Blu-ray Review: Sailor Suit and The Machine Gun

Hoshi Izumi

There have always been child prodigies whose talent and dedication have allowed them to succeed in their area of expertise. Performing well ahead of their years. This success if usually down to incredibly hard work, as well. Then again, there are those thrust into a position of responsibility well ahead of their time. It used to happen in the days of kings and kingdoms, but in Sailor Suit and The Machine Gun a girl is becomes the head of a very different kind of family.

Hoshi Izumi (Hiroko Yakushimaru) is your typical teenager, bored with school and the banalities of growing up. When her father dies suddenly in a car crash, she finds herself all alone. This doesn’t last for long when the teen discovers, much to her chagrin, that she’s now, through a sequence of unlikely events, the head of a yakuza family. Dragged from the day-to-day ennui of the classroom to head-up a clan in turmoil and decline, Hoshi must grow up fast in order to stay alive.

Sailor Suit and The Machine Gun is a heady mix of coming-of-age drama, crime satire and idol showcase. While these disparate elements don’t always come together, when they do it results in an entertaining, clever and fun satire of yakuza films. Shinji Sômai’s popularity never really stretched outside of his country’s borders but there’s much to like in his playful vision. Sailor Suit and The Machine Gun channels the zeitgeist of ‘80s Japan to create a wild and imaginative hybrid.

Special features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of the Original Theatrical Version and the 1982 Complete Version (kanpeki-ban) re-issue of the film, restored by Kadokawa Pictures from a 4K scan of the original negative
  • Original uncompressed Japanese mono and 5.1 audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Girls, Guns and Gangsters: Shinji Somai & Sailor Suit & Machine Gun, an exclusive new 50-minute documentary featuring actor Akira Emoto, film scholar Chika Kinoshita, Somai biographer Tatsuya Kimura and Sailor Suit assistant director Koji Enokido discussing the making of the film, its director and its legacy.
  • Original Trailers and TV spots for both versions
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Michael Lomon

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Aaron Gerow and Alex Zahlten, and a discussion between the film’s star Hiroko Yakushimaru and the acclaimed director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who was an assistant on Sailor Suit and Machine Gun.

Sailor Suit and The Machine Gun is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 15 November.

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