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Kamikaze Girls

4.5 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kamikaze Girls

Meet Momoko, a self-absorbed dreamer who fantasizes about fleeing her backcountry home and living life in 18th century Versailles. When she unexpectedly meets the rebellious Ichigo, a rough-and-tumble biker chick, the two misfits form a unique friendship--together, nothing can stop them! Born from the pages of favorite cult author Novala Takemoto, Kamikaze Girls is a frenetic roller-coaster ride brimming with day-glo visuals and wild hilarity that you will never forget!



Kooky, kinetic, and colorful, 2004's Kamikaze Girls is a delight, and one that could only have come from Japan. Our principal character and narrator is Momoko (Kyoko Fukada), the 17-year-old product of a highly dysfunctional marriage who wishes she'd lived in 18th Century France, during the Rococo age; instead, she and her bonnets and frilly dresses are stuck in Japan's rural outback, where she abides by a philosophy that claims, "If I can't live independently, I'd rather be a water flea." Enter Ichigo (Anna Tsuchiya), a tough-talking, head-butting, scooter-riding thug who doesn't know rococo from rock & roll, and whom the haughty Momoko deplores and mostly ignores--at least until they're brought together by, of all things, embroidery (Momoko's good at it, Ichigo needs some for her biker threads). Suffice it to say that these two oddballs form a union of sorts, and Kamikaze Girls (entitled Shimotsuma Monogatari in Japanese) ultimately delivers a fairly straightforward message about independence, loneliness, and friendship. But getting there is quite a trip. Director and co-writer Tetsuya Nakashima combines live action, animation, special effects, fourth-wall asides, fantasy sequences, and more in a dazzling onslaught of images; in that way, as well as in its overall outlook ("Humans are cowards in the face of happiness," says one character), the film is somewhat reminiscent of Amelie. True, Kamikaze Girls lacks the full measure of that French film's grace, heart, and charm. But for sheer imaginativeness and cinematic virtuosity, this one's hard to beat. --Sam Graham

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, Dolby, Live, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: VIZ Pictures, Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BYA4M4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,820 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kamikaze Girls" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
`Kamikaze Girls' is a delightful, pop, unique, and utterly sweet tale of the friendship between two Japanese girls Momoko and Ichigo. Sure, some part of the film's very disarming charms can be appreciated more with knowledge of modern Japanese culture, but that doesn't mean the film should be seen only by the small coterie of moviegoers. After all the film's theme is a universal one.

First, remember the film's original title (and its original novel) is called `Shimotsuma Monogatari' (The story of Shimotsuma) because this actual town that is located in the northern suburb of Tokyo City (about 60 km to the north of the metropolis) is the place where we meet our cute heroines.

OK, this rural town is the place where Momoko (meaning literally `peach-child' in Japanese) is living. She loves wearing pretty, girlish (and expensive) clothing (usually referred to `Lolita' or `Lolita Fashion' in Japan) and in order to buy them she goes all the way to Tokyo. One day, she thinks of a brilliant idea to get money. Following the `business' of her ex-yakuza father, Momoko sells counterfeit designer clothing on the net.

Only one customer shows up. It is Ichigo (literally meaning `strawberry'), a teenage girl clad in a long coat (signature of Japanese teenage motorcycle gangs), and riding a ridiculously decorated pink-colored scooter. Somehow this incongruous pair of girls gets friendlier to each other, and Momoko, confirmed loner, finds there is something precious that she cannot buy, more precious than the fancy dress that she is wearing.

[DELIGHTFUL] The incredibly charming film is not so much about the story as the two incredibly charming characters Momoko (Kyoko Fukada) and Ichigo (Anna Tsuchiya).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this in Tokyo when it was released and loved it. Got the Japanese DVD here. Sadly, it is ever so slightly hollow a movie, but where the story isn't as lush and gripping as a classic, the visuals make up for it through acting and filming.

"Kamikaze Girls" (why oh why couldn't they have called it SHIMOTSUMA STORY?!??) seems like a Japanese manga brought to live action. It displays and parodies facets of society in Japan, and using humor and design it keeps the viewer engrossed. The two main actresses and their characters are adorably cute and expressive. The lead man, the father, is amazing in his own way as an actor and a character caught in the grimy world of the 'cheap fashion' underground. The anime sections slipped in are maybe the least congruous sections of the film, but provide a splash of visual variety. It's Japan having a laugh at itself, it's stereotypes from within, and mostly poking fun at the earnest ways of young women. The greatest let down of the film to me must be the end scenes of the climax- they were shoddily handled as if the entire crew was worn down and out of cash in the final days, but it tells the story and makes its point well enough.

I knew it was amazing when it began with the lead character flying through the air caused by a road accident, dressed in Rococo/Lolita garb not unlike Little Bo Peep, surrounded by cabbages, pachinko balls slipping from her purse to signify her life slipping away, and she mentally bids farewell to the world... then she backs up to contemplate what caused this, everything rewinds super fast and the story begins. Interesting, crafty, silly, striking, and just pure fun for the family. (No sex or nudity, language seems clean, no serious violence aside from a fight at the end, and some cartoonish head butting)
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Format: DVD
One of the few delightful movies I've seen in recent years is this quirky adaptation of Novala Takemoto's novel. Dreamer Momoko Ryugasaki feels stranded in Shimotsuma in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, i.e. the boonies. She feels more at home in France's opulent Rococo period (1715-1770), cutting quite a figure dressed in her pink Lolita dress, white parasol, and white platforms. She is the main character and narrator, occasionally speaking to the camera.

Momoko lives with her loser father and grandmother in a shabby hut, a far cry from her birthplace, the bustling bargain hunters' paradise of Amagasaki in Hyogo Prefecture--a suburb of Osaka on the northeast shore of Osaka Bay. She has an individualistic approach to life, at one point not hesitating to tell made up stories of a classmate in trouble to get money to buy her expensive Lolita clothes, leading her father to bawl in sympathy and fork over the cash. "So what if I was deceitful? My happiness was at stake. It's not wrong to feel good. But actually my soul is rotten." A retread of that 60's mentality of if it makes you happy, do it.

Enter Ichiko Shiyayuri, a tough-looking, rough-talking, sometimes hot-tempered member of the ladies biker gang The Ponytails who occasionally spits, to the disgust of the more refined Momoko. She is astounded and appreciated at being able to buy a bogus Versace jacket for only 2000 yen ($20), and there starts the beginning of the one of the most unlikely friendships ever. Ichiko's more down-to-earth and more connected to people than Momoko and when the latter makes a comment that really pi**es her off, headbutts her.

Ichiko wants to find a legendary embroiderer named Emma in Tokyo's Daikanyama area.
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