Kamikaze Girls centers around two students, Momoko Ryugasaki (Kyoko Fukada) and Ichigo "Ichiko" Shirayuri (Anna Tsuchiya), who are from completely different backgrounds: one is a Lolita girl, the other a Yankī. The story showcases their special bond.
The movie is based on a popular light novel of the same name written by Novala Takemoto and published in October 2002. It was released on DVD in the United States in January 2006 under the title Kamikaze Girls. The movie was filmed in the town of Shimotsuma, in the Ibaraki Prefecture in Eastern Japan. The movie was premièred in 2004. The U.S. DVD has English subtitles (which can not be disabled) and the original Japanese vocals and musical score. The DVD extras include the original Japanese movie trailers, an interview with each of the movie's two stars, along with a music video by Anna Tsuchiya. A Blu-ray Disc of the film with optional English subtitles, the same extras and the short film Birth of Unicorn Ryuji was released in the United Kingdom by Third Window Films in February 2010.
The novel of Shimotsuma Monogatari has more or less the same plot of the movie, but with much more detail.
The book begins with Momoko talking about her life as a Lolita living in a small town in the Japanese countryside. She is the only Lolita in her town and has no friends, but she doesn't care and believes that her Lolita clothes are all she needs to make her happy. But when she runs out of money, she needs to find a way to get her precious Lolita, so she decides to sell some of her father's old bootlegs. When Ichigo finds out about these bootlegs she decided to take a look and is amazed at all the clothes. Soon she shows up at Momoko's house almost every day to buy stuff for the members of her gang.
The rest of the book goes with the movie fairly well until it comes time for Momoko to show Isobe the work she did on the dress he needed embroidered. She arrives ontime and everyone loves her work, but when it comes time for the photoshoot, there is an accident and the model can't do the shoot. Being the only person there the right size to wear the dress, Ichigo hesitantly agrees to model even though she hates Lolita fashion.
When the members of Ichigo's biker gang find out about her modeling, they are enraged and decide to throw her out of the gang. They plan to challenge her, which basically means beating her up very badly. Momoko finds out about the challenge and goes to Ichigo's aid. After accidentally scaring the gang out of their minds, Momoko is considered the winner and saves Ichigo, who she secretly believes to be the best friend she could ever have.
The movie begins with a flashforward of Momoko getting hit by a car while driving a moped, then shifts to the past to introduce her background and early life.
Momoko, who was born near Kobe, wishes that she had been born in Rococo-era France. Her father, a former small-time gangster, was involved in selling fake brand name clothing. After making a fake "double-brand" he finds himself in trouble with Universal Studios, Versace, and the mob, and so he and Momoko move to his mother's house in the rural town of Shimotsuma.
Momoko must go to Tokyo to shop for her clothes, but constantly finds herself short of money for the expensive trip and the pricey clothes she wants to buy. She decides to sell some of her father's fake Versace products, and meets Ichigo, who answers an advertisement she has placed about selling the clothes. Ichigo is a racy, boyish type who belongs to an all-girl bōsōzoku (motorcycle gang). Gradually, the unlikely pair become friends.
Soon Ichigo needs Momoko's help. Akimi, the leader of Ichigo's gang, is leaving, and as a tribute Ichigo plans to have her coat embroidered. She has heard that there is a legendary embroiderer in Tokyo named Emma (sometimes translated as M.R.) and she persuades Momoko to go there with her.
Although they never find the embroiderer, they do stop at Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, the shop where Momoko buys her frilly Lolita dresses. An assistant notices the beautiful embroidery Momoko has stitched on one of her garments and calls the designer himself to come to look at it. Later in the film, the designer asks Momoko to embroider a sample garment which accidentally came back plain.
Back in Shimotsuma, after an argument, Momoko offers to stich the embroidery on Ichigo's coat, which she does with great skill.
The final scenes of the film concern a fight between Ichigo and the members of several all-girl motorbike gangs. It is revealed that the crash at the start of the movie occurred when Momoko was rushing to help Ichigo. Momoko does not die, but instead challenges the entire motorbike gang and wins, rescuing Ichigo.
- Momoko Ryugasaki (竜ヶ崎桃子 Ryūgasaki Momoko) - Kyoko Fukada(Young Momoko Ryugasaki: Mayuko Fukuda)
- Ichigo Shirayuri (白百合イチゴ Shirayuri Ichigo) - Anna Tsuchiya
- Dame Oyaji (Momoko's father) - Hiroyuki Miyasako
- Momoko's mother (Saiyonji Midori) - Ryoko Shinohara
- "Unicorn" Ryuji - Sadao Abe
- Momoko's grandmother - Kirin Kiki
- Akimi (亜樹美) - Eiko Koike
- Miko - Shin Yazawa
- Akinori Isobe (磯部明徳 Isobe Akinori) - Yoshinori Okada
- Yakuza boss - Hirotaro Honda
- Grocery store manager - Yoshiyoshi Arakawa
- Pachinko Parlor manager - Katsuhisa Namase
- Director - Tetsuya Nakashima
- Director of Photography - Shoichi Ato
- Production Designer - Towako Kuwashima
- Animation - Yojiro Nishimura (Studio 4°C)
- Music - Yōko Kanno
The manga version of Kamikaze Girls comprises only one volume and is a condensed version of the novel. The main part of the manga only takes up about half of the book, and afterward is a bonus story where Ichigo falls in love with the twin brother of the guy she fell in love with in the novel. The art for the Kamikaze Girls manga was done by Yukio Kanesada.
- There is a sequel to the original Shimotsuma Monogatari novel, titled Shimotsuma Story End – Yanki-chan and Lolita-chan and the Murder Case (下妻物語・完―ヤンキーちゃんとロリータちゃんと殺人事件 Shimotsuma Monogatari Kan – Yankii-chan to Lolita-chan to Satsujinjiken?).
- The movie's soundtrack was composed by Yōko Kanno, more famous for her scores of anime series and movies.
- The opening and ending theme songs of the movie were the A- and B-sides of Tommy heavenly6's single "Hey My Friend".
- Ichigo's scooter is a customized 1985–86 Honda Lead 50 cc, most likely the SS or R version. This scooter line was briefly available in the USA as the Aero, of which the Aero 80 bears the closest resemblance. The Lead line of scooters has changed over time and is still widely ridden worldwide.
- In American advertisements, reviews, etc., Momoko is often incorrectly referred to as a Gothic Lolita, when she is in fact a Sweet Lolita. As Goth-loli is the most common subset of Lolita fashion in the U.S., it is mistakenly used to refer to all of Lolita culture.
- (Japanese) Official website
- (English) Official website
- (English) Kamikaze Girls at the Internet Movie Database