“Pornographer Spring Life” Movie Review

Japanese BL has long since had a presence worldwide for being unabashed; showing gay romance unapologetically and with respect.

“Ossan’s Love” focused more on the main character’s journey towards maturity later in life, rather than his sexuality. “What Did You Eat Yesterday” used the gay relationship as a plot device towards showcasing the 40-year-old main character’s difficulties while accepting himself as a gay man. In an almost traditional sense now, “The Novelist – Spring Life” uses no preamble to conclude the love story of its characters. It just happens to be as realistic and natural as a slice of life should be.

This short film acts as a coda for the series, well known throughout the world as “Pornagrapher”, adapted from a manga series written by Marukido Maki. For the sake of the review, we are not going into the somewhat fluid timelines for how the events of the three separate storylines work. Instead briefly, here is a summary of the two main characters lives before this incarnation. Rio Kijima (Takezai Terunosuke) is a failed novelist who turns to writing erotica as a source of income upon moving in with his college classmate, Shiro Kido (Yoshida Munehiro). The two carry on a sexual affair until Kido makes his feelings known when he sees Rio return home to Kuzumi Haruhiko (Izuka Kenta). Rio manipulats Haruhiko into a sexual and romantic tryst after Kido breaks his heart. While his relationship with Haruhiko deepens, Rio abandons his failed city life and moves to the countryside to live with his family.

Rio and Haruhiko have been keeping in touch with each other via letters for the past two and a half years, before they meet again on a planned romantic holiday. Set against the backdrop of a beautiful sunlit day, with cherry blossoms strumming the street; Haruhiko exits the station and sees Rio in his typical nonchalant way, lighting a cigarette. The film acts as a summation for these two lovers who have come a long way in their respective lives. Under bright sunlight, we watch the actors create a sense of wonder in each other’s presence. Rio’s widened eyes as Haruhiko brims with extroverted joy at seeing his “Sensei” again, practically bouncing in excitement; which is a testament to how well these two know each other.

As the two drive down a country road away from the station(a part of me wonders how this is the city, as stated that Rio moved too) the two discuss their communication which for two years was only through letters. Never email, never phone calls and Rio stubbornly says he just likes the presence of the letters. Haruhiko accepts this until Rio brandishes a smartphone. The bucolic scene devolves into comedy at his over the top reaction to it being there and like in any great romance. They give in to the sexual tension between them that has been building since two years before when they had sex and or any physical interaction.

The love motel they had planned on staying at is long forgotten as they travel to Rio’s sister’s house instead. There the couple has a small conversation with her that does a great job of outlining Rio’s real character outside of the seductive lothario he is mostly depicted as. The short film ends on a lighter note and a promise that the pair will continue to treasure each other in their own unique ways.

I personally loved this film as it doesn’t take itself too seriously, doesn’t care what anyone thinks of it, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. With a muted soundtrack, bright lighting and good acting; it felt more like watching a yaoi (car blow job out of nowhere) anime and less like a cinematic masterpiece. It’s like a very well made cupcake and should be consumed over and over, if you just want to taste a BL.

Rating- 5 out of 5

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