BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

pink by Kyoko Okazaki, translated by Vertical, Inc.

pinkWell, goodness gracious, looks sure can be deceiving: here’s your official warning – this dressed up girl is anything but saccharine-sweet, that pink-toned cover comes printed with an “18+” warning, although those turned-in toes actually do belie a twisted sort of innocence …

“I really love pink things,” Yumi confesses. “Pink just feels so happy.” She appears to be your average single office girl, who meets her (sort-of evil) stepmother fairly regularly for lunch (and Daddy’s money). She enjoys spending time with her much younger half-sister Keiko, but her best company off-hours is her pet … crocodile. No, really … he lives quite contentedly in her bathroom. The problem is, Croc tends toward insatiable: “It’s ’cause you eat so much that I can’t just work in the office during the day, y’know,” she tells him with obvious affection. So in order to feed her beast, she works as a part-time call girl!

Exiting from a tryst one night, Yumi glimpses her stepmother leaving the same hotel. She’s not alone … and Yumi decides to follow the young escort home. Haruo turns out to be college student whose habit of servicing older women is all part of becoming a better novelist, never mind that he has little to write about. But everything is about to change when Yumi, Haruo, Croc, and Keiko form an unlikely foursome. Teenager though she may still be, that precocious little sis turns out to be quite the catalyst for making things happen …

Manga artist Kyoko Okazaki, whose last title available in English translation, Helter Skelter, was quite the disturbing shocker, offers few soothing moments here. Renowned in her native Japan for creating adult manga filled with controversial characters and taboo topics, pink is another platform for the casually unexpected.

“This is a story about the everyday life and adventures, the ‘love’ and ‘capitalism’ of a girl who was born, raised and ‘normally’ wrecked (like Zelda Fitzgerald?) in a boring town called Tokyo,” Okazaki writes at title’s end. That said, you’ll find little of the ‘everyday,’ normally,’ ‘boring,’ here … all good news for international readers who will surely be clamoring for more translated access to Okazaki’s dozens and dozens of bestselling titles.

Readers: Adult

Published: 1989, 2013 (United States)


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