Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss, was director Yasuharu Hasebe’s first installment of a five part series for the infamous Nikkatsu studio, starring the legendary Meiko Kaji (Female Prisoner Scorpion) and introducing the Korean born Akiko Wada, who at the time (and still to this day) was widely known throughout Japan for her tremendous singing ability. The stray Cat Rock series was produced through the years of 70-71, with director Yasuaharu Hasebe directing: Delinquent Girl Boss, Sex Hunter and Machine Animal. Toshiya Fujita directed: Wild Jumbo and the final release of the series Beat ‘71.
Delinquent Girl Boss opens with an openly defiant Mako (Akiko Wada), challenging a group of local underlings of the Seiyu group known as “The Black Shirt Corps”. Clad in denim from head to toe, a tomboy-ish Ako sneeringly beckons to the black corps leader Katsuya (Tatsuya Fuji) to step out and off his stylish Daihatsu Beach Buggy. Mako is only met with his uproarious laughter, as the gang speeds off paying little mind to likes of some loud mouthed woman.
Mako rides along on her motorcycle until happening upon the beautiful Mei (Meiko Kaji), at first thinking Mako is a man under her helmet and skintight denim, Mei offers Mako the chance to meet some girls in turn for a ride. Mako eventually accepts after some playful teasing, taking Mei promptly to her destination. Following Mei we find her to be the head of her own female gang, who subsequently are about to rumble with rival all female gang. The fight kicks of with the tide quickly turning in favor of Mei and her cohorts, when the same Seiyu underlings abrubtly make an appearance at the behest of Mei’s rivals. All seems lost when Mako roars in on her bike, who had been watching from the distance above. She darts vehemently after the attackers , which provides an adequate diversion for the girls to make a hasty escape.
The girls, Mei and the now without helmet appearing obviously female Mako meet up at a local club which Mei’s gang frequents. They soon discover two of their crew to be missing. Which decidedly at first they dismiss, assuming they must of escaped and found refuge elsewhere. We’re then introduced to Mei’s boyfriend Michio (Koji Wada), who desperately seeking to join the Seiyu group, makes a request to his childhood friend Kelly Fujiyama (Ken Sanders), a champion boxer, to throw his upcoming match to garner favor for Michio from the Seiyu executives who intend to place a 1,000,000 yen wager on the challenger.
Shortly thereafter one of the missing girls returns exclaiming the other had been captured by the Seiyu underlings and their rival gang, forlorn, Mei resigns to her defeat. In disgust Mako declares that she herself will retrieve the missing member, with Mei and the gang eventually following suit. The girls arrive at the underling’s hideout to discover their counterpart being tortured by flame; a skirmish erupts but ends abruptly with the arrival of a Seiyu executive, who interrupts the foray and sends the girls on their way.
Matters become more complicated, when Michio’s friend Fujiyama in the midst of throwing his match, has a change of heart. For Michio, this undoubtedly means certain death at the hand of the Seiyu group. It’s now up to Mei, Mako and the rest of the gang to rescue Michio, who immediately following the match is taken away by the Seiyu group for his failed attempt to turn Fujiyama.
Those acquainted with Pinky Violence will likely notice a distinction from many other popular pinky titles of the era. Unlike the majority of its pinky brethren Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss is devoid of much of the usual nudity, sexuality and sleaziness that generally goes hand and hand with the genre. While the woman herein are indeed lovely, for the most part they go without the more demeaning stigmas of Pinky Violence, instead focusing on the more empowering elements, and of course the actual violence!
A crucial component to the film is its soundtrack, which is an interesting blend of psychedelic rock and jazz. Various instances throughout the film take place within a club setting, offering a well suited venue for several musical performances, including the films star Akiko Wada herself. Overall it’s all very much welcomed, and heightens the film presence considerably especially when paired with the films visually pleasing aesthetics. The film is shot with an array of wide sweeping angles and close ups amidst a beatifully executed pallet of colorization. However at several key intervials throughout the picture the director inserts crude flashes of color intermingled amongst the picture, which ultimately appears awkwarly on screen and intrusive to the natural flow.
Unlike a good portion of the pinky from the era, the story remains simplistic in nature, analogous to showcasing the gang’s comradely exploits, augmented especially with the films numerable action sequences which includes a memorable motorcycle chase towards the films finale. Any real sadism has been contained to the noted torture scene early in the picture, but the rumbles and fights remain in full force throughout the features 81 minute run.
Despite her inexperience, Akiko Wada does a surprisingly wonderful job portraying the clichéd mysterious drifter, reminiscent of the classic westerns of old. Unfortunately Akiko’s presence in the succeeding sequel Stray Cat Rock - Wild Jumbo would diminish greatly, in favor of promoting rising star Meiko Kaji in hopes for a younger appeal for Nikkatsu studios. By the third entry Akio’s role would fade entirely, with Meiko well on her way to becoming an undisputable legend of the genre.
Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss is a refreshing entry in an often overly sexually saturated and downtrodden genre. This gives the film an atmosphere which appears enjoyably light hearted, in contrast to the often grim circumstances the girls find themselves in and the potentially tragic conclusion. With that in mind, Stray Cat Rock provides an excellent entry point to the genre, yet retains much of what hardcore pinky fans have come to adore from Pinky Violence.
Highly recommended, and well worth seeking out a subtitled copy.