100-Yen shops are Japan’s equivalent of dime stores, and 32-year-old Ichiko has a part-time job in one. The rest of the time she’s a work-shy slob, usually found playing video games with her nephew. But her growing interest in Kano, a low-rank boxer she sees training in a gym, sets her on a different course. She takes up boxing herself, and suddenly has a reason to get up in the morning.
Take Masaharu’s noir-flavoured breakthrough film centres on a stupendous performance by Ando Sakura as Ichiko. It offers a grungy view of Tokyo’s sub-proletariat - no-hopers, doomed romance, broken lives - but also an energising picture of a woman who manages to reinvent herself. Gritty and hard-boiled, but also funny and surprisingly sexy.