Weatherwoman/Weatherwoman Returns (1996)
By: Devon B. on July 9, 2013 | Comments
Eastern Eye | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic) | Japanese DD 2.0 | 168 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Tomoaki Hosoyama
Starring: Kei Mizutani, Takashi Sumida, Yasuyo Shirashima, Misa Aika, Kiyomi Ito, Atsuki Kat˘
Screenplay: Tomoaki Hosoyama
Country: Japan
External Links
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Years and years ago I caught a TV show about television from around the world. One of the segments was a Japanese weatherwoman who flashed the camera during her weather report. I told a friend about this and she told me I had been duped and that was not from Japanese television but rather from the Japanese film A Weatherwoman. For some reason I chose that moment to believe that TV could not possibly have mislead me and argued that it was an actual broadcast because it had been presented as such. I've finally caught up with the Weatherwoman series and I can now say with certainty that the weather report I saw was not in either film, which is good news for my irrational arguments, the credibility of sensationalist TV and pervos in Japan that want to get off while keeping up to date about the weather.

Weatherwoman is about a chronic masturbator who gets a fill in gig as, appropriately enough, a weatherwoman. To make an impression she flashes undies, which creates a media sensation. She's given license to do whatever she wants in the name of ratings, but not everyone's a fan, particularly the weatherwoman whose job she's taken. Plots are made to oust her, while her reports get ever more sensational.

Weatherwoman is an interesting idea given the publicity whore craze that's developed since the film's release. Swap undie flashing with leaked sex tape and we've got Paris Kardashian all over again, with talentless idiots suddenly viewed as important by society. The importance of the weatherwoman is taken to satirical extremes in the film, and to be fair the weatherwoman isn't completely talentless as she can at least deliver a weather report, but it's hard to overlook the similarities. The film is wacky with some very funny concepts, but, like a lot of Manga adaptations, the story gets lost amidst the zaniness and musical numbers. The movie is also fairly kinky, with a few different fetishes catered to, including one that's pretty shitty, and fans of girl on girl softcore are sure to be excited by the topless maid tongue bath scene.

Following up on the first film is Weatherwoman Returns, except it's a different weatherwoman this time, so she's not really returning, though I think the original weatherwoman does make an appearance but I had trouble verifying that since I can't read Japanese. Adding to the confusion, the weatherwoman from the sequel has the same name as the weatherwoman from the first film. This time out, an ailing TV station is inherited by a school girl, and rather than let the station be taken over by creditors she has a go at running it. After some teething issues, she decides to focus on a weather report as the station's saviour. It's about halfway into the film before this idea is hatched, and eventually the girl ends up presenting the weather herself and comes up with a similar sign off to the star of the prequel.

Weatherwoman Returns can still get sexually revved up, but the heroine isn't a chronic masturbator and not quite the exhibitionist of the first weatherwoman, so it's a bit tamer than its predecessor. There is the added element of predatory behaviour since the primary object of lust is a school girl, as compared to the star of the first film who was the sexual predator herself, which I think gives the sequel a darker edge than the first film. Older men state their preference for school girls, and one man tries to take advantage of the heroine when she's suffering difficulties, and while done playfully there's no denying this makes the sequel harsher and, unfortunately, more realistic. While I'd never call the film gritty, it's also not as madcap as its predecessor, despite some interesting fashion choices and scenery chewing, which I thought made it the stronger of the two films. The satire worked a bit better for me because it wasn't awash in insanity, which also allowed for a bit more subtlety with the social commentary.

Each of the Weatherwoman films has some funny moments and elements of appeal, but I probably would've been fine watching just one of the two. I'm not sure in hindsight which one I'd pick, but since I've seen both I get to tell my friend she was totally wrong and I was totally right.
The Disc
Both films are presented letterboxed, but in a 4:3 aspect ratio. Boooo! Even taking into account the discs are not 16:9 enhanced, the films leave a lot to be desired with artefacts, motion judders, spots and trailing all evident. The first film comes with Japanese or English 2.0 mixes, not a 5.1 English mix as listed on the slick, whereas the second film has only the Japanese 2.0 mix. That's fine because the English dub is an atrocious one only to be used by the illiterate English speakers that can't read the subtitles. The Japanese tracks are mostly fine, but these aren't hugely dynamic movies so there's not a lot to them, and the second movie has some occasional distortion. The first DVD has trailers for Volcano High, Versus, and Infernal Affairs. The second DVD has trailers for Godzilla vs Mothra, The Grudge and Howl's Moving Castle.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Madman's Eastern Eye are the one local distributor I still trust with Asian films after subtitling fiascos from a few other companies, but this set is not up to their standards at all. I'd say this is a repackaging of much earlier releases that no longer meet the minimum requirements of the DVD format. Given the completely unacceptable video presentation there's no way I can recommend this release to even the most diehard fans.
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