Kamikaze Girls

Kamikaze Girls

Japanese movies: Like Japanese clothing and culture? Kamikaze Girls is a secret japanese gem of a movie. A Lolita and Bosozoku (biker girl) become unlikely friends as they search Tokyo for frilly dresses and the meaning of life…

If Thelma and Louise, GoGo Yubari (Kill Bill) and The Cartoons (a dodgy 90’s pop band) were thrown into a blender with a Harajuku Lolita and some motorbikes, you would get “Kamikaze Girls”, a Japanese film starring Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya.

It is the tale of the unlikely friendship that develops when Momoko – a self-absorbed Lolita with a talent for embroidery and a passion for clothing label “Baby, The Stars Shine Bright” – meets Ichigo, a tough but big-hearted all-girl bosozoku (biker gang) member who is looking for fake Versace clothes. The film tells their strange and wonderful story as they search Tokyo for a person who may never have existed, for the frilliest dress yet, and for the legendary Himiko – the original biker girl gang leader and crimefighter.

Ichigo, while having a thing for headbutting people, smiles as much as she snarls and has a huge sense of fairness and loyalty – deciding to be Momoko’s friend whether she likes it or not. Momoko’s initial rejection of Ichigo’s friendship – and her choosing of a replacement ‘friend’ for Ichigo – is hilarious. Momoko, despite wishing her life away into a fantasy, gets away with much of her attitude at the beginning because she does not pretend to be any other way. And she is just so damn cute! Both girls are likeable as there is something very honest about each, in spite of their unlikely (okay, another word for quirky) characterisation.All supporting characters are larger-than-life and either insane or insanely beautiful (keep an eye out for “Unicorn” Ryuji and his enormous… hair), and Akimi – the white-clad gang leader with some interesting advice. There’s no denying it – you’ll find a lot of quirk in ‘Kamikaze Girls’.

While I liked the story, loved the main characters and was having some major clothing envy, the details make the film. I was hooked from the opening scene which shows Momoko in a cloudlike white dress crashing into a truck and hurtling through the air amid a shower of cabbages. Convinced she is about to die, her internal monologue delivers an unusual farewell… Another gem of a scene shows Ichigo’s first glimpse of her gang leader, who has pulled over at the side of the road for a girly chat with a pyjama-clad bicycle-riding sniffling little girl out way past her bedtime.

I had a look at the 40-minute “Making-Of” feature, which offers more genuine intimacy with the film-making process than the usual giggling actresses, fluffed lines and shaky camera action. Over the month of filming, we see the director’s birthday party… and also the real friendship and support between the two main actresses when one has a bad day filming. The making-of also shows takes from the final day and the shooting of a difficult (and cringe-worthy) moment that never actually made it to the final cut.

Part road-trip and part friendship movie with some serious ass-kickery, Kamikaze Girls looks as much fun to film as it was to watch. Hilarious in places and sad in others, with a soundtrack of bubblegum J-pop and bosozoku / lolita clothing that will make many people turn as green as a mint-choc ice-cream, enjoy the ride!

Kamikaze Girls movie review


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