||The Plot: Our film opens in a girls reformatory that more aptly resembles a prison, and it is here that we meet Midori (Yumiko Katayama) and Rika (Reiko Oshida). Midori is a rough and tumble girl with family issues, but Rika is a helpful, almost naive, delinquent herself. Middori’s father, who loves her but disaproves of her yakuza boyfriend, comes to the gate and hands a family necklace to Rika so that she can pass it along to his daughter. Midori doesn’t want the trinket however and acts offended when Rika tries to give it to her. After both girls are released from school/prison, Rika heads off to live with Midori’s father, Muraki, who owns a mechanics shop. His situation is rather dire though, as Midori has been living a very selfish life with her boyfriend and they have racked up huge debts with some local yakuza thugs that Muraki now has to pay. Knowing that Rika has nowhere else to stay, Muraki allows her to live on site and work. Rika tries to patch things up between Midori and her father, but Midori is still as stubborn as ever. She soon meets up with her old friends from the reform school, including Mari who is pregnant and out of work because her husband’s illness has caused her to have troubles with her former employers and the debts she could not pay off. With Rika’s help, these girls will have to form together in order to solve all of their problems!
If you have paid any attention to Varied Celluloid over the past year (and let’s not pretend, we know you haven’t!) then it should come as no surprise that I am addicted to the Pinky Violence genre. After putting these films off for years, all it took was the right couple of films and I am now hopelessly hooked. For those who are not familiar, the Pinky Violence genre is an expansive (or ridiculously select, depending on who you ask) number of Japanese films made during the seventies. These are essentially female youth films that focus on the bad girls of Japan. The original production studio for all things “Pinky Violence” was Toei, but the girl-gang and corrupted-youth market essentially spread out to all of the studios who were suffering from financial instability. Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess
is one of the Toei produced pieces of Pinky Violence and is actually the fourth film in the Delinquent Girl Boss
series. Despite being a Toei production and a sure piece of Pinky Violence history, Worthless to Confess
isn’t your run of the mill entry into the genre.
These movies are well known for their female empowerment, almost as much as they are for their ample amounts of nudity and ridiculous exploitation. Although Worthless to Confess
does have its inspired moments of silliness (the conclusion is bonkers!), it is a far more mainstream production than the average. Featuring a great deal of comedy and some rather typical drama, it is a better time capsule of the time and movement than it is a action movie of any sort. There are the pre-requisite elements all lined up in a row for us here, that is for sure. We have a group of bad girls incarcerated (this time in a reform school) who are set loose and form a bond with one another as “street sisters”. The group runs into some male yakuza thugs who hassle them and its up to our girls to set them right, while wearing the most fashionable outfits that they can possibly find of course. This is a skeleton that many films within this genre are built upon, but without the bite that those films have Worthless to Confess
can at times seem like a toothless watch dog. It does manage to save itself in the final ten minutes, by pacing up the action to ridiculous levels, but it proves to be too late in getting there to really leave this feeling like a great genre entry.
The best aspect about Worthless to Confess
is going to be the cast. The beautiful Reiko Oshida contributes everything that she can to her role, but the male pigs in the audience (myself included) will have to drag our eyes away from her beautiful legs every five minutes. Sporting a pair of very short-shorts, Oshida shows off her naturally thick thighs and drives the male (or female!) audience wild. A true beauty, she actually proves to be quite the talent in this film. She stretches out and handles a multi-faceted character who is difficult to read, but is always charismatic and engaging. Rika strikes the audience as naive, due to her inappropriate attitudes, but there is a certain amount of clever ulterior motives at foot in all of her actions. I like the way Oshida plays this off, really finding that perfect balance that allows her to be silly and sexy at equal times. Although she at first appears to be ignorant, she grows on the audience throughout the picture. Aside from Oshida we also have the beautiful Yumiko Katayama who plays Midori, and is perhaps best known for appearances in genre favorites like The Horrors of Malformed Man
, Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion
and Criminal Woman: Killing Melody
. She is actually the only actress in the film to really show any kind of skin. The nudity is rather inoffensive, mostly in place to show off the tremendous tattoo that Katayam sports for this film, which is a nest of vines and flowers across her back that stretches out to her right breast and forms as a rose on her nipple. The tattoo is really impressive to tell the truth and one of the more unique criminal tattoos that I have seen in a girl-gang film at this point.
The comedy throughout the film works very well and there are several very funny moments in the movie that do not rely heavily on slapstick. A favorite moment of mine comes in the conclusion of the film (which I will get to in a second) where our girls take part in a massive battle and has each one sporting a sarashi (traditional bandaging that goes around the stomach up to the chest) but the cloth pieces are so tight that it really presses against their chest. I simply remember Reiko grabbing at Katayama’s bandaging, pulling it up and saying “Midori! Your boobs!”. It seemed like a spontaneous moment and I couldn’t help but chuckle. The girls bring the good humor as well as the serious drama, as we see the movie ultimately evolve into a very poignant revenge tale based around the tenants of sisterhood. If this entire film were as stylish, entertaining or as wild as the last ten minutes of it are – we would be talking about one of the very best films this genre has ever seen. The drama comes into full swing, the violence finally comes to fruition and it is as if director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi finally decided to let loose in a torrent of creative ideas and shots. With our girls wearing their matching red trenchcoats, Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess
finally makes good on all of its promise but it unfortunately seems too late in the game.
This is the fourth film in the Delinquent Girl Boss series and follows Blossoming Night Dreams (1970), Tokyo Drifters (1970) and Ballad of Yokohama Hoods.
The Japanese title for the series is Zubeko Bancho, which roughly translates as “Bitch Boss”. It might also be interesting to note that the term Sukeban, which translates as “Girl Boss” and is synonymous with the Pinky Violence genre as well as the actual Sukeban series (Sukeban, Girl Boss Guerilla, etc.), is a conjunction of Suke (girl) and Bancho (boss) in Japanese.
It is a weak piece of Pinky Violence, I can’t argue that fact, but for fans of the genre there is still enough interesting elements here to keep you busy. It is tragic and touching by its close, but it takes a lot for the film to stir up those emotions in us. For fans expecting fast paced energy, go in with your expectations lowered and you may walk out pleasantly surprised. I give the movie a three out of five. It’s a solid movie, but unfortunately lacks the qualities that might make it special.
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