Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Portrait of a Badass: Mitsuko

Character: Female Student #11; Souma, Mitsuko
Actor: Shibasaki Kou
Film: Battle Royale (2000)
Badass Moment: Mitsuko's flashlight close-up, Mr. Demille (pictured)
As you may know, Battle Royale is the motion picture adaptation of a Japanese pulp novel of the same name, in which a high school class is whisked off to an island in the Seto Inland Sea and the students forced to participate in a real life last-man-standing deathmatch. I will do my best not to let the absolute badassity of Mitusko in the novel affect my appraisal of her onscreen badassitude. After all, if "Portrait of a Badass" were more literary and less...uhhh...movielary, the Japanese female badass throne would probably be occupied by Hatsumomo from Memoirs of a Geisha.
(...a technicality that will cease to be a problem as soon as the movie adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha, starring supreme Chinese hottie Zhang Zi Yi, is released.)
Every high school class has a girl who, while being the ultimate object of infatuation, is somehow inaccessible. Maybe it's because she's too "out of your league"...maybe it's because she's a snob...maybe it's because she kills everyone with a sickle. Souma Mitsuko is that girl.
As her schoolmates discover, her nasty classroom manner translates literally in the survival scenario posed by the Battle Royale, and before long everyone's getting sliced up by Mitsuko Souma, the cutest bringer of death you ever did-done seen. And all the while, she spouts mean lines like, "Shindemo ii" ("You can die") and "Shineyo busu" ("Die, ugly").
Contrast this with Shibasaki Kou's role in Miike Takashi's cellphone-centric horror film Chakushin Ari, in which she spends the latter half of the movie whimpering and screaming and hiding in corners AND singing a pop song. That's versatility.
Mitsuko, you are a badass, and a spooky chick, and yes you can have my lunch money just please don't hurt me. We salute you.

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