Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 3rd, 2010
BluRay released: February 8th, 2010
Approximate running time: 103 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 12 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese
BluRay Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £19.99
At the core Kamikaze Girls is a story about two girls who outwardly couldn’t be more different, while on the inside they are almost identical. Momoko is a self absorbed young woman who dresses up in Lolita Fashion (a fashion subculture in Japan, that is influenced by Victorian Fashion, Rococo period costumes and elements of Gothic subculture). Ichigo is a tough as nails young woman who is part of a biker gang. Both girls come from traumatic childhood’s and there revising who they are through the subcultures they have become part of in many ways feel like a byproduct of the traumatic events they experienced as children.
The film’s narrative is mostly told via a series of flashback’s which perfectly fill in who each girl’s back-story. Filling in the more important details of their part further add to the appeal of both of these characters. Besides the two main characters Momoko and Ichigo, the film is populated with many quirky characters like a gangster named Ryuji ‘the Unicorn’ (he has a most unusual hair style which makes it look like his lock of hair sticking out from his forehead look like a penis). of course there are also many characters that fall into many of Japan’s more popular subcultures.
From the opening scene the film quickly establishes it’s ‘Technicolor’ infused visual style that at times literally leaps off the screen. Performance wise the entire cast are exceptional in their various roles with the stand out performance coming from Kyoko Fukada (Ring 2, Yatterman), in the role of Momoko. Another area where this film excels is the way in which it effortlessly mixes odd ball humor with the more grounded moments of the story. Ultimately Kamikaze Girls works as well as it does because of the way it puts a unique twist on universal themes are easy to identify with.
Kamikaze Girls comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Kamikaze Girls had previously been released by Third Window Films on DVD and this BluRay improves upon that previous transfer in every way. Colors remain faithful to the film’s intended color scheme in which colors often look vibrant and often vivid. Flesh tones look also look accurate, black levels look solid and details look crisp throughout. There are no issues with compression and DNR is kept in check.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included. The subtitles are easy to follow. The audio is in excellent shape as dialog is crystal clear and everything sounds balanced. Overall this is a robust sounding audio mix takes full advantage of all the channels (front, center, rear).
All the extra content included with this release comes on a second disc (a single layer DVD). Extras on this disc include a trailer for the film (1 minute 58 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), a music video for a song sung by Anna Tsuchiya who portrays the character Ichigo in Kamikaze Girls (3 minute 19 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in English), work print footage (4 minute 51 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), a short film titled “Unicorn – Ryuji” he is character that also appears in Kamikaze Girls and this is basically his origins story (11 minute 1 second – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), interviews with director Tetsuya Nakashima (3 minutes 52 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), actresses Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya (7 minutes – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles) and a behind the scenes documentary titled “Making of Kamikaze Girls” (39 minutes 8 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles). While more in-depth extras would have been nice. The comments from cast and crew do a reasonably good job cover most of the areas of this film production. The remaining extras included with this release are trailers for titles currently or soon to be released on DVD from Third Window Films. Overall this a strong Hi Def presentation that improves upon all previous home video releases of Kamikaze Girls, recommended.
Note: Even though the main feature is region free. All of the content on the second disc is region 2 and PAL.