Flower & Snake 3 Set for Aug. 28 Release in Japan
The film that has had more comebacks than Rocky Balboa is set for nationwide release in Japan on Saturday, Aug. 28. Hana to Hebi 3 (Flower and Snake 3) will have its "roadshow" this summer and will star former gravure idol, Komukai Minako.
Ms. Komukai recently celebrated her 25th birthday at a restaurant in Ebisu. The press got the lowdown on the new film in addition to reporting on Ms. Komukai's low-cut dress which barely contained her massive F-cup breasts.
Ms. Komukai told the hacks present that bondage turned out to be more strenuous than she had expected and said that she had been tied to bamboo poles and even hung upside down by her ankles.
Furthermore, she joked that she is currently on the lookout for a new boyfriend and that she intended to take some of the ropes used on her home to try out in the bedroom.
Ms. Komukai has certainly had her difficulties of late. She received a suspended sentence for illegal stimulant use in February of 2009. In June of the same year she was served with a cease-and-desist order from her ex-management company over her plans to pursue work as an AV actress and stripper.
She had been scheduled to appear at the Asakusa Rockza theater but, at the time, it was unknown if the show would actually go on.
I'm not sure if that particular show took place or not, but apparently Ms. Komukai eventually got her way as the video below attests.
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Ms. Komukai is just the latest actress to nab the starring role in this long-lived franchise which, incredibly, extends back to 1965. But longtime bondage aficionados may be hard to shake from their devotion to Tani Naomi who made the role her own in the 1974 Nikkatsu hit directed by Konuma Masaru.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Nikkatsu produced more Hana to Hebi-inspired films with different leading ladies, but Tani's aura continues to haunt the franchise like the ghost of a beloved diva.
In 2004, Sugimoto Aya confronted the odds and did breathe some new life into the series, much to the delight of Toei, the most recent distributor. I don't know what the box office was for the film but one source has reported that over 100,000 DVDs have been sold so far. The success of the film convinced Ms. Sugimoto to return in 2005 for yet another re-make.
The man behind the ropes of the Sugimoto films was Arisue Go and it appears he was called in to perform the same duties for the Komukai film.
The Sugimoto films were directed by Ishii Takashi while the yet-to-be-released Hana to Hebi 3 is directed by Narita Yusuke.
Ms. Sugimoto has moved onto other things, such as this movie, Blood, from about a year ago.
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Flower and Snake, the novel, was written by Dan Oniroku, now 79 and in ill health. The original story, which I've heard is quite long, goes back to 1962 and was serialized in Kitan Club magazine.
The first film to carry the Hana to Hebi name was produced in 1965 and distributed by Tokyo Kikaku. There were several other films made in the 60s which continued the Hana to Hebi theme with the involvement of Dan Oniroku himself and Yamabe Nobuo, founder of the production company Yamabe Pro.
Although Yamabe and Tani Naomi were apparently eventually married, Tani did not appear in a Hana to Hebi film until Nikkatsu convinced her to be the leading lady in their 1974 release. Although Tani may have made around 200 films prior to this, Nikkatsu's Flower and Snake was the film that put her on the map and set her on the path to immortality as an SM movie icon.
After enduring a rough spell, it appears fortune has smiled upon Ms. Komukai. She now apparently lists her profession as stripper so it will be interesting to see if this opportunity to break into the big time proves successful.
Odds are she will be just another flash in the pan. But let's give her the benefit of the doubt. She certainly has her youth, enthusiasm and impressive bust size going for her. Ultimately, it will come down to the story and the choreography. Oh, and one more thing: Can she act her way out of a paper bag?
Hmmm, this picture has been taking up space on my harddrive for awhile now. Researching this post, I came across it again on a blog which indicated the girl sitting is, indeed, Komukai Minako. Of course, the two fellows standing are Arisue Go and Dan Oniroku. Arisue is the nawashi for the movie and Dan, well, you already know all about him.
The actress to Dan's right is Chihiro (always forget her last name) and has been in some SM flicks. I haven't seen them but it seems she never appears topless. I'd like to be proved wrong about that. The gal on the far right, I don't know who she is.
I semi-confirmed this photo with another blog. It's almost as if this event was an audition of sorts for the movie Hana to Hebi 3. Don't quote me on that, though.
I've been looking all over the place for more info on this movie. Other than the recent announcement, there just doesn't seem to be much. Not even on Toei's site. This is the only picture I'm aware of actually showing Komukai in bondage.