Novel, manga, and film available in America under this title, originally called "Shimotsuma Monogatari" and written in novel
form by Novala Takemoto
Momoko Ryugasaki, (portrayed in the film by Kyoko Fukada) is a Lolita, through and through. she lives a lifestyle she proclaims as Rococo:
"Prizing elegance, sweet emotions, and fantasy more than morals and truth; wallowing in fleeting romance rather than trying to give meaning to life, when who knows what's going to happen to you anyway; ignoring virtue and conventions to cherish only the pleasures you are definitely experiencing now: this is the Cocoro of Rococo ( a little pun in Japanese, if you please. Cocoro means "spirit.").
"And even if something is made just for laughs, if you find it pleasing, it has value. Other People's opinions and labor do not figure into your assessment; choosing things with your own personal sense of "I like this, I don't like that" is the ultimate individualism that sustains the very foundation of Rococo"..."Only in Rococo- elegant yet in bad taste, extravagant yet defiant and lawless- can i discover the meaning of life."
longs to live in the fabulous palace of Versailles
, but she must be content with living an exile's life at her grandmother's house in Shimotsuma
and making periodic trips to Daikanyama
to visit her favorite Lolita boutique: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
to build up her wardrobe. Lolita clothing is a luxury which doesn't come cheap, however, so since her father's business of selling counterfeit Versace
goods is shut down by the yakuza
, Momoko puts an ad in a magazine to sell the leftover goods. she gets an answering letter from someone named Ichiko Shirayri. the note is "crude and stained with juice" and written in bad kanji with spelling errors, so Momoko is expecting a junior highschool girl and invites her to her house, but instead the roar of a customized motorscooter announces the arrival of a tough, punked out yanki biker chick
(played in the movie by the beautiful Anna Tsuchiya
). Ichiko's real name is Ichigo
(strawberry), which she changed because it's too sweet and girlie for a yanki, but despite her protests Momoko calls her by her Ichigo throughout most of the story (or at least after she is convinced to stop referring to her as "that vulgar yanki.")
so how on earth do these two completely different people become best friends?
the film is a good interpretation of the novel and very sweet, a reminder to do your own thing and filled with action scenes, animated zombie bikers, awesome clothes, buttloads of Japanese pop culture, a genuine celebrity encounter, and embroidery. the actress who played the grandmother in the movie is hilarious. if you want to better understand what motivates Momoko and Ichigo or you decide you really like it, pick up the book, which has a hilarious narration style from Momoko and goes much more in depth into both of the characters, so that the choices they make make more sense and things that are only mildly touched on in the movie (Such as how Ichigo came to be a model for Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, which makes more sense as a reason she got in trouble with her biker gang and better explains why Momoko feels she must help her friend, or why Momoko decided not to go and work at Baby, the Stars Shine Bright when she finished school.) There is also a sequel to the novel, called "Shimotsuma Monogatari - Kan - Yankee-chan to Lolita-chan to Satsujin Jiken" (Shimotsuma Story - The End - The Yankee and the Lolita and the Murder Case). The Author stated in an interview last year that Viz has no plans to publish the translated sequel at this time and that if fans wanted to see the sequel in English they'd have to do things like write letters to the publishing companies asking for it. however, because of Takemoto's arrest, it is possible that the sequel will not ever be published in the U.S.
The Manga is also published by Viz and contains a side story in which Ichigo falls in love with a boy who has a crush on the model on a Baby billboard, not realizing Ichigo is the same girl. As well as some short stories by the Manga Artist, Yukio Kanesada.
all quotes are from the novel, which is of course copyrighted to Novala-sensei.