Johnny Bullet
Novala Takemoto's Missin'
By Leroy Douresseaux

October 20, 2009 - 07:13

Publisher(s): Viz Media
Writer(s): Novala Takemoto, Anne Ishii
ISBN: 978-1-4215-2932-5
$16.99 US, $19.99 CAN, 112pp, B&W, paperback

Missin cover image is courtesy of

VIZ Media has published a small slipcase containing two books by novelist, Novala Takemoto (Kamikaze Girls).  The first book of the set is Missin’, which is comprised of the novella, “Little Shop Called the End of the World,” and the title short story, “Missin’.

“Little Shop” is the story of an unnamed accidental businessman who is drifting through life – either dissatisfied or disaffected.  His life changes after he meets a young woman who is seemingly mute, but who is also strangely drawn to our narrator.  The young woman keeps her sanity via an obsession with the clothing of legendary designer, Vivienne Westwood.  The narrator tells the story after the end of the relationship, but it is how the story ends that reveals a troubled young woman’s poetic heart and fierce intellect.

In “Missin’,” the narrator is a self-described short, fat girl who wants to have a romantic, non-physical, same-sex relationship with a like-minded woman – an “S relationship.” She discovers what she believes to be a like-minded female when she becomes obsessed with a woman named, Missin’, the lead singer of the punk band, Cid Vicious.  The question for the narrator eventually becomes how far will her infatuation take her?

Punk rock, high fashion, and rebellion are apparently familiar themes in the writings of Novala Takemoto, and while I am not familiar with this author’s work, I noticed the prominence of punk rock and high fashion in these two stories.  However, these stories are about more than just superficial styles and themes.  The characters, especially in “Little Shop at the End of the World,” are thoughtful and profound.  The letter written by “Little Shop’s” doomed teen to her unnamed lover is a manifesto for the primacy and privacy of one’s interior life.

I assume that these stories are meant for young women, but the aforementioned letter, printed in the book in a handwriting font, will make “Little Shop,” at least, worthy of reaching beyond Missin’s target audience.  These self-absorbed, obsessed, and maybe even crazy characters have something to say, and readers will enjoy listening to them.



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