Review: Tokyo Crazy Paradise by Yoshiki Nakamura

Review: Tokyo Crazy Paradise by Yoshiki NakamuraTokyo Crazy Paradise by Yoshiki Nakamura
Genres: Dystopian
Format: eBook
Source: Scanlation

Set in a futuristic Japan where crime has elevated and apathy prevails, Tsukasa is brought up as a boy in order to protect her from the crime-ridden Japan. When the murder of Tsukasa's parents leaves her and her brothers homeless, she finds herself turning to the same people responsible for the deaths of her parents - the yakuza and fellow classmate/Yakuzi head, Ryuji. From their very first meeting, Tsukasa finds herself in debt to Ryuji, and the only way to pay it off is to become his bodyguard. Yet, the incurring debt seems to greatly increase, regardless of how much Tsukasa works. Perhaps Ryuji has other reasons for keeping her by his side?

In the last few months, I’ve gotten back into my manga obsession. I’ve not fit in a LOT of manga reading, but I’m making sure to keep reading consistently, if not speedily. Because I have this weird thing with order and didn’t track my manga reading well in the past, I’ll be rereading a lot of stuff I’ve read before, even if I didn’t much like it. I already know this isn’t entirely sane, but don’t mind me. Anyway, I’m trying to keep my manga reviews to those licensed in the US, as well as the most hilarious, notable or amazing ones otherwise. Tokyo Crazy Paradise is notable for being by the author of Skip-Beat! which I love. My expectations were high, but it couldn’t possibly be bad, right? WRONG.

Man, I am still upset that Tokyo Crazy Paradise didn’t work out for me. I mean, there’s gender bending and an incredibly strong heroine who doesn’t change who she is when she falls in love. On the surface, this is something I should love, and I do admire those parts of the series. The heroine, Tsukasa, really is pretty fabulous. She’s a great fighter, she’s loyal to a fault, determined, and completely silly. She saves the series from being endlessly boring.

The romance is…well…kind of okay. I don’t ship it, that’s for sure, but Nakamura puts in a real slow burn and I can respect that. Also, I respect that Tsukasa never becomes a girly girl. She’s more comfortable crossdressing, and has no desire to act any different after she falls in love. Ryuji’s totally okay with that, though he does also love seeing her in women’s clothes. Ryuji also keeps the “stay away; I’m dangerous” and hiding things from Tsukasa for her own good to a minimum. He respects her strength and they act like equals. These are the good things.

To explain the core element in why I didn’t like Tokyo Crazy Paradise, I need to talk about a YA book. You might have heard of it: Legend by Marie Lu. Tokyo Crazy Paradise has the same problem: the main characters are too young for me to find them believable. Tsukasa and Ryuji are both FOURTEEN. Yet, he’s as tall as anyone else in the series, he’s so hot much older women try to seduce him constantly (partly for his position as head of a yakuza group, but barf) and she, when she puts on women’s clothes, has an incredibly voluptuous body with huge breasts. Now, I’m not saying teens never develop early, but if her boobs are as big as depicted, then how is she able to flatten them so well? Doesn’t it hurt? Also, is no one else grossed out at ALL THE ADULTS perving on freaking fourteen year olds? NO? *shudders*

Aside from that, the story was just way too long. There were unnecessary plot lines and an abundance of wordy dialog. There’s so much talking but also somehow too much mindless action. Tsukasa and Ryuji should have died a million times over. Ryuji’s yakuza group shouldn’t have had any men left in it by the end, since so freaking many died in the course of the series. While the contrast between the dark plots and killing and how sweet the yakuza guys could be is amusing, it’s not really enough to carry the series.

The worst part, for me, was that the series takes turns into absurd science fiction. Where it had been fairly straight forward mobster stuff, suddenly there was a guy in another guy’s body, people with guns for arms, and a drug that turns people into incredibly strong enslaved fighting forces. It’s way too much and I was just laughing every time a new plot element was revealed. On top of that, many of the fights scenes are simply impossible.

What it comes down to really though is that the story failed to invest me. Tsukasa’s fun, but she and Ryuji, while okay, didn’t make me set to sailing. And, actually, if I were a shipper, the ending would have really frustrated me, because you totally don’t get much of a payoff. I think the most interesting parts for me were Ryuji’s relationship with Kamo-san and the relationship between Asago and the cop, even though it still had the icky age gap factor.

This was totally not what I was expecting from having read much of Skip-Beat!, and ultimately it’s not my thing. I think if you’re more open to absurd gangster plot lines and unrealistic action, then it might amuse. As a more romance-focused manga reader, I was bored bored bored…and grossed out.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Coffee Prince Eun Chan yawning

4 responses to “Review: Tokyo Crazy Paradise by Yoshiki Nakamura”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I remember being pretty disappointed with this manga, but I was hoping that was just a vague sort of ish thing as I was considering rereading it as I don’t remember it very well. Buuuut it’s all coming back to me now (Hey-Oh!). I’m pretty sure I just pretended they were like at least 16 or 18 or something because I completely erased the fact they were so young! EWWW WHY.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Top Five Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For HalloweenMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      DO NOT REREAD. It really did not have redeeming qualities. I probably rated it too high, which I think I’m going to fix. It’s definitely more of a 1.5. It’s also just too damn long. And THEY ARE FIFTEEN. WHAT EVEN.

  2. Cayce says:

    Haha yes, I tried to read this, but it was sooo boring and the art is quite ehem ugly too 🙁

  3. Nikitaxo says:

    I actually pretty much fell in love with this manga. I admit that their age is quite shocking, but I ignored it and made it seem as if they were 18-19 years old.
    I loved the fact that it kinda went into a crazy era-style since it was “Crazy tokyo paradise, AD 2020” so I was expecting Science-fi at the very first page of the mange.
    I also really loved the fact that Tsukasa, compared to many other shoujo romance mangas, was far from being girly and overly dumb… On the contrary, seemed more “real” and “woman-like” : when she discovered her feelings, she didn’t just go “kya kya” but reacted in a mature way and the comical duo between Tsukasa and Ryuuji were priceless.

    The only thing that bugged me was the ending -Sigh.- I believe that it was too rushed, I really wanted it to end with a more in-depth story about Munakata and Asago as well as Ryu and Tsu’s relationship.

    But this manga definitely won a 9/10 for me; I’ve read this like… -Counts- 10 to 12 times already? But everyone has their own taste and opinions ! ^^

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