Disclaimer The fashion called Lolita has no known connection to Nabokov s Lolita.So Pretty Very Rotten is a combination of Jane Mai and An Nguyen s efforts in comic and essay form to explore different facets of lolita fashion While the comics could be enjoyed by lolita fans and others alike, it ll likely ring especially true to either lolitas or people who re already familiar with the niche fashion style Lolita fashion is sort of a modern take on rococo fashion with a lot of different sub styles, originating in Japan and eventually in recent years gaining international status The essays deal with among other topics the origin of the fashion, the meaning of clothes as identity and expression, consumerism, differences in the North American and Japanese community aspects of the fashion, etc There s also an interview with and an essay written by Novala Takemoto well known as the author of the novel Kamikaze Girls which features the most famous lolita in media to date Momoko.While I enjoyed all of the comics, I definitely personally liked An Nguyen s work better In Tomorrow An Nguyen explores loneliness and one young women s effort to fill a gap in her life with material things For me it also dealt with the contrasts between our ideals and dreams, set against the reality of our lives, and how we navigate those rifts Eternal Maidens and Ribbon Army I think deals beautifully both with the empowering feeling in free expression, the right to love the things you love, how friendships can build with access to certain communities It also kind of links back to the roots of lolita fashion that s part of a larger movement in Japan in which young women and girls played with self expression as a means to feel free This topic is also dealt with in the essays In general An Nguyen s comics are beautifully drawn, have characters that feel realized and relatable even in such a short space of time, and at the same time is story telling done right If the entire book was a collection of her comics I think this would ve been a full star read for me I definitely enjoyed some of the essays a lot On the whole there s not much I didn t know before, but it was still a lot of fun to read through this book Rather than being groundbreaking new information it felt like I was able to share something with someone else who s also had an interest in the same thing Like listening to a friend give you a different perspective on something you re already pretty well versed in I did really like seeing the contrasts between North American Western Lolitas to Japan and the talk of lolita vs otome for example in the essay Wavering bodies and Fluttering Minds , as well as in general the talk around the function of lolita in people s lives Jane Mai s essay good at looking good I also personally really related to In general just a lot of fun to read and would especially recommend to people interested in the fashion or for An Nguyen s comics for anyone that likes comics with girls figuring out their identity, friendship and girl power, and lots of cute clothes. This is a really fascinating look at Japanese lolita fashion culture.I wasn t very familiar with lolita before reading this Lolita is a frilly, extremely labour intensive style inspired by European women s fashion of the 18th and 19th centuries It s presented as a self focused style whose goal is to empower the wearer, which is sharply distinguished from styles which are meant to appeal to men or to society at large The essays in this collection draw from historical research and with lolita practitioners in Japan and the west in order to shed a light on the history of the style and what it means to its wearers An Nguyen, one of the two authors, comes from a sociological background and her analysis is well written and fascinating.The essays are interspersed with artwork and comics which bring a personal perspective to the topic Jane Mai and An Nguyen s comics are a mixture of semi fictionalized personal stories, fictional stories from the perspectives of western lolitas, and fictionalized depictions of the lives of some of the Japanese lolitas who were interviewed for this project It s an unusual approach for this kind of book, but it works extremely well There is also a lolita lookbook at the beginning of the book which does a good job of providing a visual overview of lolita styles for readers who are unfamiliar.I definitely recommend this book to anyone who s interested in learning about this style and what it means to those who wear it. I think I m gonna get super on goodreads for a sec, here Don t judge me.I loved this book I m a huge fan of Jane Mai s work but I ve never read anything by An Nguyen before and now I d really like to read , because her research into Lolita culture was so wonderfully done, accessible, and enlightening The pair had a zine that teased the book that I got about a year ago, so I had a very rough idea