Do you like Karaoke? It’s one of those things where I’ve never met anyone who’s neutral on it. Either they really like it and look forward to going when they can or they absolutely hate even the idea of it and avoid it like the plague.
Maybe it’s cultural. But I certainly like Karaoke!
Why I Picked up Let’s Go Karaoke
Here’s a very flimsy reason to decide to read a book, the lettering of the title. But c’mon, look at it:
It’s so fun, right? All neon and 80s! And it clashes so beautifully against the relatively dark background with troubling evocation.
Nothing worries Satomi Oka more than the upcoming final choir competition of his middle school career—right up until he is accosted by a stranger from the shadows who demands, “Let’s go karaoke!” As a yakuza, Kyouji Narita doesn’t scare easily, but a terrifying prospect has driven him to seek Satomi’s help. The boss is holding a karaoke contest, with the loser forced to get a tattoo to be selected and torturously applied by the boss himself! Oka has been to many vocal rehearsals over the years, but never one-on-one karaoke sessions with a gangster!!
My First Impression
I like this dialogue!
First of all, I really do think the dialogue is very well written. It 100% comes off as a real conversation.
Let’s go Karaoke is a single-volume manga. I love those. I tend to buy those a lot more since it’s so much easier to fit into both your budget and your bookcase. And Let’s go Karaoke in particular is the type of manga you can easily just lend to someone.
First, let me get this out of the way. The author has written BL in the past and possibly because there are two male characters on the cover, I’ve seen Let’s Go Karaoke mislabeled as BL a few times. It is not. There’s absolutely no romance in this book. Maybe there are spinoffs but so far, that’s not the focus at all. And that’s a good thing.
At its core, Let’s Go Karaoke is a coming-of-age story, specifically illustrated through the experience of a young boy having his voice change and how that’s used to forecast all the changes in his life, and framed through a very odd friendship indeed.
Narita is the only adult we see have any sort of substantial relationship with Oka and for a Yakuza, he’s pretty good at nurturing and parenting. It’s essentially a father-son relationship or potentially a mentor-mentee one but it’s the younger Oka who is the one literally teaching the older man.
However, in everything else, Narita is clearly the adult. His life experience is obvious. His subtle advice and nudging are calm and mature. It’s not like Oka is put in a parental role but he does hold all the cards when it comes to signing and that’s what the whole story is built around. So this simultaneously gives him more power than children in stories have without robbing him of his childhood.
It makes for a subtly different dynamic that becomes quite heartwarming. And for as out there as the central plot is, the dialogue makes it all seem very normal. Like it’s something that could totally happen and probably does totally happen every day.
I’m not going to hide my bias, I really liked let’s Go Karaoke. I gave it a much higher score than the average reader on AniList and it’s usually the opposite when it comes to manga for me. I also went out and bought another Yama Wayama manga right away. So as far as I’m concerned, you should read this. It’s good. It made me smile and want to go Karaoke! I also really like the physical book.