I rarely use the word frightening to describe a dramatic film, but this movie did shock me. It wasn't shocking in its depiction of content, but in its verisimilitude. At times I felt I was watching a documentary about the exploits of real people, and the hard-hitting performance by Mayu Ozawa is sure to pull strong emotion out of many viewers. Besides the emotion I received from viewing, I have to describe the film itself. 'Sh?jo' is a bleak drama about a misguided, lazy cop named, Tomokawa, who rather quickly begins a relationship with, Yoko, a high school girl who initially presents herself as an enjo kōsai. Tomokawa engages this young girl, despite his previous tryst with her mother, Yukie. Yoko has an older brother, Sukemasa, who is mentally handicapped and traumatized from a childhood experience. Tomokawa looks after Sukemasa, sometimes letting him fire his gun at glass bottles. Yoko and Sukemasa's grandfather also comes into the plot, him being the man responsible for Tomokawa's massive dorsal tattoo of a mythical beast with one wing who needs a mate in order to take flight. All of the above-mentioned characters receive an adequate amount of character depth in this well-written, but sometimes not so intriguing film. Tomokawa and Yoko's taboo relationship is the centerpiece of this drama, and it is complicated by the actions of the other characters. All in all, that is mostly everything I can describe about this work without spoiling the film because it is so character driven. I recommend this above-average film to anyone with an interest in Japanese cinema.
Eiji Okuda ... Tomokawa Mayu Ozawa ... Yoko Akira Shoji ... Sukemasa Mari Natsuki ... Yukie Hideo Murota ... Shozo