Currently Reading: Real Clothes
I was browsing through updates on MangaFox earlier today, and stumbled upon this surprising gem! Hurray for unexpected discoveries!
Here’s a look at a manga about selling clothes that I never imagined would be this good, Real Clothes!
Summary: Kinue may be plain and have poor makeup, but she’s a hard worker, and has achieved a great deal of success in the futon section of a department store. Due to this, she finds herself being transferred to the women’s clothing section of the department, despite having virtually no knowledge of the ins and outs of women’s clothing. As she learns more about the world of fashion, she learns more about herself, the world, and what she really wants out of her life.
Thoughts so far:
There is a reason for this manga being as awesome as it is – this is by the same mangaka that wrote Oishii Kankei, which was incredible. I sort of recognized the art style while I was reading it, but it didn’t really hit me until I looked into the mangaka a bit more.
Anyway, it goes without saying that this manga is really good.
(After doing some further Google-ing, I realized that there is actually a drama adaptation out there for this manga. I officially need to track this down in drama form now, since the person who plays Jinbo Miki is a former Takarazuka musumeyaku.
This manga really idealizes department stores to an insane degree. After reading this, I thought to myself that I REALLY wanted to go to a Japanese department store, even though it’s JUST a department store. I want to hear a bunch of employees say “irasshaimase” when I enter a store! Haha. Just saying.
My overall enjoyment of this manga kind of snuck up on me. I wasn’t crazy about Kinue as a heroine at first, but I gradually warmed up to her as the manga progressed and she gained more maturity. It’s not that Kinue wasn’t mature in her mannerisms, but I love that she’s slowly learning what she wants out of life (although at the point of reading, she doesn’t have things completely figured out yet!)
Another point I love about Kinue is that she’s really modern. What I mean by that is that she’s really professionally driven; while she feels a lot of pressure to get married and settle down, she doesn’t give into that pressure by marrying her boyfriend right away. While this may be a given in Western countries, in Japan, marriage in the eyes of society still remains a much more ingrained social norm, and defying it isn’t the easiest thing to do. Also, I really like that she isn’t as defined by her love life as a lot of other shuojo heroines I’ve read. Yes, she derives happiness and fulfillment from her relationship with her boyfriend, but her sense of self worth isn’t DEPENDENT on it. Rather, she defines her happiness and success with a combination of professional and social success, which is something I personally believe I should aspire towards once I enter the workforce permanently.
Kinue’s boyfriend Tatsuya is another point of interest. While he’s an important part of Kinue’s life, he doesn’t have a very flamboyant personality – rather, he just feels very real, like a normal person. I also really like the fact that he encourages Kinue’s professional success, rather than saying her success doesn’t matter since he has the capability to support them and their potential family. However, this may be subject to change with future plot developments, so I’m looking forward to seeing how things will progress.
Apart from this, there weren’t any characters that I felt were out of place or unneeded. The characterization of Kinue’s co-workers and bosses is very streamlined, and everyone shown serves a specific purpose, which is good.
Due to the art style, I thought this was written in the 90’s, but serialization of it actually started in 2007. Silly me! It does have that kind of dated look, but it’s still really polished and nice to look at. The clothes are also very well drawn (I really wish I had some of those clothes in real life!) Overall, the art is very well executed.
This was a great manga, and I highly recommend it if you’re into fashion and clothing. And even if you aren’t, just give it a try!
Rating so far: 8.5/10