Delinquent Girl Boss – Blossoming Night Dreams (1970)
Norio Miyashita and Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Reiko Oshida, Junko Miyazono and Yukie Kagawa
||The Plot: Rika (Reiko Oshida) is a juvenile delinquent recently released from the reformatory. She at first finds work at a cleaning business, but soon enough the bossman ends up putting the moves on this young woman and her jealous wife demands Rika leave. So the young woman packs up her things and heads out on the streets of Shinjuku where she runs into a local pimp, who is really more a geek than anything, as well an all-girl gang who she quickly has to trounce. The bottle nose geek just so happens to work as the manager for a local bar, and he takes Rika in where she meets up with a set of familiar faces. The owner of the club is a sweet older woman who at one time was a juvenile delinquent herself, so she has become a matriarch figure for many of the girls from Rika’s old juvenile home. The yakuza however aren’t so interested in these good deeds and are instead interested in the land that the hostess-club happens to sit upon. These goons are currently trying to muscle in on the owner of this bar as they want to bulldoze the property. Since the owner inherited this particular building, it means a lot more to her than just a pocketful of money. This doesn’t go well with the Yakuza and soon enough the girls are forced into a conflict with these criminals.
The Pinky Violence genre is one that means quite a lot to me. Although I have only been delving into these titles for a little more than two years at this point, I feel that I have accomplished quite a bit of viewing in that time and have loved the discoveries I have made. The genre, as with any, is eaten up with both good and bad titles along the way, but every now and then you’ll run into something so fresh and different that you have to talk about it relentlessly. Within the Pinky Violence genre you’ll usually find films that expound upon their well known genre excesses (most notably cute girls getting naked and causing extreme bloodshed in battles with one another) but there are still some that take a course into very creative moments, most notably their characterization and social subtext. The Delinquent Girl Boss series is one that didn’t wrap its hands around my throat and demand that I pay attention when I first watched Worthless to Confess
, but it did feature Reiko Oshida who i was an immediate fan of and whose filmography I most assuredly meant to track down.
Blossoming Night Dreams
, the first of the Delinquent Girl Boss
(or Zubekô banchô
) series, doesn’t prove to be any more groundbreaking than the previously reviewed Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess
, but it does show the blueprint that was honed here and later copied for many other films within the genre. This series of four films, directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi and starring Reiko Oshida in varying roles with the name Rika, made the young woman a star and although I find it hard to argue that these movies are all that exemplary on their own; they do paint a vivid picture of both the Pinky Violence genre as well as the rebellious spirit of Japanese cinema during the seventies.
Within the very first few minutes of Blossoming Night Dreams
we are introduced to the anti-establishment attitude of the era. A young girl is onstage, dressed in a brides gown, giving some form of recital about female etiquette. The teacher who is schooling the young girls makes it known that becoming a bride is simply the greatest thing any woman could hope to aspire to be. This of course leads to the teacher being smashed in the face with an egg before one of the girls rushes onto the stage and begins to strip the bride of her clothing. An act of defiance on behalf of the director in order to knock down the misogynistic society of the time, or simply a bit of titillation? You’ll find in the Pinky Violence subgenre that often these two things are one in the same.
While these movies were certainly about empowering women to a degree, we know that these movies were certainly marketed towards a male demographic as well. When you watch two back-to-back shots that show women lifting their legs and kicking at the camera so that their panties are fully displayed in frame, you know that this is a movie that respects the appetite of its core audience. As with the majority of the film, it doesn’t attempt to break from the mold of Pinky Violence titles. We have plenty of nude women, some rape, shirts ripped open and of course the always epic cat-fight showdown which is treated with a rather grandiose set-up that goes slightly unfulfilled. Yamaguchi attempts to give this cat fight a Sergio Leone vibe, but when the girls start pulling each other’s hair and slapping each other, it tends to take away from that epic build-up.
Reiko Oshida is, for me, the number one contributing factor for this films success. She’s one of those great Pinky Violence vixens that may not be as well known as Miki Sugimoto or Reiko Ike, and most certainly she hasn’t reached the cult appeal of Meiko Kaji within the international market, but she was an actress with a larger than life presence. The Japanese girl with a buxom physique that most often centered around her legs, she was physically different from the majority of women who were cast in these movies but also her bubbly personality gave life to her performances. It doesn’t hurt that she is curvy, sassy and incredibly sexy, but as a pure talent she is one of the better stars of the genre. The rest of the cast here are mostly made up of regulars in the series, including Yukie Kagawa (The Horrors of Malformed Man
, Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Counterattack
and Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41
) as well as guest star and Kinji Fukasaku regular: Tatsuo Umemiya (Cops Vs. Thugs
and Graveyard of Honor
Aesthetically, Blossoming Night Dreams
is a beautiful piece of work. As a first time filmmaker, director Yamaguchi puts his best foot forward and certainly delivers on the promise of great visuals that the Pinky Violence genre looks to deliver. The colors are as lush as ever and the costume and set decoration paints a vivid and lively world that doesn’t seem close to our own reality. There are quiet and tender moments, such as a sequence on the beach between the characters of Rika and Tony, as well as a hellish decent into a drug-din that is rife with madness and seems like something out of a Teruo Ishii (Japanese filmmaker who specialized in the erotic-grotesque) nightmare. The visual qualities and the cast unfortunately aren’t enough to hold this one up on a pedestal. The overall product becomes somewhat murky as it goes along, with there seeming to be no true foundation for the story and through several episodic sequences we ultimately arrive at our final destination.
A Solid, but not great, Pinky Violence outing. Delinquent Girl Boss: Blossoming Night Dreams
introduces us to Reiko Oshida as a pop-princess within the world of Pinky Violence, but the story provides few surprises or twists. There are momentary flashes of brilliance, but they never have their time to shine. Still, a solid film and worth watching for fans of the genre. I give it a three out of five.
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