Genre: Excellent Female Camaraderie Revenge Tale
review in one breath
After their detention in the Akagi Reform School for Girls, Rika and her fellow detainees gradually reacquaint through various circumstances in the bustle of downtown Tokyo's nightlife. Though they have endured many hardships up to this point in their lives, it quickly becomes evident that the underground currents of Tokyo's subculture will easily consume them unless they band together. What follows in an excellent display of courage and noble sisterhood in the face of life-threatening situations.
In December 2005 Panik House Entertainment released it's "Pinky Violence Collection" consisting of four rather infamous films involving violence-prone lead female characters and varying degrees of nudity. This "Pinky Violence Collection" seems to have become an overnight sensation.
Although I am indeed thankful that these four films have now been released in a careful and well-formatted version for Western audiences, I cannot help but lament the rather hodge-podge, piece-meal manner in which this collection, like so many other collections of j-films by Western distributors, has been compiled.
The four films in this collection are:
Criminal Woman: Killing Melody (Zenka Onna Karoshi Bushi)
- A 1973 film directed by Mihori Atsushi
Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (Zubeko bancho: zange no neuchi mo nai)
- The 1971 film by director Yamaguchi Kazuhiko. This particular "Delinquent Girl" film is the FOURTH in director Yamaguchi's "Zubeko Bancho" series.
Girl Boss Guerilla (Sukeban Gerira)
- Director Suzuki Norifumi's 1972 film. This is the THIRD of four in Suzuki's "Sukeban" series. This is one of two films by director Suzuki in this "Pinky Violence" collection.
Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom
(Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Boukou Rinchi Kyoushitsu)
- A 1973 film by director Suzuki Norifumi. This is Suzuki's SECOND "Terrifyng Girl's High School" film. (Prior to this film Suzuki also directed four "Sukeban" films (see above), one "Furyo" film (aka Sex and Fury !), and "Terrifying Girls' High School: Violent Girls' Classroom".)
As an avid fan of cult Japanese films, I must say that a collection of all four of director Yamaguchi's "Zubeko bancho" films would be more of a collector's item than the current collection. Or, if we must go with this type of diversity, how about a collection of these directors' FIRST films in their respective series?? Why give me the third sequel of this, the fourth sequel of that and the second sequel of the other? Thus while I'm glad that the films in question have been released to the West in this quality, I don't understand why a more logical collection wasn't pursued.
The film under review here is Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess by director Yamaguchi Kazuhiko who as we said earlier directed four "Zubeko bancho" (Delinquent Girl Boss) films of which this is the last. Those four films are:
- Zubeko bancho: Yumei wa Yoru Hiraku (1970)
- Zubeko bancho: Tokyo Nagaremono (1970)
- Zubeko bancho: Hamagure Kazoe Uta (1971)
- Zubeko bancho: Zange no neuchi mo nai(1971)
The lead "delinquent girl boss" in all these films is the character Kageyama Rika and is played throughout by Oshida Reiko. Oshida has appeared in almost 30 films and really made a name for herself as a leading bad girl during the 1970s when so many films in this genre were being produced. She has a very spunky yet intense personality which easily translates into the type of rough and tumble girl required by the Kageyama Rika role.
Oshida would never agree to do a nude scene in any of her films, which I believe maintained the viability of her character. (Compare for example the two film shelf life of the much more impressive Inoshika Ocho character played by Ike Reiko in Sex and Fury.) But these films undoubtedly needed a little flesh and so one of the co-stars would inevitably have to bare it all for viewing pleasure. Here, the very beautiful Katayama Yumiko playing the character Midori comes to the rescue (just as she did in Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion !!).
After a stint in the Akagi Reform School for Girls, Rika visits the father of her fellow inmate Midori. Midori's father is a very kind and generous fellow striving to make ends meet through his auto-repair shop. His main financial burden, however, is the perpetual debt his estranged daughter's slacker-boyfriend has pulled them into due to yakuza ties.
Though Midori's father welcomes the recently released Rika into his home, Midori remains nowhere to be seen, hidden away with her no-good yakuza boyfriend and harboring some hidden deep grudge against her father.
Rika's exuberant return to her Tokyo neighborhood soon intersects the spiraling lives of her friends, just in time to rectify some deep-rooted injustices.
The mental images which the phrase "Pinky Violence" brings to my mind are far more controversial than is this film. Though I have not yet seen the others in this collection, the content in this particular film is far more wholesome and emotionally substantial than mere "pinky violence". This is at heart a tale about the bonds of sisterhood and how true friends fight for each others' well-being even when things get difficult. And that is the enduring impression this narrative leaves audiences with. There are really no gratuitous or exaggerated scenes of nudity or violence here. Everything fits well and plausibly within the storyline.
Perhaps a reason for this balance is due to its being a relatively early film in this genre. In only a few years' time, "pinky violence" will take on a whole other connotation through films brimming with cheesy BDSM whippings and cabaret-style nudity parading across the screen. (Just see Ishii Teruo's 1973 Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture.) It's my guess at this point that films in this genre released in 1970-1972 and a few as late as 1973 had not yet been pulled into the trap of thinking audiences simply wanted more flesh rather than compelling female characters.
I give this film my whole recommendation, not necessarily because it is part of the the (so-called) "Pinky Violence Collection" but more so due to its original role in the early formation of delinquent heroine development. This is a good-natured tale involving the well established character of tough girl Kageyama Rika.
And by the way, the theme songs and soundtracks on these earlier films simply cannot be beat!!
Now if we could only get a distributor to release the full collection of Yamaguchi Kazuhiko's FOUR Zubeko bancho films...
Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available at all mainstream venues.
|Here's a wonderfully noble heroine-centric film minus all the degrading "pink violence" imagined thus far.||Although verbal assault prevails, gun and sword violence leave their bloody mark.||Some rose-tattooed TITillation thanks to Midori's constant need of a bath or shower.||This is definitely a fun and endearing tale with just a smidgeon of "pinky violence".|