Boy, that escalated quickly.
Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryū Murakami is a darkly comedic novel following two gangs facing off in a deathmatch. Except instead of two mob gangs or biker gangs, it’s a team of Incels vs older women.
This explosion of a novel is a wild ride.
There isn’t a lead character, but outside of the first fatality that kicks off the events we read, everyone gets their turn in the spotlight. We get to see the thought process of everyone involved as the conflict and death toll increases, so does the blood lust and escalation of violence.
This novel doesn’t beat around the bush. Its punchy writing style doesn’t give you any breaks. It is a brutal book that does not shy away from anything.
The two teams seemingly only have two things in common, the need for revenge and a love of karaoke. Outside of that, there are hints that both groups have been screwed over by society at large.
It is a very nihilistic view on society, with the general public not caring for too long when blood is spilt. Sometimes even refusing to help.
For the Incel group, it is due to societal shunning that they became a group in the first place. They prefer the company of each other over being alone.
The Midori Society, the older ladies, flock together as they are birds of a feather. They all walked similar paths and found solace with each other.
They are all horrid people. So you don’t exactly feel bad when they die. That might sound harsh, but they research the methods used by terrorists and Nazis to take the others down. That is just the tip of the iceberg too.
Popular Hits of the Showa Era is not a book in which good triumphs over evil. More akin to trash taking itself out. In downright cartoonish proportions.
I felt a little bad for laughing as much as I did while reading this novel. Until I realised that was the point of the story anyway. It is dark comedy gold.
Despite being written back in 1994, it is still so fresh and modern feeling. It is outrageous, bloody and satirical. I loved it.
Popular Hits of the Showa Era was a pretty quick read, but I am not sure if that is because it’s around 200 pages or because I couldn’t put it down.
If you are looking for a weird, wild and unique reading experience, you have to read Popular Hits of the Showa Era. Be warned, it isn’t a happy read and does contain a lot of material some may find upsetting.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.