Tokyo Crazy Paradise: Getting It Published Here in English

>> Tuesday, August 2, 2011

So, if this Tokyo Crazy Paradise is so good, why isn't it published here? The author is successful here (Skip Beat! by the same author is quite popular). Heck, Viz media, which publishes Skip Beat!, proclaims she's the author of Tokyo Crazy Paradise on the back of every volume. But they don't publish Tokyo Crazy Paradise.

I've heard several reasons: it's already on scanlations. Well, I'm not sure that's going to fly. I've read a number of mangas on-line that are still being published, even though they are complete (or have several additional volumes) already on-line. Although I'm sure there are people who are happy to read on-line and don't buy books, I know I'm not the only one who has bought more mangas because I read them on line than I would otherwise have done.

There's a lot of violence. True, but it's pretty benign compared to many shonen mangas that are desperately popular, so I'm not buying that. There is nudity, but, again, it's hardly pervasive and I've seen mangas, for older teens, with as much nudity or more, so I'm not sure I find that compelling. It has a good bit of sexual tension and some sexual harassment, but considerably less than a manga like Black Bird (which is rated "Older Teen"). Selling books that show yakuza in a favorable light is being cracked down on in Japan, but that should hardly be an issue here where we still embrace all kinds of criminal elements in our media.

So what is it?

I think it's simple, not only a simple answer but a simple fix. The protagonists are too young. For some reason, Nakamura-Sensei made them both fourteen and still in middle school. In Japan, the age of consent is thirteen. Admittedly, our young protagonists don't have sex during the course of the manga, but Tsukasa ends up losing her top several times and Ryuuji's overt sexual interest in her is hard to miss. I think, for people taking it at face value in this country, it's disturbing (and you can put whatever spin you want on that statement). I don't think of them as fourteen so I'm not even slightly bothered. More on that in a minute.

Sounds like a tough problem, doesn't it? Except, I don't think it is for the same reason their age doesn't bother me (despite the fact I'm not a proponent for underage sex): I just don't see them as fourteen years old. They don't look fourteen. They don't act fourteen (mostly, not so much I couldn't buy them being 2-3 years older). There's no overt reason I can identify that the school they're going to is a middle school rather than a high school. The fact they're "brats" is a big deal in the yakuza organization, but I have a hard time thinking a bunch of middle-aged ruffians are going to regard a 16/17 year old leader desperately differently than they'd see a 14 year old. Both are likely to look like "brats." I mean, look at them!
(Especially noting these from Skip Beat!: Kyoko at 16 and Ren at 20)

In fact, I'd ask the author to OK a text-only change, change the year to 2022 or 2023 and go from there. As far as I can tell, there's nothing to lose. There's not a single drawing that I think needs to be reworked. The school trip they go through is a staple of second year high schoolers, too. The uniforms could be high school as easily as middle school (and dropping out, as Ryuuji contemplates, makes more sense since only middle school is compulsory in Japan - not that that's really going to bother a gangster). Shiva and Shiki could be as readily in their late twenties as their mid twenties. It's not less of a sacrifice for Tsukasa's older brother to drop out of university than it is high school.

What's more, some of the plot points that were a bit hard to swallow at their current ages actually make more sense. For instance, Ryuuji discovered Tsukasa's gender saving her from drowning three years before by discovering breasts. Well, I have to say 13/14-year-old breasts are much more noticeable than 11-year-old so it makes the discovery more plausible, rather than less. Ditto the pervasive rush to get Ryuuji married. Admittedly, without an heir, there would be pressure on Ryuuji to produce one, but one would hardly need to push marriage (particularly when one can't legally marry at fourteen), yet the push to get formally engaged/effectively married is hits like a hammer as soon as Asago turns fourteen. If she's turning sixteen (where one can legally get married with a parent's permission) that makes a lot more sense.

I don't think of them as 14 year olds, actually. I think of them as youthful adults, with real responsibilities and real adult issues to contend with. A little text tweaking without losing any of the impact or charm of the original, and I truly believe this could be a very successful title here in the states. Are you listening, Viz Media?

But, either way, I love it.

Next, I'm going to go into the characters a bit and then I'll let the review go...but I have fanfiction for this manga, too.


  • Jeff King

    Great break down and very interesting... thx.

  • Phyl

    I'm raising my head above the surface for the first time in months, and suddenly discover this blog! Wooo! I will certainly be back!

    Have you ever had a peek at Fullmetal Alchemist?

  • Stephanie Barr

    I have watched some Fullmetal Alchemist but, I admit, I'm too much the romantic to get sucked in to very many shonen anime. I like romance.

    There are exceptions. Both Sorcerer Hunters and Vandread were really shonen, and I liked them both. There was another one my husband and I both liked, Evangelion or something like that, that was probably shonen. Black Butler amuses me.

    My husband likes Fullmetal Alchemist, but it started a bit tragically for me. I might not have given it enough time, though. My sister likes it.

  • Stephanie Barr

    Hey, Phyl, the sidebar gives you quick access to my rating for various manga and links to those reviews I've done so far. My first post here as an otaku began on May 16.

  • Phyl

    Yes, Fullmetal is based on a tragedy, though there are a lot of lighter moments throughout too. I can see why the start would have been something of a shock.

    I'm really looking forward to reading more here! I just finished all three of your reviews of Tokyo Crazy Paradise so far.

  • Tanner Flood

    I understand your comments about their age but if you take into consideration the manga Tokyo Mew Mew has been publish in English and the characters are in elementary school then having the characters of Tokyo Crazy Paradise ages should not be a problem.

  • Tanner Flood

    I understand your comments about their age but if you take into consideration the manga Tokyo Mew Mew has been publish in English and the characters are in elementary school then having the characters of Tokyo Crazy Paradise ages should not be a problem.

  • Stephanie Barr

    I can see your point, Tanner. And certainly even more insanely young people are put through insanely adult situations in manga. I just think, especially given how mature they look and things like the pressure to get married and stuff, one could easily have everyone a couple of years earlier and make it feel like it fits better.

    Of course, that's just my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    I have read this entire manga at least three times and I have also read skip beat, both are great mangas...I for years I have also found it strange that this manga has not been published... I honestly don't think there is anything in the manga to cause a reason for them not to publish it. Like you said"black bird", a very adult rated shoujo manga. I'm into a lot of romance manga and I know there are some shoujo that are far worse in content than Tokyo crazy paradise...

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