From "Pornographer" to "Mood Indigo" (+18 Restricted)
Updated: Apr 14
"Pornographer" (aired 2018, 6 episodes)
Such an inappropriate and misleading title for this japanese work of art! I came across this series with the much better title "The Novelist" and not "Pornographer". It was one of those rare occasions that I didn't know what to expect and I was certainly rewarded to the maximum! I know that many BL fans look for romantic love stories or easy going storylines. This is none of the two!!! On the contrary, it is a raw plot that makes the viewer very aware of reality. Japanese productions have a tendency towards psychological dramas and this specific one is the best example.
Kijima Rio is an awarded novelist, who in order to survive, accepts an old classmate's offer to write novels with pornographic content. After a period of great success, he finds himself in a stall with no interest to improve his life. It is then that he meets Kuzumi Haruhiko, a university student, who accepts to become his assistant since he is responsible for an accident that left Kijima with a broken arm. A strange relationship begins to form between them but it seems impossible to evolve since Kijima's past has turned him into a psychological wreck.
The atmosphere, the music, the acting ... everything gives an aura of film noir with sensual and atmospheric background. I felt all the time that the scenes had popped out of a past decade, when quality in cinematography was a "must".
"Mood Indigo" (aired 2019, 6 episodes)
"Mood Indigo" is a necessary prequel to "Pornographer". It answers every question we had for Kijima's depressed personality and we come to understand every unexplained state of his mind.
Shiro Kido is the ex classmate who offers to help Kijima. He works as an editor for pornographic novels and he uses Kijima in order to persuade a difficult author to write one last novel before dying. This act sets in motion an intense erotic relationship between the two men although none of them had any homosexual experience up to now. Their lust for each other has catastrophic ramifications on both of them, but for Kijima it is more severe and catalytic for his already deteriorating psychological state.
Despite the much more crude scenes, it is an equally good work as "Pornographer". The intense and realistic erotic scenes are redeeming for the neverending suffering of the two men. We certainly realize that their relationship is neither healthy nor promising. Kido's character is very hard to decipher but for Kijima it is obviously his vulnerability that makes him incapable to move away from Kido. After completing this series, I went back and rewatched "Pornographer". I liked it even more since I had a better understanding of Kijima's character.