

The next part is "Stop Multiplying Machiko, Please," starring, you guessed it. This part is mostly composed of new story material.

The voices in this movie all fit. Plica sounds perfect. Mari has a deeper voice than I'd expected, but it suits her. Machiko's seiyuu gets extra points for delivering her lines in a way that makes Machiko a little more amusing.

"One day next summer" returns to Plica and Mari, yay! The story in this part is unique to the movie also. Plica and Mari make a soumen dinner and Plica thinks about how she wants to still be with Mari when the next summer comes. ^_^

Next, the movie provides a description of Plica-chan's history. Then the credits roll, followed by an epilogue titled, "Let's Go to the Parade!" in which the characters attend a Pride parade. The entire movie, including the credits, is a little over 31 minutes long.

Like the manga it's based on, this movie is a realistic look at the day-to-day lives of a group of lesbians living in Tokyo. Plica and Mari are great characters, Machiko is "meh" but too realistic to dismiss entirely, and the other characters (the closeted teacher Saki, Machiko's butchy friend Roku, Plica's mom, various other acquaintances) serve their roles well. I'm glad that the people who produced this movie decided to make it a mix of the story that readers of the manga are familiar with and new material.

Like the Plica manga, this movie is highly recommended for anyone interested in what it's like to be a lesbian in Japan.

Story: A-
Art: B-
Overall: A-

The Plica-chan movie is still in stock at the Love Piece Club website. They ship internationally.


Erin said...

Strip 23 is about hand-holding, but I don't remember if it's exactly the same scene as in the movie.

Did you buy your copy online? If so, how much was the shipping? I've been thinking of using a proxy service to get it, since last I checked, the shipping from LPC was more than I want to pay for one DVD.

Katherine Hanson said...

@Erin- Yes, I bought it through LPC's website.

The shipping was 2,000 yen, adding up to a total of 4,940 yen. (No different from what Amazon JP charges for DVDs, but yeah, still expensive. : \) Would you mind sharing the name of the proxy service you use? I'm curious because there are so many, and a lot of them are rather expensive to use also.

Erin said...

@Katherine: I used to use a proxy service that was run over email by one person and had good rates, but sadly, it closed down a while back. Recently I've been using . I use Rinkya for doujinshi (though it's been a while, so I don't know if they still offer discounted fees for doujinshi purchases). I've heard good things about various other proxy services, but haven't tried them myself.
If you plan to buy stuff from Japan regularly, a postty account might be a good investment--they give you a Japanese address and send on the packages to you, so you do all the ordering and whatnot yourself.
One other good strategy is to find a friend to go in on a joint order with you, so you can split the shipping cost with them if you're each only getting one or two things. (If you know of a trustworthy person in the US who's thinking about ordering the Plica movie, please let me know!)

Katherine Hanson said...

@Erin- Wow. Thank you for sharing those!

I don't know anyone else in the US who is interested in buying it, but if someone does express interest, I will let you know.

Erin said...

@Katherine: Okay, thanks!