After eight years or so of being interested in and wearing Lolita I finally managed to watch Shimotsuma Monogatari (下妻物語), better known to the western world as Kamikaze Girls. Question one: What the hell took me so long? Question two: Would I have been as appreciative if I’d watched it sooner?
I have no answer to either question, but there are others I can answer.
Was it the movie I expected it to be?
No. Definitely no.
Do I think it’s a good Lolita movie?
Do I think it’s a bad Lolita movie?
Because I don’t think it’s a Lolita movie.
Now everyone will go “Whaaaaat?!”, and I’ll try to explain.
What I expected was a rather dull, over-hyped piece on the wonders of Lolita and ladylike lifestyle in contrast to the horrible real life.
What I got was so much better.
I think Shimotsuma Monogatari is a great film. It exceeded my expectations in every way, but because it’s an awesome story all by itself, not because of Lolita. Lolita is a mere prop, a means of story telling, as is the Japanese biker gang culture. This is no film about Lolita, it’s a film about a Lolita – Momoko -, yes, but also about a Yanki girl – Ichiko. And first and foremost it’s a film about friendship and coming of age. And secondly, it’s an action film, in a weird way.
It has absurd colours, a great soundtrack and narration that screams “early 2000s!!!11” from the top of its lungs (in a good way). I think – and I mean it – that Shimotsuma Monogatari shouldn’t be as unknown outside the Lolita community as it is. I even recommended it to my boyfriend, of all people, who doesn’t exactly despise Lolita but wouldn’t have been interested in the movie I imagined this to be at all.
tl;dr: This movie? It’s great. Even if you don’t like Lolita. Even if you’re not even remotely interested in the style. Don’t let the frilled people scare you into not watching it. Watch it, because it has biker gang fights and absurd Japanese humor and two awesome leading characters and Momoko on a scooter with rocking horse shoes and an annoyed girl gang member in frills, and a weird badass grandma. Watch it.
All pictures belong to Third Window Films (at least that’s the only production firm related I could find).