Weatherwoman/Weatherwoman Returns (1996)
By: David Michael Brown on March 13, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Eastern Eye (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic). Japanese DD 2.0, English DD 2.0 (Weatherwoman only). English Subtitles. 170 minutes
The Movie
Director: Tomoaki Hosoyama Starring: Kei Mizutani, Misa Aika
Screenplay: Tomoaki Hosoyama
Tagline: "The forecast is really heating up"/ "She's back and the Weather's getting hotter"
Country: Japan
AKA: Otenki-oneesan/ Otenki-oneesan R
From the moment that weatherwoman Keiko bids her television audience farewell by hoisting up her skirt and revealing her skimpy panties you know you are in for something different. Despite plenty of prurient thrills, what makes The Weatherwoman such a wonderful experience however is the combination of off kilter Japanese humour and a cutting diatribe against the cult of celebrity. There's much more to The Weatherwoman than a fleeting glimpse of silk.

The first film follows the meteoric rise of Keiko following her saucy closure to her weather report. She quickly ascends through the ranks and is second only to the owner of J-TV. The thing is you can't become that successful that quickly without treading on peoples toes and Keiko has left a trail of disgruntled employers ignored following her salacious antics. The return of her predecessor marks a concerted effort to de-throne the new queen of the cathode ray tube and soon the two weatherwomen are battling in a kung fu filled extravaganza full of pyrotechnic witchcraft thrills. Kei Mizutani spontaneously combusts in the role of Keiko and it's a shame she doesn't repeat the role in the follow up.

The sequel, Weatherwoman Returns, is a more sombre affair following a small company passed down by its dying leader to his inexperienced daughter, Keiko. It was never quite made clear if this was the same Keiko; maybe something was lost in translation and the use of a different actress. The sequel, however does try to convey a sense of seriousness as it depicts the trials and tribulations of the television industry and the small businessman, but soon descends into knicker flashing fun before the end credits as she realises that it's the only way to save her beleaguered company. As with the first film Keiko must battle her fellow weatherwoman to retain her crown in a bizarre bout of scantily clad arm wrestling.

Saucy in all the right places the film's both tread the fine line between comedy and sexploitation with aplomb. The brief scenes of nudity and carnal frolics are mainly played for laughs. The humour is broad and slapstick; there is no room for subtlety in the world of the weatherwoman. When she demands an entrance to her dressing room more befitting her stature, it's obvious that what she deserves is a red carpet lined by scantily clad muscle men fanning her as she returns from a broadcast. A special mention must also go to one of the networks other shows, Hello Pervert! Camp just doesn't even cover it.
The image, presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, is fairly soft but not without its charms. It's bright and colourful and easy on the eyes.
Pretty standard for anyone familiar with Madman's extensive range of Japanese cinema. The Japanese stereo tracks on both discs are clear and sharp and totally listenable, without blowing your eardrums away. On Weatherwoman we also get an alternative English dub track
Extra Features
A selection of Madman trailers on Weatherwoman Returns is all we get. Saying that the discs come encased in a very nice sleeve.
The Verdict
A marvellous double bill for anyone with a fleeting interest in the naughtier side of Japanese cinema; the combination of bonkers humour, nudity and panty flashing makes you wonder when the Japanese version of Sid James is going to poke his head around the corner. A modern day Japanese Carry On, what more could you want?
Movie Score
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