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The merchant Yonosuke decides to help his underling Juzo, a comical peasant who has made an unwise bet with a malicious acquaintance. The fool has bet his manhood that he will sleep with the famous courtesan Komurasaki on their first meeting, when any cultured person would know she would not dream of doing so for the richest and most intelligent man in the land, let alone this hayseed. Yonosuke has known her for a long time, and at his request, she agrees to help the poor fool out, not only giving him a night beyond his wildest dreams, but even writing a certificate of the event on his underwear in her most elegant calligraphy. Novelist Saikaku Ihara chronicled the follies and dramas of old-time Japan in his works. This film was based on just part of his Life of an Amorous Man (1682), retelling a few of the adventures of Yonosuke. The exquisite, jewellike animation makes use of techniques that recall the traditional crafts of old Japan. Cels were not simply painted but embossed with the textures of leaves or fine fabrics. Genitals are not just pixilated or blacked out, they are transformed into symbolic representations from old woodcuts-a penis becomes the head of a tortoise, a vagina a splitting fruit or unfolding flower. Director Abe's pace is as slow and precisely calculated as a courtesan's every move, producing a hothouse atmosphere of elegant eroticism as far removed from the teenage crudities of most porn anime as Edo is from modern Tokyo. A beautiful anime. N