Now let’s take a break from typical anime and look into something different from the usual shall we? Today we review the 1997 novel Audition by Ryu Murakami. Audition was published in 1997 and written by Ryu Murakami, then published in 2009 in English translated by Ralph McCarthy. The book was published by Bunkasha in Japan and Penguin in the US. Just to be clear, this is a review of the book NOT movie. So I hope you don’t lose your feet in this review.
Disclaimer: There may be spoilers
The story is pretty simple, in the beginning of course. We Aoyama, a documentary maker, who is a widower. A long time ago his wife, Ryoko, died due to an illness. After her death, Aoyama was left alone with his son, Shige, in a miserable state of existing. However, over time, Aoyama and his son managed to overcome the tragic loss and move on with their lives. It wasn’t until Shige mentioned to his father about remarrying again that Aoyama gave it so actual thought. Aoyama thinks remarrying might be a bit too out of his element until his good friend Yoshikawa gives him a brilliant idea. The idea was to pretend to hold a fake movie audition for a heroine role, but the real intention was to use the audition as a cover to just scoop out Aoyama’s next wife to be. A few dozen applicants later and Aoyama is found smitten over one girl named Yamasaki Asami who appears shy and modest. Believing Asami to be the one, Aoyama takes initiative and takes this girl to a wide arrange of dates and get together. The poor clueless bastard….
First up is the blind lover boy Aoyama, the 42 year old. Where to begin with this guy? Well, for starters, Aoyama gives the air of an old fashioned kind of guy. Through the course of the book, Audition, he gives off this impression by how often he recalls his younger days and how often he recounts so olden philosophy and wisdom to his young lady friend. If I had to give him a fatal flaw is that he was TERRIBLY blinded by love. I heard love makes you do stupid things, but my word! The red flags were all over the place, yet he foolishly ignores the obvious signs of danger or is just plain oblivious. In essence Aoyama was a love struck idiot through the entire course of the book. Next we have Shige, the son. Shige is the whole reason behind the events of the book, as it was his idea that his father, Aoyama, should go off and get remarried. This is further shown in the beginning as Aoyama thought the whole process of getting remarried was nothing but troublesome and unnecessary and only gave it a try due to his son’s recommendation. Other than that, Shige was just a normal, happy go lucky 15 year old teenager enjoying his youth while his father was preoccupied. I did find it ironic how Shige became the center of things. Next is Yoshikawa, Aoyama’s long time friend and the essential mastermind to the audition plan. Yoshikawa was the first major voice of reason trying to warn Aoyama of the potential danger of his new girlfriend. At first Aoyama did listen to Yoshikawa’s advice by not calling for about a week, but the more he got closer to the girl the less he listened. Eventually, Yoshikawa advice and warning all went on deaf ears entirely and only served to enrage Aoyama. Lastly, we have Yamasaki Asami. Asami is a beautiful 24 year old that had the potential to become a great ballerina. In the beginning, Asami was a simple girl with simple outward tendencies. The beginning part of the book could have been a very good romance story. However, all that fades away as we learn more about her backstory. The best way to describe Asami’s character is a girl with daddy issues on steroids. To put simply, Asami has suffered a lot of childhood abuse from stepfather, who was in a wheelchair. With her mother being of no help at the time, Asami only had ballet to turn to as a way to cope with the struggle. However, that was also cut short due to an injury she sustained. Despite this, all she asks in return is to love her and her alone, and for the LOVE OF GOD you better not lie about doing so.
This book was brought to you by the phrase, “Bitches be crazy”. However, this by no means, was a bad read. I found this story to be very interesting and compelling, but seriously wtf? 1st I found that Shige was the only one with a combination of sense and some compassion. Example is that Shige is open to Aoyama dating but is cautious, while Aoyama’s friends are usually telling him to straight up keep his distance, to stay away. And if anyone has that one friend who gets easily infatuated should know, telling them to stay away is like saying the exact opposite to them, which is exactly what happened. Another thing, who the hell was that guy in the wheelchair that freaked out when the first ate together? I had a feeling it was the stepfather, but it was never really addressed. Lastly, that ending….was so damn abrupt. “What was this all about?” “I don’t know, nothing really.” Lastly the so called friend Asami had to speak to her Mentor….why was that never addressed? Not that it matters since readers of the book should be able to piece together what actually happened. Final points, that sex scene was descriptive as hell and I couldn’t read that with a straight face no matter how hard I tried because of laughter and absolute horror at the calm before the storm. Oh, and RIP Gangsta (he was innocent)