Thursday, August 12, 2004

The attractive side of twelve stab wounds

Shibasaki Kou is an up and coming star in Japanese dramas. I've seen her show Good Luck!!, and parts of her newer one, Orange Days (both JTV projects; check them out) and she is suitably distracting in both. However, her most compelling performance is in the dystopian slaughterfest otherwise known as Battle Royale, where we learn just another good reason why school girls should stay hands off. I know that, for most men, fear is not the first thing that comes up on the subject of young women and short skirts. Well, those of us who've seen BR know better.

Kou's Battle Royale character is one of the more attractive knife wielding psychopaths portrayed on film, and through her we even get to see the softer side of dissociative killers. Though few of her other roles involve random violence, she brings to many of her characters the same endearing fierceness. She's strong and tough as nails, but with just the most discrete suggestion of vulnerability. There's something appealing in a rough woman, and Kou's got that uneasy combination of self-reliance and dependance, colored by stubborn animosity. She's cute, but she'd kick your ass for saying so.

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