Bon Lin is one of the funniest, amusing Japanese movies I've seen in a long time. Starring two up and coming actors, Mahiro Takasugi and Ema Sakura, it's more than a slice of life, coming of age drama. How did these two words come together? Bon comes from the word ribbon. She is a geeky-nerdy character who is passionate about Boys' Love manga and plays online video games. Lin is her long-time game playmate, with a lithe almost paper-thin body - the perfect uke (the passive partner) in the world of Yaoi.
In what would be described as one of the funniest first-hand encounters on J-cinema, Bon was apologetic to Bebe for not buying him a BL manga and says...
" I don't want you to start hating anal. "
With that opening, Bon and Lin get to know the older Bebi whom Bon becomes acquainted with via the internet. Bebi asked why Bon likes Boys Love and she replied:
" Perversion... Maybe because my favorite characters like to fondle each other...? "
The funny and memorable opening scene serves as an intro to this unusual trio as they embark on their short journey. A bully inside the manga store took their cash, and they were forced to stay in a cheap motel room where Bebi tried to force himself into Bon.
But Bebi is not aware of a cell phone as it captures the moment. From then on, Bebi is a slave as Bon orders him to search for Miyu's boyfriend. The fun first-half of the movie suddenly changed into the dark, in-your-face second half as Miyu's boyfriend reveals that their friend is now a prostitute. They took their leave and searched for Miyu as Bebi arranged for a date.
There is one particular line that stays with you as they finally meet Miyu (played so convincingly by Rino Higa) face to face.
"All men think about sex, no matter what."
Miyu was shocked to see her friend but was adamant that she be left alone. She argues that she's fine and gets what she wants and lives a comfortable life. It doesn't matter if she's using her body - men like her and that's it.
The movie turned into a debate between Bon who has not made out with a man yet and, therefore, knows nothing about sex and Miyu, who uses sex for a living. In the end, Miyu got her way.
Written and directed by Keiichi Kobayashi, Bon Lin is so unusual, it's almost hypnotic to watch! It's hard not to get entranced by Miyu as she looks so young and so delicate and that she can be had for the sum of 48,000 Yen. For any men - pervert or not - such an appealing proposal was difficult to reject. This is but one of the movie's elements open for debate. The issue of why some girls love BL manga (or Yaoi) is also a fascinating topic to look into.
Bon Lin may appeal to a lot of Asians who are trying to get away from the 'conservative' stereotyping, but it may be frowned by those who continue to follow the traditional route. However you align yourself into, morality and freedom of choice will be at the opposing ends.