“ATHLETE”— Ups and Downs


Ups and Downs

Amos Lassen

 Kohei (Joe Nakamura) is a former competitive swimmer who lives an ordinary life with his wife and high school daughter. One day, his wife suddenly asks him for a divorce. He has an encounter with a beautiful boy named Yutaka (Yohdi Kondo) who dreams of becoming an animator while working as an online chat boy. At the same time, he is struggling to tell his father that he is gay. Both guys are confused but eventually become attracted to each other. One day they make love, and the next day they hurt each other. Through these emotional ups and downs, their relationship grows deeper

The shock of his wife asking for divorce leads Kohel to alcohol and he finds himself one night in Tokyo’s Gay district, Shinjuku 2-Chome, for a meeting with Yutaka, a beautiful twink. Yutaka makes a living from live sex webcams with men, but his dream is to become an anime creator. He is tortured because he still hadn’t come out to his father who has collapsed from illness. Kohei and Yutaka both carry a cross. They hesitate but can’t stop being drawn to each other as if they need each other.

They fall for each other yet at times each hurts the other. Kohei however begins to struggle about what it means “to love somebody” and questions his “sexuality”, through his contacts with different personalities in the Gay District. Meanwhile, Yutaka encounters his gay-ex Atsushi, and starts to realize he will never be able to be with Kohei


Nakamura portrays the internal struggles of Kohei who is straight until he meets Yutaka who is gay. Kondo as Yutaka delivers an unforgettable performance and is a veritable tour de force on screen.

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