Japan kind of gets a bad rep for being home to some pretty weird things. A lot of this might be a cultural difference between Japan and America, or Western countries in general. However, sometimes there can be a little bit of credence to those claims; case in point, today’s movie. First off, the movie is based off of a manga, which several Japanese movies and anime’s are, but the concept itself is pretty crazy. I mean, a teenage girl working as a secret undercover cop and armed with a yo-yo. Yeh, that just seems completely out there. Now I don’t remember if this was a Blockbuster or Movie Stop purchase but when I first saw the case for this movie, I was pretty much sold and new that this would probably be some epic ridiculousness that would make for some great entertainment. Let’s see if I was right with today’s movie, Yo-Yo Girl Cop.
The plot: A teenage girl is wandering through the streets of Tokyo with her hands zip-tied, warning everyone to stay away from her as she has a bomb strapped to her. AS the timer winds down, she sees a van with a camera filming her just as she explodes, and a strange steel yo-yo is sent flying through the air before landing on the street. Some time later, Japanese Inspector Kazutoshi Kira flies to New York and is escorted to a a holding cell where a CIA agent is telling him about the Japanese girl, “K” they are holding. As they discuss her and the girl’s mother, K dislocates her shoulder in order to slip out of the straight jacket she is in, then proceeds to beat up several cops before escaping. As she makes her way through the alleys, K hears a little girl crying for her mother and she stops to comfort her but is soon surrounded by cops. As Kira arrives on the scene, K releases the girl, who runs to Kira , and K is recaptured. K is flown back to Japan and restrained in another holding cell, where Kira and his superior discuss her and his superior says she is just like her mother and would be the perfect candidate. When K regains, Kira tells her that he is making her a special agent and tells her that they are investigating an underground website named Enola Gay. They believe the website is connected to an elite school, which they want her to investigate. Kira explains that the young girl that recently blew up was another of their agents investigating the school and tells K that she has 72 hours to complete the mission, the time shown on a countdown on the Enola Gay website, or else they will deport her mother, who is living in America on an expired visa. K tells Kira that she doesn’t care for her mother but reluctantly agrees to help him. K is given a school uniform and a special yo-yo, as well as a new name; Saki Asamiya. Saki arrives at the school and as she observes the students, she has an encounter with Reika Akiyama and her clique, who tend to run the school. When she sees Reika and her group bullying another student, Tae Konno, Saki confronts them about it and ends up betting up several guys who try to stop her. Later, Saki is talking with Tae on the roof of the school. and asking about Reika and her group. She then asks about the girl that killed herself and Tae says that she had gotten in close with the Chemistry Club before she died. Saki goes to check out the Chemistry Club and sees a computer with the Enola Gay site on it’s monitor and evidence that someone was attempting to make a bomb. She then sees two students wearing suicide vests and asks what they are doing, causing them to run and Saki chases after them. When they split up, Saki follows one of them, Higashiyama, into a mall, where he ends up grabbing Tae as a hostage. Seeing her new friend in trouble, Saki goes to use her yo-yo to stop Higashiyama but her inexperience with it causes her to knock herself out, as well as causing a hanging sign to fall onto a cart close to Higashiyama and Tae. Tae and Higashiyama both go to check on Saki and afterwards, Higashiyama apologizes and is taken into custody. Meanwhile, the other student, Amaki, had returned to school when his bomb vest is suddenly activated remotely, by the people in the white van. As he calls out for someone to help him and tries to remove the vest, he is approached by the janitor, Jirou Kimura, who says it’s cool he built that suicide vest and says they should be friends, removing the vest and throwing it out the window before it explodes. Later that night, Saki meets with Kira, who tells her that after questioning Higashiyama, they learned that the man who seems to be in charge of Enola Gay is called Romeo. Saki asks Kira if he is keeping anything else from her and he tells her not at the moment. As Saki takes the bus home, she notices the Kimura on the bus and he comes over to sit next to her, then lets her listen to the song he is listening to on his iPod. Meanwhile, Tae goes on the Ebola Gay website and notices a conversation between Romeo and someone named Juliet. In the Enola Gay’s hideout, Kimura is revealed to be Romeo just as two cops, led there by Reika, try to arrest the Enola Gay gang only to be killed in a live webcast. Saki had seen the web cast, as had Kira, and when he calls to tell her that he had sent Higashiyama home, Saki angrily hangs up on him. Saki races to Higashiyama’s house only to see him being kidnapped by the Enola Gay gang and she tries to stop them but is shot with a stun pellet. The next day at school, Tae doesn’t show up and sends Saki an email, which she reads on the roof. In the email, Tae explains