Have you ever seen the Japanese movie Kamikaze Girls (aka Shimotsuma Monogatari)? It came out back in 2004 (released in the United States in 2006) and was based on the 2002 novel by Japanese author Novala Takemoto. The story is about an unlikely friendship between two high school girls—Ichigo, who is a member of a Yanki girl biker gang, and Momoko, who wears a niche fashion style called Lolita fashion.
In Shimotsuma, a rural town in Ibaraki prefecture, Momoko stands out in her Rococo-inspired Sweet Lolita outfits with lots of lace, frills, ribbons, and colors like pink, red, and sax blue from her favorite brand Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (BTSSB). On the weekends and holidays, she makes a two-and-a-half-hour train trip to Tokyo so she can go clothes shopping in the Harajuku and Daikanyama neighborhoods. Being a high school student, she does not have a job, so she swindles money from her dad by telling fake sob stories about friends in distress or trying to sell bootleg “Versach” merchandise, through which she meets Ichigo.
It’s been a long time since I last watched the movie in its entirety, but one of the scenes has stuck with me through the years. At the end of Momoko’s monologue about her life up to that point, she floats slowly into the sky as she says, “So what if I was deceitful? My happiness was at stake. It’s not wrong to feel good. That’s what Rococo taught me. But actually my soul is rotten.”
Momoko talks about how Lolita fashion is connected to the romantic, decadent, and aristocratic parts of the Rococo era and tries to find happiness through material things. She has decided to devote her life to clothing, but her connection to other people is lacking. Even though she wears pretty clothes, she feels that deep down there is a part of her that is rotten. Read More