My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Humor
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Release Date: January 15th 2008
Synopsis: Life in the boondocks of rural Ibaraki prefecture is anything but glamorous, and to escape her humdrum existence, Momoko, a “Lolita,” fanaticizes about French rococo, dreams of living in the palace of Versailles, and decks herself out in the finest (and frilliest) of 18th century haute couture from an expensive Tokyo specialty store. Her dreams of an idyllic existence are rudely interrupted by the appearance of Ichigo, a tough-talking “Yanki” motorcycle-chick (on a tricked-out moped) who’s part of a girls-only biker gang known as the Ponytails. Together, this unlikeliest of duos strikes out on a quest to find a legendary embroiderer, a journey that takes them to back-alley pachinko parlors, chic boutiques, and epic bike-punk battles. Novala Takemoto’s hit novel Kamikaze Girls, already a cult-classic in Japan and the inspiration for an internationally acclaimed film of the same name, is more than a quirky coming-of-age tale, it’s a new way of life.
I have to say that I like stories that feature a friendship between two people who are extremely different from each other. So when I found out about Kamikaze Girls, I just knew that I needed the book in my hands. And when I finally got a copy of the novel in my hands and started reading, I couldn’t stop laughing!
Kamikaze Girls is a playful and seriously funny book. It’s not just the unlikely friendship between Momoko, a Lolita who is completely dedicated to Rococo, and Ichigo, a Yanki who is more than a little in love with the biker gang known as the Ponytails that she happens to be part of, that made me laugh, but also the dialogue and Momoko’s voice. I couldn’t go a page without finding something I thought to be funny.
Momoko, the Lolita and narrator of this story, is a thoroughly entertaining character. She is humorous, well-rounded, and girly. She goes by her own rules and really couldn’t care less about what others think of her and the frilly dresses she wears. Her narrative, which is quite chatty, is engaging and full of wit, even when she is spouting out some lecture on the Rococo era and Lolita fashion, or her sort-of depressing childhood. Momoko is undeniably charming and had me stuck in my bed reading all day.
Ichigo, the Yanki of this story, is also endearing. Yes, she is dim-witted but I never found her to be annoying or needy. Honestly, the things that she says and does are laugh out loud funny. She is full of life and, even though she is normally dim-witted, can be extremely tough and wise. She is loyal and has a strong sense of honor. And, like Momoko, Ichigo doesn’t care about what other people think of her. I loved Ichigo and the laughs she brought.
The friendship between the two girls is actually very subtle while it is developing. It is rarely, if not never, directly said that they are friends, until the end. The reader must pay attention to the (hilarious) interactions and conversations that happen between the two characters. I was fond of this fact, though others may not be.
I must warn people though that the beginning of the novel is slow. It takes a while for Momoko to meet Ichigo. Though I do think that the wait is well worth it, as Momoko and Ichigo’s little adventures are fun and amusing, and that fight scene near the end was pretty exciting. I don’t want to spoil so here are only six words: badass Yanki and Lolita kick butt.
The prose is very good, straight to the point could be a way to describe it. But the real treat is the smart, witty dialogue. It really and truly made me feel smile and laugh. And there is quite a bit of dialogue, so there was quite a bit of smiling and laughing.
Kamikaze Girls is a fun, charming coming-of-age tale that I loved a lot. Even if you feel like you have already read a story like this, I still recommend you read this novel. Because Kamikaze Girls is Kamikaze Girls and Kamikaze Girls is awesome. And funny.