Kirenji Girls Combat School (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:John Rose
Review Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A film for those who like their cute girl to be extreme brawlers.

What They Say
Kirenji is so definitely NOT your typical Japanese girls' school. For example, while the word "hot" might describe an attractive girl at other places of higher education, at Kirenji it's more likely to mean "hot blooded," "hot tempered," and "ready for red hot action" - as in physical combat, that is!

When 17-year-old Maki enrolls, thinking she's the baddest bad girl of them all, she quickly learns the hard way that at Kirenji she'll have to punch her way to the top of the shapely power pyramid... and it's just too bad that the equally intimidating Natsumu is standing in her path!

The Review!

Audio:  
The only audio present is a Japanese 2.0 track. It is a basic 2.0 track with nothing special to distinguish itself but that also means it has no dropouts or distortions. Dialogue is clean and doesn’t get buried during the presentation.The dialogue is primarily center speaker focused but there is an odd occurrence sometimes when the center of the screen character’s dialogue gets shifted to a side speaker but this is rare.
 
Video:
The video is presented in 16:9 which is about the only positive other than colors don’t look faded. There is some aliasing and dot crawl to be found but by far the worst problem-which actually covers up some of the other issues-is that there is a blurring to the picture. It almost looks like a 3-D effect without the glasses. This is headache inducing and makes the details of the feature a pain to try to figure out when watching.

Packaging:
The front of the DVD cover has the main three girls front and center with four of the supporting girls in the background behind them. The background is a yellow orange and the logo is at the bottom of the cover bellow the main three characters. The back of the cover has Maki crouching in the lower left with Kirei to the right of her and then Natsumu and the four supporting girls from the cover behind them to the upper right. The background is yellow and orange and there are 6 stills from the feature present. The DVD label has the three main characters standing with their backs turned and they are wearing a different colored jacket that has the name of the school on it.

Menus:
The menu has a static shot of the 7 girls featured on the cover. Maki is in the center with Natsumu on one side and Kirei on the other and then two of the other girls flanking on each side of them. The open plays in the background on the menu screen. The title is above their heads and the selection for parts of the features are under that horizontally. There is a yellow dot that signifies which option is highlighted and the menu is quick to respond to selections.

Extras:
This release contains no extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The feature opens with Maki Ryo going on a fighting spree with some of the toughest thugs in her town. She appears to fight simply for the sake of fighting while trying to find a fighter who can stand up to her. Unable to find any opponent at either her current school or on the street she is simply drifting until she gets asked if she is from Kirenji by a vanquished foe. With a name in hand Maki now sets out to start a new series of fights.
When she arrives she discovers that Kirenji is a girl’s school where every girl there is a delinquent. The feature gives a brief look at some of the girls who populate the school. A look at their interactions shows little in the way of traditional studies but does reveal a little about some of the side characters through a combination of their actions and some text giving their names and a little background. With the exception of Maki however none of the girls introduced this way play a huge role in the feature.
 
It turns out Maki isn’t the only one looking for a fight as the girls in the school are anticipating the arrival of their new target. The leader of the biggest group of girls is Natsumu Kinami as she is generally believed to be the toughest girl in school and she has set up camp in the classroom. Maki gets a greeting from the principle on her entrance and has the school’s rules explained to her-There are no boys allowed and beyond that anything goes. Maki’s attempt to find the classroom brings her into conflict with her erstwhile new classmates. When Maki finally finds the classroom the girls who great her are no stronger than the ones on the way. Undeterred Maki calls out the strongest girl in the class.
 
At the same time some of the defeated male  gang leaders are discussing her prowess and trying to figure out a way to enact revenge. While they are attempting to lay their plans Natsumu’s past is laid out. She is the daughter of a rich man whose wife died and is always away on business. She has had the best of everything but not the thing she most wants. After a bullying by her classmates she winds up talking with her estranged brother who went down the path of the delinquent himself. Talking with him crystallizes her desire to get back at those who attacked her before and start her new delinquent life which she is quite skilled at and eventually gets her own group.
 
A return to the present has Maki working her way through that group to get to Natsumu while the male gang from before tries to bring in a ringer who they discover won’t fight but can take a beating. Whether this will be necessary or not remains to be seen as Maki finally confronts Natsumu and Kirei Shindo and sparks fly. Kirei is an orphan who was abandoned by her parents and taught herself fighting skills to survive her experience with bullying and she is the other member of the school contending for the top spot.
 
The only solution is to have a three way fight by the schools combat challenge rules and see who will reign supreme. Will anyone survive the fight? And if they do will anything be learned from their experience? Plus what will happen when the male gang leaders’ plans come to fruition and they issue a challenge to Maki-will she still have any fighting spirit left in her?
 
Kirenji Girls’ Combat School is a decent but not special title. Outside the three lead actresses no time is spent really deepening any of the other characters in the feature. Even with the main three most of their time is focused many fight situations and the choreography is average but not anything spectacular. The male gang members only exist to initially set up Maki and then to provide some closure at the end of the feature but most of the time when they appear they are just there to remind everyone that there needs to be a showdown at the end. And outside of the three main women the female members don’t wind up much better.

In Summary:
Kirenji Girls’ Combat School is a feature that has the feel of a production made to appeal to fans of one of the three main girls. It is a feature that is competent in most of the key areas  but not special in any except for the disaster that is the video problem. It is a way to pass time for those who want to see pretty girls beating each other mercilessly but won’t stick in the memories of the majority of those who see it.


Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

 

Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080

 



Mania Grade: D+
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: D-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 17 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Switchblade Pictures
MSRP: 19.98
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: