Synopsis: A group of high school girls in northern Japan, are stuck in Mr. Ozawa’s remedial math class for the summer. Like most children at their age, they haven’t found anything that holds their interest. When the lunch boxes don’t make the bus for the brass band when they leave for the school’s baseball game, Tomoko encourages her classmate to take the chance to deliver the lunches themselves and get out of class for the day. But when they miss their stop on the train, the girls have to walk to the stadium. Being more interested in having fun, they take their time getting to the stadium. In the meantime, the lunch boxes spoil and the brass band, expect for one boy, Takuo come down with food poisoning.
Takuo was planning on quitting the brass band but finds himself put in the position to form a new brass band for the next big game. Tomoko and her friends realize that if they ‘help’ Takuo with a new band they could skip their math class all summer. Not having enough members to form a brass band, Takuo decides to make them into a big band swing group. The girls are more interested in having fun than in actually practicing. Yet, when the brass band recovers the girls are disappointed. They realized that they are actually enjoyed learning how to play, even though they were not so good. Tomoko goes out to buy a saxophone and starts to learn on her own. With Takuo’s help, Tomoko gets the other girls involved. They start to practice and slowly learn how to play. The Swing Girls (and a, boy) are born. With started out as an excuse to get out of class for the girls and as they practice more they realize that they actually have found something they could love.
The makers of Swing Girls’ are the same group who made the hit Japanese films Waterboys (2001) and Shall We Dance? (1996 by Suo Masayuki). Swing Girls follows the same pattern as director Yaguchis other films, each of the characters are looking for something to believe in. They start from zero and with practice find out they have a lot to offer. Another similarity is that comedian Takenaka Naoto appears in each of the films. In Swing Girls much like in Waterboys, he plays an eccentric teacher who the students turn to for help even though he actually doesn’t have the skills to help them. In 2004 Swing Girls was ranked 8th at the Japanese box office and won seven prizes at the 2005 Japanese Academy Awards.
Director: Yaguchi Shinobu
Script : Yaguchi Shinobu
Cinematographer : Shibanushi Takahide
Music : Kishimoto Hiroshi
Executive Producer: Masui Shoji
Produced by: Kameyama Shichiro
Producers: Sekiguiehi Daisuke
Suzuki Tomoko: Ueno Juri
Saito Yoshie: Kanjiya Shihori
Sekiguchi Kaori: Motokariya Yuika
Tanaka Naomi: Toyoshima Yukari
Nakamura Takuo: Hiraoka Yuta
Ozawa Tadahiko, teacher of mathematics: Takenaka Naoto
Itami Yayoi, teacher of music: Shiraishi Miho
Suzuki Sanae, Tomoko’s mother: Watanabe Eriko
Suzuki Taizo, Tomoko’s father: Kohinata Fumiyo
Suzuki Mie, Tomoko’s grandmother: Sakura Mutsuko
Morishita, music instructor: Tani Kei