Director: Shinobu Yaguchi
Starring: Shihori Kanjiya, Yuika Motokariya,
Yukari Toyoshima, Yuta Hiraoka
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: http://www.swinggirls.jp/index.html
Date: 17 March 2005
sweltering summer day in a remote town in Northeast Japan…A
high school brass band boards a bus to cheer their baseball
team. Meanwhile, 13 losers take make-up classes, taught by
the math teacher, Ozawa (Naoto Takenaka), but their minds
are miles away. One of the girls, Tomoko Suzuki (Juri Ueno),
stares enviously out the window. Suddenly, a van filled with
lunch boxes pulls up, but the driver has missed the bus. Staring
vacantly at the spectacle, Tomoko has an idea…
13 girls board a local train under the ruse of delivery lunches.
They scarf up one of the lunches, snooze and miss their stop,
and have to walk the lunches to the stadium. As it turns out,
the precious lunches have spoiled in the heat and the entire
brass band and their director Itan (Miho Shiraishi), wind
band out of action, the baseball teams practices for their
next game. Takuya Nakamura (Yuta Hiraoka), cheated out of
a lunch by the girls, scrambles to organise an Instant Brass
Band Club, but he’s stuck with the 13 losers and 3 other
odd ducks. When he spies a jazz album, he realises they are
perfect for a Big Band jazz band. As the girls practice intensively,
they gradually master entire melodies, playing with real enthusiasm
On the eve of the baseball game, the Brass Band recovers.
The Instant Girls cover their disappointment, but burst into
tears as they walk home. When school’s back for the
fall, they decide to form the Swing Girls. But instruments
are pricey. The girls take part-time jobs, wrecking havoc
wherever they go. As girls drop out, the Swing Girls are reduced
to five, but they start performing anyway.
math teacher, a closet jazz aficionado, takes them on and
they start getting into the swing. Excited, their sisters
return, and they decide to enter a student music competition.
If they’re accepted, they can play on a huge stage.
First one disaster, then the next. The Swing Girls dream debut
performance seems forever out of reach. When will they have
Shinobu Yaguchi follows up with his 2001 comedy hit, "Waterboys"
with yet another triumph effort, "Swing Girls".
Even though the movie featured an all new cast, all selected
from an open call. The girls are completely natural performers
and the lead girl, Juri Ueno (who looks quite similar to the
girl in the hit Japanese series, Beach Boys) has the talents
to strike it big with her combination of cutie-pie and cheeky
Making up the rest of the odd group is a range of colourful
characters from the quiet to one having eating obsession to
rock guitarists. The injection of these multi-personalities
not only captivate your attention but also your sense of humour.
The plotting is simple. A group of girls with the intention
to skip make-up Maths class ended up embracing the passion
of Big Band Jazz and resorted to ways to make money to pay
for their musical instruments. First on the cue, taking up
part-time jobs in the local supermart. Given the style of
Yaguchi, expect some hilarious moments as the cheeky girls
are caught having a moment of "romance" with male
manneqins, if this is not enough, a fun, laugh-out-loud sequence
involving an unintended wild boar killing during the students'
mushroom picking outing.
in the north-eastern side of Japan, the cinematography itself
is as captivating as the story. Let yourself flow with the
luxurious greenery of summer to the snowy winter as the girls
strived hard to master the musical instruments and groove
to the right notes.
It's of great satisfaction and heart-warming to see the girls
(not forgetting a boy on the keyboard too) playing the great
jazz classics at ease, blending faultlessly into a Big Band
Jazz towards the end. Take this journey along with the Swing
Girls and be entertained by their pure, musical numbers, their
hardwork and their bone-tickling antics.
Review by Linus.T.