Call boy (娼年) is provocative and scandalous. It is also dreadfully bizarre.
Call Boy Synopsis
Undergraduate Ryo is at the prime of his life, but already finds sex meaningless and superficial. When invited by enigmatic mama-san Shizuka to be a gigolo in her elite club, he mostly agrees out of curiosity about Sakura, Shizuka’s mute ward. Soon, he finds himself entranced by the complex desires of his clients, and the mysterious relationship between Shizuka and Sakura.
My declaration, I watched Call Boy out of “academic” interest.
Yes, I didn’t watch it because of the nudity, or the explicit scenes, or because the trailer promoted it as “scandalous.” I was genuinely curious about the Japanese gigolo industry, thanks to write-ups like this. (I know the difference between a gigolo and a male host, BTW)
Well, I have to say I’m disappointed; in the end, needing as long as three nights to finish watching. Provocative as the many sex scenes are, Call Boy does little more than to constantly regurgitate the same statement – that of Japanese women having intense and peculiar sexual desires underneath prim facades. As eye-opening as some of the fetishes are, none explored human sexuality the way shows like Bonding did too. Brooding lead Matsuzaka Tori also does little more than to stoically agree to any request. Seldom does his character convey any true insight about his encounters.
I add, at this point, that most of those sequences are way too long. In my case, a numbing effect kicked in. I fast-forwarded through most of these segments.
For some viewers, Call Boy could also come across as hypocritical. Perhaps even offensive. While overtly promoted as a show exploring/celebrating feminine desires, there is woefully little demonstration of actual feminine empowerment.
The women gladly pay Ryo for his services but also do their best to keep their inner selves under wraps. In a way, isn’t this saying that none of these ladies are able to achieve sexual release without the aid of Ryo i.e. the guy i.e. the one who has to be paid? To some viewers, I’m sure this feels incredibly chauvinistic, if not downright insulting. For me, I’m disappointed that the whole show is but a sleazy tale pretending to be evocative. I also didn’t gain any insight about the Japanese sex industry from watching it, tried as I did.
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