The Delinquent Girl Boss
Delinquent Girl Boss - Blossoming Night
Dreams (1970) - 6.5
Aka - Zubekô banchô: Yume wa yoru hiraku
Aka - Tokyo Bad Girls
Towards the end of the 1960s in Japanese film there was the beginning of
a move towards more female action oriented characters who carried the films.
The Red Peony Gambler with Junko Fuji series began in 1968, The Crimson Bat
series with Yoko Matsuyama began in 1969 and The Poisonous Seductress Okatsu
trilogy with Junko Miyazono started in 1968. Before that there were the films
of Hibari Misora who at times took on action roles but the films were
fairly gentle and she would often break into a song. But the 1970's brought
on a rabid gush of female oriented action films but many were very different
from what had come before.
These were bad girls, delinquents, gangs, thieves, sexually active women
who would spit glass at you and take no crap. These films were termed Pinky
Violence and it is its own genre. Some of them are the Delinquent Girl Boss
series, The Terrifying Girl's High School films, the Girl Boss films, the
Stray Cats films, Girl's Junior High School series, The Rica trilogy, the
Female Prisoner films and a number of standalone films like Sex and Fury
and Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs. Hard keeping them straight. For the most part
these films were released by two studios - Toei and Nikkatsu - and
by the end of the decade the genre had fizzled out with only brief low budget
attempts like The Zero Women series. I have only seen a handful of these
so far - a few of the Female Prisoner films, Red Handcuffs and this one.
Yet I have a lot of them but have kept putting them off till now.
This one is the first in a series of four films - I think with some recurring
characters and actors - but having seen only this one I can't be sure. It
was actually much milder than I was expecting - more pop style than exploitation.
There are glimpses of naked breasts, tough words exchanged, a couple fights
between women, drugs, a pagan orgy, bottles broken, a lot of sass given and
pawing by old horny perverts. Until the finale I have had tougher brush-ups
when I was in elementary school. But it looks great - the clubs, the bars,
the women, the psychedelic lights, the fashions, the curled lips. All imbued
with a great color scheme. It is actually more a drama that if you had subtracted
certain elements could easily have been a Hibari film with her playing the
tough Boss of the small bar.
It begins in Akagi Girl's School for delinquents - considered the toughest
one in the country - the hard cases. A fight breaks out in the lady's bath
room with some flashes of nudity between Rika - 19 in for inflicting bodily
harm and Oharu - 18 in for blackmail as the screen informs us. Rika is played
by Reiko Oshida and Ohara by Junko Natsu. A year later Rika is out working
in a laundry but the owner tries to get a bit friendly when she is sleeping
so out she goes and runs into four girls who work for the gangster Mr. Ohba.
a caricature of a goofy bad guy with his glasses and moustache. The girls
intend trouble so Rika does the classic Yakuza introduction of getting on
a knee and telling them where you are from - in the background is a poster
of Ken Takakura with sword and tattoos on full display. That doesn't work
so Rika has to beat them up. More comedic than violent.
She ends up at a small bar in Shinjuku where it turns out that it is old
school week - all the girls including the owner are proud graduates of Akagi.
Their job is just to entertain men and get them to drink - the expensive
stuff and allow the men a little touch and feel before they go home to their
wives. The Boss is played by Junko Miyazono, from the Okatsu films. She is
like a mother hen taking care of her girls. The girls bond. Trouble comes
their way from Mr. Ohba who wants the land the bar is on. It turns out that
Oharu is one of his girls and you know she and Rika will mix it up again.
Slowly the tension builds up to the inevitable bloodbath that has to come.