that last year she had transferred to the school and she met a girl named Kotomi Kanda. The two ended up becoming friends when they met each other online, with Kotomi’s screen name being Romeo and Tae’s Juliet, only to realize that they went to the same school. The two were both bullied and they started a website called Verona to serve as an anti-bullying website for people to reach out and share their own stories and try to help each other. However, Kotomi was growing more despondent over the teacher’s lack of acknowledgement for the bullying going on in the school and so she brings a bomb to the school to kill them but ends up being the only one caught in the blast. As Saki stops reading the email, she is confronted by Reika, who tells her that Kotomi had fallen in love with a boy, who was the one to give her the bomb. Continuing the email, Saki reads how one day, Tae received an email and saw the Verona site, which had been shut down after the bombing incident, had become the Enola Gay site, and there was messages from Romeo and Juliet, who were not her or Kotomi. Saki meets up with Tae, who takes her to see Kotomi, who has been in a near catatonic state since the explosion. Tae talks to her Kotomi some and when Saki notices the iPod in her hand, she asks Kotomi who gave it to her and Kotomi says Kimura. As they leave, Tae mentions the assembly at school tomorrow and wants to tell everyone what is going on but is scared but Saki tells her that she will be there for her. That night, Saki pays a visit to Kira at his home and they talk briefly over dinner before she leaves and after she is gone, Kira lifts up a picture he had turned face down so Saki wouldn’t see it and comments on how she has grown up, revealing himself to be her father. Outside, Saki encounters Kimura, who invites her for a ride and they soon end up on a rooftop. As Saki asks what he is up to, he reveals himself to be Kimura, as she didn’t know his name, but she is knocked out before she can do anything. Later, Tae encounters Kimura, who tells her that Saki won’t be there for her tomorrow, playing on her insecurities in order to get her to use a bomb at the rally. The next day, Saki regains consciousness only to find herself tied to a bomb and she manages to escape, then races towards the school. At the school, Reika introduces the assembly to Tae, calling her Romeo, but Tae says she can’t go through with this and warns everyone to get away, showing the bomb strapped to her. As Saki shows up, Reika tells Tae that Saki is really a cop and was never her friend and Tae ask if that is true. Before Saki can respond, two of the Enola Gay gang appear and attempt to kill Tae in order to trigger the bomb but Saki is able to save Tae and stop them. Reika grabs Tae and leaves the school and Saki goes to follow but another student armed with a bomb stops her and she is forced to knock him out, then throws the bomb outside to save the other students. Meanwhile, Kiruma and the other members of the gang had been using the distraction at the school to rob a bank. Saki leaves the school and is met by Kira and the police, who let her through. She heads back to the headquarters and dons a bullet proof uniform and heads out to the Enola Gay’s hideout. When she reaches it, she encounters Reika, who reveals that she was also once an undercover cop and has her own yo-yo, with retractable blades. The two fight and Reika gets the upper hand and goes to kill Saki but Saki is able to escape and buries Reika underneath a pile of metal poles. Saki continues through the hideout and confronts Kiruma, who has Tae, Higashiyama, and Amaki hostage. Kiruma activates a timer, telling her she has 3 minutes to save her friends before they all blow up and Saki heads towards them, defeating the other members of the gang as she does. With one minute to go, Saki confronts Kiruma,who is also wearing a suicide vest synced to the other bomb. As Saki uses her yo-yo, Kiruma cuts the string but she is able to grab it and throw it at him, distracting him long enough to grab the remote and shut down the bomb near her friends, but Kiruma’s vest continues to count down and he smiles as he explodes. Some time later, Saki calls her mom and when her mom asks where she had run off too, she tells her she is in Japan. Her mom, who was the original Saki Asamiya, is shocked when she hears that and when she hears that Saki is with Kira, she tells Saki that Kira had hurt his leg saving her life a long time ago. After she hangs up, Kira tells Saki that he has another assignment for her if she wants and Saki accepts it, then goes to say goodbye to Tae and Kotomi, who is able to return to school.
This was an interesting movie and, while a little confusing at times, pretty entertaining. The acting was ok, with Aya Matsuura doing a good job as Saki, while Rika Ishikawa (Reika), Yui Okada (Tae), and Riki Takeuchi (Kira) doing equally good in their roles. The story was interesting and I liked the basic concept, somewhat putting a spotlight onto teenage suicides, but the bouncing around in the filming kind of made it hard to follow. There were a couple of humorous scenes, mainly Saki’s initial use of the yo-yo and her failure in being able to use it, but they did serve to kind of lighten up the mood when it got a little too serious. The fight scenes were a little over the top but not too bad and actually did fit with the movie. It is ridiculous but pretty fun to watch.
Rating: 3 out of 5