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Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1 by Akiko…
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Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1 (2014)

by Akiko Higashimura

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344501,049 (3.89)None
"I spent all my time wondering 'What if?' Then one day I woke up and I was 33." Rinko has hustled her whole life, but one day she wakes up and finds herself a writer of a cheap online soap opera with only two friends (with whom she goes drinking most nights). In a booze-fueled delusion, she swears to get married by the time the Tokyo Olympics roll around in 2020, but it's not going to be a straight line... and there won't be any fairy tale endings!… (more)

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Well this book is problematic. I enjoyed the hell out of it while reading it, but it really is a setback for 1) feminism, with the main characters considering themselves failures for not being married and taking desperate measures to fix the situation, and 2) the #metoo movement, with two women consenting(?) to sexual relations with men in more powerful positions to further their careers. It is set in 2014, but feels like the '50s.

The author seemed to acknowledge some of this in her afterword, and I'm hoping there is a overall arc to the series that will prove redemptive. ( )
  villemezbrown | May 12, 2019 |
I liked it ok. I wanted to like it a lot more. The characters' obsession with finding a man was grating. There was some funny and art was good. I'll read the next one bc I adore the creator. The end notes from her did ameliorate some if my grumpiness at the story. ( )
  emeraldreverie | Nov 15, 2018 |
I got this book from the Amazon Vine program to review. This is the first book in the Tokyo Tarareba Girls series. I haven’t read much josei manga (or any really). This is manga aimed at women in their late teens/early twenties….it reminded me a lot of chick lit. While the illustration was well done, I wasn’t a fan of the story or of how the women were portrayed. I found the whole thing to be a bit over the top silly. If you like that sort of ditsy middle aged drama this might be for you, I just didn’t enjoy it much.

The story features Rinko who is a mid 30’s screenwriter who panics when she realizes she still isn’t married and the Tokyo olympics are happening soon (why the Olympics coming to town sparks panic over not being married I never understood). What follows is a series of events where Rinko regrets her decision to turn away an old flame and meets a young male model who causes her to lose a screenwriting job. Throughout this Rinko meets her friends in a pub many times and commiserates with them over drinks.

I had some issues with this manga. The first was that there is a lot of slang and pop culture items very specific to Japan that made it hard to follow things (they are explained in an index at the end which helped). The second is that the women were just very silly and made very bad decisions throughout. I guess if you approach this with an ironic sense of humor the story is better; but I just thought the whole thing was silly. Again, there is an afterward that explains how the story is supposed to be funny and ironic.

Overall, while the illustration is well done, this wasn’t a story for me. I thought it was silly and that the women were just plain ridiculous. If you are a fan of light goofy chick lit you might like this...it definitely wasn’t for me. ( )
  krau0098 | Aug 4, 2018 |
You’ve probably read (or watched) Princess Jellyfish. But have you read Tokyo Taraeba Girls by Akiko Higashimura?

The story is about Rinko, a 33 year old woman who is without a husband. Her days are taken up by going to work, and her evenings with drinking with her friends. When they hear that the 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo the friends make a pact – to have a husband by the 2020 Olympics.

Rinko isn’t necessarily a likeable character. Things don’t always go her way, but this isn’t always due to the unfairness of the universe or the struggles of adult life. Many of the manga’s events are completely due to her actions or, conversely, inactions. Rinko’s a little selfish. A man’s looks are the most important factor when trying to find a date. She tends to moan and groan and drink with her friends instead of actually trying to remedy her problems.

I tend to love stories like this. A character who may or may not bring their troubles on themselves struggling against, seemingly, the universe. They’re fun slice of life stories with great appeal. However, the mark is missed slightly here. Scenes lingered just a hint too long. When there is a lesson to be learned Rinko normally misses it. She never comes to any sort of conclusions or thinks about the situation too hard, even if there is an obvious takeaway from the situation. On top of that are certain things that just leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Honestly, many character’s actions are questionable at best. Decisions made by Rinko’s bosses at work don’t seem to be made with any sort of common sense. The ladies constant drinking after work would be amusing if they did more than whine and black out every night. There are issues of very questionable consent late in the volume, which I really didn’t like.

I really loved the talking food which appear in the manga. These two anthropomorphic creatures usually appear when Rinko drinks too much and begins to get inside her own head. They speak to her, repeating her fears, desires, and what-ifs. They’re a wonderful touch, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the talking kitchen appliances from Welcome to the NHK. These function in much of the same fashion, and really drive home just what sort of mental headspace Rinko is in. Elements such as this really carried the volume.

This is a good manga overall, and one which I might continue with. Even so, it frustrated me immensely in certain places. Other manga and light novels with similar unreliable narrators who are self-defeating usually have one thing that makes me root for them – they’re overall nice people, or at least people who mean well. Certain things Rinko says and does makes her come across as mean and self-centered, making her less likeable than she could have been.

As for the art, it is gorgeous. I have always love Akiko Higashimura’s art, and Tokyo Tarareba Girls is certainly no exception. The characters are pretty, the backgrounds are detailed, and really enjoyed the artistic aspect of the manga. Her art is iconic. It isn’t mistakable for any other art. And I would buy this manga simply for this.

In all, Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura wasn’t for me. I’m unsure if I’ll be continuing with this series. It does have themes I really enjoy, and I might read the second volume at some point. If you like contemporary stories and characters with unreliable narration this is something you’ll want to pick up. ( )
  kateprice88 | Jul 25, 2018 |
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I spent all my time wondering "what if"...then one day, I woke up and I was 33.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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