Wet Woman in the Wind is one of the five films released under the Roman Porno reboot project by Nikkatsu. To anyone aware of Japan’s oldest film studio Nikkatsu, the name Roman Porno is likely to ring a bell. Roman Porno, a film series devoted to the showcase of an abundance of sex and nudity in films ranging across multiple genres, is accredited to have revived Nikkatsu’s market share, which had suffered a considerable drop with the advent of television. Established in 1971, the films under the label were essentially softcore porn with better production value than a pornographic film and considerable artistic merit; a lot of these films were critically acclaimed.
The makers of the reboot films stick to the sex and nudity clause – Akihiko Shiota (Wet Woman in the Wind) even goes beyond the call of duty and infuses the last half of the film with more sex than a pornographic film – while giving them their desired artistic touches.
Wet Woman in the Wind is one of the best entries in the reboot project. On the surface, it is a breezy sex comedy with lots of sex and as much humour. but under it runs a psychological tension of one-upmanship between the representatives of both the sexes. To put it in other words, the film puts the sex in the battle of the sexes and takes the battle part quite literally as naked bodies indulge in one amusing coitus after another.
Kosuke (Tasuku Nagaoka) is a Tokyo playwright who is taking a break from the world of art and from ‘women’. He puts up a ramshackle camp in the woods and spends his time scavenging abandoned furniture and other domestic articles and brewing himself a cup of coffee. But this apparent idyllic existence comes to end when Shiori (a brilliant Yuki Mamiya) comes literally crashing into his life. Shiori, who has a hyperactive sex life, marks Kosuke as her next target in a rather usual Roman Porno and general movie tradition playing a sex-crazed vixen out to lure the man out of his disciplined existence. However, as the movie progresses and as Shiori manages to break through Kosuke’s guard bit by bit, we see Kosuke’s past catching up with him and undoing his pretenses.
Even before Kosuke’s guard is down we see a glimpse of his past ways with women when he tries to tame Shiori with his “intellectual superiority”. In a later moment in the movie, his old colleague arrives with her secretary and a troupe of male performers dressed identically as Kosuke. The series of orgies that follows humorously lays bare social hierarchy’s role in something as intimate and organic as sex. At the top of this hierarchy is a man, here Kosuke. Shiori is a rogue element, she does not acknowledge this hierarchy. For her, in a coupling, having the upper hand is as important as an orgasm. She brings down this hierarchy by literally bringing down the house and emerging on top, from the debris after the battle.
There is no doubt that the sex scenes are mostly for male gratification (the movie is a homage to older Roman Porno canon), however, by giving Shiori the agency and exaggerating the mostly hetero sex scenes and making the only lesbian sex scene the most erotic, Shiota subverts and takes a dig at the Roman Porno tradition.