Part One with English Subtitles
The apartment itself is nondescript. Devoid of most furniture, but well-lit. Centered in one room adjacent to a foreboding stairwell is a hastily-constructed box. It's not too tall, but hoary in color and not the kind of place one would prefer to reside in. In fact, it's just large enough for someone of a small frame to dwell in for short periods of time...perhaps a day...a day nonstop perhaps?
COLLECTOR returns against with another title guaranteed to raise eyebrows with its controversial theme. Starring Maru Yamamoto, a relatively unknown AV star who looks like she literally just graduated (which isn't too far off as she was 19 at the time production), The Box is as far from regular Japanese AV as they come.
The theme can almost be a cultural parody of the growing number of young people who voluntarily shut themselves out from the greater world. They're known as Hikikomori and dwell night and day at home in their room. Their only companion are comic books and the computer and the furthest they get to outside companionship are the occasional runs to the convenience store to stock up on exactly the types of comfort foods best left on store shelves.
The Box takes the sheltered in life of Japan's modern day hermits and presents it in its final form. The concept of this extra long maniac production is the willful confinement of a person in (very) tight living quarters for 24 hours. Maru Yamamoto volunteers to be the test subject which entails her residing in this minuscule and always-lit 21st hermit hole while being recorded the whole time.
Due to the more controversial focus on this bizarre title, in a rarity for adult video both in Japan and abroad, the production begins with Maru Yamamoto being filmed signing and then reading out a consent form in its entirety (which is subtitled in English for those who are interested in these types of formalities). The only thing blurred from the final cut is her actual name--and no, we will not be providing it to anyone who emails us.
24 hours is a long time to be confined in a box. To further sully matters, Maru Yamamoto does it while wearing only a tight schoolgirl swimsuit. As the hours past, so does her modesty. A great deal of this 3 hour-plus production sees her topless at the very least. Those types of bathing suits students in the Japanese school system wear are not comfortable both in and out of water. Wearing one by itself for an entire day is already asking a lot.
Simply filming this partially clad Japanese women for 24 hours straight in less-than-desirable conditions is certainly not enough. That would make for a tedious movie both for the staff on hand and viewers at home. Being an adult video, sex—including the use of a very well-placed and glory hole--plays a major factor. Occasionally, Maru Yamamoto finds herself teased while staring at walls, is instructed to eat the food provided to her in immensely salacious ways, and even the act of relieving herself is done with elements that combine embarrassment with that of the erotic. Anytime she needs to urinate, it's done on camera into a type of baggy hospitals provide to female patients who are unable to get out of bed.
Early portions of the title still show her with shreds of decency. She balks at the idea of stripping naked and using the bathroom on camera, but as hours multiply, any shred of decency she had at the get-go also ebb away. As the final hours tick down, she simply doesn't care anymore. If she's handed a vibrator, she'll use it until the batteries run out (which actually did happen!) and after that, she'll sit spread eagle with shaved womanhood on display waiting for whatever's on the way.
Endurance best sums up THE BOX. It's COLLECTOR's magnum opus to the ultimate in isolation trials. Maru Yamamoto becomes the fixture of this devilish title all about voluntary confinement and not a moment is spared. From start to finish, the camera is constantly on her. No cuts are employed though there are times when the footage is sped up such as when she's eating. Food also is another unique element of this title that is used in conjunction with teasing. Those watching over Maru are all too happy to satisfy her culinary requests though they always seem to mess them up somehow. 'Smoked salmon' becomes 'cooked salmon', omelets with rice is delivered per her instructions, but in a minuscule serving size. Tea is provided when she asks, but it's of a variety quite bitter and wholly unwelcome.
THE BOX is as far from normal as a Japanese AV production can get. It's another great example of how COLLECTOR, the boutique AV label which only produces several out-of-the-box titles a year, pushes the boundaries of what an AV maker is capable of. Dialog may seem sparse given the subject matter of isolation, but it's surprisingly frequent and is given the exclusive ZENRA English subtitle treatment. If you enjoy THE BOX, rest easy as its more sinister sequel, The Box 2: More Boxing, will be released here later this year.
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