Colourful Japanese fun!
By a customer
, 26 Jan 2009
Momoko is a young girl living in a deadbeat town who prefers to dress in Lolita fashion and wishes she had lived during the Rococo period. When selling off her fathers fake Versace clothes - that got him in trouble with the yakuza Momoko receives a visit from tough as nails girl biker (well Vespa scooter) gang member Ichigo. This odd couple thus begin an unusual friendship that leads to a voyage of personal discovery about themselves.
If only the execution of the above plotline was as linear as it reads. Kamikaze Girls is an off the wall adaptation of the novel and Manga that finds no method of storytelling too small or too whacky. Lots of camera tricks and CGI effects? Check. Breaking the fourth wall? Check. Random scenes of exposition done via animation? Check. A birth scene from the perspective of inside the womb? Check! Considering the film begins at the end, one gets a very clear and immediate idea as to what kind of film to expect here.
The story is hardly original two polar opposites meet up, befriend one another and, after a shaky start, have a positive effect on the other has been done to death. What makes this film different is in its presentation and by making it a true visual experience the shortcomings of the story are forgiven, and it is this silliness that prevents Kamikaze Girls from being a thoroughbred chick flick. The madcap humour isnt totally overdone but there are occasions where scenes appear to be totally random and thrown in for the sake of it. But such a pace cannot be maintained for ever and the film slows down around the one hour mark and gets serious as we reach the pivotal conflict moment in the story which teeters on the very brink of slushiness.
The basic theme of the plot is of course friendship despite the fact the two leads decide they are happiest left alone. Ichigo became part of the biker gang after being bullied at school and made friends that way yet remains a lone wolf; Momoko became lonely following her parents separation moments after Momoko was born when her mother ran off with the gynaecologist! Then again, they did meet and instantly fall in love in an alley as Momokos father was hiding from the Yakuza and her mother had just decorated the pavement with projectile vomiting-who knew that could be an aphrodisiac? Other madcap characters include Momokos batty grandmother and Ryuji nicknamed The Unicorn because of his almighty and I do mean almighty quiff!
Aside from the creative visuals and bonkers approach to the presentation, the films clear strongest assets are the two leading ladies: Kyôko Fukada is suitably fluffy as Momoko, yet successfully conveys her characters selfish side making Momoko much more rounded that she appears; then we have pop star Anna Tsuchiya who simply becomes Ichigo, lifting her beyond a mere caricature which she threatens to be upon initial appearance. The supporting cast are all smart enough to have their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks and fulfil their roles accordingly to keep the feel and mood of the film in place for the duration.
Silly, inventive, bright, colourful, cheerful, maybe a little long and lacking in true depth story wise, Kamikaze Girls is a fun and fine example of fluffy, esoteric humour Japanese style.
- Was this review helpful to you?
(18) Yes |