Milk the Maid Review
Directed by the award-winning Mototsugu Watanabe (Sexy Battle Girls, Whore Angels, Sexy S.W.A.T. Team, Ogenki Clinic), Milk the Maid stars AV idol Tia Bejean as Milk – a young lady who’s quickly adopted into the family of Ruriko Aiba (Mirei Yokoyama), when she passes out on her from near starvation at a local cemetery. Ruriko’s husband, Sohei (Kukujiro Honda) is initially sceptical about the lass, while his son, Koichi (Yasunari Kubota) takes quite a shine to her. It’s soon learned that Milk is actually a baby angel, sent down from the heavens to appease God.
Well, the family don’t argue too much about it, and soon Milk is invited to stay as a live-in maid. She quickly realizes that the family isn’t so perfect though, with Ruriko going off having affairs, while her unemployed, but suspicious shut-in of a husband fantasises about taking Milk for himself. Meanwhile Koichi has like-minded dreams, while an old school friend in Miki (Ayum) yearns for his affection. It looks like Milk has her work cut out for her if she’s to earn her wings!
For the best part of the new millennium, the obsession with maid worshipping has been a staple part of Japan’s Otaku culture. From anime and manga to the specifically designed “maid cafes” which started it all in Akihabara, businesses have done all they can to tap into typically perceived male fantasies, capitalising on the idea of a subservient dream woman, who dotes on her admirer and entertains his every request - well, within reason of course. It’s a topic ripe for Pink Film consumption and several features, such as Akiyoshi Sugiura’s Pretty Maid Café, Naoyuki Tomomatsu’s Maid Droid, Chise Matoba’s Maid in Japan and Nakamura Kazuyoshi’s Maid’s Secret, have done their utmost to take such escapes from reality to the extreme; to serve on a plate large helpings of unadulterated, fetishized content, which goes against the usual rule that the maid doesn’t get involved in sexual relations with her client.
2013’s Milk the Maid takes things away from the realms of the catering industry, but holds onto some familiar ideas as it shamelessly parades around its star in little more than an apron, which provides a lot of side boob when the gal’s not required to show 100% boob, which is like 90% of the time I might add! Tia (her name shortened presumably for the purpose of defining her “acting” roles) is a naturally appealing presence to say the least, which is probably just as well given how utterly terrible an actress she appears to be here; the reliance on pouting her face and exaggerating her body gestures signals an attempt to mask such obvious failings, which only helps to portray her role as a one-dimensional caricature - a robotic kind of pandering which is perhaps intentional upon further inspection. However, given director Watanabe’s idiosyncrasies, there’s little cause for too much concern, with a premise so comically ridiculous and the film’s majority of screen veterans seeming to be in on the gag.
Watanabe’s frequent collaborator Koji Yamazaki drafts together a playful script, which manages to keep things fun despite a gamut of gestating social themes, building toward an arguably shoehorned climax which raises questions about karma and redemption. Throughout the feature the director skirts around religious motifs, while at the same time commenting on serious family matters involving infidelity and economic recession - the formally widowed Sohei coming somewhere between the coined term “Ikumen” (At-home Dad) and hopeless layabout, while in a desperate turn of events his wife - AV Idol Mirei Yokoyama putting in a more show-stealing turn - becomes the chief money maker. To the credit of cast and crew the overall jovial nature of the film, in which everybody is trying to get their jollies on at once, does allow the sixty minutes of footage to briskly move along, backed by a delightfully odd score which illustrates the circus it all really is.
Watanabe’s direction of Milk the Maid’s sex scenes is just as enthused, with each one offering something different of interest. There’s a vibrant amount of energy on display, despite little overall creativity in trying to escape the censors, with some of the most distracting mosaic you could hope to see on a release such as this.
The DiscHaving been dedicating themselves to VOD releases for the past few years, Pink Eiga has decided to limit a number of titles to DVD only. The previously reviewed Prison Girl was one such title in their new line up, along with Milk the Maid, which appears on a region-free disc.
Pink Eiga’s presentation for Milk the Maid is undoubtedly its best to date. Blessed with an anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer, the image is generally clean and detailed, softening on wider shots but overall nicely retaining its film look. Contrast and black levels are slightly pushed and there is a bit of compression artefacts, but things are generally acceptable, as they should be for a film not much more than a year old. fingers crossed that the company gets more like this in the future.
As for sound, we’ve an original Japanese DD 2.0 offering, which provides a clear score and dialogue. However, there are lip-sync issues at various intervals which tend to be minor distractions, and I’m uncertain if it’s down to Pink Eiga’s authoring or the master tracks they were sent. Forced English subtitles are also included and while they provide a good translation, I still find myself distracted whenever the distributor relies on substituting bits of dialogue with the addition of heavily exclaimed swear words which aren’t present on the track. I understand why they do it, I just don’t feel its a necessity in order to get the point across.
Along with the usual filler stuff, such as trailers for other Pink Eiga releases, a familiar featurette entitled “What is Pink Eiga?” and a photo gallery, we’ve an interesting little interview with Shoji Sakai, titled “The Last Film Hero”, where he talks from what he says is the last film editing suite in Japan. Lamenting the decline of film production in Japan, he talks of what his job use to entail and how much he’s now required to do on a monthly basis. He provides some background on how he started his career and takes us through the editing process, which all provides some nice information, if it does leave things perhaps a little bittersweet.