I really wanted to love this. I thought the themes were really strong, the setting was fantastic, and the portrayal of underground performance art was new. I unfortunately thought the characters were rather weak. Well maybe that isn't the best explanation, the characters didn't live up to the rest of the story. They were a bit under-developed and underwhelming. Emiko never seemed to really find her sense of 'self.' I liked her development as a performer and her growing confidence in that, but I didn't really feel like that would necessarily mean that she had a new definition of self. Which is the payoff that I was searching for and never ended up getting. Emiko found a group of people that she connected with, but instead of defining herself she let the group define her which I think kind of undercuts the entire arch of the story.
Then there was the subplot of the family that Emiko babysits for. I found this to be quite fascinating and kind of wish more time was spent with it. I thought that the ambient tension and frustration that the family was going through was quite poignant.
To sum up:
- I liked the artwork
- I loved the setting
- I liked some of the secondary characters
- I thought the main character was weak
- I thought the themes were underdeveloped, though well chosen