StoryThoughtsWhere 2 Watch

I guess we all saw it coming, huh? I’ve had a little section on my about me page for a while where I just talk about how much I love cute Japanese fashion, and how the movie Kamikaze Girls has only heightened that. I suppose it comes to no one’s surprise, then, that I’ve decided to make a shrine dedicated to this movie.

p.s. try clicking the little CD player in the bottom right corner!


☆ Story ☆

Kamikaze Girls (also known as Shimotsuma Monogatari, Shimotsuma Story) is a Japanese live-action movie from 2004, that centres around the character of Momoko Ryugasaki, a 17-year-old girl who has moved from Amagasaki to Shimotsuma, after her father, who is also a gang member, gets in a whole heap of trouble for selling counterfeit goods.

Momoko had discovered Lolita fashion during high school, and though her father is left without a stable job after moving house, Momoko does whatever she can to take money from him, in order to purchase more dresses, shoes, or frilly parasols.

When her father inevitably runs out of money, Momoko decides to find a new way to make money, so she posts an ad for her father’s counterfeit goods in a magazine. A day later, she receives a letter from a mysterious “Ichiko Shirayuri”, and next thing you know, she shows up at Momoko’s house on her motorcycle, showing off her drawn-on-eyebrows, and spitting everywhere.
She purchases a jacket from Momoko, saying that it’s for a wedding parade that she’s going to.

Momoko despises everything about Ichiko, but Ichiko continues to show up at her house almost every day. One day, when they’re at a restaurant, Ichiko talks about her first encounter with Akimi, the leader of their biker gang “The Ponytails”. Momoko learns that Ichiko was bullied a lot, but while riding her bicycle one night, Akimi approached Momoko and, basically, told her not to cry around others, since it makes everyone else feel awful, and that crying alone makes one stronger.
Ichiko also talks about Emma, a great embroiderer rumoured to be hiding somewhere in Daikanyama, unable to be contacted by anyone. She really wants him to embroider a message on her coat that says “Akimi-san, arigatou”.
Ichiko tells Momoko about Himiko, as well, who was a gang leader who had set out to unite all female biker gangs in Kanagawa, and mysteriously disappeared afterwards.

Ichiko realises that she’ll need a lot of money to get the embroidery for her jacket done, if she ever finds the legendary Emma, so she drags Momoko along to a pachinko parlour. Ichiko doesn’t have much luck with it, but Momoko is surprisingly good at it, so much so that an employee, or maybe even the owner of the place, notices and thinks that she’s cheating. A man by the name of Ryuji shows up to their rescue, making sure that the man doesn’t come anywhere near the two girls.
Momoko loans Ichiko half of the money she’s earned from playing pachinko. Though she’s fine with Ichiko keeping it, Ichiko insists that she must return it to Momoko whenever she can.
Momoko also tells her that she’s known that her real name was Ichigo, not Ichiko, for a while. Although Ichigo gets mad at her, Momoko continues to call her that for the rest of the movie.

Once Momoko is back home, she finds out that either mice or moths have eaten one of her bonnets, so she carefully stitches the holes back up, and embroiders some hearts over top. She thinks that this is her punishment for hanging out with Ichigo at a pachinko parlour.

Ichigo brings Momoko along with her to the pachinko place the next day, and there they see Ryuji once again. He shows Ichigo why she’s so bad at pachinko, and teaches her how to be better. Then, as Momoko put it, “This joke of a man had taken someone’s heart”, and Momoko teases Ichigo about how she’s never gone out with anyone before.

Momoko returns to Daikanyama now that she and Ichigo have made enough money to afford Emma’s embroidery work, and they set out to find the mysterious embroiderer. The two quickly visit Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, and there Momoko meets her “God”, Isobe. He’s the boss, the designer… Whatever you want to call him, and Momoko literally faints upon meeting him. Once she’s fine again, he asks to see the embroidery she’s done on her bonnet, and he thinks it’s very good.

After this, Momoko gets angry at Ichigo because she feels as if she’s looking for people who don’t even exist. Ichigo returns the money she loaned from Momoko, as she’s given up on ever finding Emma or Himiko. When Momoko sees how sad she is, though, she offers to do Ichigo’s embroidery instead. Ichigo accepts this. Momoko works very hard, embroidering non-stop from Monday night to Wednesday morning, forgetting to sleep or go to school.

