TOKYO DECADENCE (1992)
Label: Unearthed Films
Region Code: A
Duration: 112 mins
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.66:1)
Audio: Original Japanese and English Dub LPCM 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles
Director: Ryu Murakami
Cast: Miho Nikaido, Yayoi Kusama and Sayoko Amano
Tokyo Decadence (1992) is directed by author Ryu Murakami, who wrote the novel that Takashi Miike's Audition was based on, it tells the story of 22-year old college student Ai (Miho Nikaido, Henry Fool) who works as an escort for the wealthy with a specialty in S&M. She makes a living working on the fringes of Tokyo's S&M scene, servicing the needs of wealthy businessmen and mobsters who either want to dominate, be dominated, or be humiliated.
She's a consummate professional and adapts to her clients kinks with ease, moving from the dominating kink of a businessman and his wife to stuff like pissing in a bowl for a urine drinker and the erotic asphyxiation a client who gets off on it - y'know, the usual stuff. Personally though she is in crisis, still pining away for a guy who dumped her and then went on to become quite successful. She consults a fortune teller (Yayoi Kusama) tells her she is in a dangerous place, and that she must do three things to safeguard herself. She must place a telephone directory under her television set; stay away from any art galleries in the east; and to have someone craft her a ring from a pink stone, all of which she does. Afterward she teams-up with a dominant prostitute named Saki (Sayoko Amano) on a series of threesome jobs, and they start hanging out. Saski is a bit if a self-assured party girl who likes to binge on drugs, and whom Ai admires and wants to be more like.
The first half of the film works mostly as a series of sexual vignettes with the film is anchored by a quite strong turn from Nikaido as the outwardly strong but inwardly conflicted sex worker. The second half explores the inner workings, her longing for her former lover, and the duality of her identity. I certainly enjoyed the kinkier first half of the film more so than the latter, I didn't hate it, I just was less in tune with it, and I don't think it's as successful in capturing the inner struggle the character is suffering through as it needs to be. That said, it's a stylish, hypnotic, and sexually tense with a woozy drug-fueled finale that felt quite surreal.
Audio/Video: Tokyo Decadence (1992) arrives on Blu-ray fully uncut from Unearthed Films in 1080p HD framed in 1.66:1 widescreen. Colors look natural throughout, black levels are decent, and the clarity and depth, while not eye-popping, are solid. Audio comes by way of both original Japanese an English dubbed 2.0 stereo PCM with optional English subtitles. The Japanese audio sounds terrific, well-balanced with depth, the score from Ryuichi Sakamoto (The Last Emperor) sounds terrific. The English-dub sounds okay, it isn't as dynamic, but it'll do if you're subtitle adverse.
Extras are a bit disappointing, we get an archival 8-minute Featurette that seems to be mostly footage from the film with a few interviews at the end, the German and Japanese Trailers and a still gallery. The single-disc release arrives in a clear Viva keepcase with a reversible sleeve of artwork and slipcover, both the wrap and slip are branded with the Unearthed Classics logo and numbered, this being number seven in the series.
- Featurette (9 min)
- Stills Gallery
- Japanese Theatrical Trailers (2 min)
- German Theatrical Trailer (2 min)
Screenshots from the Unearthed Films Blu-ray: