The movie was released at a time when Japan was searching for values to orient its youth and the Yakuza code was heavily used and offered as a model in movies of that period. The whole point of Ichikawa is to ridicule these values, showing Yakuza as a bunch of poor minded wanderers, unworthy cowards following kiddish rules without ever questioning them.
The point of view of Ichikawa is made clear throughout the movie, but without extra emphasis. The movie thus remains very entertaining. The portrait of the ill-fated main character's girlfriend is especially moving.
It is a brilliant parody of Yakuza movies and should definitely give a different look at any Yakuza movie you might see afterward.