Tired of sweet, innocent manga heroines in sailor suits? GALS! is the manga for you. Meet Kotobuki Ran and her fellow kogals: the fashion-obsessed, cell-phone loving, boy-torturing high schoolers who once ruled the streets of Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya.
Ran, rebellious daughter of a family of cops, dispenses her own unique brand of justice among Shibuya’s warring cliques. She’ll happily scam a cute guy into buying her dinner one moment, then rescue a friend from trading her body for cash the next. While real-life kogals were notorious for dating older men in return for shopping money, Ran’s quirky code forbids treating yourself like merchandise. She explodes onto Fujii Mihona’s pages like a super heroine in leopard-print, giving GALS! its kinetic energy.
This is a hilariously entertaining manga with a heart of gold that belongs on any teen bookshelf. While GALS! addresses the unsavory aspects of kogal culture (Fujii Mihona has sprinkled made-up public service announcements about prostitution and knives throughout the manga), its message is one of self-respect. Even the occasional swearing has been translated with Ran’s scrappy innocence in mind (jack-hole is my new favorite insult).