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Encyclopedia > Swing Girls
Swing Girls

Swing Girls film poster
Directed by Shinobu Yaguchi
Produced by Shintaro Horikawa,
Daisuke Sekiguchi
Written by Junko Yaguchi,
Shinobu Yaguchi
Starring Juri Ueno,
Yuta Hiraoka
Release date(s) September 11, 2004
Running time 105 min
Language Japanese
Budget ~ ¥500,000,000
IMDb profile

Swing Girls (スウィングガールズ; Suwingu gaaruzu) is a 2004 comedy film co-written and directed by the Japanese filmmaker Shinobu Yaguchi about the efforts of a group of high school girls to form a jazz band. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (500x710, 83 KB)Swing Girls film poster This image is of a movie poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of the movie or the studio which produced the movie in question. ... Shinobu Yaguchi (矢口史靖; born 30 May 1967) is a Japanese film director and screenwriter. ... Shinobu Yaguchi (矢口史靖; born 30 May 1967) is a Japanese film director and screenwriter. ... Juri Ueno (上野樹里; born 22 May 1986) is a Japanese actress. ... Yuta Hiraoka (平岡祐太; born 1 September 1984) is a Japanese actor. ... September 11 is the 254th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (255th in leap years). ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A minute is a unit of time equal to 1/60th of an hour and to 60 seconds. ... Japanese 10 yen coin (obverse) showing Phoenix Hall of Byodoin Yen is the currency used in Japan. ... // Please note that these are the top grossing films that were first released in 2004; because they may have made most of their income in a later year, they may not be the top-grossing films for calendar year 2004. ... Airplane! is considered by some critics to be one of the funniest movies of all time. ... Screenwriters, scenarists or script writers, are authors who write the screenplays from which movies and television programs are made. ... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... Shinobu Yaguchi (矢口史靖; born 30 May 1967) is a Japanese film director and screenwriter. ...

Swing Girls is set in rural Yamagata prefecture, in northern Japan and the characters often use the local Yamagata-ben dialect for comic effect. Yamagata Prefecture (山形県; Yamagata-ken) is located in the Tohoku region on Honshu island, Japan. ... Yamagata-ben (山形弁) is the local dialect in spoken Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area. ...

The film ranked 8th at the Japanese box office in 2004, and won seven prizes at the 2005 Japanese Academy Awards, including 'Most Popular Film' and 'Newcomer of the Year' awards for Yuta Hiraoka and Juri Ueno. This is a list of film-related events in 2005. ... The Japanese Academy Awards have been held since 1977 to reward excellence in Japanese film. ... Yuta Hiraoka (平岡祐太; born 1 September 1984) is a Japanese actor. ... Juri Ueno (上野樹里; born 22 May 1986) is a Japanese actress. ...

The cast includes Yuta Hiraoka (Takuo, the leader of the band), Juri Ueno (Tomoko), Shihori Kanjiya (Yoshie), Yuika Motokariya (Sekiguchi) and Yukari Toyashima (Naomi). The actors performed their own music for the film.


The movie begins at a school in Japan. It is dead hot outside, and summer classes are being held. One class is where our story begins. It is the remedial math class, containing thirteen girls and a nervous, anti-social teacher named Ozuwa. While rambling on, one of the girls, Tomoko, looks outside the window to see the school's brass band, featuring one depressed Nakamura, planning on giving the teacher a "quitting the band" slip, but nonetheless refusing. The brass band leaves for a baseball game, and moments later, a lunch truck arrives. The driver notices he is late and is also late for a catering. Tomoko, wanting to get the heck out of math class, decides to deliver the lunches with the others for him.

On the train ride over, Tomoko pops a lunch open and the girls devour it. They also sleep to the stop, and realize they are going to miss it, but the doors slide shut before they can get out. The girls are dropped off at an outdoor train stop. Now they are faced with two challenges: either wait another hour for the next train or get to the stadium by foot. They choose going by foot, and when they did, they lost some of the lunch dodging a train and procrastinated at a nearby stream. They meet Nakamura at the stadium and pass out the lunches. When they finish, Nakamura demands to know where HIS lunch was, and Tomoko claims to nothing, but as wise as Nakamura is and as dumb as Tomoko is, Nakamura discovers a spec of food on Tomoko's chin. He says nothing, and he buys his own lunch as the girls leave. As he eats, he notices that his fellow band members got sick from the lunches since they spoiled in the summer heat thanks to the girls' procrastination. All 42 of them, teacher and all, go to the hospital. That night, Tomoko watches the horrible event on the news and is petrified over the whole thing.

