Title: Pearl Pink #1
Author: Meca Tanaka
May Contain Spoilers
Serious, level headed Kanji is about to have his life turned upside down. Tamako, a girl from his distant past, has blown back into his life. Kanji’s dad runs a talent agency, and Tamako’s mom is its biggest star. In order to protect her mom’s career, Tamako has to keep their relationship a secret. It’s bad enough that Kanji has to deal with his less than responsible father, but now he’s got a precocious thirteen year old hanging all over him. Why can’t he remember the promise he made to her ten years ago?
I loved the first and last chapters of Pearl Pink. Tamako is so full of life, so infectious, that I instantly liked her. She is a really unique character, and her desire to become brave and strong to win Kanji’s love have gone a little overboard. Better yet, Kanji doesn’t even remember having the conversation with Tamako. For her, it was one of life’s most significant moments and it shaped her entire life; for Kanji, it was a vow made by a seven year old, and quickly forgotten.
The middle of the book didn’t live up to the delightful introduction. Tamako’s mom, Shinju, is finally breaking into the big-time. She’s the star of Idol PI Momoko, and if the press finds out that she was a teenage mother, they’ll have a field day. To prevent her fall from grace, Tamako moves in with Kanji and his dad. I found this the most contrived aspect of the book; it just didn’t make any sense for Tamako to move to Tokyo in the first place.
It was totally creepy when Kanji’s dad suggested that the young Tamako share Kanji’s room. Yuck! And Tamako’s mom giving her some womanly advice to not get pregnant. Double yuck!! She’s thirteen freaking years old! It did a good job of showing how irresponsible both of their parents were, but, well, yuck! Thankfully Kanji was too much of a priss to take advantage of the situation.
It seemed like the story was reeling about aimlessly when Tamako’s granny popped up and got things back on track. Finding her granddaughter and Kanji in a compromising situation, she hauls Tamako back to the mountains, but first, makes it very plain that the girl is being a nuisance to Kanji and his dad. This sucks the life right of Tamako. Embarrassed about how she has been acting, she is forced to realize that maybe she’s not as grownup as she thinks she is. And later, when she meets Kanji in the woods, she learns that she’s not as strong as she thought, either. Her tears showed that despite her tough exterior, Tamako was still the uncertain little girl from Kanji’s childhood.
The art was simple and not very detailed, but it really worked with this story. I love Tamako’s character design; she’s cute and peppy and an utter tomboy. Her antics were easy to follow, and her facial expressions ran the gamut from annoyed to overjoyed to embarrassed. The illustrations really conveyed Tamako’s feelings.
Despite what I consider inconsistencies through the book, I enjoyed Pearl Pink. I’m looking forward to the next volume, though I hope that the plotting is a little more even.
Grade for first and last chapters: A-
Grade for book overall: B
Rated for Teen 13+