Look for the female singer in the bar - she is the terrific Enka singer,
Boss - Tokyo Drifters (1970) - 6.0
This is the second in the Delinquent Girl Boss films (4 of them) and the
girls are back in town. At the end of the first film they were all on their
way back to jail but a bad girl can't stay down. By the end of that film
I had grown rather fond of the whole gang from Rika the leader to Mari in
for bodily harm to Choko in for fraud to the transvestite to the chicken
boyfriend of Choko and a couple of others. Sure they had committed their
share of crimes by the end - murder being one - but they have good hearts
and are fiercely loyal to one another. In that first one, I mentioned that
I was surprised at how tame it was compared to what I was expecting in a
Pinky Violence film. With this one I thought I went through the wrong door
because it is even less violent and less tawdry. More a comedy really then
a Yakuza Bad Girl slap up - until the final twenty minutes when all hell
breaks loose. But taking it on those terms I rather enjoyed this.
To a large degree it is a close copy of the first film with a few changes
in personnel and the Boss. The girls are in Akagi again and a STD doctor
wants to check them out for his own gratification - "show your tits" he says
to the reluctant Mari and the girls all gang up on him and strip him. Fun
and games - but Mari tells them she is pregnant and the warden won't let
her talk to her boyfriend about whether she should get an abortion. So they
naturally stage a group prison break just to get Mari out. And like the first
one it jumps to a year later (very light sentences in Japan apparently) and
Rika (Reiko Oshida) is out and has a job that she soon gets fired from for
not allowing the manager a few favors. Back on the street she gets talked
into working for a woman named Gaseranko fifth generation Gasetora Clan who
runs a street vendor cart. She and Rika do the formal Yakuza introduction
which is lovely and soon Rika is on the street selling corn and protecting
her spot from the Kuroe Yakuza Clan with a few well-placed kicks.
Rika keeps running into other graduates of Akagi and they come aboard and
its like a family. But for reasons I never fully understood Kuroe wants
her business and keeps pushing - getting suppliers to stop selling to her,
harassing her and then getting violent - too violent. In a very cool scene
the six girls adorn bright red trench coats and march down the streets of
Shinjuku to the club of Kuroe. Sweep into his office full of thugs, whip
off the trench coats in unison and pull out the blades. It is time to rumble.
It is time to die. It is rather lovely.
The director of all four of these is Kazuhiko Yamaguchi who was one of the
better pulp directors in Japan at this time - Wandering Ginza Butterfly films,
the Karate films with Sonny Chiba, the Sister Street Fighter films - but
these four were the films he started with. They are fun, colorful and Reiko
Oshida as the main star is a delight with these moony eyes that you could
swim in - but for those hoping for real sleaze, sex and shock, look elsewhere.
At least so far. The endings of both films show though that he has it in
him to make some good action films but he seems reluctant to really make
a full commitment to it. That certainly comes in his later films though.
Boss - Ballad of Yokohama Hoods (1971) - 7.5
I return for another helping of Delinquent Girl Boss - the adventures of
Rika - in this the third of four in the series. These films are so up my
alley as silly as they are. Girl gangs, gnarly Yakuza's and a basket full
of cool. Like the first two it is more a bad girl melodrama of friendship
and female bonding than a Pinky Violence film, but it worked wonderfully
well for me. This one has no nudity and saves most of the killing till the
end as did the others. Many Yakuza and Samurai films of the 1960's were structured
this way - a slow build up to the bloody finale. Clearly, these types of
films are not for every one - is it Girl Power or Girl Exploitation? In this
case I would say Girl Power because the exploitation factor is negligible
and the women take on the Yakuza. It has pop style in spades.
I love the introductions that Rika always gives in the Yakuza manner. Here
she meets up with the man who brought her up after her parents died. She
gets on one knee and outstretches her arm.
"I was rebellious even as a baby.
I didn't have parents.
I don't hate my life but I don't receive much affection from others.
When I was in Akagi the only thing on my mind was Yokohama's salty wind.
Rika the Unruly is back."
Yes she is. Rika is basically a good kid who wants to go straight but
like Zatoichi, no matter where she goes trouble follows.
