Sailor Suit and Machine Gun: Graduation (2016)

Hong Kong CN Entertainment DVD

Kanna Hashimoto

Text below written 2016-11-02


NO,
this wasn't another Japanese B (or Z grade) exploitation sleaze film about nude or semi-nude schoolgirls
killing each other with chainsaws or samurai swords. No, no schlock tailor-made for reptile-brain mode viewers.
Yes, sure, i much enjoy japanese trash movies too, but i've seen so much through the years i've had my fill.
I wasn't sure which category this film should land in, the title sounded like an exploitation movie but the girl on the
DVD sleeve looked so nice, in an innocent way, it could be something else, like a teenage comedy maybe.
What it was, was a yakuza crime drama without romance, sleaze and not much comedy. OK, a youthful Yakuza
crime drama as this film has the 17 year old Idol and J-Pop singer Kanna Hashimoto in the main role.
She's a member of the Idol group Rev.from DVL and even though she's no great actress, she's perfectly OK and
she's Lovely. OK, i may be a middle-aged male creep - but she is. Cute, not sexy (she's only 17 and looks 12).

........................ A Diversion about the Japanese Idol Phenomena ........................

Idols: A strange japanese phenomena this is. Not Idols like the western one's, wailing wannabe artists singing on TV,
but just Idols. Hordes of good looking teenagers that may act some and may sing some, with or without talents.
They're Idols because of them being Idols. Many of them are members in huge J-Pop collectives as i.a. the Girlgroup
AKB48 with 48 members, all beautiful. Just like a professional Cycling Team with 30-40 athletes and who takes
part in competitions everywhere and with constantly shifting members, these J-pop groups change members all the
time when people start doing something else, goes solo, marry etc.
These Idols acts in TV and film, sing and .... model. There are thousands of pages of Idols in bikinis, underwear,
dresses, schoolgirl outfits etc. Many or most are gorgeous (like Tomomi Kasai ex NMB48 member) and there
are hordes of them. OK, the J-Pop music often is SHIT and generic sounding.

I guess these Idols are idolized by other teenagers and youths, but surely also by grown-ups, by men and women
(yes, Idols are also male and there are lots of boybands, as Arashi). Maybe the same men that collects full-figure
figurines of manga heroines? These hundreds or thousands of Idol models are no JAV stars, adult models, but
they often are very sexy and i guess feminists over here would call these teenagers eroticized for males to drool
over. These young models often release photobooks DVD's with them posing, often semi-nude, to be collected.
I wonder if the Japanese Idol phenomena will travel to other countries ? I guess not.

........................................................................

The Story:

SPOILER WARNING .......... SPOILER WARNING .......... SPOILER WARNING BELOW

Izumi Hoshi (Kanna Hashimoto) is an 18 year old highschool girl (but looks younger) and lives in the small town of
Takami. A city where the youth try to leave as soon as they can and the older population are in majority.
Izumi is the former boss over the Yakuza Medaka family, a position she herited when her uncle Tsuguo was killed
by a hitman from the town's other crime family, the Hamaguchi's.

There has been piece between the families for some time and the Medaka's has disbanded. Izumi now owns a café
in the shopping street, calls herself manager and has 3 devoted underlings in Mr. Doi, Yuji (Takuro Ohno) and
Haruo (Shohei Uno). But there's trouble ahead. A nasty party drug, popular among the youths, is spreading and a
model agency is luring girls into prostitution, and someone puts the blame on the Hamaguchi family for this.


Someone is manipulating the police, politicians and people of Takami Town to harass the families ... "No gangsters in
our city!" etc. Yes, another Yakuza family, the powerful Horiuchi's
, lead by the slick Yasui (Masanobu Ando) wants to
move in on the turfs of Hamaguchi and Medaka. The delightfully slippery Yasui wants to exploit the city and has big plans
for re-constructing it. After Mr. Doi being jailed by a corrupt policeman, there are only 4 people left in Takami Town
who oppose against the Horiuchi family - Izumi, Yuji, Haruo and Tsukinaga (Hiroki Hasegawa) of the Hamaguchi's.

This film was better and much more enjoyable than i thought before viewing it. No sleaze, nudity, romance or comedy
but a pretty straight crime drama about a teenage girl leading a yakuza family. It's more light, in a nice manga feeling way,
than dark but it has got some bloodshed in it, there are a lot of shoot-outs, blood and deaths.
Kanna Hashimoto maybe can't act to well but she's charming and she's a cog that somehow fits, well backed up by the
other more experienced actors. I liked this film and at the end of the movie we get to hear this songbird sing (not too im-
pressive though, generic j-pop). She's likeable and she has made a couple of films now and i think her future looks bright. .
Or ... maybe she will be overshadowed by some other rising Idol star as there are hordes of them coming.

anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, japanese audio 5.1 with english subtitles, only a trailer as extra
The film is based on the 1978 novel by Jiro Akagawa and is a re-make of the 1981 film adaption "Sailor Suit and Machine
Gun", a film that was followed by 2 television series

Back to Japanese film page 1