Cover Image: The Tatami Galaxy

The Tatami Galaxy

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I tried. I really did..but wow the translation is so awkward in this book. Every ling feels stiff and forced. I understand there is a level of whimsy to The Tatami Galaxy, but it comes across as chaotic and confusing in the translation.  The writing style is isolating and disconnected. I feel like (I could be wrong) this book was translated very literally, leaving very little room for graceful flow. I have also heard this is common with a number of light novels. In any case, it did hurt my enjoyment of the story.
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The Tatami Galaxy by Tomihiko Morimi takes the reader on a wild ride through a Tokyo college student’s life. It’s The Catcher in the Rye meets Groundhog Day as we follow an unnamed narrator through the biggest decision of his college life: which club to join Freshman year. He’s an overthinker with a dream of having a “rose-colored, meaningful campus life.” Is he willing to work hard for it? Not really. Is he willing to challenge himself? Definitely not. Does he spend an inordinate amount of time brooding about it? You bet.

We follow our hero through a series of do-overs and an endless stream of four-and-a-half-mat tatami rooms (the measure of his dorm room in tatami mats). What could his life have been like? Will he learn something? Will he ever meet a black-haired maiden or someone other than his yokai friend Ozu? Reader, you should give this book a go and find out. 

I appreciated the Jules Verne references, the peek into (surely a very unrealistic) Japanese college life, and the food descriptions. I definitely googled castella cake to figure out what it would taste like and where I could get some. The ending was surprisingly satisfying. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves sci-fi, manga, anime, Groundhog Day plots (a favorite of mine!), college life, or Japanese culture. 

I give it 8/10 stars and look forward to watching the Anime when it comes to Disney+ later this year.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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The Tatami Galaxy is a mind blowing fantasy tale that inspire an anime series. Morimi writes well and pulls the reader right into the story. Overall, I wish there was less repetition in the storyline but it was an okay read. 3/5.
Thank you HarperVia and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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“The Tatami Galaxy” by Tomihiko Morimi is a novel that inspired the popular anime with the same name. In this book, we follow an unnamed narrator through four different scenarios of how his life would be if he would have chosen a different club to join in when he started college. We see him go through the same amount of time in each scenario and see that while some things change, some things also stay the same. 

I love science fiction and the idea of multiverses always intrigues me. I’m also making an effort to try and read a larger variety of books this year and this translated book definitely fit that goal. There were things about this book this I enjoyed but I think overall, it did fall a little flat for me. 

I read a few reviews that complained about the repetitive nature of the narrative and while I can see that getting old, I really enjoyed it. The callbacks to the previous scenarios were fun parallels and gave the reader the sense that no matter what you change in life, some things are going to happen regardless. This book also felt like an anime to me. My favorite anime/manga stories are usually the ones that are more contemporary with a light sci-fi or fantasy element. There are also a lot of references to Japanese food and culture that I always enjoy reading about. 

A lot of what I didn’t like about this book may have just been the translation. The unnamed main character isn’t really relatable so I could not connect to him enough to really care about his different choices. The writing felt very stilted but that could be due to the translation. 

Overall this was an interesting take on the multiverse trope that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I do think that the anime would be fun to watch.
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The Tatami Galaxy is a great time-shifting novel that discusses "what-if" your life went a different way. The sci-fi was not too heavy either.
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Unfortunately I didn't vibe with this, both the plot and the writing style just seemed off. I didn't like the repetitiveness of the events either. I'm always interested in translated works, but this one was a miss for me.
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The Tatami Galaxy 
by Tomihiko Morimo
Pub Date: December 6, 2022
Harper via 
Thanks to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the ARC of this book. 
The inspiration behind the much-loved anime series, Tomihiko Morimi's contemporary classic is a fantastic journey through time and space, where a half-eaten castella cake, a photograph from Rome, and a giant cavity in a wisdom tooth hold the keys to self-discovery. A time-traveling romp that speaks to everyone who has wondered what if, The Tatami Galaxy will win readers' hearts over . . . and over . . . and over again.
Unfortunately, this book did not resonate with me.  Dull book for me. 
3 stars
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Did not finish at 49%. Completed two possible futures before giving up. The Tatami Galaxy explores the unfulfilled college life of our unnamed narrator, and asks the question, if he had chosen a different club (from a selection of 4) would he have had his ideal rose-colored college life? Spoiler, the quick answer, is no. No matter what future he chooses, he ends up meeting the same people, although through different circumstances, and having the same unfulfilled experience, although for different reasons. Another spoiler, turns out the majority of the problem is him, who would have thought.
I was familiar with the story before starting the book, but had never watched the anime. I love literary fiction, and the premise is a good one. "What if" is a very relatable concept, especially during formative years, like college, especially when things aren't turning out the way you had anticipated or hoped. 
Unfortunately, the four futures are too long (about 90 minutes each on Kindle) and too similar to each other, with entire passages copied and pasted. I understand what it was going for, but having to re-read content that you swear you read before, but don't want to miss little nuances just in case, is annoying. The story itself is also fairly boring. Our narrator is a fairly average college junior. He wants success and to meet a raven-haired beauty, but doesn't particularly want to put in the effort. Instead of recognizing this, we hear pages of him explaining how he was essentially an angel at birth and there's no way any of these failures are his fault, it must be someone else's. Someone like Ozu, his "friend" who he encounters in every story, no matter what club he joins. There are other repeat characters in each story as well, but it becomes obvious early on that our narrator is a huge part of the problem, and reading his point of view and how highly he thinks of himself gets tiring very quickly. At some points, he goes so far as to come off as a "nice guy."
I gave up after two futures (the half-way mark), and it took me about 3 weeks to get that far. I struggled to pick up this book. There was nothing to look forward to, and it didn't feel like I had to find anything out. I knew what was going to happen, I knew what the outcome would be, it would just be a matter of how. And honestly I didn't care. The film club future, the first one, is very slow. The apprentice future, the second one, is much better, but not enough to keep me going.
If you don't mind repetitiveness or are a big fan of the anime, I say go for it. If not, this is going to be a rough read.
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I was initially really interested in this book, but for some reason it just didn't resonate with me. I'm sure it's something I would go back to at a later date (and change my review), but it's not something I'm going to finish right now, so I'm DNFing at 120 pages.
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First of all let me start by saying I did NOT know this was also an anime and just thought it was a book with a really cool concept - so I will be tuning in. Secondly, I really enjoyed this. It was so fun to read and had such a fun storyline. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys anime, science fiction, or is just looking for something fun to read.
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I would agree that the story took a while to get into. I don't think I was fully invested until the fourth story where you really start realizing this is a multiversal story and not just a re-telling from different perspectives. It'd could be interesting to read it again to see if there are hints that I missed earlier in the stories. 

