ANIME & MANGA - Review
12:00 - 29th November 2014, by NEO Staff

In Clothes Called Fat

The politics of women’s bodies is a complex thing. Moyoco Anno tackles it head on in an equally complex fashion in In Clothes Called Fat, an unsympathetic, standalone story about weight loss in which no character ends up unscathed.

Noko Hanazawa is a comfort eater, desperately trapped in her own, uncomfortably large body, picked on by male co-workers who see her as valueless, and female co-workers who see her as an easy target. Her boyfriend sees her as a grateful, snivelling wretch, malleable as clay and easy to command, and is cheating on her with one of her glamourous, thin colleagues.

After a particularly hard day, Noko unexpectedly comes across a vast quantity of money, and decides to use it to make herself skinny. She attends various sessions at a shady weight-loss clinic, and soon begins to spiral into bulimia. No matter what size Noko is, fat or thin, she is besieged by issues of disordered eating, stuffing herself to numb the pain, denying herself food to gain some measure of control, or binging and purging to keep the weight off.

Although many narratives based on weight loss stories follow the same neat trajectory of ‘it’s what’s inside that really counts’, and ‘personality is key’, whilst at the same time miraculously bestowing a gorgeous body on the protagonist at the finale, in the style of ‘it was in you all along!’, In Clothes Called Fat has no such ambition. The only true moral of the story is surely that no matter what size, all human beings are intrinsically flawed, and the outer shell has absolutely no bearing on the personality within.

Thought-provoking, grim, and unapologetic, Anno’s tour of an overweight woman’s psyche is distressingly bleak.
SCORE: 4/5
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