At the end of the second film with dead bodies strewn around like pricked
balloons after a New Year's Eve celebration, it looked like Rika (Reiko Oshida)
might get lucky and not be picked up by the cops. No such luck. The third
one begins with her on the way back to Akagi Juvenile Prison again where
she is welcomed by all her old friends - but now the Girl Boss is Mon who
looks like she eats glass shards for breakfast. They immediately size one
another up like a cobra and a mongoose and later go at it with the fight
called a draw when security breaks it up. A year later Rika is back on the
streets - it seems the maximum penalty for killing about 20 Yakuza is one
year. Instead of Tokyo, she goes back to her hometown Yokohama that is being
run by a nasty faced Yakuza named Nakao (Asao Koike) who must sneer even
when he is sleeping. The actors for all the Yakuza heads in these three films
must have been found in a Slime and Ugly store.
Her male friend Tsunao - who introduced her in the first film to the small
bar - is running a porno store but being harassed by the Z Gang - a female
motorcycle gang clad in bright red leather with a ferocious scowl written
across their faces with pride. Totally cool but more bark than bite. I have
met girl scouts selling me cookies who intimidated me more. And heading the
Z's? Mon of course attired in a black gunslinger oowboy hat and a bull whip
as an accessory. She says hello by throwing a knife to break up a toast.
She wants to finish that fight they started in Akagi. But not today. They
work for Nakao who among other entrepreneurial ventures has begin to sell
girls to Hong Kong. As expected things slowly crank up between Rika and Nakao
leading to the predictable but always satisfying death match.
Boss - Worthless to Confess (1971) - 7.5
You would think by the final film in this four film series that the underworld
would have learned its lesson. How many dead Yakuza does it take? The word
should have gotten around. Don't fuck with Rika. Don't insult her. Don't
block her way on the sidewalk. Don't throw sexual come-ons in her direction.
Just don't talk to her. And definitely don't kill a friend of hers. I enjoyed
this series a lot and am sorry to see it end though admittedly they are all
basically the same film with mild variations. They found a formula they liked
and stuck with it. Rika goes to prison, gets out of prison, tries to lead
a normal life, the Yakuza go after a friend of hers and the inevitable bloodbath
After mowing down multiple bad guys at the end of the last film, Rika is
back at Akagi serving her normal one year sentence. She and the rest of the
girl prisoners are watching one of the Abashiri Prison films with Ken Takakura.
Since his poster was displayed in the first film, I take it the director
was a fan. As was pretty much everyone in Japan at the time. A year later
she is out again and returns to Tokyo. Shinjuku. She gets pestered by some
toughs and tells them "I see Shinjuku hasn't changed much, cheap gangsters
thinking they own the town". She finds work with the father of one of her
prison mates - but the daughter Midori (Yumiko Katayama) wants nothing to
do with her father except have him pay the debts of her no-good boyfriend.
The Yakuza Boss Ohya is pressuring him to sell his place of business. The
Boss with a scar running down his cheek looks like he should be in a child
pedophile prison. Where he got the scar is one of the nice touches of the
film. Tetsu the Razor.
Other of Rika's friends from past films show up - Choko who works in the
Ginza Girl Cabaret squeezing drinks out of customers for a few squeezes of
their own, Mari is doing nude modeling for amateur (i.e. perverts) photographers,
Yuki from the last film delivers Chinese food and Tsunao the one male in
the band of friends is back for his fourth time. Last heard running a porno
shop in Yokohama. Rika is the mother hen - always trying to fix problems
which always leads her down that late night street for revenge. A classic
ending - five girls dressed in red overcoats march to the Yakuza headquarters
with horns blasting like a Spaghetti Western showdown, whip off their coats
to reveal battle ready wear and take out their blades and get to hacking.
One money shot has the camera shooting through a glass floor as one guy gets
sliced, falls to the floor and the blood slowly covers the frame.
Like the other three this is mainly a melodrama of friendship with a bloody
cherry on top at the end. A little less cool here and a little more sleaze
but not by a lot. Reiko Oshida who plays Rika just wins you over with her
shy smile and eyes that could coax any man from jumping. She was in one of
the Crimson Bat films and two of the Okatsu films but she had large gaps
in her filmography after this film. Maybe just missing on IMDB. But she has
become a favorite. I wish there were ten more of these.