: Masato Harada
Released by Shochiku Films
This movie is docudrama at its finest. What Traffic does for the Drug War in the United States, Bounce Kogals does for the enjo kosai (schoolgirl prostitution) phenomenon in Japan. It's gritty, glitzy, and so real that it makes your head spin... the story is based on real stories from the streets of urban Japan.
Lisa Togo (Yukiko Okamoto) is an out-of-towner who stops in Tokyo on her way to New York City for a "new life." She decides to sell a few pairs of used panties at a fetish shop there, and then goes to a shooting for a softcore schoolgirl erotica movie, both in the interest of making a quick yen for her trip. In the midst of the shoot, however, yakuza bust in and steal her money.
Enter Raku (Yasue Sato), who looks like she's perpetually drugged out, but claims to have a "phobia of straight lines" that causes her to walk in circles wherever she goes. Her friend Jonko (Hitomi Sato) leads an enjo kosai ring, but doesn't actually sleep with her salaryman clients: she prefers to offer companionship, and then taser and rob them if they start looking for nookie. Jonko's exploits are what have gotten the attention of the local yakuza kingpin, Oshima (Koji Yakusho), who wants to see the kogals taken out of the prostitution business.
So Raku and Jonko help Lisa turn a few mild tricks to get enough money for her trip to America. Along the way (which takes all of a night in Shibuya), they come across an 80-year-old war criminal, a pair of kanryo who try to pay them to clean toilets with their bare hands, and a variety of similarly wackjobby characters. Of course, the yakuza are still looking for them.
This film was screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 1998, and if you're into festival dramas, you'll definitely enjoy it. The schoolgirl trio, the evil/crazy old men, the yaks, and the persistent money shots give off an incredible picture of what Japan became after its economy went into the toilet. Jonko's line to the yakuza leader is immortal: "Men are becoming more like children these days, so we become the grown-ups."
(The best scene of the movie is when Jonko and Oshima fire up the karaoke machine and sing "The International" together in Japanese, which is definitely the last song you'd expect either of them to know.)