The next day, hoping for a miracle, Nakamura holds an audition for new recruits. He gets two punk rockers who need to "make some noise" after their band broke up and shy, bright, unsocial girl named Sekiguchi, who only knows how to play the recorder. Now Nakamura is desperate, and all that changes when he hears the Tomoko and the other girls outside. His anger turns to rage and he stomps out into the hall and startles the girls. He starts chewing them out because he found out that they messed up those lunches. He also tells them-not asks them-that they will fill in for the brass band. The girls try to refuse, but Nakamura threatens to rat them out if they don't join, and for some of those girls, that next rat-out would be their last. Otherwise it was to escape math class, so the girls reluctantly joined.

The girls start to clown around with the instruments, except for Sekiguchi. Nakamura is getting no control over them, until Sekiguchi accidentally knocks over some big band records. One rolls down the hall into the hands of the school's star baseball player. Now Nakamura is already in deep s%^& with him, so he acts nonchalant as he storms into the room. While being confronted, he realizes that he can turn the girls into a big band instead of a brass band, a) because it was to avoid a beating by the baseball player and b) because they were 8 people short of a brass band. As he introduces the concept to the girls, he also remembers that teaching brass band instruments to 16 girls who are as dumb as a sack of bricks in Nunavut is not easy, especially if it needs to be done in time for the game next week. Later on, Nakamura, alone in the band room, realizes that everyone is dependent on the girls, and that if he quit the band now, the people would be disappointed and the baseball player would come after him, so he tears up the "quitting the band" slip.

As the week rolls on, Nakamura trains them physically to improve their lung strength. Everyone stumbles along, except for Sekiguchi, who strolls through the tasks with flying colors. Tomoko faces some conflicts with Nakamura along the way, but she realizes that in order to escape trouble, she must get along with him.

On the day before the game, the girls run through a jazz piece and are pretty good in it, although a little squeaky in some places. As they marvel their work, all 42 brass band members walk in and take over again. Everyone except Sekiguchi is eager to get the heck out, but once the girls step out of the building, they break down into tears. They began to like playing in a big band, and once they got kicked out, they were overcome with culture shock.

When school kicks up again, Tomoko passes by the band room as the band members ran through scales. She asks the band teacher what happen to Nakamura, and her response was that he quit at last. The band teacher offers Tomoko a chance to play, and she begins to accept, but as she entered the room she saw Sekiguchi. Remembering how cruelly she treated her back when the band was still in business, Tomoko leaves. A while later all the girls meet to discuss how to raise some money to buy new instruments. Some ideas are brought up but they don't fly, and despite the fact that Nakamura's family is loaded, he can't pitch in because he's afraid he'll get a beating from his parents. Finally they settle on an idea: they decide to get jobs.

The girls are employed at a supermarket, and at the number and rate they work, they raise a boatload of money. Everything goes fine, but despite the fact that those girls are determined, they are still single-minded, and Tomoko blows all the girls' jobs by pouring wine into a frying pan and starting a fire. As the girls leave, a shocking secret is discovered when everyone except Tomoko, her best friend Yoshie, Sekiguchi, and Naomi blow off all their hard-earned money on designer clothes. Then they announce a schism and run off with the school's baseball player for a second life of endless partying and procrastination, leaving the four girls and a small chunk of money, to continue the band on their own.

