Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 6th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, September 26th, 1998
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Masa Nakamura
Cast: Setsuko Karasuma, Yuki Nagata, Toshikazu Nakaba, Akihiro Shimizu, Saki Takaoka, Naoto Takenaka
DVD Released: October 26th, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo
DVD Release: Artsmagic
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Young Thugs Nostalgia is the prequel to Young Thugs Innocent Blood and just like its predecessor this film main focus is Riichi. We are shown how Riichi meets his buddies with whom he would later form a gang and we are introduced to his are nemesis Sada. Riichi’s future girlfriend Royko is only used sporadically in this film. Her character is underused while Miike focuses mainly on Riichi and his two friends Kotetsu and Yuji adventures.
Time and again Takashi Miike is fearless in his choices that he makes as a filmmaker. He is the most influential director currently making films in an industry were profits are more important then artistic vision. Takashi Miike has referred to Young Thugs Nostalgia as his favorite film. Through Young Thugs Nostalgia autobiographical tone Miike explores themes that are very close to his childhood past. Coming of age films really took off with Rebel Without a Cause and each new generation gets their own films to latch on too. Youth is eternal and as we grow older we all long for the time when we were once young. Takashi Miike with Young Thugs Nostalgia weaves a tale that celebrates and mourns this innocence that is lost as we grow older. Young Thugs Nostalgia has a straight forward narrative and it is Miike most restrained film to date.
Miike effectively uses black and white while showing flashbacks while keeping the present day in color. For a film that revolves around a cast of mostly children Miike manages to keep things interesting and the film moves at a brisk pace. The film takes place in 1969 and the overall look of the period has been authentically replicated by Miike. The most bizarre moment in the film happens when the grandfather and father get into an argument. In trademark like Miike moment the grandfather shoves a broom up the father’s ass. A wonderfully executed moment in the film when Sada and Riichi are about to face off Miike uses Ennio Morricone’s “Sixty Seconds to What?” from For A Few Dollars More as the boys stare each other down. Miike has a knack for taking ordinary situations and elevating them into something more bombastic.
Young Thugs Innocent Blood it presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. The colors are strong as they capture the late 1960’s décor and the flesh tones look natural through out. The image is sharp through out with no sign of grain or artifacts the print used for this transfer in excellent shape.
This DVD comes with two audio options Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Dolby Digital stereo. For this review I listened to the Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 which makes good use of the surrounds. The dialog is clear and the action is benefited by a dynamic Dolby Digital 5.1 track that has some bite. English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras include the films original trailer, original sleeve concept art, bios/filmographies for the cast and Takashi Miike. Other extras include a nine minute featurette “Osaka people” about the people and place were the film takes place. Rounding out the extras is a fifteen minute interview with Takashi Miike. Artsmagic gives another lesser known Miike a solid DVD release.
Young Thugs Nostalgia like its predecessor Young Thugs Innocent Blood is a character driven film that really showcases Miike’s talents as a director.