The translation was a bit difficult to follow at times and difficult to relate to. I don't know how many times the book says rose-colored.

However I did enjoy how everything came together at the end.
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Thanks a lot for the advanced copy!!

I was very intrigued by this book, since i loved the anime. This book is a journey!! It is very dense at times, enjoyable nonetheless, the prose is accesible and the translation does a wonderful job, 

The book is quite different from the anime, but both are bizzare, surreal tales about coming of age.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Tatami Galaxy.

I'm intrigued by multiverses and exploring potential what-if scenarios of your life if you had chosen a different path or made a different decision, which is why the premise resonated with me.

Sadly, the story didn't engage me as it should, mostly because I couldn't stand the main character and his voice.

He had a self-deprecating attitude that I found interesting, almost likable, in the beginning, then it veered into debasing himself that I began to wonder if he was just a sad sack so why should I care about him?

His concerns seemed petty, but then I remembered he's quite young and when you're that age, things that seem important are trivial when you're older.

Also, the writing style was odd, not smooth, but that might have something to do with the translation and not the fault of the author's.

One issue with the Sliding Doors premise that I forget is there's a lot of repetition in each scenario, which is expected.

Also, the goal in each potential reality was to ensure the main character meet and connect with the woman of his dreams wasn't that interesting to me. 

None of the characters were likable or memorable, which is not to say the premise wasn't interesting; it just didn't work in this format.

As some readers mentioned, The Tatami Galaxy would read better as a manga.
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Fun speculative elements and distinctive characters make this story a joy. Morimi insightfully explores the choices we make, and how we mourn the choices we don't make, within the context of an exciting sci fi conceit.
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I tend to agree with other reviewers that the language is a bit clunky in this one, but I do enjoy the approach of telling the story in four parts. I tend to like stories that explore various possibilities/POVs, but this was not one of my favorites because it seemed to drag in some places. Overall, I think you have to go into this one with the right mind frame to appreciate it, though I do think it’s worth checking out if your local library gets a copy.
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This was an…interesting read? Definitely felt more suited to an anime, but it’s also a Japanese LN, so I guess I’m not super surprised? There were some parts of it that felt like it dragged, and some parts that felt like they could have used more information. Overall, gave it 3 stars (probably closer to 2.5
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I have some mixed feelings about this book. I found it to be interesting but I felt like I was missing something. All the characters had very distinctive personalities and voices but I had a hard time getting attached to the main character.   The book also consisted of the same story basically repeated 4 times. While it was interesting, it felt very repetitive for obvious reasons. There were at least some key differences between each story but there didn’t seem to be anything that connected the books with each other. Not a bad experience though
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I don’t know anything about anime, but this book sounded interesting so I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t get into it. I agree with other reviewers that the language was clunky. It wasn’t my kind of book. Thank you for letting me try it!
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I need to preface by saying I haven’t read any prose other than Battle Royale by a Japanese author before so my misgivings are almost certainly just from my own ignorance. There’s a big difference between a translated novel and manga. Writing for books or comics is different no matter the language.
I really enjoyed the concepts in this book but I struggled to get gripped by it. The style is totally unique from anything I’ve read and while I can see why it would be very cool, it didn’t resonate with me personally.
I would still encourage people to check this out though as I can see why it is highly anticipated and even if it doesn’t click with you it is good to broaden your horizons and check out things beyond your normal comfort zones.
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It took me a while to get into this book, but when I did I ended up liking it quite a bit. The story is told in four sections…one for each of four college clubs from which the narrator chooses as a freshman. It’s a multi-verse telling, of sorts. The unnamed narrator is a boy in his third year of college. He is convinced that, if only he had made a different decision when choosing clubs in his freshman year, his life would have turned out better…that he would have better friends, be more successful, even that he would have a raven-haired beauty for a girlfriend. 

(Spoiler alert) The interesting thing is that no matter which club the narrator chooses, he still meets the same people and has the same negative outcome. Individual days differ, but the overall outcome is the same. It makes for some repetitive reading, with whole paragraphs remaining unchanged from section to section. Except for this repetition, though, I liked the concept and appreciated the way in which the stories were weaved together. The message, that we’re fated to go one particular way in life despite the small decisions that are made each day, is an interesting one. Also that we can fail to appreciate the good things we have when we constantly wish for more…the grass-is-always-greener kind of thing. I liked how this book made me think about the possibilities.

Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for giving me an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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