Tokyo Alice Volume 1
Tokyo Alice is superficial fun and an excellent example of how digital-only releases allow for more diverse types of manga titles in the US market. In this case, it’s a story of a group of young women looking for love (whether they realize it or not) in the big city, told by Toriko Chiya. Josei manga (aimed at adult women instead of girls) has been a tough sell in English, although I’m always glad to see more of them.
Fu doesn’t worry about having a boyfriend because her passion is shopping. She’s in debt, can’t pass up a sale, and is trying to save up for a Chanel bag. Her boss may be interested in her, despite her excessive behavior, but she hasn’t yet noticed. She’s been warped by her unreliable father and his various business schemes, which made her dealings with money rather skewed.
Her 20-something friends are in various combinations of relationships: Mizuho is a shojo manga artist whose boyfriend is a wannabe musician with no reliability or income. Rio is a psychotherapist with a secret crush. Enjoji is a rich girl whose family is determined to set her up with an elite guy; until her engagement becomes official, she’s sleeping with as many men as possible.
I am trying to resist comparing this manga to Sex and the City, because just about any story with a group of urban young women gets compared to that, but here, it’s pretty similar, particularly with the brand name-dropping.
Fu and her friends have huge eyes and triangular faces that reminded me of the style of Moyoco Anno. It’s more fashion-focused than the younger-skewing shojo that’s taken up so much of the romance manga market here. Tokyo Alice is silly but addictive — I want to see the girls end up with good boyfriends and achieve their dreams, even if they are surprisingly material. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)