A cult smash in Japan that inspired a movie of the same name, I stumbled on Kamikaze Girls whilst on a book buying spree at Blackwell’s in Edinburgh. There was something cool about the cover art: the colours, the photography, the scrawled illustration. It all appealed, so I snatched it up and read it in one sitting. It’s that old story about two people from different cultures – opposing cultures in this case – and eventually they become fast firm friends, an unstoppable force!
The trailer for the Japanese movie gives a hint of what to expect in the book
On the surface they have nothing in common. Momoko is a devotee of Rococo philosophy, her entire existence revolving around frilly dresses and fans. If it isn’t Lolita-style fashion, it isn’t for Momoko. She’s addicted to a life of laziness, fan-waving, and being fabulous. Her father, a lowly member of the Yakuza, makes money sells fake goods and Momoko, a deceptively resourceful fashionista, decides to get in on the family business so she can fund her glorious corset crammed wardrobe. Ichigo is a biker from a girl gang. She’s rough, tough, and loves her leather jacket and motorcycle more than anything else. But she needs bootleg gear, because she can’t afford the genuine article. And guess where that takes her? Right to Momoko’s front door. Together they brave the wrath of Ichigo’s gang, security guards at amusement arcades, and everything else that stands in their way…
The book is well-written and importantly it’s also well-translated. Translators rarely get the plaudits they deserve, and I found Kamikaze Girls a very effortless experience. The book begins with Momoko talking about Rococo fashion and as opening chapters go, it’s a tad verbose, but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded. The book becomes a fun ride until the end. Also, there’s a good solid piece of advertising for Baby, The Stars Shine Bright. What? Well, it’s only a very cool fashion boutique in Japan named after an Everything But The Girl Song. The references are meticulously researched as they should be, because the author of Kamikaze Girls is a fashion designer too.
I love this book. Buy it now. Or in Japanese: 私はこの本が大好きです。即購入。