In 1982, along with filmmakers Yoshiho Fukuoka, Itsumichi Isomura, Toshiyuki Mizutani and Akira Yoneda, Suo founded a production company called Unit 5. Suo worked as an assistant director and appeared in the cast of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's directorial debut, the pink filmKandagawa Pervert Wars (1983). At this early stage in his career, Suo also wrote scripts for the pink film genre, such as Scanty Panty Doll: Pungent Aroma (1983). Suo first film as director was also in the pink film genre: Abnormal Family: Older Brother's Bride (1984), a film designed as a tribute and satire of Yasujirō Ozu's Tokyo Story. In his book on the pink film, Behind the Pink Curtain (2008), Jasper Sharp calls Abnormal Family: Older Brother's Bride an early masterpiece, and one of the wittiest films ever made in the genre. Suo not only pokes gentle fun at Ozu's story, but also mimics many of his stylistic techniques, such as shooting his actors from a low, tatami-mat angle, stiff and static characters speaking to each other with mis-matched eye-angles, and a simple, sentimental melody which accompanies the film. In the years since its release, the film has amused film students with the activity of locating and identifying Suo's many nods to Ozu and his oeuvre.Abnormal Family was Suo's only directorial work in the pink film genre.
In a 1997 interview with IndieWire, Suo talked about his filmmaking style:
"The most important thing for me in movie making is to love the characters of the movie, so even though you only have a few seconds with a character, that person has to have his own life. Therefore, I want to respect it, I want to make movies where each character has his own individuality."