Chūsei Sone (曽根 中生 Sone Chūsei?, 1 October 1937 26 August 2014) was a Japanese
film director known for his stylish and popular Roman Porno films for Nikkatsu,
particularly the first two installments of the Angel Guts series. Despite a
somewhat uneven career, many mainstream critics consider Sone the best of
Nikkatsu''s Roman Porno directors.
Chūsei Sone majored in Art History at Tohoku University, and graduated in 1962.
Soon after graduation, he began work as an Assistant director at Nikkatsu
studios, where he worked with Seijun Suzuki. Suzuki''s directing style was to
have a lasting influence on Sone''s own later work. In their Japanese Cinema
Encyclopedia: The Sex Films, the Weissers[who?] compare Suzuki and Sone,
writing, "Sone''s films are riddled with quirky characters and surrealistic
metaphors, but unlike the works of Suzuki, these movies are much more linear,
plot driven, and ultimately crowd pleasing."
When Nikkatsu started their Roman Porno series of mainstream theatrical softcore
pornographic films in November 1971, Sone was quickly given his chance to
direct. His first film was the historical sex-film, Eros Schedule Book: Female
Artist (1971). He directed several more films set in historical time periods
such as Erotic Story: The Peony Lantern (1972), which became a mainstream hit
and won several film industry awards. Later in 1972, Sone switched to
contemporary themes with Lusty Sisters, but would return to the period-piece
with his popular action-sex film starring Nikkatsu queen Junko Miyashita, Female
Ninja Magic: 100 Trampled Flowers (1974).
By the late 1970s, Sone had become associated with a more violent style of
eroticism in such films as My Sex Report: Climax Point (1976) and Shinjuku
Mixed-Up Street: Wait Till I Come (1977). When Nikkatsu decided to film Takashi
Ishii''s Angel Guts manga, Sone was a logical choice to helm the first two
episodes of the series, Angel Guts: High School Coed (1978) and Angel Guts: Red
Classroom (1979). Sone was given a Best Director award at the Yokohama Film
Festival for Angel Guts: Red Classroom, and the film also won Best Actress and
Best Supporting Actor at the ceremony. Director Toshiharu Ikeda, who worked as
Sone''s screenwriter and an assistant director on Angel Guts: High School Coed,
said, of Sone, "He is simply a genius. He really is a true genius... We were all
tremendously influenced by him." Of the Angel Guts series, Ikeda comments, "That
series definitely had an impact on Roman Porno history, as well as on the
Throughout his career Sone directed many films of lesser quality, such as Overly
Ripe Breasts (1973), Modern Prostitution: Lust Under A Uniform (1974) and 100
High School Girls: Secret Motel Report (1975). Nevertheless, his ability to
continue to create stylish, innovative and popular films kept his reputation
By this point, Eiga Geijutsu magazine reported that Sone was dissatisfied with
his work in the Roman Porno genre, and wanted to make other films, but that he
needed the income these Nikkatsu films provided. Nikkatsu gave Sone the chance
to direct the non-Roman Porno series of light comedies, Glory Cheerleaders
(19761977), which became popular hits. While continuing to direct for
Nikkatsu at this time, Sone worked for independent studios where he could enjoy
more creative freedom, and not be tied to the pink film format. Hakata Kids''
Innocence (1977), a simple story of one day in the lives of three junior high
boys, is one such film. Following the success of Red Violation (1980), Sone took
a full break from pink films for three years to try other projects. He returned
to the genre with the successful sex-mystery, Demon''s Room (1982). Together with
director Mamoru Watanabe, Sone started the Film Workers Production Company in
1982 as an outlet for more mainstream projects.
After Tattoo (1984), based on a Tanizaki novel, Sone left Nikkatsu until 1986,
when the studio gave him a relatively large budget to direct Adultery. Today
judged one of his best works, the film was ignored by audiences and critics at
the time because of the inferior quality of many films in the Roman Porno series
of the mid-1980s. Sone directed a mainstream hit, Flying, in (1988) and then
retired from directing.
He died on 26 August 2014 in Usuki, Ōita, from pneumonia.