Junk Boy

Original Work:   Yasuyuki Kunitomo
Director:        Katsuhisa Yamada
Screenplay:      Tatsuhiko Urahata & Hiroyuki Fukushima
Copyright:       Yasuyuki Kunitomo, Futahasha Company, Victor Entertainment Inc.

Language Format: English Language
Running time:    44 mins
Certificate:     18
Catalogue no:    MANV 1159
Label:           Manga Video
Price:           £9.99 each
Release Date:    14th October 1996


Released on the 14th October, this title marks Manga Entertainment's first foray into the world of soft porn, a world that has proven so lucrative for AD Vision in the USA. Junk Boy is about the adventures of a young man, Yamazaki Ryouhei, who lands his dream job - in fact literally his "dream" job - working on a girly magazine, Poteto (sic) Boy. The plot is as flimsy as the garb worn by some of the female cast, but who watches this sort of thing for the plot?

Unlike many of Manga's earlier titles, this is not a new dub of something that has been available in the US for a while. In fact it seems that Manga are releasing it there as well (and it may already be out). I couldn't discover what the original release date is, but I suspect it to be mid-80's from the character designs. By the running time of 44 mins, I presume it to be an OAV, but the animation quality is poorer than many TV shows. But there again does it matter? After all, who watches this sort of thing for the animation quality?

According to Hitoshi Doi's excellent seiyuu guide, Ryouhei was the debut role of Kusao Takeshi, who went on to voice Moteuchi Youta in Video Girl Ai, and Trunks in Dragonball. Of course, this is a dubbed release, so that's of purely academic interest. And speaking of which, the dub is... well, the performances swing wildly between the overacted and the stilted. Of course, it doesn't really matter. After all, who watches this sort of thing for the voice acting? In fact the over-enthusiasm of the dub adds some humour to the piece, although after a while of watching it becomes apparent that the best laughs are from the visual rather than the spoken gags.

And talking of trivia, while a character is phoning from the airport, a PA announcement says "British Airways announce the departure of flight BA072 to London...". I'm willing to bet that wasn't in the original. Now you can call me sad, but... well, I looked it up. BA only fly to three destinations in Japan; Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. I couldn't find BA072 listed, but if it does exist (judging by adjacent flight numbers) it's probably to somewhere in Africa. The Nagoya-London flight was nearest (BA022). Of course the real question this poses is did BA actually pay for this bizarre item of product placement, and did they have any idea of the sort of piece it would be going into?

When the end credits follow shortly after, they are very complete, including rather oddly, information on the original Japanese voice cast. Unfortunately the closing animation is swiftly shrunk the top half of the screen, and so distorted. The brightness is also faded so that it's nearly impossible to see what's going on. I've always found this approach annoying, and I'd rather Manga had kept the closing animation at its normal level, adding the English credits afterwards if they felt overlaying them was too messy.

To be frank, you'd have to try very hard to be offended by this (although I'm sure that won't stop some prudes). It's little more than the Benny Hill Show taken to its logical conclusion, and nowhere near as rude as, say, Jungleburger. Unfortunately it's not really as funny, either. Given the British traditions of bawdy comedy, it's hard to see why no one has though of releasing this sort of title here before. Perhaps Manga were inspired by their parent's decision to fund Carry On Columbus? So if you believe Can You Keep It Up All Week and Confessions of a Window Cleaner are forgotten classics of the cinema... well, this is the tape for you. [Neil Morris]

JUNK BOY is a sex comedy about a young man who is determined to make his way in the world of glossy magazine publishing. Ryuchi, extremely confident and full of himself, arrives for interview at Potato Boy magazine. The interview panel is clearly looking for a serious sort of person, while all Ryuchi can think of is how much he'd like to get his hands on the one woman in the room, who unfortunately turns out to be the senior editor.

Guys with erections don't get serious jobs, but Ryuchi is ecstatic when offered another job; it turns out to involve grading the naughty photos. Other equally menial tasks lie in store for him, but our priapic hero is totally undaunted.

This video succeeds admirably in what it sets out to do; it's sexy, funny, and, being set in the real world of publishing, interesting. If it has a fault, it is that it's too indulgent of its big-headed sex-pest main character. [Geoff Cowie]