School’s out for the summer—except, that is, for a group of schoolgirls attending a remedial math class that none of them care about. While their teacher drones on in the morning heat, one of students—a girl named Tomoko—stares out the window, daydreaming. She casually observes the school’s beloved brass band as they leave to help cheer on the school’s equally beloved baseball team as well as the deliveryman who arrives too late with the band’s lunches.
Seeing a chance for her and her classmates to escape their teacher’s lecturing, Tomoko volunteers to bring the lunches to the band as a show of school spirit. Naturally, the girls are much more interested in having the day off than in actually helping out the band, and so take their time with the delivery. By the time they finally deliver the lunches, it’s too late. The food has become spoiled, and the band quickly succumbs to a severe case of food poisoning.
The only survivor is a reluctant young man named Yuta who is charged with putting together an interim band until the “real” band can recover. Despite blackmailing the Tomoko and all of the other girls into helping him, Yuta still doesn’t have enough students to make a brass band proper, and so he improvises, deciding to start a swing jazz band instead.
Up until now, Swing Girls has been moving at a fairly leisurely pace, with a few little humorous asides thrown in here and there to establish the various outrageous characters. However, as the swing band takes shape, the film slowly begins kicking things into high gear; the girls learn to love the music they’re being forced to play, work their butts off to earn enough money to buy instruments, and struggle to be taken seriously as musicians even after the real band returns from the hospital.
At it’s core, Swing Girls is essentially a stereotypical sports movie, and as such, you can basically guess every single story element and plot twist that will pop up throughout the film’s 105 minutes. There’s the group of unruly misfits thrown together by outrageous circumstances and forced to train under a reluctant/unrelenting coach figure, who bond together during grueling circumstances, and who go on to triumph over various setbacks, learning a valuable life lesson or two in the process.