The Right Stuf // 1994 // 86 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Geoffrey Miller (Retired) // December 15th, 2005
New station weather girl heats up Japanese prime-time TV! Public outraged, aroused?!
Weather Report Girl, based on the manga of the same name by Tetsu Adachi, is a two-episode (basically two acts of one complete story), raunchy anime comedy that falls towards the lighter end of the "hentai" genre. Hentai, which roughly translates to "pervert" or "perverted," is basically pornographic anime. Because of its animated nature, there are things in hentai you'd never see in regular porn, like frisky demons and tentacles that like to get busy. (The less said about the tentacles, the better.) Thankfully, you won't find any of that disturbing stuff in Weather Report Girl, which is more akin to a softcore Skinemax feature with a stronger emphasis on plot.
Michiko Kawaii is ATV's perky weather reporter for the nine o'clock news. She needs to take a night off and is looking for a replacement. Worried that she might choose someone who's better looking or could do a better job, she picks Keiko Nakadai out of a book of potential substitutes. Nakadai is mousy and bespectacled, with her hair tied up like an old lady; surely she couldn't upstage Michiko...right? Meanwhile, the executives at ATV are meeting to discuss how the channel's ratings are in the dumps. The chairman, clutching his chest as he suffers a heart attack, exhorts that they need to do whatever it takes to get ratings up.
When Keiko makes her debut, everyone is in for a big surprise. Ditching the glasses and letting her hair down, she reveals herself to be a ravishing bombshell. Ratings go through the roof! Men immediately fall in love, gawking at the TV screen as she pulls up her skirt to reveal her panties. ATV's chairman, recovering in the hospital, is rejuvenated when he sees the tawdry show. Michiko, watching from a portable TV at the wedding she's attending, is horrified to see this shamelessly sexual display. It's too late for her; Keiko is an instant hit and the new permanent weather girl!
Soon after Keiko's rapid rise to the top, a new worker, Yamagishi, starts at ATV. He's a pathetic, sweaty guy who harbors a creepy crush on Keiko. As it turns out, Yamagishi went to high school with Keiko, and she seduced him at their graduation party. In a drunken haze, she stripped for him in front of his classmates, then gave him a blowjob, something he obsesses over. When Yamagishi gets sick after accidentally eating a poisoned lunch meant for Keiko, she viciously interrogates him to find out who's out to get her. Turns out that it's Michiko, now stuck on the morning news team and eager to exact revenge on Keiko.
So goes Weather Report Girl, full of women who'll do anything to get to the top. Michiko is no match for Keiko. After a series of failed attempts to sabotage Keiko, she's forced to become Keiko's personal assistant/slave: taking care of her apartment, bathing her, and even licking her panties clean. When Kaori Shimamori, an elegant daughter of a Diet member who has just returned from France, becomes ATV's new anchorwoman, Keiko finds herself with some real competition. Sexy and smart, Kaori is soon stealing the spotlight, much to Keiko's chagrin.
Its premise may hold promise in theory, but in practice Weather Report Girl stumbles. A couple of the comic scenes work -- a high class dinner with Kaori and Keiko that devolves into mayhem in a highlight -- but they're few and far between. The sex scenes are similarly sporadic and usually boring; they mostly consist of Keiko masturbating, with a couple T&A shots of the other female leads thrown in for good measure. The rest of the time is filled with pleasantly light exposition and winking innuendo. Anime sex comedies can be riotous when done right, with the sort of wild, over-the-top situations that can only be brought to life through animation. So it's disappointing that Weather Report Girl keeps itself from really letting loose.
Keep in mind, though, that there's probably some underlying subtext at work here, specific to Japanese culture, that gets lost in translation. In the land of the Rising Sun, women are generally more submissive than in the West. It isn't as though the idea of an independent career woman would be revolutionary; Japan isn't exactly Saudi Arabia. However, it's impossible to dismiss the way Keiko brazenly displays traits associated with modern masculinity: sexual freedom and openness, a ruthless hunger to climb the corporate ladder, and a dominating attitude. Could Keiko be the embodiment of Japanese men's fear (and perhaps desire) of a woman liberated and empowered by the feminist thought of Western culture? It might be a reach to say a breezy concoction like Weather Report Girl is purposefully trying to make such a statement, but it's a theme that subconsciously bubbles under the surface nonetheless.
Made in 1994, Weather Report Girl exhibits the production values typical of early '90s anime. The slightly stilted animation and cheesy synthesized pop music are here in all their glory. The character designs are typical (the big-eye look is eschewed, though), but Keiko has a jagged, angular jaw and a weird cross-eyed stare. It's definitely not an attractive look for a supposedly irresistible knockout, even though she has the necessary figure. Michiko and Kaori are actually better looking, despite being portrayed otherwise.
The Right Stuf has done an acceptable, though mediocre, job of putting this disc together. The dub is shockingly good, although those who prefer the original Japanese voices will be disappointed to find "dubtitles" (just the script for the dub instead of the more accurate translations usually given for subtitles). The transfer, which has the occasional artifact and flaw, definitely won't win any awards. The "extras" consist of a gallery of still shots and a couple previews hawking other releases.
Partly cloudy with a hint of sunshine, Weather Report Girl is briefly amusing but almost immediately forgettable. It would make for a good rainy-day rental or maybe an impulse bargain-bin pickup if you were in the mood for some mildly naughty anime. Otherwise, there are better ways to spend your time.
Review content copyright © 2005 Geoffrey Miller; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: The Right Stuf
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Art Gallery
* Right Stuf Previews
* IMDb: Weather Report Girl 1
* IMDb: Weather Report Girl 2