The Tatami Galaxy- Grappling with Realities of “What Might Have Been” and “What Should Never Be”

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Before I begin this review, I would like to thank HarperVia and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this title.

Have you or someone you knew had a moment in your life where you asked yourself a question like “What would have it been like if I pursued that job?” or, “What might have it been like if I chose to marry my Highschool Sweetheart?” In Tomihiko Morimi’s The Tatami Galaxy, we get to look at those realities in a new light.

In this novel, an unnamed junior at a prestigious university in Kyoto is on the verge of dropping out of college. After rebelling against a dictatorial jock-president of the film club, he and his only friend, who was described as the worst, and a creep named Ozu are now personas non-grata on campus.

After two years of making the wrong decisions, our protagonist is about to make another mistake. He and Ozu prepare for revenge, a fireworks attack on the film club’s welcoming party for new members. Then, a chance encounter with a self-proclaimed god sets the confused and distraught young man on a new course. A realm of possibilities opens for our protagonist. As time begins to rewind, and from the four-and-a-half-mat tatami floor of his dorm room, he is plunged into a series of adventures that will take him to four parallel universes. In each universe, he is allowed to start over as a freshman in search of rose-colored campus life.


Here is a fun fact about this novel for those who aren’t familiar with this series, it is the inspiration behind the beloved anime series (and also the one currently on Hulu.) I would describe this novel as one that blends dark comedy, psychological and romantic comedy into a thrilling story.

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In my opinion, part of this story reflects how people thought before making a decision, trying to think out every possibility of what could have been or what might have been. Life is unpredictable, and opportunities hide in places that you don’t expect, but when it comes, you must seize them. This story offers a beautiful way of communicating a message to its readers, and that is one of the reasons that this series is one of the most memorable to fans. The Tatami Galaxy is available for preorder, it will be released on December 6th.

Final Grade:

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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