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A Japanese novella by Novala Takemoto, Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Monogatari in Japan) is the odd tale of sweet lolita Momoko Ryugasaki. When her father, a small-time gangster, gets in trouble for bootlegging counterfeit Versace with the Universal Studios Japan logo, the two are forced to move to rural Shimotsuma, Ibaraki... which, to Momoko's considerable chagrin, doesn't have a single Lolita brand store.

Unable to find her Rococo zen, Momoko tries to sell some of her father's Versace products for cash and ends up friends with yanki girl Ichigo "Ichiko" Shirayuri, who's a bit slow, a bit rough, and has a taste for tacky bootleg Versace. Despite Momoko's initial dismay, the two become an inseparable pair, and soon embark on a quest to find the legendary embroiderer Emma.

Charming and filled with pop culture references, it's told from Momoko's frequently selfish and straightforward first-person voice. There's an excellent English translation by Masumi Washington, a comedy movie adaptation featuring Kyoko Fukada as Momoko (for which she won best actress at the Yokohama Film Festival) and Anna Tsuchiya as Ichiko, as well as a manga adaptation being published by Viz. Recommended for anyone with an interest in Slice of Life, Japanese pop culture, and stories about friendship.


Kamikaze Girls provides examples of:

  • Amazon Brigade: Ichiko's gang, the Ponytails.
  • Asexuality: Despite the Les Yay below, the movie version of Momoko has her leaning very strongly in this direction. Truth in Television to some extent, since Lolita fashion deliberately de-emphasizes sexuality.
  • Badass Longcoat: The Ponytails' kamikaze coats.
  • Bifauxnen: Manga Ichiko
  • Big Damn Heroes: The ending. In the book, when Ichiko is about to be punished by her gang for modeling in a fashion magazine, Momoko shows up in the nick of time, flings her scooter at them, then threatens them with water balloons, which the bikers believed were bombs. She succeeds in rescuing Ichiko. In the movie, she snaps when she is thrown in a puddle, and stands up and screams "Now you bitches have really PISSED ME OFF!" She then manages to completely scare them all shitless, and rescue Ichiko.
  • Bishonen: Just about every man under 40 in the manga. The movie, on the other hand, averts this entirely.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Ichiko's typical manner of speech.
  • Delinquent: Ichiko is one.
  • Does Not Like Men:

 Momoko: The guy from Ibaraki wrote that he wanted a detailed description of the things I had, so could I give him a call? This letter, too, I decided to ignore...I cannot speak on the phone with an unfamiliar male. I even have trouble being friendly with familiar males. I think I have a slight case of androphobia. Or perhaps it's male aversion? I mean, guys are so dirty. And smelly. And crude. And just plain yucky.

    • Similiarly, Ichiko panics any time a male even so much as accidentally touches her.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: Ichigo purposefully mispronounces her name as "Ichiko", and doesn't like to be called by her real name.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Ichiko considers her real name to be one.
  • Gainax Ending: It is unclear as to whether or not Momoko takes on the job offered by Baby The Stars Shine Bright. The movie makes it explicit that she doesn't.
  • Grammar Nazi: Momoko, especially around Ichiko.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Momoko
  • Improbable Hairstyle: "Unicorn" Ryuji's pompadour in the live-action film.
  • Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters: Ichiko's gang, as stated in the movie.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Okay, sit down for this. Ichiko is a tough biker chick; however, her full, real name, Ichigo Shirayuri, is incredibly sugary sweet, since in Japanese, "Ichigo" means "strawberry" and "Shirayuri" means "white lily." Momoko, on the other hand, has the more badass-sounding surname "Ryugasaki," roughly meaning "dragon peninsula," but the real clincher is her given name, "Momoko," which happens to be the name of the main character from a manga popular with bikers.
  • Jerkass: Momoko and Ichiko, though after Character Development they're both Jerks With Hearts of Gold.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Momoko's dad in the manga. Momoko flatly refuses to speak like her father because it "doesn't suit Lolitas."
  • Parasol of Prettiness
  • Pimped-Out Dress: All of Momoko's clothing is like this.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Momoko and Ichiko.
  • Running Gag: Ichiko's constant head-butting of Momoko as a retort to usually innocent questions.
  • Sarashi: Ichiko
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Ichiko, normally a rough-and-tumble sort who favors baggy pants and long coats, starts modeling for Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, the clothing label that Momoko buys all of her Pimped Out Dresses from. Also one of the few cases the recipient of the makeover was indifferent about.
    • YMMV on that in the movie. She looked uncomfortable and out of place. She even ended up beating up half the camera crew on her first shot after a perverted cameraman came onto her.
  • Shrouded in Myth: A major theme.
  • Theme Naming: Momoko=peach, Ichigo=strawberry, and the manga gives us Raichi.
  • This Is Reality:

 Ichiko: Modeling messes with team discipline? Miki of the Skeletons in High-Teen Boogie was a biker, and she modeled on the side.

Miko: Well that's a fucking manga and this is real life, okay?

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