Solanin 3 — reality hits too close to home


Meiko wakes up and sees Taneda sleeping in front of the TV. They see a news story about the zoo and decide to go there for the day. However, their phone rings… and it turns out Meiko’s mom is in town. Meiko picks her mom up at the station and goes home, denying that she lives together with her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Taneda takes Kato to the zoo in place of Meiko. They start drinking there and Taneda lets loose, talking about how unhappy he is with the world. Kato says he’s just frustrated, and that they should restart the band, but Taneda shuts him up and they start fighting about whose life is in a shittier condition. Kato says: “Before you get all depressed about the world, you have problems to solve closer to home, right? You’re a gigolo [sic], remember! And your girl is out of a job!”

Note: my book says “you’re a gigolo” but the scans say “you, your girlfriend’s bitch!” It basically means Taneda doesn’t make much money so he lives off Meiko’s income.

Meiko tells her mom that she quit her job, and her mom gets angry: “I don’t think you’re ready to be living on your own. Meiko… I think it’s time for you to come back home.” In teenager fashion, Meiko yells at her mom without any logic and runs away. What an idiot.


I’ve started interspersing my summary section with more … flair? It’s boring typing a summary of a chapter, and Solanin really isn’t suited to summaries. Most of my enjoyment comes from admiring the details of the art, and of the small nuances that can’t be told in a summary without giving a word-for-word transcript. But I’ll do it anyway for posterior.

As an example of a small nuance, take the first scene with Meiko and her mom. Meiko is unhappy about her mom showing up unannounced, but Meikomom says “These Tokyo hostels cost an arm and a leg. Besides, you don’t work on the weekends, right?” Between being forced to admit this point and worried about the reference to her now non-existent job, Meiko feels really uncomfortable and awkward, saying “Well… yeah, but…”

The great part about this scene is what’s actually drawn there: Meiko’s feet, one raised and turned slightly inward (right). I can almost see Meiko wriggling in such an awkward moment. She’s shifting her weight around and moving her feet to distract her from such a piercing reference to her job. Even though the scene doesn’t show her face, Meiko must be looking downward, trying not to give away that she quit her job.

Chapter 3 basically shoves reality into Meiko’s face. In chapter 2, she wandered around with no purpose in mind. While Meiko complains that her mom shows up, it’s a damn good thing that that happens. Otherwise, she might just laze around all day for months or years on end like me.

I really identify with chapter 2 Meiko. A lot of the time on weekends, I wake up past noon and don’t do anything the entire day. On the other hand, I have a job. Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to compare my more fortunate life with Meiko’s truly aimless one. I feel like whereas Meiko is facing some tough life decisions, I’m just bored. Or am I putting off these decisions? Who knows.

Back to the chapter: I have one minor gripe about this chapter. Meiko wants to rebel against her office lady job, against society, and against her mother. She’s so used to confiding in her mom that she reveals she quit her job, but she doesn’t even think of anything to say after that. Momko asks her what she’s going to do next, and then Meiko gets really really angry all of a sudden and runs away. Nobody would actually do that! This childish response is way too exaggerated. Sure, I can believe Meiko and her mom fighting over the job thing, but Meiko running away after Momko says she’s acting like a child? No no no no no no n

Hair-cam: just like mom

In this chapter, Meiko has her hair down with a center part, the same hairstyle she wore to work as an office lady. It’s a neutral look and one that seems adult-like. We also learn that Meiko’s mom has the same exact hairstyle (above), and it makes the two of them look so similar. This definitely affects how I view the scene – it’s like an older Meiko is lecturing a younger Meiko about how to live life. This gives more credibility to what Momko says, and makes Meiko look very young and very inexperienced in comparison.

Vive la momko hair!

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