Review: Debauchery (DVD)

Synapse Films & Impulse Pictures kick off their Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection with the Ryoko Watanabe starring Debauchery!

  • Director: Hidehiro Ito
  • Starring: Ryoko Watanabe, Serina Nishikawa, Mizuho Nakagawa
  • Year: 1983
  • Runtime: 70 Minutes
  • Company: Synapse / Impulse
  • Format: DVD
  • Discs: 1
  • Video: 1.85:1 - 16:9 - Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Audio: Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Region: 1 - NTSC
  • Released: 4/10/2012

Debauchery marks my entry into the pink world of Nikkatsu (hell, this is my first taste of anything from the prolific studio produced) and it had me wrapped around it's demented finger until the fiery finale. Following their exit from making yakuza films, Japan's oldest studio moved into more sexier territory with Roman Porno's (short for "romantic pornography"), producing hundreds during the 70's & 80's until the death knell of bankruptcy shortly after.
Debauchery centers around privileged housewife Ami (Ryoko Watanabe), who spends her days feeling sexually repressed and unfulfilled, until she learns of Madame Machiko's secret society who's members satisfy the needs of their sadistic clientele. At first reluctant, Ami embraces the brothel and plunges herself torso first into the S&M filled rabbit hole that's host to a number of disturbing acts.
Nothing short of artistic insanity in the disguise of a softcore porno, Debauchery maniacally spirals into lucid scenarios that are titillating as they are insane. Expect 10+ minute scenes of some of the most awkward, optically blurred, lovemaking you'll ever witness, including but not limited to anal beads, whips and a fetish obsessed-muscular dude who does his best to perfect an in-air 69! Complete with squishy tongue sound effects some poor foley artist had to recreate.
At the center of it all is the mega gorgeous Ryoko Watanabe, who turns in a committed performance that has you constantly questioning the difference between torture and pleasure. There are several instances of arthouse touches throughout that makes this a totally respectable yet trashy film, the balance of the two is highly entertaining. At a mere 70 minutes, Debauchery is a quick, straight shot of NSFW weirdness that deserves a legion of fans.

  • Video
Debauchery is making it's Region 1 transition to DVD thanks to Synapse Films & Impulse Pictures, sporting a 1.85:1 framed, anamorphic widescreen transfer that is by all means excellent. While detail is abundantly sharp, colors are really the shining point of clarity here. Throughout the film (especially in the brothel) are gel lit locations that look extremely vivid and spot on that would look immaculate if transferred to Blu-ray. Debauchery is another prime example of picture quality from Synapse.
  • Audio
The Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is just fine and comes with newly transferred English subtitles that can be turned on or off.

Bonus Features
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Booklet
  • A small two-page booklet from Japanese film expert Jasper Sharp is included, offering a major wealth of info pertaining to Nikkatsu's transition into softcore cinema.