Flying Colors (2015 film)

Flying Colors (ビリギャル, Biri Gyaru, Biri Gal) is a 2015 Japanese youth comedy drama film directed by Nobuhiro Doi, based on a true story.[2][3][4] The film was released on May 1, 2015 in Japan.[5]

Flying Colors
Flying Colors (film) poster.jpeg
Film poster advertising this film in Japan
Directed byNobuhiro Doi
Produced byJun Nasuda
Junichi Shindō
Screenplay byHiroshi Hashimoto
StarringKasumi Arimura
Atsushi Itō
Music byEishi Segawa
CinematographyYasushi Hanamura
Edited byJunnosuke Hogaki
Sayaka Yamamoto
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • May 1, 2015 (2015-05-01)
Running time
117 minutes
Box office¥2.84 billion (US$23.6 million) (Japan)[1]


Sayaka Kudo is a 'gyaru' who wears miniskirts and dyes her hair blonde. Although she is a second year senior high school student, she is on par academically to 4th grade elementary school students. She frequently transferred schools because she was unable to make friends. Eventually she attends a private all-girls high school where she plays and enjoys her extra-scholarly activities while skipping study altogether- here, she is caught and suspended for carrying cigarettes.

To prepare her for her university entrance examination, her mother sends her to Seiho Cram School. When her tutor, Yoshitaka Tsubota, hears about Sayaka's academic problems, he makes it his personal goal to help her enter the university of her choice — Keio University (considered one of the most prestigious and difficult to enter universities in Japan) — and to get back at her father.

Her father (who aims to get her brother Ryuta into pro baseball despite the latter's reluctance) labels her as an "air-head" and says she and her mother are being scammed by the cram school. Likewise, she is repeatedly belittled by her high school teacher, who believes that she is destined for failure. Sayaka becomes determined to study hard to prove them wrong. Over the course of the summer holidays of her second year, through to the exams at the end of her third year in high school, Sayaka works diligently, going without sleep to the extent that she nods off in her classes, forgoing dates with her friends, and dying her hair back to black and cutting it, to show her resolve. Her results progressively improve on practice tests and her academic deviation value increases tremendously from 30 to 70 in this short span of time. Despite facing numerous hardships along the way and nearly giving up, Sayaka, now with her whole family's support, is admitted to Keio University. The film concludes with a comedic montage of the various characters as they sing or dance to the ending song.



The film Flying Colors was first unveiled to the Japanese media on 13 November 2014.[6] It is based on the bestselling novel Gakunen Biri no Gyaru ga 1 nen de Hensachi o 40 Agete Keio Daigaku ni Geneki Gokaku Shita Hanashi (学年ビリのギャルが1年で偏差値を40上げて慶應大学に現役合格した話) by Nobutaka Tsubota, the director of a private school.[7] In this novel, Nobutaka writes about his experiences with his real-life pupil Sayaka Kobayashi and how she improved from a high school student who only had the knowledge of 4th year elementary school student to one who qualified for the prestigious Keio University in just 1.5 years.[8][7] As of May 2015, this novel has sold over 1 million copies.[7]


The film grossed ¥285.1 million on its opening weekend at the Japanese box office.[9] As of May 17, the film had grossed US$12.3 million.[10] It was the eighth highest-grossing Japanese film (together with Love Live! The School Idol Movie) and the third highest-grossing Japanese live-action film at the Japanese box office in 2015, with ¥2.84 billion (US$23.6 million).[1] The film was released in China on April 14, 2016,[11] earning US$3.3 million on its opening weekend.[12]

On Film Business Asia, Derek Elley gave the film a 7 out of 10, calling it "an entertaining time-waster that hides its didactic messages beneath likeable performances by the two leads".[8]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Ceremony Category Result
2015 40th Hochi Film Award Best Supporting Actress
(Yō Yoshida)
2016 58th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Actress
(Kasumi Arimura)
Best Supporting Actress
(Yō Yoshida)
39th Japan Academy Prize Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
(Kasumi Arimura)
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
(Atsushi Ito)
Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
(Yō Yoshida)
Newcomer of the Year
(Kasumi Arimura)


  1. ^ a b "Top 10 Grossing Domestic Japanese Films of 2015 Listed". Anime News Network. January 1, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  2. ^ [ビリギャル]学年でビリだったギャルが、1年で偏差値を40あげて日本でトップの私立大学、慶應大学に現役で合格した話 [Biri Gal Original Post on] (in Japanese). ResuPress, Inc. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  3. ^ 名古屋の個別指導塾 坪田塾 [Private School in Nagoya Tsubota Juku] (in Japanese). Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  4. ^ Kevin Ma (May 26, 2015). "Initiation Love opens second-placed in Japan". Film Business Asia. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  5. ^ 映画 ビリギャル(2015). allcinema (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  6. ^ 有村架純、学年ビリの金髪ギャル役で主演!慶大に現役合格した実話を映画化. (in Japanese). 13 November 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  7. ^ a b c 『ビリギャル』単行本&文庫特別版 累計発行100万部突破! 映画『ビリギャル』も観客動員100万人を突破!!. PR Times (in Japanese). 2015-05-12. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  8. ^ a b Derek Elley (June 4, 2015). "Flying Colors". Film Business Asia. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  9. ^ "Japan Box Office Report – 5/2~5/3". tokyohive. 6Theory Media, LLC. May 7, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  10. ^ Mark Schilling (May 18, 2015). "Japan Box Office: 'Cinderella' Wins Fourth Weekend". Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  11. ^ "垫底辣妹(2016)". (in Chinese). Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  12. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (April 18, 2016). "China Box Office: 'The Jungle Book' Goes Bananas With $50M Bow". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 19, 2016.

External linksEdit