Noboru Yoshimi was a prolific horror manga author who enjoyed great success with over 300 published stories to his name, mainly aimed at a younger audience. There is however one tale of perverted gender-bending horror that risks being relegated into the realms of lost media. To this day the only place to read Indecent Wriggling is in an issue of the ultra-obscure Manga Play 7 magazine. Manga Play 7 was normally a fairly run-of-the-mill jazz mag, though for reasons unknown they decided to put out a handful of special manga editions of their magazine which totally ignored their usual forté of nudie pics and sex articles and instead focus on erotically charged horror.
It’s night and there’s a young couple frolicking in the park whilst in the bushes hides a peeping tom- though perhaps there is more to him than it seems. When the suspected pervert is confronted by a policeman, he explains that he is actually gathering ingredients from the surrounding shrubbery. Rather than being a passionate herbalist, his intentions aren’t quite so pure and it is revealed that he is brewing a sort of aphrodisiac which unlocks the user’s base instincts and transforms them into a sexually aggressive nymphomaniac.
Wanting to test his potion, he takes a woman on a date and slips a couple of drops of it into her drink. The result is almost immediate and soon she is ripping her clothes off and ravaging him. However, he finds out quickly that his eyes are apparently bigger than his stomach and struggles to keep up with his intoxicated date. After his failure to perform he comes to the realisation that his main sexual satisfaction actually comes from voyeurism, but perhaps there is still a use for his potion.
When visiting a hostess club, he spikes the drink of a hostess and directs her to another man once the potion takes effect. He follows them later that evening and spies on them through a window with great success. Wanting to explore this voyeurism fetish further he decides to visit his friend and slips some into his tea. The effect is the same with men and after becoming painfully erect, his friend grabs his girlfriend, drags her to the bedroom, and forces himself on her all while our protagonist listens from the other side of the door. Being much closer than just watching through a window, the increased excitement leads to him deciding to down an entire beaker of the potion himself – he surmises that since he is well endowed he requires a much larger dose. However, something goes very wrong.
After drinking it, an extreme transformation takes place. The hair on one side of his head suddenly grows, his eyes and facial structure begin to change, and soon one side of his body is morphing into that of a female. Eventually, he ends up split down the middle with one half of his body male and the other female. The psychological effects are far stronger than the nymphomania experienced by his other targets and he soon goes on a crazed rampage. Upon coming across a couple walking down the street, the two sides of him are torn – the male side desires the woman whilst his female side desires the man. He grabs both of them and his internal struggle becomes quite literal as his body gruesomely tears itself in two.
Despite its schlocky conclusion, Indecent Wriggling‘s story has some interesting implications on homosexuality and even gender identity. The potion revealing a person’s animalistic side much like that used in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” can be seen as merely allowing the target to act without inhibitions rather than just transforming them into a hypersexual being. The fact that it has such a bizarre effect on the protagonist does imply that he has some underlying homosexual sentiments in his psyche or perhaps even gender dysphoria. Looking past the perversion, the fact that he could only get off watching heterosexual couples have sex does suggest that subconsciously part of him was focusing on the male party, perhaps even imagining himself in the position of the woman instead of the man; his failure to perform with a woman himself does seem to support this.
Then there is the gory finale which appears to be a very direct metaphor. He is literally torn between his desire, perhaps reflecting some feelings the author may have had themselves. In a time where homosexuality was frowned upon and the very prospect of transitioning was almost unheard of, it does seem like the story is an expression of the inner turmoil someone with might experience. The constant denial of these feelings due to the pressures from society leaves a confusing and painful psychological impact. Was he actually a straight man or was he merely acting that way because that is what he had grown up to think of as normal? Even the title, like many Japanese titles, seems deeply metaphoric. Indecent Wriggling on its face value seems to be a reference to the act of sex itself, though metaphorically “indecent” could refer to homosexual/transgender feelings deemed at the time indecent by society, and “wriggling” could refer to the mental agitation those feelings cause.
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Hi, I have a borderline obsession with Japanese showa-era culture with much of my free time spent either consuming or researching said culture. Apparently I’m now writing about it as well to share all the useless knowledge I have acquired after countless hours surfing the web and peeling through books and magazines.