Female Gym Coach: Jump and Stradle (1981) – By Duane L. Martin

The Kara Cosmetics Company had an amateur gymnastics team that was training to compete in the regionals and then hopefully in the nationals. Their team captain was Kei, and she was giving her all to training the team. Unfortunately, the company decided that they should switch from being an apparatus gymnastics team to a rhythmic gymnastics team because it would be better for business and play into their upcoming ad campaign. Kei was devastated, but when they brought her former high school coach and lover Aoki in to coach the team, events from the past threaten to derail the team, and Kei’s future as a gymnast.

This film, like many of the Nikkatsu films is pretty much just more of the same ol’ same ol’. Girls that are getting raped that pretend to struggle for a bit but then get into it and enjoy it while it’s going on and then get all indignant after, abusive relationships, emotional drama and just to mix things up a bit, some funny bits thrown in here and there.

Now to be fair, the few funny parts are actually quite funny, but there’s not enough of that to support the rest of the film. The relationship between Kei and Aoki is sort of a mixture of abusive, distant and desperate. When she was in high school, she got him to have sex with her before a competition and the next day she lost. He swore he’d never do that again, but here’s how ridiculous this film is. He was slapping her around during her training because she wasn’t good enough, and right after that she was begging him to have sex with her.

The sex scenes in the film are ok. The funny ones are entertaining at least, but the serious sex is pretty typical for these Nikkatsu films, meaning that they fall into one of two categories. Boring or abusive. The sex scenes in this film typically felt more like filler than anything else. The one thing the film does have going for it is that the story is at least coherent for the most part, and while that makes it watchable, it doesn’t make it overly entertaining.

Like all of these Nikkatsu film releases from Synapse’s Impulse label, this one contains liner notes from Japanese film scholar Jasper Sharp.

Can I recommend this one? It’s ok, but I wasn’t jumping for joy over it. Some of the Nikkatsu films are absolutely horrible, while others are quite fun and entertaining. This one fell somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t horribly entertaining either. It was just ok.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Synapse Films website here.