Once it’s finished, Ichigo shows up at Momoko’s house again to collect her jacket, and Momoko feels happy seeing Ichigo so pleased with it.

After sleeping for a long time, Momoko receives a message from Isobe, saying how he needs her immediate assistance. It turns out that he wants Momoko to do some embroidery work for a dress, and he sends her home with a plain white dress and a few ideas for how it should look.

While heading home, Momoko gets a call from Ichigo, and the two meet each other next to a lake. Earlier, Ichigo had been to Akimi’s wedding parade, where… Ryuji showed up. Akimi explained that she was getting married to him, and that they were going to have a baby, so she would be leaving The Ponytails.
Momoko tries to tell Ichigo that humans will always betray each other, so Ichigo should just take back whatever makes her happy. Ichigo disagrees, and she ends up crying about it.

Once Momoko makes it back home, she stares and stares at the dress she’s been given, and though she finally figures out what she’s going to do with it, she can’t, because she feels so awful, not only from talking to Ichigo, but because she realises that she only really wants to wear clothes from Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, not make them.

She meets up with Ichigo to talk to her about this. Ichigo angrily explains that she loved the embroidery Momoko did for her, and that Isobe recognised Momoko’s talent. She says that that’s not something to be pouting about.

Before Momoko can say anything, though, Ichigo gets a call from someone who tells her that another gang is challenging The Ponytails, and that they’re going to meet up near the Ushiku Buddha statue. Later, Ichigo tells Momoko that The Ponytails has gotten a lot bigger, and that she doesn’t like being a part of it anymore. She plans on leaving it soon.

Momoko asks her dad what it means when gangs challenge each other, and he explains that they just fight each other, usually in very gruesome ways. Momoko realises that her friend is in some serious trouble, and although it’s the day that she’s supposed to return the dress she’s been working on back to Isobe, she decides to take her grandmother’s motorbike to where the gangs are fighting.

The Ponytails argue with Ichigo, saying that Himiko asked them to unite all of the biker gangs in Ibaraki, but Ichigo says that the gang has many different issues now that there are so many people bossing each other around.
This quickly turns from arguing and intimidation to violence.
Ichigo is obviously getting pretty beat up, but after heaps of blood gets sprayed on Momoko’s frilly dress, she steps in. Momoko takes a baseball bat from someone and starts angrily swinging it around, while pretty, classical music plays in the background.

Momoko tells the girl who had started picking a fight with Ichigo in the first place, Miko, that Himiko wouldn’t ever talk to scum like her. Momoko claims that she’s actually the daughter of Himiko and Emma, and that the reason that Himiko disappeared was that she fell in love and had a baby.
Momoko saying this keeps everyone quiet, and what does she do? She leaves, along with Ichigo.

On the way back, Ichigo explains to Momoko that the reason why they fell for her story is because Himiko and Emma weren’t even real, and Ichigo had made them up. Himiko could not have ordered Miko to unite all of Ibaraki because she did not exist.

The day after, Momoko shows Isobe the dress she had embroidered, and it leads to her becoming a part-time designer for Baby, The Stars Shine Bright. Ichigo also tries out modelling for Baby, but she ends up injuring the cameramen and breaking their equipment after getting angry at them.

And a new page is added to the legend of Himiko.

☆ Thoughts ☆

Kamikaze Girls is probably my favourite movie ever. I've watched it quite a few times, and I think it's pretty great! I'm sure that when this movie came out, it was pretty significant in the EGL community. And, y'know, it probably still is today. I mean, what other movies can you name that have such a huge emphasis on Lolita fashion? Excluding small indie productions, that is.

It kinda sucks that Kamikaze Girls DVDs are so expensive to buy second-hand. I was curious, so I looked it up on Ebay, and I was like, "Yeah, I'm fine with the poor quality rips that have been uploaded to YouTube. They're okay." ROFL but I kinda get it.

When I discovered a better quality upload on, I was freaking out. It didn't matter that the subtitles were super inconsistent, because I was super happy being able to watch it in such great quality :D

Below is a list of extra stuff I really like about this movie:

☆ Where 2 Watch ☆ (Higher Quality)YouTube Upload 1 YouTube Upload 2