Anyone who knows anything about Japan probably knows about gravure videos. If not, all one needs to know is that it’s basically cheesecake porn with pretty girls (often referred to as Idols) posing for a camera and wearing provocative outfits. Generally speaking there’s not much, if any, nudity in these, and for the most part they are swimsuit model caliber photo-shoots, just set in motion. Studio Happy Chicken Pink has released some of these in America, and anyone who doesn’t want to pay import fees can finally check them out!
Directed by H C K and photographed by Jarod Hodge, Sundae Girl is the premiere release for model Natsuki Kojima. This DVD comes with the disc featuring Natsuki’s gravure shots and a 15-page photo booklet with some images from the sets. This release is broken up into three sections: Bedroom, Bathtub, and Shower. Viewers are given the option to watch them all at once, or individually from the main menu (though on my disc selecting Shower did absolutely nothing).
The first scene, Bedroom, features Natsuki lounging on a bed in a black and white dress. She slowly takes the dress off for the camera and eventually strips down to some innocent looking pink and white lingerie. From this point she continues to dance and sway on the bed, though quite honestly she was just moving far too much to be seductive. It was more distracting than it was erotic. After a few minutes Natsuki got onto all fours and propped her buttocks up for the camera. This was a little more seductive as she ran her hands over her body, occasionally playing with her undergarments. The scene gets cuter as a body pillow is thrown into the mix and she cuddles with it and smiles warmly for the camera. There’s even a little pillow fight here! Kawaii!
The Bathtub scene opens up with Natsuki soaking in a tub full of bubbles and playing around with them. Throughout this scene the bubbles are strategically placed to tease viewers without giving up any nudity whatsoever. She twirls, swims in the bubbles, and blows kisses at the camera. What soapy dip is complete without a shower to wash away those suds? The Bathtub scene segues into the Shower scene, which features Natsuki rinsing off with nothing more than a bikini. The top eventually comes off, but she covers her breasts with her hands, so don’t think this is a full shower. The closest there is to any nudity comes when she lathers some soap up, rinses it off, and by this point her bikini is just wet enough to allow something to show through.
Sundae Girl is presented on DVD with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and has been enhanced for anamorphic playback. The video quality leaves something to be desired with a very soft appearance, some grain, and overall lack of definition. It appears as though a soft-focus lens was used to make the video more dreamlike, but it didn’t do anything for the experience. There are moments where the picture quality is fine with nice details, but in motion it just doesn’t look quite as good as it should. Contrast is fine and black levels are rich enough, though this is a bright and warmly colored release anyway.
For audio Sundae Girl comes with 2.0 Dolby Digital as its only option. There’s no real language in the main release and all you’re going to find is a few songs that overlap the video. The quality is fine enough for what it is, though it leaves something to be desired in the end.
The main feature of Sundae Girl clocks in at a whopping 25:37. That’s right, this title isn’t even half an hour long. The bonus features here are rather sparse as well, and the only inclusion is a brief behind the scenes video with Natsuki practicing and being prepped for her shoots. This video hits at just under the five minute mark. The DVD also doesn’t allow viewers to skip through sections of a particular scene. There are three chapter stops that mark the beginning of each scene and that’s it.
Natsuki is a cutie, but gravure videos something that only a select few would be interested in. If hot Japanese girls are your thing then I’m sure Sundae Girl will find a happy home in your collection. The fact that this release features decent, but not great, picture quality, so-so audio, and lasts a little over 25 minutes is a big turn off. The included picture booklet and bonus behind the scenes material is appreciated, though not quite enough to move the needle on this one. Interested parties can consider Sundae Girl a rental in most cases.