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Kamikaze Girls - Novala Takemoto

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Genre: Author: Novala Takemoto / Edition: 1 / Paperback / 224 Pages / Book is published 2008-01-15 by Viz Media

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      30.08.2009 20:11
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      Super funny book to give an insight into lolita and yanki lifestyles

      Kamikaze Girls was first released in Japan under the title Shimotsuma Monogatari (which means Shimotsuma story in Japanese) and is by Novala Takemoto. To be honest, I didn't know this was a book for quite a while, I read it a few years after watching the film of the same title. Since then though, I'd read this dozens of times. For any fans of the movie, the novel is pretty much the same, although there are slight differences, and a lot more detail.

      The story centres on Momoko, a teenager living in the remote Japanese countryside and trying her hardest to live the Lolita lifestyle, that of a maiden from the Rococo era of France. She takes a ridiculously long and complicated trip to Tokyo every week to visit her mecca, the clothing boutique 'Baby, the stars shine bright' which sells clothes of the Lolita style, a style replicating clothes of the Rococo era, but with a unique Japanese twist. Unfortunately, as she's had to move to the countryside her Dad's running out of money, so in turn Momoko is running out of fund with which to buy her beloved clothes. She decides to put an add in a magazine, selling the leftovers from her Dads rip-off clothing business. The advertisement is answered by Ichigo, who arrives on a supped up insane looking scooter (which she tries to pass off as a motorbike) and looking like a total thug. Although Momoko tries her hardest to live the life of a princess, and doesn't have the need for any friends, and Ichigo is a tom boy from a motorcycle gang, the two start to spend a lot more time together. They spend time trying to win money in Pachinko parlours, looking for a legendary embroidery artist, and looking so bizarre that they are the talk of not only the only town, but the whole prefecture they live in.

      For a start, I love both Momoko and Ichigos characters. They are absolute polar opposites, but both quite endearing in their own way, and some of the things Ichigo comes out with made me laugh out loud. The things they go through together are hilarious, and as the book is narrated by Momoko, her dry wit makes them all the more funny. There is A LOT in this book about clothes, sewing, Japanese biker gangs, and Japanese pop culture in general. In the book a have there is a glossary, but it doesn't cover anything. This probably is quite hard to read if you know nothing of Japanese culture. For example, if you don't know what a Pachinko parlous is (or a Lolita) there's probably not much point in even picking this book up. But if you are interested in such things, or want to know more, or like reading books about Japanese culture, this is the book for you. When I read this book I did know quite a bit about Lolita fashion, and Baby, the stars shine bright, but there is so much written about how to sew, different stitches, fonts, etc, that it's a bit daunting. But I never get bored in reading those parts. The same with the parts about bikes. It's like hearing about someones hobby that you have no idea about. But if they tell you in a certain way, and it's made to be kind of interesting, you don't mind listening. That's what this is like. The book is great; it's well worth reading through all the extensive paragraphs on clothes and sewing to get to know Ichigo and Momoko. This book is really lovely, and terribly funny. I've known a few people say they loves the film, but didn't like the book, which I guess I understand, some parts (like I said, all the sewing!!) is a bit vague, but the girls relationship develops is such a way that it's addictive to keep on reading about.

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