Entertainment

'The Naked Director' Season 2 Is A Whirlwind Of Brilliant Highs & Overindulgent Lows

The Netflix series about the Japanese porn industry in the '80s gets a rocky second season.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

The Naked Director, Netflix’s raunchy drama about one of the most innovative Japanese porn directors of all time, returned for its second season, finding Toru Muranishi (Takayuki Yamada), Kaoru Kuroki (Misato Morita), and the entire Sapphire Pictures team at the top of their game. No longer having to worry about their ruthless Season 1 competitor Poseidon, they have reached a new level of wealth and celebrity, and now the team has set its sights on the future. Muranishi eyes innovation while his partner Kawada (Tetsuji Tamayama) wants to focus on Sapphire’s proven formula, and this war of ideals sets the events of The Naked Director Season 2 into motion.

After trudging through an unexpectedly slow and uneventful stretch-aside from the shaky backstory about the origin of the “facial”-at the start of the season, The Naked Director finally catches its stride in the final moments of the second episode when Kawada publicly confronts Muranishi about their diverging ideologies. Following a stunning presentation of Sapphire Visual’s newfound opulence and an abundance of gratuitous sex scenes, that intense scene at the end of “More, More, More” remains one of the most memorable moments from the beginning of the season, and it also sets a precedent that remains true throughout the rest of the six episodes. The show is at its best when the rampant nudity takes a backseat and the full focus is on the characters.

Whether or not the overindulgent sex scenes in The Naked Director Season 2 are actually meant to mirror Muranishi’s unbearable intemperance, they do, and that results in the show often feeling flat. On the other hand, with full-frontal nudity being so desensitized in Netflix’s semibiograhical drama, this season’s tragic storylines feel all the more compelling. From Toshi’s (Shinnosuke Mitsushima) strained relationship with Furuya (Jun Kunimura) and the Yakuza to Kuroki’s struggle with her identity, pretty much everything is spiraling out of control.Of all of the downward spirals in Season 2, however, Muranishi’s epic freefall from his apex at the beginning of the 1990s is the most entertaining storyline of the entire show, and Yamada’s spirited-and at times, villainous-performance as the “Emperor of Porn” is absolutely brilliant. Muranishi’s unwavering appetite for innovation and his unyielding determination to achieve his dreams become both his superpowers and his kryptonite, and it’s equally electrifying and heartbreaking to follow the character’s journey throughout the season.

Muanishi’s downfall is loaded with contradicting themes. On one hand, viewers see Muranishi defy all odds and secure his own pornographic satellite station, and when his back is against the ropes, the controversial director finds yet another way to save his struggling empire. Yet, Season 2 of The Naked Director also embraces the what if? factor that stops hundreds of thousands of people from reaching their dreams, so when ill-timed events outside of his control essentially nullify his ingenious efforts, Muranishi ultimately succumbs to his own hubris.

The desire to innovate while one’s contemporaries are stuck in the moment is admirable, and by the time the season end credits roll, that’s one of the only few positive traits that Muranishi has left.

Ironically, the second season of Netflix’s The Naked Director is in a similar position. Regardless of whether Toru Muranishi’s story is finished, the show no longer has the flair and focus that it had in its first season. The novelty and shock value of the comedic drama has faded away, despite the show’s poignant storylines, and many of the show’s best characters have either died or moved on from the world of porn when it’s all said and done. With the final scene of “The Will of Stone” showing viewers that Muranishi is still the same Muranishi that they were introduced to at the start of the season, now seems like the best time for The Naked Director to call the scene and say “That’s a wrap.”Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor to Thrillist.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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