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Criminal Woman: Killing Melody - Pinky Violence Collection (Mihori Atsushi 1973)


Categories:

Criminal Woman: Killing Melody
[Zenka Onna Karoshi Bushi]

Genre: Bad Girls Causing Yakuza Wars

review in one breath

After the ruthless murder of her father, Miki swears revenge against the Oba Yakuza Clan, but her reckless attempt only gets her locked up in jail where she is befriended by a number of socially delinquent females. After serving their time, the girls band together in order help Miki carry out her plot to take down the Oba gang. But problems quickly arise when they discover one of their toughest former cellmates is Oba's lover.


prologue

This film is one of four released in December 2005 by Panik House Entertainment under the collective title "Pinky Violence Collection".

The four films in this collection are:

Criminal Woman: Killing Melody (Zenka Onna Karoshi Bushi)
- A 1973 film directed by Mihori Atsushi.

Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (Zubeko bancho: zange no neuchi mo nai)
- A 1971 film by director Yamaguchi Kazuhiko.

Girl Boss Guerilla (Sukeban Gerira)
- A 1972 film by director Suzuki Norifumi.

Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom
(Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Boukou Rinchi Kyoushitsu)
- A 1973 film (also) by director Suzuki Norifumi.

I discuss in some detail the collection as a whole in my review of another of these films, Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess, and so I will not repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that these four films are directed by three different directors (Suzuki Norifumi has two films here) and that most of the films fall somewhere within that director's well established series.

intro

Of the four films in this collection, Criminal Woman: Killing Melody has the most mature and developed storyline, and in many ways amounts to a traditional yakuza film which includes a formidable band of women. Thus unlike the others in this series, much of the plot here involves the intracacies and alliances of traditional (male) yakuza clans as everyone clamours for power. Director Mihori throws into this mix a meta-narrative involving one woman's desire for revenge and her growth from total novice to formidable enemey.

The directorial career of Mihori Atsushi is quite negligible, amounting to eight films all within the period of 1973 to 1976. Although this is his first and last "bad girl" film, he did well to cast almost the entire collection of popular "bad girl" actresses. The two leading female roles are played by Ike Reiko and Sugimoto Miki who both appear repeatedly throughout this entire collection and many other similar films from this era. Also here is the sexy (MY TYPE!) Katayama Yumiko, another common name in early 1970s heroine genre films. (She's usually the one baring it all for the camera.)

Though nipples, catfights and hair-pulling abound, this film is substantively different from the likes of Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom, for example, which seems to exist for the sake of containing such elements. In the current film, however, the female roles (and naked physiques) are superimposed upon or interspersed within what could possibly pass as a stand-alone yakuza tale. For the most part, nudity and sexuality arise only as a means whereby the women attempt to defeat or trap males. In other words, the women are in control of their exposure and primarily use it as a weapon. (There is, of course, an exception or two.)

That said, this film also has its fair share of femme on femme fisticuffs, amounting to more bitch-slapping and hair-pulling. As a child of Matrix-like special effects, my threshhold for prolonged face slapping is quite low and this film brought me to the brink more than once. But director Mihori's dedication to a traditional yakuza feel results in this film being suprisingly violent, in a traditional male yakuza sort of way, in several scenes, and particularly in the way this film concludes. Thus this really is a blend of heroine genre with straightout yakuza thuggery.

story

After a failed knife attack upon a male patron of the nudie go-go dayglo caberet club (!), Miki (Ike) finds herself doing time in a women's prison. Though she tries to keep to herself, prison politics soon force her to explain herself, resulting in a showdown between herself and the prison's primary tough girl Masayo (Sugimoto), a girl with high-ranking ties to the yakuza. It quickly becomes clear that Miki completely lacks fighting skills but she demonstrates her tenacity and determinedness in refusing to stop fighting a losing battle, an effort through which she gains the respect of some.

Miki eventually shares with the others how her father had been ruthlessly killed by the yakuza boss Oba and that it was he she was trying to kill in the club the night she was arrested. But rather than explain everything to the police in the hopes of getting a reduced sentence, she has decided to do her time and personally reap her revenge.

Years later, after most the girls have been released from jail, they decide to join forces in order to help bring about Miki's plan. Rather than merely kill Oba in a suprise attack, Miki has calculated a very patient and courageous strategy which will not only strip Oba of his money, but will also reduce him to the pitiful state in which he left Miki's father. By secretly pitting Oba's yakuza faction against the rival Hayamasu Clan, they expect to have much of the killing done for them, and this soon appears to be working.

In the midst of their progress, however, they learn that Masayo has been released from prison and that her high-ranking yakuza lover is none other than Oba himself, who she swears allegiance to despite her cellmates' personal vendetta.

verdict

This is a fairly good tale which left me with a yearning to see more traditional yakuza films. For the most part, I felt that this was very similar in both style and degree of "pink" to the far more mainstream and later Gokudo no Onna-tachi series depicting female yakuza characters within the predominantly male yakuza world. The only tie I felt this film has to the others in this "pinky violence collection" is the fact that it stars Ike Reiko, Sugimito Miki and Katayama Yumiko.

This entire collection is quite a mixed bag in so many ways that it is rather difficult to compare all four films with a single criteria. Some of the films emphasize shock value, while others emphasize female comraderie. This particular film seems to cater to fans of the traditional yakuza genre who also want to see alot of bOObies.

By the way, do you think it is a coincidence that the ASIN for this DVD collection is, and I quote: "B000BLI5UU" ??

Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available at all mainstream venues.

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
Not really. Though not front and center, this film contains quite a bit of bluntly depicted yakuza violence. Hell, there's even a CHAINSAW!! I wouldn't really call it "sex", more like bOOb-O-Rama, though Miki proves remarkably randy when short on cash. Two parts traditional yakuza tale, one part Babes Behind Bars, and one part Tough Girls with Guns.

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