Tomoko considers herself covered when she hacks her computer and little sister's PS2 to buy a used sax (in poor condition, of course). However, the rest of the girls need money, and after more brainstorming, they decide to pick mushrooms in the mountains by way of connections via Sekiguchi. When they get to the mountains, though, they realize that the connections are a dud, there is a tresspassing fine, and that the forest rangers are heading in that direction. They try to escape, but a hungry bear attacks them and goes for Naomi. She climbs up a tree hoping to escape the bear and slides down onto the bear's head. Thank God she has a weight problem, because when she landed on its head, the bear's skull split open, killing it on impact. The forest rangers find them, what what seemed like risk became reward when they were rewarded a huge sum of money seeing as they stopped a crop-killing bear.

They buy the instruments, but they turn out to be pieces of s%^&, so now they have to fix them, but they already blew their money getting the instruments. However, they get in luck when the punk rockers take them to the junkyard to have their ex-bandmates-and ex-boyfriends desperate to get them back- to fix them up. Now that they have the gear, they can start playing, but their skills are as messed up as their instruments, and after trying a few places to play, they get not much luck.

Then fate changes one day when Sekiguchi met a man after one of their failed gigs to give some advice. The others try to meet him, but he is too fast and flees. They catch up to him at his house and peek through his window, which was a big band shrine. The man sits down to play the sax, but this was no ordinary man; it was Ozuwa. To make matters even worse for him, he sees their refection is his mirror. He invites them in and starts to teach them how to actually play jazz, while keeping a very fate-changing secret. Their luck also increases when one day they play in front of the supermarket they got fired from. The other girls were nearby when they saw this, and were so moved that they went and sold their designer clothers to buy instruments to play with them, thus removing the schism and restoring the band to its original size.

Later on in the middle of the winter, Tomoko tells the others about a winter music festival where they could actually prove themselves. They all agree to go and coax Ozuwa to conduct. He reluctantly agrees, and the next day they go to the roof of the school to record the audiotion tape. When they finish, they leave Tomoko in charge of sending the tape, with plenty of time to spare. Now it's true when they say that some habits are hard to break, and soon the weeks turn into days, and Tomoko has not sent in the audition tape yet. She hastily turns it in, and weeks later she gets a reply saying that due to a surplus in applications, they had to set it up on a first come, first served basis, and because Tomoko procrastinated again, they got booted out. Crushed, Tomoko decided not to tell anyone in fear that it would blow everything they've worked for.

Fate also takes a kick in the bucket when during a hair appointment, Nakamura discovers that Ozuwa is not really a professional sax player and was privately taking lessons across the street from his hair stylist. Embarasssed, Ozuwa confessed that he was never a good sax player and only learned to play to impress the school's music teacher. He made Nakamura swear that he would never tell a soul. He also decides to back out of conducting.

On the train ride there, Tomoko sits alone in another car. Nakamura decides to go over and cheer her up. While the others think it's a confession of love, Nakamura could tell by her feelings that she did not send the tape on time. She says to him that the did not have the heart to tell anyone, so Nakamura tells them for her, and crushes their spirit. What was even worse was that the train had to stop because of the rapid snowfall and because a tree landed on the track. While listening to a radio, the girls play along and renew their spirit. The music isn't just a cheer-up, though; it's also a signal. The school's band teacher finds them and rushes them by bus to the auditorium because they got a spot since another band could not make the competition.

They spill out onto the stage just as the announcer declared they would not attend, being laughed at by everybody. They set up and play a 15-minute concert. While wooing the crowd, Ozuwa actually comes in to conduct and the punk rockers' boyfriends try to get them to notice them. At the end, the win the competition and learn valuable lessons: for Naomi, she learned about obesity (your applause does not judge by your waistline); for Yoshie, she learned about confidence (finding what moves you); for Sekiguchi, she learned about standing out (making a difference in someone's life); for Nakamura, he learned about leadership (controlling more than just other people)' for the punk rockers, they learned about love (those who commit themselves to you truly love you); and for Tomoko, she learned about passion (keeping commitment to something instead of laying off or procrastinating), which is where the movie ends.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
The Girl on the Swing (2211 words)
At one banquet in 1895 a scantily clad girl, Susie Johnson, emerged from a huge pie, and thus set a model of rich male party goers for generations to come.
The Girl on the Swing began to swing away from Stanford White.
As chorus girls sang and danced on the stage Thaw worked his way along the aisle to within three feet of White.
  More results at FactBites »



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