Review of “Girl” (1985)
Ōhara Mariko (writer).
Read in 2020.
Read in Speculative Japan.
In a doomed future megalopolis, Jill the exotic dancer, who is Gil the man, meets a high-contrast girl from one of the outer worlds.
Richly decadent, more so than the visible narratives of Metropolis (1925) and Akira (1982). This is what I picture is going on behind the scenes in stories like that, as imagined by a Japanese Cordwainer Smith. It’s intentionally grotesque and extreme but avoids all the most common pitfalls of authors trying to imagine a darkly hedonistic future society. Murder isn’t rampant, animals aren’t uplifted, there’s no obvious metaphor of capitalism, etc. Ōhara really sticks the landing, in my opinion, deftly pulling the carpet out from under the element of spirit romance.
References here: Carole & Tuesday (2019).