Seizou and his soul of patchiness know what an amazing artist he is. All artists who talk about how amazing they are do. He’s set out to find that one girl who can complete his artistic vision of ecstasy and finds her swimming laps at the local pool. He knows she’s the perfect one because she likes long walks on the beach, hot pockets and has the tendency to speak in run-on sentences describing the nature of existentialism. Sadly, if only she was that interesting! In the reviews and descriptions of the film it talks about how she is into block printmaking but in the actual film it fails to mention any of this – and instead describes her as a former art student and a colorist. A hair colorist? A puffpaint colorist? We never know. He drugs her before she can say hello and now we are all in his make believe submarine/tattooing studio, possible den of sex.
Seizou himself is the least interesting psychopathic tattoo artist to ever run amok. He walks around in a rubber wetsuit and wears night vision goggles even when there is plenty of light. He has a fake limp. We never understand why. He himself is only there to create endless chatter on the nature of self and tattooing, or tattooing and self. Never once stopping to think about the result of his actions, the tedium of his soliloquy’s and if the girl of his choosing even wants to be tattooed. He and the screenwriter know the largeness of his tattoo quill will silence her objections and turn screams of protests into moans of ecstasy because this works on every woman. Always.
Once he gets her naked and on the glowing tattooing table, of course it’s all she can do to quiet her sadomasochistic moans as he painstakingly punctures her skin with the traditional Japanese tattooing quill. Honestly this is where it practically turns into a Skinimax feature, cue close up of moaning lips and fake sweat dropped appropriately on to each characters brow, but no real nudity. The amateurishness of the whole setup never goes away nor does the upper lip of Seizou get appropriately filled in. What’s more the grainy VHS feel of the film doesn’t help matters nor does the melodramatic sighing and eschewing of verbose student grade art philosophy. So – maybe it’s good in a sexy way right? Wrong again. Shisei in vintage Scooby-Doo plot twist mode unveils the real reason he captured the girl and all romantic involvement falls to the wayside before it ever really begins.
It’s clear what they were attempting to construct here, an homage of sorts to the same titled early twentieth century Japanese folk story by Jun’ichiro Tanizak. It’s just that the whole thing has been done much better in the film Tattoo starring Bruce Dern and Maud Adams or Irezumi’s -Spirit of Tattoo or even The Way of the Ink. The 1966 film Irezumi plays on the same folklore tale. Or seriously get a tattooing kit yourself and get to work – that would be vastly more entertaining than spending an hour and 17 minutes watching this.