Review by: Natasha Monk
Dir: Tetsuya Nakashima
Kamikaze Girls is a 2002 novel written by Novala Takemoto, adapted into a manga and film. The film was directed by Tetsuya Nakashima and showcases the friendship between two girls of two completely different backgrounds. Momoko (Kyoko Fukada) is a Lolita girl who wishes she had been born in 18th century France, during the Rococo era. Ichigo (Anna Tsuchiya), a less girly version of Momoko, loves bootleg fashion and motorbikes from the 1980s.
The main character Momoko, who narrates the story, plays a loner who doesn’t care for friendship, but her happiness for embroidery and Lolita fashion is the most important thing in the world. Momoko also dreams of working at the popular Japanese boutique ‘Baby, The Stars Shine Bright.’ But her attitude towards her favourite store changes after she meets Ichiko – a racy, boyish Yankī (Yankee of the east) who belongs to an all girl motorcycle gang known as The Ponytails. In my opinion, Anna Tsuchiya plays Ichiko perfectly, with her constant head butting, spitting and southern Japanese dialect. Her character is someone who really disgusts Momoko completely, as she cannot see herself developing a friendship with this sort of girl.
Kamikaze Girls is a vibrant and fast-paced movie, with live-action, animation and a comical, but cute soundtrack composed by Yoko Kanno. The film revolves around Japanese pop culture and can be loosely compared to the American film Ghost World which also touches on the relationship between two best friends. The film embraces loneliness, friendship and love. It’s an enjoyable film to watch that teaches you a little about the youth culture in Japan.
Watch Now at FilmDoo: Kamikaze Girls (UK & Ireland only)
Find more Japanese films here.