A dramatic new piece of work by Shiseido for the Japanese market centres on the powerful effect makeup can apparently have on the individual. Directed by Show Yanagisawa of ‘High School Girl?’ fame, ‘The Party Bus’ also offers a sensitive portrayal of the LGBTQ characters.
In time for Halloween, which has become a major event for young people in Japan, the film features three main characters, who are revelers in costume. At the centre is a ‘princess’ who is conflicted in her feelings for her existing lover (‘Dracula’) and a mystery ‘Samurai Zombie’ figure. After a sequence somewhat reminiscent of the transition scene in ‘High School Girl?’, in which tears result in a change of makeup, she decides to reject her lover and follow her heart.
Under the theme ‘Make up your own story’, introductory prose explains that a change of makeup can give a person the courage to move forward on their own terms.
The accompanying website provides background information on the characters, as well as the making of the film and the featured products. The characters are played by emerging acting and modelling talent: Elena An, who is of Russian-Korean descent; Rina Fukushi, a Vogue Japan Women of the Year award winner, who has appeared in previous Shiseido work; and Endo, a dancer, model and choreographer.
Campaign’s view: In recent years, Shiseido has shown itself to be one of the most innovative advertisers in Japan, and this piece of work continues to set the brand well apart from others in the sector. Compared to ‘High School Girl?’, the film has less of a punchline, but more colour and depth. Without reading the background detail, it may require a second viewing to fully appreciate the storyline. The work is as visually appealing as you would expect, and is notable as a rare example of a Japanese brand speaking to the LGBTQ community directly in a piece of advertising.
Ryoko Tasaki contributed to this article.