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Friday, 28 August 2015

Kamikaze Girls - A Second Glance

For some reason, when I go to France I take Kamikaze Girls with me, or end up wanting to write some Kamikaze Girls fanfiction. Some kind of weird, self-inflicted tradition, perhaps? Who knows, but I have had a lot of fun reading it for the second time, and I even finished it over a couple of days. Whilst reading I picked up on more things that I didn't notice the first time around, and got to squeal over the final line of the book - so cute and fluffy!

The pace of the book and the way Momoko relates the events in her and Ichigo's life sometimes seems to be abrupt and almost lifeless at first, making it occasionally a bit of a dull read - though at a second glance, it appears that the way it is written embodies her indifferent personality, and almost a lack of emotions in some cases. I haven't read any of Novala Takemoto's other books yet (though I really want to see what the Kamikaze Girls sequel and Emily are like), so it would be interesting to see if that tone is conveyed in all these books, or just this character or English translation. No offense is intended if it just happens to be the author's style - I just found it rather different to other books I've read, where emotion is the main focus.

I've also noticed that there is a slight romantic tension between Ichigo and Momoko, even though the girls are sometimes unsure whether they're friends or mere acquaintances. Maybe I just have my femslash goggles on, but there sometimes appears to be flirtatious sparring between the duo. "Hey, Momoko, what am I to you?" made me wonder, as did the way both are wary around men, find them disgusting and crude, etc, and obviously the last line of the book where Momoko laid her head down on Ichigo's back, "like a lover". There are also parallels to the 'butch and femme' stereotypes/examples of real and fictional relationships, as well as many other examples that I've forgotten to include here.
Obviously Ichigo is not a lesbian, as she falls in love with Mr Slick and is heartbroken when it turns out he's Akimi's boyfriend and fiance, but at the same time she had a lot of dogmatic admiration and respect for Akimi, that borders on love almost...
As for Momoko, she admits right out that she may have a mild case of being fearful of men and boys, and calls them a variety of things along the lines of 'ew, gross'.
It may not be the case, but I ship them anyway like the annoying fangirl I am! 

The book was also a lot courser in language than I remembered, and Ichigo reminded me a LOT of my character Cherry from When the Summer Ends, that I'm writing! I think subconsciously I based a lot of my novel on Kamikaze Girls, though I've never intended it to be a direct copy. I was alarmed at how many similarities there are!

The sweet bits are very, very sweet, and the sour bits are very, very sour. Even though Momoko's tone is the way it is, there's no escaping the extremes of the novel; i.e. shopping at Baby the Stars Shine Bright, meeting Sir Isobe and being invited to design for the brand is sweet, and all the violence and gang wars where Ichigo is almost killed is a very tense moment. As is the black and white opposites of dress and personality, happiness and sadness, and their individual philosophies, especially on the subjects of loneliness and friendship.
There is actually a lot of thought in this work, despite the initial tone and outwards appearance of being a teenyboppers' novel. I really enjoyed it and it made me want to visit Baby again, though I know it's not happening anytime soon.

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