The prologue title card reads:
"At the dawn of the millennium, the nation collapsed. At fifteen percent unemployment, ten million were out of work. 800,000 students boycotted school. The adults lost confidence and, fearing the youth, eventually passed the Millennium Educational Reform Act, AKA the BR Act...."
The film concentrates on Shuya Nanahara (Tatsuya Fujiwara), a charismatic young boy living in Kanagawa Prefecture. After his mother abandons him and his father commits suicide, he becomes disillusioned with life. The rest of his classmates are similarly disillusioned, and have little respect for authority. Shuya's best friend, Yo****oki "Nobu" Kuninobu (Yukihiro Kotani), attacks their teacher Kitano (Takeshi Kitano), but runs away before he can be identified. Noriko Nakagawa (Aki Maeda), a sweet, reserved young girl who happens to witness the incident, hides the knife that Nobu has just attacked Kitano with. Kitano, frustrated, resigns.
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