The Film (5/5)
The screener of Kamikaze Girls I received for this review was a single layer BD-R. It had no cover, just the title of the film on the disc itself. I had no idea what I was in for with this film, but it is a new Blu-ray, and as such I threw it on immediately. The screen erupted with an anime biker declaring “This bike ignites!” before roaring off the screen, it then cuts to our protagonist Momoko, racing down the road like a bat out of Hell.
During this initial 30 seconds of Kamikaze Girls, I was convinced that I was about to be treated to a crazy ass balls to the wall Japanese action flick. What I got instead was a quirky comedy about the power of true friendship. I was not disappointed.
First, and foremost, this is an insanely visual film. It is a bright Technicolor marvel of a film, that practically looks like a cartoon throughout it's running time, yet, still pauses on occasion to incorporate some wild anime sequences that help push the narrative forward. The visuals while outstanding, do not dominate the film. It actually has depth beneath the candy coated exterior.
As I said earlier, this is a film about friendship. It is a story of two teenage girls that are just starting to figure out there place in the world. Momoko is a girl who was abandoned by her Mother at an early age, and was forced to live with her eccentric Father, who has recently been run out of their community by the local Yakuza for selling badly made fake designer goods. Her best friend is Ichigo, a geek girl, gone biker chick, who identifies herself through the local biker gang that she is a member of. They couldn't seem more like more polar opposites, yet through their shared experiences, they forge a unique bond, and a lasting friendship.
Third Window Films has presented Kamikaze Girls in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer, that preserves the films original 1:85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer looks absolutely amazing for the most part. The colors pop off the screen, black levels are nice, and flesh tones are accurate. There are a few soft and grainy spots throughout the film, but these are probably artistic decisions, then faults with the transfer itself.
The only audio option available on this Blu-ray is 5.1 Dolby Digital track in Japanese. The track is completely serviceable, dialogue is clear, and music/effects pop from the speakers. There are also optional English subtitles.
Third Window Films has packed their release of Kamikaze Girls with an SD Bonus DVD of extra content. I will preface this by saying that unlike the BD, the DVD is Region 2 PAL, and can only be played on Region Free players.
The most substantial extra on this set is “The Making of Kamikaze Girls.” It runs about 40 minutes in length, and interviews the cast and crew of the film, and offers some nice behind the scenes footage from the shoot. There is also interviews with Kamikaze Girls director Tetsuya Nakashima, and the Kamikaze Girls themselves Kyoka Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya. The disc is rounded out by some footage from the workprint, a short film entitled Unicorn Ryuji, and a bunch of trailer for Kamikaze Girls, and other Third Window Films releases.
Kamikaze Girls is a visually stunning, and well-written film. It is both funny and touching, and is never boring. The transfer is for the most part impeccable, and the extras are outstanding. It is one of the best, most exciting films I have seen this year, and it comes highly recommended.