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I pre-ordered this book on Amazon as I was really excited to see that another of Novala Takemotos books had been translated and was being released in England. I started to read it the day it arrived and finished it the next day.
Missin' is a boxset of two books, Missin', and Missin'2:Kasako. They come in a cardboard box which is black and pink, the cover has a picture of a girl holding a microphone in the centre of a record.
The first book is divided into two stories, 'Little shop called the end of the world' and 'Missin''. The book'a 111 pages long ans Missin' starts on page 73.
Little shop called the end of the world
The first is about a man who, not knowing what else to do with himself opens a shop in an apartment building selling some of his old things and random nick-nacks. Whilst the shop never really sells anything it does attract some attention when it's reviewed in a magazine, and soon a young girl starts coming into the shop everyday, she wears top-to-toe Vivienne Westwood daily and never speaks. The story then revolves around the relationship the two form.
Parts of this are very reminiscent of Kamikaze girls (for those of you have read that too). There is a lot of writing on Vivienne Westwood, where the brand started, why she started making clothes, random little bits of information about her shop in London. As expected the protagonist thinks that wearing Vivienne Westwood is more than a choice, it's a lifestyle, a feeling, her clothing goes beyond the realms of good taste/bad taste. I love Vivienne Westwood clothes though, so I really didn't mind reading about them. This story is a bit weird, to be honest, I wasn't entirely sure whether the protagonist was male or female until a little way in. I liked it though. I like the quirky relationship that's formed, that the girl who starts visiting the shop is mute. It's not a very long story, but I think it's kind of cute, and a bit sad.
Missin' is the story of a kind of geeky outcast who considers herself to live the lifestyle of a maiden, not being interested in the things of the present, she focuses on the books and music of the past. Until one day, she by chance sees new band Cid Vicious on TV. She instantly falls in love with the lead singer who's called Missin', and her love develops into a deep obsession where she finds out as much as she possibly can about the band, starts wearing clothes only from 'MILK', the shop where Missin' buys her clothes. She starts going to pray every single day that she can somehow get close to Missin', and to become her friend. By some freak accident she gets to join the band as guitarist, even though she can't play guitar, which leads her and Missin's relationship to new levels.
As with the first story, Novala Takemoto goes off on a bit of a tangent about clothes and culture. Cid Vicious is a punk band and he explains a bit about the punk movement. MILK is a Japanese Lolita esq brand aimed teenagers and girls in their early 20, of course this gets its own explanation in the book, and some outfits are explained in quite a lot of detail. The protagonist in this story is kind of insane, but it is easy to understand how she finds the thing she loves, the new meaning in her life, all of a sudden, and the impact it then has on her whole life. I think that everyone has something that they're really into, this just goes way beyond the normal feelings people have about these things. A lot that happens in this story just doesn't make any sense at all, it just would not happen in real life, and you do kind of read it thinking 'yeah, right'. But I think that's kind of the point. Meeting Missin' was the protagonist's fate, so that's why loads of crazy stuff happens to get this to happen. It's a bit of a weird story, but fun to read.
The second book has just one story in it, and it's also rather small at just 136 pages. The story follows on where the Missin' left off in the first place (I don't want to give the end away). Missin' renames the protagonist 'Kasako', which in Japanese means 'umbrella child'. The story baisically follows Kasakos life in the band as it becomes more famous, her relationship with Missin', and the new levels her obsession reaches. Although Kasako is a bit of an idiot, and a really intense kind of stalker, I did like her character a bit. Her and Missin' aren't that likeable in general, but they're good to read, and the story is pretty short so it doesn't get boring.
Like I said, I really looking forward to getting these books, I'd already read Kamikaze girls by Novala Takemoto, and I was wondering if any of his other books would get translated after the popularity of the first. This wasn't as good as Kamikaze girls. I do like reading about clothes, as I like the clothes he's talking about, but having every character he writes about obsessed with one brand and one brand only gets a bit tireing. I don't know if this is a cultural thing, I know that the Japanese do tend to be a bit more brand obsessed that the British. Also, the characters are a bit harder to get on with. They're not very likeable, but they are good to read about. But perhaps that's due to this being Takamotos first book, he seems to have developed better characterisation later on. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants a quick, entertaining read, and probably anyone who's already a fan of Kamikaze girls, but it's certainly not for everyone. It'd probably quite specific to people who have an interest in Japan to start with, especially with an interest in Japanese street fashion, Lolita, and Japanese music. However, this book is expensive. At just over £9 I'm not sure the size of this box set justifies this price. Well, I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope that more books are translated in the future, and that VizMedia can find it in their hearts to sell them a bit cheaper.