Kamikaze Girls
Look at the DVD-cover to the right. Look at the pictures below. Do any of these pictures spell kamikaze to you? Me neither.

But…..

The pictures do not lie, but they are still pictures – when they start moving “Kamikaze Girls” will take you for one of the wildest rides of the year and it will take your breath away.

“Kamikaze Girls” is completely over the top and tells its story with such ingenuity, crazy antics and virtuosity that I was blown away. I was smiling, chuckling and nearly fell off my chair laughing throughout the film.

I thought it was just another cosplay comedy, but it is much more than that.

Momoko Ryugasaki (Kyôko Fukada) wishes she was born in the rococo era and living in Versailles – frilly and lacy dresses is what she lives for. The style of dresses that she wears makes her part of the “Lolita” fashion scene in Japan.

Momoko is living with her father and grandmother (her mother divorced him, and Momoko decided to stay with her father). Her father is a small time crook. He used to sell fake Versace handbags, clothes etc., but after being threatened with lawsuits, he was forced to retire by his yakuza bosses.

Being in constant need of money to satisfy her fashion sense, Momoko tries to sell some of his merchandise through the Internet.

Enter Ichigo Shirayuri (Anna Tsuchiya). She is a “Yankee” fashion style member of a female biker gang – riding customized scooters! Ichigo swears, spits and head butts!

The two girls are complete opposites. Momoko seems intimidated by Ichigo, who in turn seems disgusted by Momoko’s way of life.

So of course they have to end up being friends. “Kamikaze Girls” turns out to be a buddy-movie.

“Kamikaze Girls” took Japan by storm. Cult writer Novala Takemoto wrote a novel, “Shimotsuma Story”, which later was adapted into a comic book – and then into the film.

Director Tetsuya Nakashima, who is best known for TV dramas and commercials, has made a wonderful wacky film. Mixing tricks from commercials, sentimental girls novels and anime he has made a fantastic and colorful story.

He has great help from his leads. Kyôko Fukada is a pop idol in Japan, and she is perfect as the flimsy “Lolita” who turns out to be rock solid. Anna Tsuchiya is a riot as the spitting and swearing “Yankee” girl. Watch her in “The Taste of Tea” which also is from 2004 and see if you recognize her. I dare you.

But for all the virtuosity and dazzling screen antics what really makes “Kamikaze Girls” tick, is its heart.

These two odd girls really grow on you and you start to see them as real persons. You accept and even start to understand their way of dealing with life as female teenagers in Japan. When the story ends, a happy tear in the corner of your eye accompanies the smile on your face. That’s the real accomplishment of director Tetsuya Nakashima.
Uffe Stegmann
September 18, 2005
GALLERY



Original Title
Shimotsuma monogatari
Country
Japan
Year
2004
Director
Tetsuya Nakashima
- Beautiful Sunday (1998)
- Summer Tale (1997)
Cast
Kyôko Fukada
- Like Asura (2003)
- Onmyoji 2 (2003)
- Dolls (2002)
Anna Tsuchiya
- The Taste of Tea (2004)
DVD Availability
Available on DVD from YesAsia: