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Kamikaze Girls

A friendship story that won't have you screaming for your scrapbooking kit and pot of tea afterwards.
In my junior year of high school, my hometown was known for having the highest number of murders in the entire state. While it was safe to walk around at night and not much really happened outside of being on the news every few months, it did give us kids something to claim when people asked where we were from. It was dash of ghetto fabulousness in an otherwise humdrum town. Shimotsuma, a little town a few hours away from Tokyo, is known for cabbage.

Cabbage.

Unfortunately, cabbage leads to neither ghetto nor fabulous tales, so you can imagine what kinds of things the kids talked about there.

Kamikaze Girls, the movie originally known as Shimotsuma Monogatari (Shimotsuma Story), centers around the lives of two high school girls living in a town known for its cabbage and fascination with Jusco, a sort-of Japanafied Wal-Mart. It's not often you get to see ghetto fabulousness Japanese-style, but this movie delivers on so many levels.

Momoko, the main character, is the lolita, daughter of a former bootlegger of all things Versace, who gets run out of town to Shimotsuma soon after he crosses his booming "Versach" (you have to love bootlegs!) line with Universal Studios. Jigga what? My ghetto fab side is already smiling here. Momoko decks herself out in Baby, The Stars Shines Bright gear, which is similar to that 36-year-old guy still living with his parents but driving an H2. She can't afford it, but she swindles her way to get her fix of this famous lolita brand.

Ichiko is the yankee, a biker chick in the truest sense of the word... only instead of rockin' a motorcycle, it's a... scooter? Not just a scooter, but a tricked out, banner-waving, baby pink scooter. Do they make spinners that small? Because if they did, she'd have rocked those too. Not to be outdone by the frilly dress stylings of Momoko, Ichiko rocks the Versach, baggy track suits, and the typical stylings of a yankee in Japan.

Beyond the quirky fashion, it's a friendship story that isn't a Ya-Ya Sisterhood / let's scrapbook / oh my god a "chick flick" dip into stereotypical, well, girlyness. Fiercely independent in different ways, it's an attraction of opposites that leads to interesting results on just who is more hardcore out of the two. Throughout the movie, Momoko narrates with her own colorful commentary, cartoon breaks and jabs at Ichiko. In true Japanese style, there will be parts where you'll go, "What the...?!" and other parts where your inner wannabe-J-Pop star will go, "SUGOI!" It's easily one of the best friendship stories I've ever seen.

As for the ghetto fabulousness? Four words: Girls with baseball bats. And they're not on a sports team.

Kamikaze Girls will be doing a limited run in major cities starting this month followed by an American DVD release through Viz. For more information, and to find out if the movie will be coming to a theater near you, check out the official site at kamikazegirls.net

According to Viz, a domestic home video and DVD release is set for January 2006 followed by the publication of the translated novel and manga graphic novel series to be published early 2006.
Stills from the movie - Momoko in the hustling, bustling metropolis of Shimotsuma. -
Momoko in the hustling, bustling metropolis of Shimotsuma.
Stills from the movie - Staring contest. - Ichiko & Momoko compare nostrils.
Staring contest.
Ichiko & Momoko compare nostrils.
Stills from the movie - The one day to forget the ragtop. - Ichiko after MTV's Pimp My Ride.
The one day to forget the ragtop.
Ichiko after MTV's Pimp My Ride.
Stills from the movie - The legend lives! - The legend of animated yankee girl zombies, that is.
The legend lives!
The legend of animated yankee girl zombies, that is.
Stills from the movie - Momoko's got balls. - More than one variety of balls, actually.
Momoko's got balls.
More than one variety of balls, actually.
 

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