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The Virgin Psychics - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Eiga Minna! Esupa Dayo!

Japan 2015

Genre:
Comedy

Director:
Sion Sono

Cast:
Shota Sometani
Elaiza Ikeda
Erina Mano
Makita Sports
Motoki Fukami
Reiya Masaki
Ken Yasuda
Megumi Kagurazaka
Maryjun Takahashi
Ami Tomite
Rosa Sahel
Tokio Emoto


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The Virgin Psychics

The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Like so many other teenagers his age Yoshiro (Shota Sometani) lies in his bed one evening and masturbates while thinking of some of his female classmates. However, suddenly something extraordinary happens. He is hit by a light and from that day on has telepathic skills. It turns out that Miyuki (Elaiza Ikeda), one of the students he fantasized about, has supernatural abilities, too. But Yoshiro is still more interested in Sae (Erina Mano) who he thinks is his one true love. Even before he was born he talked to her, so he believes, when his pregnant mother sat next to her mother. Then, Sae's father (Ken Yasuda) unexpectedly enters Yoshiro's life and assembles a group of teenagers who all possess supernatural powers. Together they want to face Akiko (Ami Tomite) and other awakened ESP-specialists who use their powers for evil. But chaos has already spread since teenagers are dressing more and more revealing and seem to herald a sexual revolution. Everything gets out of control and the virgin superhero squad has to demonstrate its abilities.



The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 2 The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 3
The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 4

Review: Somewhere in this comedy overflowing with teenager hormones and actresses wearing merely lingerie there has to be a deeper meaning. At least, that's what's to be assumed when it comes to director Sion Sono. After all, his flick "Tag" depicted women as objects, too, in order to criticize exactly that. Still, you should be careful, otherwise you might start overanalyzing things. Ultimately, "The Virgin Psychics" struggles with an extremely shallow and most importantly unfocused story that can't win you over. The characters aren't really captivating either. Particularly, the supporting characters clearly originate in a manga, which after all served as the fundament, yet lack substance. As is actually the case with the whole rest of the movie.

The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 5

The film itself is based on a 12-episode series, which again got its bearings from the manga "Minna! Esupa Dayo!" by Kiminori Wakasugi. Almost the whole cast of the series, which among others has been directed by Sion Sono as well, made it to the big screen. With the exception of the role of Miyuki now being played by Elaiza Ikeda. Looking at it as a work of its own, and apparently the film wants to be seen as such, a lot of stuff is obviously compressed and thrown at the viewer with a high pacing. That in itself is no big problem, if the different elements would gear into each other. Instead, there is something volatile about "The Virgin Psychics" and you in fact get the impression of watching different episodes of a tv show where the filling material, especially the development of the characters, is missing.

The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 6

Of course you have to be willing to bear with the fact that the story is extremely wacky. Superheroes whose libido is skyrocketing, lasciviously lounging women in every other frame (or even more frequently) and a story that wants to be located somewhere in the sociocritical field, but isn't capable of drafting out exactly what it wants to achieve. Particularly irritating are the lingerie-wearing good-looking girls, who can be found everywhere in the movie, or the amount of cosplay at display. The dream of any teenager boy - let's be real, of any men, period - but if you expect this flick to be an erotic movie because of that you are far wrong. Everything remains surprisingly tame. There are almost no sex scenes to be seen and so the irritation concerning what "The Virgin Psychics" actually wants to be gets even bigger. A superhero movie of a different kind and also more comical in tone, no doubt about it. But why all the scantily-clad women who could have been taken right out of a soft porn movie?

The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 7

Maybe Sion Sono simply had a fun time himself doing such a movie. You can easily get this impression looking at the sexy actresses and the amount of sex in some of his previous movies. However, the director amazes with his fast-paced and innovative storytelling, of which we get some examples here as well, and stories that contain a subtly conveyed message. Yet, especially in regard to the latter his manga adaptation turns out to be a big disappointment. When the villain's motives are revealed, you will just scratch your head. At the same time we are wondering if maybe Sion Sono wanted to denounce the hypocritical split of Japanese society in prudish concervatism on the one hand and a gigantic sex industry on the other, while supporting sexual revolution.

The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 8 The Virgin Psychics - Film Screenshot 9

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Speaking in favor of "The Virgin Psychics" is that in the end everything points at the theme of true love. The story's hero, played by Shota Sometani ("Parasyte", "As the Gods Will"), may only have girls on his mind, but he is still waiting for his one true love. Thus, he is someone who is led into temptation by all the girls around him, but still remains unaffected by all this. And that's also the next fascinating thing. Despite female curves being celebrated to excess and quite inappropriately so for a mainstream movie there is still something pure and innocent about "The Virgin Psychics". That's quite fascinating, but it doesn't make up for the lack of humor (aside from the mandatory pubertal jokes) and the shallow as well as absurd, but not really that funny story.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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