Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 16 News List

FILM REVIEW: Boys will be boys

An attractive young teacher hits on a novel way to motivate a group of nerdy junior high students in ‘Oppai Volleyball’

By Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Taiwan is infatuated with a bevy of “big-breasted bodacious baby-faced babes” (童顏巨乳), so who could resist the chance to review a movie titled Oppai Volleyball, the Chinese title of which translates as “Big-Breasted Volleyball — The Determination to Win of a Hot-Blooded School Team” (巨乳排球:熱血校隊的決勝心願), from the land that inspired otaku mania? Oppai is clearly another Japanese word, like otaku, destined for inclusion in the Taiwanese, or even the English-language, lexicon, its wide-open vowel certain to inspire those who feel the need to express their appreciation of a fine rack.

The fact that Oppai Volleyball

(Oppai Bare) stars swimsuit model Haruka Ayase, who is widely acknowledged to have a fine pair (official bust/waist/hip measurement is 88/62/92, for those who need to know) gives this flick additional credentials. It needs to be stated right at the beginning that for those aiming to get an eyeful, disappointment awaits. As I left the theater, one member of the audience commented to his companion: “We had to sit though all that, and we never even got to see her tits.”

For truth be told, Oppai Volleyball is a rather innocent little piece of cinema, a junior high school version of National Lampoon with an inspirational message at the end.

Ayase is certainly very easy on the eyes, and manages a mix of confusion and determination, as well as wearing, in the opening scene, a short tartan skirt and plaid knee-high socks, which is going to have the otaku crowd positively drooling. That is, of course, the idea.

Ayase plays a teacher, Mikako Terashima, who on arrival at a new school gets given the school’s no-hope boys volleyball club. The five members are really only interested in one thing: fantasizing about oppai. Since these nerds are unlikely to get anywhere with the girls at the school, they resort to various antics to satisfy their curiosity about the female body. To give them some inspiration to become a proper sports team, Terashima agrees to let them check out her mammalian protuberances if they manage to win a game in the interschool competition. Such is the premise of the movie, which then progresses through every cliche of the underdog school movie genre, with the unlikely team members working like maniacs to hone their athletic skills for the ultimate prize: seeing their teacher’s oppai.

FILM NOTES:

OPPAI VOLLEYBALL

DIRECTED BY: EIICHIRO HASUMI

STARRING: HARUKA AYASE (MIKAKO TERASHIMA), MUNETAKE AOKI (KAZUKI JO), TORU NAKAMURA (KENJI HORIUCHI)

RUNNING TIME: 102 MINUTES

LANGUAGE: IN JAPANESE WITH CHINESE SUBTITLES

TAIWAN RELEASE: TODAY


The story gets out, Terashima is fired, but the boys manage to make it to the main competition and give every ounce of themselves in a game against insuperable odds.

The potentially serious moral implications of the contract between the teacher and her students is at no point regarded as being of the slightest interest, which is in many ways a blessing, leaving Oppai Volleyball as an innocuous piece of inconsequential fluff with no aspirations to be anything else.

The word oppai occurs more times in the movie than one would have thought possible, and the breast gag is the only joke in the film. Well, perhaps not the only one; the director may be having his own private joke in having Ayase wear more clothes in Oppai Volleyball than she does in any number of her glamour photos.

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