Love & Pop (1998) IMDb

Creators

Anno Hideaki (director).

Categorization

Theatrical live-action feature. Horrified avant-garde social commentary by Anno.

Subject

Hiromi, 16, gets jealous of her three friends. They are all prepared to make money by performing favours for men. The men are often well-behaved, pay handsomely and demand little: A meal together, perhaps a karaoke session, apparently motivated by loneliness or a desire for the thrill of pretty young girls. The phenomenon is called “compensated dating”, and at least one of Hiromi’s friends has explored the deep end of it: Direct teenage prostitution. Easy money and remarkably acceptable behaviour.

Commentary

Succeeds in disturbing with some memorable weirdos. The basic story is engaging and somewhat credible—the real thing probably wouldn’t happen in real school uniforms–but elements of the presentation are unbelievably weird. Anno toys with the tiny digital camera at every opportunity, certain names and the face of one plushie are incomprehensibly censored, and some scenes ooze of the late Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) style. It is very interesting to see a major anime director of such high geek calibre attack the dangerous naïveté of contemporary Japanese sexual iconography. Anno has clearly exploited schoolgirls in his previous work: Just look at Gunbuster: Aim for the Top! (1988). Based on a 1996 novel.

References here: Ritual (2000).

Japanese production fiction moving picture