Bounce Ko Gals

Last night I also watched the Japanese film BOUNCE KO GALS, which I think is a must-see for anyone who has a remote interest in the darker aspects of Japanese culture. I think the following synopsis from Subway Cinema describes it well:

Japanese filmmakers understand the teenage wasteland the way most of us haven’t since we were 16, and director Masato Harada wears his heart on his sleeve in this flick about kogyaru: tragically trendy schoolgirls who occasionally sell their underwear, and their bodies, for spending money. This is the sex craze that inspired those infamous vending machines that dispensed soiled schoolgirl panties, and it’s those machines that inspired Harada to make the film. “It made me so depressed that men of my age had become that rotten,” says Harada. And a movie was born. Lisa, on her way to New York and looking for easy money, sells her school uniform during her Tokyo layover and gets scammed out of her savings at a balloon porno shoot (don’t ask). With 24 hours to earn back her nest egg, she hits the streets where she’s taken under the wings of two kogyaru who regard her plight as a challenge. Streaking through the neon-scorched Shibuya summer night, ripping off customers and wielding a stun gun like a magic wand, they go all the way through the darkness hoping to come out on the other side. Along the way, an assortment of strange angels provide moments of respite, while a larger army of human demons chase their tails.

The film takes an amazingly frank look at this world (the sequence where one school girl handles going for “another” abortion like an annoyance more than anything else), and I was surprised by the star turns (like the great Japanese actor Koji Yakusho, who you can see in a few Shohei Imamura films, as well as a cameo by a very famous talk show host in the role of a pervert). Some might find the film to be morally despicable, but I quite enjoyed this look into an underground that you keep hearing about but rarely get any details on. The film is distributed in North America.