Three faces of Japanese young womanhood, three levels of representation: first, there is Haruki, a 28-year old, unmarried, bored office worker stuck at home with her parents. Her apparent vanishing energises the bubbly 20-year old Aina and her street artist friends, who spread Haruki’s face all over the city’s walls, Warhol-style, escalating to media attention that overwhelms them. And finally, a gang of cool, anonymous teenage girls randomly attacking men in the streets at night.
Adapting a 2013 novel by Mariko Yamauchi, actor-turned-director Matsui Daigo blends these three storylines in a dazzling mix of romantic comedy, documentary and outbursts of pop violence. Shifting between timelines and storylines, between the grounded world of Haruki and the fantasy world of girl guerrillas, Japanese Girls Never Die nevertheless remains focused on one aim: standing against misogyny, women’s exploitation, sexualisation and patriarchy with fun, introspection and fury.