“Pinky violence” is a genre of cinema that flourished in Japan during the 1970’s. It was spawned from the “pink film” genre of sexploitation movies, which started the previous decade with Satoru Kobayashi’s Flesh Market, which grossed over 100 million yen on a budget of just eight million. It was originally the domain mostly of independent producers and studios, but as the Japanese market became tougher, due to competition from imported movies and other forms of entertainment, major studios like Nikkatsu and Toei moved in to the field. While the former took the more traditional route, Toei opted to merge sex with the other staple of exploitation cinema, violence.
But what makes them of interest here, is their focus on women as the central characters, active participants in the violence, rather than simply being passive victims. Frequently, the heroines are sukeban, a term which means “delinquent girl” or “bad girl”, often operating in conjunction with, or leading, other girls in a gang, This may form part of a larger Yakuza enterprise, or work entirely independently. Sometimes, the focus is on obtaining revenge or justice for some past crime, whether against the girl or someone she loves. The ratio of sex to violence did vary, as did the setting: while most had a contemporary setting, films like Lady Snowblood took the themes are ran them out against a period backdrop.
While the ‘golden era’ of the genre is generally considered to be in the seventies, the influences and general themes continue on. They can be seen in the likes of the Female Prisoner Scorpion and Zero Woman series, and arguably, even in the new wave of Tokyo Gore movies, such as Mutant Girl Squad or Gothic & Lolita Psycho. We started by reviewing the four movies included in the box-set released by Panik House in December 2005. While it’s now out of print, its contents remains available from various sources, and it’s as good a place to begin as any. Further entries will continue to be added during the coming months, with the movies listed in order of release date.
- Operation Pussycat
- Prisoner Maria: The Movie
- Scorpion: Double Venom
- Scorpion’s Revenge
- Sukeban Hunters
And, in chronological order
- Legend of the Poisonous Seductress: Female Demon Ohyaku
- Delinquent Girl Boss: Blossoming Night Dreams
- Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Counterattack
- Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess
- Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Challenge
- Girl Boss Guerilla
- Wandering Ginza Butterfly
- Rika the Mixed-Blood Girl
- Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler
- Criminal Woman: Killing Melody
- Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture
- Girl Boss: Escape From Reform School
- Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom
- Rica 2: Lonely Wanderer
- Rica 3: Juvenile Lullaby
- The Yakuza Wives
- Bloodbath at Pinky High, Part 1
- Bloodbath at Pinky High, Part 2
- Pinky violence trailer frenzy!