of what I was in for that this was going to be something empowering, about women dressing for themselves but I was actually totally unprepared Nguyen often discusses how Lolitas, Otomes and others view their style as genderless, and dives deeply into the nuance of this clothing, how it sometimes builds community, sometimes is simply a way to find happiness, sometimes unexpectedly allows wearers to express a kind of rottenness like a sweet, beautiful cake left out a bit too long I am in a place where, after a long struggle with clothing as it is connected to masculinity and femininity, I am trying to decouple clothing from gender a concept stolen from Elizabeth Sweet s research on toys in order to feel comfortable when I walk through the world As a person who really isn t femme at all it felt so good, so fascinating but even pivotal to read something like this Also the comics are really good, often dark, and communicate things about Lolita so brilliantly that can t quite be expressed in words Lolita, after all, is a visual thing, just like comics I entered the book with curiosity about a subculture i really have nothing to do with and did not understand and exited the book floored, wowed, awed, inspired and filled with so much respect for this movement and the statement Lolitas are making I had no idea how shunned and rejected Lolitas could be, and what a statement of personal sovereignty Lolitas are making And the fact it has nothing at ALL to do with Nabokov or his famous character, thank goodness The tricky issues of consumerism and aging and the sad reality of fashion history being so poorly archived all get airtime in this amazing collection. Resilience, smashing the patriarchy via going against mainstream beauty standards, dressing for yourself, sisterhood, community, nonconformity to gender roles, kindness towards yourself and others These are some topics I picked up from reading this graphic novel I really enjoyed it. Very informative, much better than blurbs in books about wacky Japanese things As someone who knows a lot about lolita, I still learned things and either way it s very interesting The comics were beautiful and touching LUV IT The comics are nice, but the essays both Nguyen s and Mai s are what give this hybrid collection its impact Thoughtful and clarifying. In A Series Of Essays And Comics That Are At Once Academic And Intimate, Cartoonists Jane Mai And An Nguyen Delve Into Lolita Subculture And Their Relationship With It Empowering And Beautiful, But Also Inescapably Linked To Consumerism, The Rococo Inspired Fashion Is Indulgent And Sublime, Pretty And RottenAn Nguyen Is A Cartoonist And Illustrator Based In Ottawa, ON Best Known For Her Romantic Comic Series Open Spaces And Closed PlacesJane Mai Is A Freelance Illustrator And Comic Artist From Brooklyn, NYNovala Takemoto Is A Japanese Author, Fashion Designer And Prominent Promoter Of The Lolita Lifestyle I want to read academic writings drawings about Lolita and fashion culture in general from Mai This book fills a void. Above all this book is interesting to the outsider of Lolita culture.I m not completely unaware of the fashion and movement within Japan and abroad, but some of the deeper concepts and psyche within Lolita was lost on the casual observer Ideas that Lolita represents not only a move counter to the mainstream culture, but also acts as a sort of Peter Pan complex as a way to hold onto girlhood and innocence the young shoujo or cute kawai in a society that quickly demands those feminine individuals to step into the role of womanhood and become the beautiful and alluring otome In this way, they reclaim their identity for themselves, rejecting performative beauty for the male gaze.The book touches lightly on controversial subjects, like the idea that some men prefer this to objectify this identity, namely pedophiles inspired by the western idea of a Lolita But above all the book is less academic and personal, including emotions in the form of prose interviews and in comic narratives.The transition from illustration to prose feels natural and flows well The artwork, much like the fashion style, is cute, although minimalist than it s be frilled counterpart An Nguyen s and Jen Mai s comics can sometimes be sickly sweet in their emotional content, stressing the need for one to be true to themselves Sometimes this female centric supportive girl power can come off as mildly gay but never pays off, as it would be counter to the sexless movement which idealizes purity Standouts include the macabre I Follow by Jen Mai and the collaborative Your and My Mistakes, the final comic closing the book.Overall, a well thought out anthology.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the So Pretty / Very Rotten book, this is one of the most wanted Jane Mai author readers around the world.
- 304 pages
- So Pretty / Very Rotten
- Jane Mai
- 04 March 2018 Jane Mai