Kamikaze Girls is not a movie based on an anime. It is a live-action anime based on a novel. It has sight gags and bizarre characters, weird plot twists and plot threads carefully placed in the first act that reappear in the last act. It’s full of cuteness overload and young female bonding between a teen trapped in the Japanese countryside who would rather live in 18th century Versailles, and a young “Yanki” or member of a girl’s gang.
There will be a hailstorm of cabbages, but the slick dude who probably wanted to be Elvis in a previous life is not wearing a duck butt haircut – unless the duck is allowed to sit facing backwards.
We have one girl obsessed with current fashion, and happy to find knock-offs she can afford, while the other takes an all-day round trip to the big city and a tiny pastry of a shop that sells frothy concoctions of clothing. Both girls don’t really fit in; even the Yanki in her gang is slightly on the edge and watching everything from the seat of her scooter. She works for a mechanic who shows her neat things to do with the bikes. The French Rococo lover has a talent for needlework that becomes a bond between the two girls – and that needlework helps stitch the entire story together. In the end, the Yanki may understand more about fantasy than the girl longing for Versailles.
And by the end, you’re going to like both of the girls.
This movie is unrated, and has mature enough concepts that it should be considered PG/PG-13 – there is a gang beating seen. It was an official selection at several film festivals, and male critics liked it as well as female film critics. The DVD contains interviews, trailers, and even Sideways Mode – moving through the film in a non-linear fashion. It’s in Japanese with English subtitles, and that didn’t bother me at all.
Like anime? Got Netflix? Give it a try!