Otakon 2016 Panel: Youth in Revolt – Juvenile Delinquency in Japanese Film



Fighting Elegy (1966)

Director: Seijun Suzuki (Branded to Kill, Tokyo Drifter)

Starring: Hideki Takahashi, Junko Asano, and Yusuki Kawazu

Novel: Takashi Suzuki

Takahashi plays Nanbu, a Catholic student who is hopelessly in love/lust with the daughter of his landlady. Unable to express his feelings to her, and frustrated by classmates’ teasing, he joins a local gang and begins to relieve his urges through violence. The earliest film in our presentation this post-war film tackles a number of themes like modernization, the influx of foreign culture, and many coming-of-age themes like puberty and love. This clip shows Nanbu, after being caught trying to spend time with his crush, facing down his gang’s leader who holds a strict no girls no distraction rule.

sukeban deka

Sukeban Deka Montage

This franchise is based on the manga by Shinji Wada and released in 1976. It deals with a delinquent named Asamiya Saki who is tasked by the Japanese government and police to go undercover in a high school to discover criminal activity. She notably fights with a metal yo-yo that also bears a crest which effectively also serves as her badge. The goofiness shouldn’t deter anyone; this is one of the most recognizable examples of juvenile delinquency in Japan with references even today appearing in films, commercials, and anime. We have a bit of a montage here for a number of the various iterations; first a clip from the first television series starring Yuki Saito, a clip from the first feature starring Yoko Minamino, a quick fight from the 1991 anime OVA, and finally a fight scene from the 2006 film starring Morning Musume alum Aya Matsuura Saki and v-u-den group leader Rika Ishikawa.

ai to makoto 2

Ai to Makoto [For Love’s Sake] (2012)

Director: Takashi Miike

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei

Adapted also from a manga, this is the latest incarnation of the franchise which has included a television series and a trilogy of films before this. Directed by Takashi Miike who most people will know from his work as director of Audition, Ichi the Killer, Phoenix Wright, and many more this adaptation uses the same general premise; that of a delinquent and well to do girl finding love against class systems, but with Miike directing you know nothing can ever be that straightforward.


Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Monogatari) (2004)

Director: Tetsuya Nakashima

Starring: Kyoko Fukuda, Anna Tsuchiya

Adapted from a light novel, this film features a pair of high school girls who form one of the unlikeliest friendships; Momoko a lolita and Ichiko a bosozoku, or Japanese biker gang member. The movie features music from Yoko Kanno who was here at Otakon 2 years ago. This clip shows Momoko growing tired of Ichiko’s talking and attempting to end whatever it is their acquaintanceship may be. Ichiko however, shows just what type of yanki she is and doesn’t like to be brushed off.

Panel Order:
Intro Yankee Saburo

Fighting Elegy

Classroom of Terror


Kamikaze Girls

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun

Ai to Makoto

Sukeban Deka

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Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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