torachan: nepeta from homestuck (nepeta)
Title: Real Clothes
Author: Makimura Satoru
Number of Volumes: 13
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: Kinue works at a department store in the futon section. She loves her job and loves finding customers the bedding that's just right for them, so she's initially disappointed when she gets transferred to the women's clothing department. Will she learn to love her new position as much as she loved her old job?

Review: I have enjoyed several of this author's other series (Oishii Kankei, Imagine, and Imagine 29), but this is the first thing by her I've read in a very long time, so I was curious how much I would enjoy her now that I'm a more critical reader. As you can see, I did end up enjoying it quite a lot, enough to give it four stars, but there is definitely stuff that bugged me, like the way everyone constantly insists that all women love clothes and shopping, and moments like when a male character makes some gross sexist statement about women and the female characters all agree that this is true and women are totally like that, but he shouldn't say so. -_-

That said, it's really cute. I liked how it wasn't just a story about people who love fashion and work in the clothing industry. It's about someone who initially is not sure about this whole fashion thing, but comes to love her job. It's about being a working woman in Japan and what that means.

I was hopeful when the story starts off with her having a boyfriend, that romance would not be part of the story and it would just focus on her job. I should have realised that wasn't going to happen, though, especially when her new boss is introduced as a good-looking guy who initially insults her (omg can we do away with this trope of the guy who is so obnoxious on first meeting?). However, it's not thirteen volumes of will-they/won't-they with the boss. She breaks up with her boyfriend fairly early on due to him not being as accepting of her career as he'd claimed, but it's a long time before she feels anything other than friendship for her boss, and romance does end up being just small part of the story, which is overall focused on her career and her female friends and female co-workers. (There is also a female boss who is also rude to her when they first meet and I was afraid it was going to be a Devil Wears Prada sort of situation, but it's not at all, and she ends up having a great relationship with this woman, too.)

So yeah. Definitely flawed, but if you enjoy manga about working women, I definitely recommend this one.

Can't imagine this ever getting an official release in the US, but it is being scanlated.


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