Brush up on the birthplace of the original #Girlboss.
In the age of staying woke and wearing the term “feminist” with pride, we figure now’s the perfect time to school you on the wonderfully weird history of Pinky Violence, aka the subversive, not-for-the-faint-of-heart Japanese film sub-genre that spanned the late ’60s to late ’70s. A product of the sex-fueled pink film flicks and the violent crime movies popular at the time, Pinky Violence portrayed women as literal girl bosses, fighting to reclaim their turf, avenging friends and lovers, and taking zero prisoners, all while looking badass as ever (picture snake boob tattoos and graphic jumpsuits). The fiercely female film category is not only the inspiration behind our latest collection, but also the foundation of our “girl power” ethos. Class is now in session.
Girl Boss Guerilla (1972)
Ever wonder where the term “Girlboss” came from? That’s right. This film birthed the foundation of our core philosophy, highlighting women who kick ass and take names like it’s just another day. Power duo Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike star as biker girl gang members in this third film of a seven-film series (don’t worry, it’s just as good as a standalone). Part eroticized violence, part slapstick comedy (dubbing piano music over a dude playing guitar–classic), Girl Boss Guerilla is an homage to girls who give “fighting like a girl” a good name.
Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (1971)
This is your not-so-classic story of a juvenile delinquent, played by Reiko Oshida, who, post-reform school release, fights gangsters that are after her friend’s dad. It’s the perfect cocktail of revenge, sacrifice, and allegiance to family. A fight scene at the end featuring matching red trench coats and samurai swords deserves a special mention.
Criminal Woman: Killing Melody (1973)
Enter the ultimate avenger story. Reiko Ike plays a girl whose father is killed by the same gang that forced him into drug pushing (heavy stuff). Add a stint in prison, an unlikely bond, killer style and, naturally, plenty of fight scenes, and you’ve got a wildly entertaining Japanese crime thriller. Bonus: Reiko also sings the theme song—a recurring event in Pinky Violence films.
Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom (1973)
Cult film fans will love this sexploitation horror flick, which takes place at an all-girls school for delinquents. S&M and torture scenes are juxtaposed with signature Pinky Violence humor and a memorable soundtrack, but don’t be fooled—the darkness still prevails. Per usual, regulars Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike don’t disappoint.
Sex & Fury (1973)
Set in the 17th century, this film follows Reiko Ike’s gambler character as she goes after the men who killed her father. Oh, and nbd, Swedish actress Christina Lindberg stars as a British spy (never mind her obviously Swedish accent). The epic sword fight between a naked Reiko and a bunch of gangsters is reason alone to see Sex & Fury. She slays in this film. Literally.
Reiko’s one of Pinky Violence’s favorite leading ladies, not to mention a real-life renegade. She allegedly lied about her age to get a role in the Hot Springs Geisha series at 16, thus kickstarting her successful career as a hardcore heroine. A poster girl for sukeban, aka Girl Boss films, and Japanese sex symbol of the ’70s, she plays the too-cool-for-school, self-reliant bad chick better than almost anyone, and does it while fighting off gangs of men. On top of all that–the girl’s got a stellar voice.
Miki’s career path is nothing short of unique. Starting out as a model and TV personality, she later became a nursery school teacher, but not before killing it in a slew of Pinky Violence classics. Similarly making her debut in the Hot Springs Geisha series in 1971, Miki was often pitted against fellow protagonist Reiko Ike on and offscreen, though she quickly made a name for herself as an earnest and likable sukeban star.
Meiko got her start in film and music after graduating high school, trying out pink films, then escaping to the more dynamic world of Pinky Violence. She played the part of young maverick in the must-see Stray Cat Rock and Female Prisoner Scorpion series, but her most well-known role was as an assassin in the Lady Snowblood films, which later served as the inspiration for Lucy Liu’s character, O-Ren “Cottonmouth” Ishii in the Tarantino classic, Kill Bill. Fun fact: he put one of Meiko’s songs in the movie, and another in the sequel. With a career spanning decades (girl’s still in the business) and over 100 films, several albums, and many awards to show for it, Meiko’s icon status is undoubtedly unanimous.
A Japanese genre of erotically-charged films that were most popular from the mid-’60s to the mid-’80s.
A series of sexploitation films spanning the ’70s and ’80s and produced by Nikkatsu, one of Japan’s largest film studios. To qualify as a Roman Porno film, each hour had to include four nude or sex scenes. It’s basically porn, but like, slightly more high-brow.
A Japanese production company largely attributed with creating the Pinky Violence category. All of the films and icons listed here came out of Toei, so it’s kind of a big deal.
Delinquent Girl Boss-slash-gang member.
Japanese gangster. Boom.
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