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Kids Return (1996)

Kizzu ritân (original title)
Dropping out of high school, two friends at first find success, one as a up-and-coming boxer and one as a low level gangster. Yet, their life decisions still find a way of catching up with them.


Takeshi Kitano


Takeshi Kitano

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13 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Kaneko Ken Kaneko ... Masaru
Masanobu Andô ... Shinji
Leo Morimoto Leo Morimoto ... Teacher
Hatsuo Yamaya Hatsuo Yamaya ... Boxing Club Manager
Michisuke Kashiwaya Michisuke Kashiwaya ... Hiroshi
Mitsuko Oka Mitsuko Oka ... Coffee-shop Owner, Sachiko's Mother
Yûko Daike ... Sachiko
Ryo Ishibashi ... Local Yakuza Chief
Susumu Terajima Susumu Terajima ... No 2 In Local Gang
Moro Morooka ... Hayashi
Peking Genji Peking Genji
Atsuki Ueda Atsuki Ueda ... Reiko
Kôtarô Yoshida Kôtarô Yoshida ... Eagle Asuka
Takekazu Shigehisa Takekazu Shigehisa ... Trainer (as Koichi Shigehisa)
Kyôsuke Yabe Kyôsuke Yabe ... Delinquent group


Two buddies visit the schoolyard of the high school they used to attend, and remember their young and dumb days. They used to be the bullies in the school, until they find their own ways of life; one as a boxer, and the other as a member of the yakuza. Written by <H@jime>

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Crime | Drama | Sport


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Release Date:

27 July 1996 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Kids Return See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Takeshi Kitano's first film following his near-fatal scooter accident. See more »


Shinji: Masaru, do you think we're already finished?
Masaru: Hell no. We haven't even started.
See more »


Referenced in Doing Time (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Boys will be boys
17 May 2015 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

In Takeshi Kitano's 1996 semi-autobiographical film Kids Return, his first since a motorcycle accident (suicide attempt) in 1995 left him close to death, the Japanese education system comes in for a thrashing. Masaru (Kenichi Kaneko) and his buddy, Shinji (Masanobu Ando) know how to have a good time. Not to be bothered with such fruitless endeavors like going to school and learning something useful, they would rather clown around, harass teachers, bully younger students and shake them down for money, sneak into porn theatres, perform stand-up comedy (manzai) routines, or set fire to a teacher's brand new car - just good, clean fun.

As they say in the vernacular "what goes around comes around" and the coming around this time is in the form of a friend of one of the bullied students who unfortunately for the boys is a skilled street fighter. Their encounter turns their attention to a boxing gym where they give up on school and train for revenge against the oppressor. Unfortunately, Shinji is the only one who shows any talent for boxing and he begins to climb in the estimation of "The President." Masura, on the other hand, gives up and joins a menacing yazuka gang. Shinji passively follows an older, cynical boxer who teaches him some illegal tricks to succeed in the ring as well as some strange ways to lose weight.

Things work well for a time until both of the lads crash and burn and realize how much better it is just to hang out and be happy than actually do something constructive. Meanwhile, a gentle boy named Reiko (Atsuki Ueda), marries his perennial sweetheart Sachiko (Yuko Daike) but decides to pass on college. He gets a job in a corporation which doesn't work out and he is soon eking out a living as a taxi driver, a depressing sequence which seems to be in the film for no reason other than to show us how the education system failed again.

Kids Return is a very well done film with some excellent boxing scenes and a few good laughs, but there does not seem to be any lessons learned here. While we have to cut Shinji and Masura some slack because, after all, they are just kids and they may be a tongue-in-cheek stand-in for Kitano's own adolescence, what Kids Return is trying to say with all of this is a head-scratcher – maybe it's just that boys will be boys.

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