Project X: Seven Eleven – Tadashi Ikuta/Naomi Kimura
Published by Digital Manga Publishing
Project X is a series of books showcasing true-life stories of Japanese business success. The premise doesn’t exactly strike as something immediately interesting yet it was this exact train of thought that left for me curious about the set when I saw Project X: Seven Eleven sitting on the shelf.
For those who haven’t come across one, Seven Eleven is a popular chain of convenience stores that originated in America. This book begins with telling the story of two Japanese men who diligently work towards bringing the American convenience store to Japan with hopes of sending a spark of new life through the floundering Japanese market.
The whole book read to me much like a children’s storybook would: there is no real climax in event and everything is narrated in a very set-pace manner. The catch of the story is the determination of the two men whose focus and self-sacrifice, along with the rest of their eventual 15-staff team, drives the story with a promotion of teamwork and integrity. You can’t help but keep your fingers crossed for their success and continued reading hinges on how much you care for the characters achieving their goals.
Personally, I could’ve cared less about the success of the store itself, with much of the book’s first half dedicated to people telling the duo how futile and useless the effort was, and yet, while not finding it as inspiring per-say as the book’s introduction would’ve hoped, I was just attached enough to the plight of the people involved to follow through to the end of the book.
Project X: Seven Eleven does a good job showcasing the dedication that brought Seven Eleven to flourish successfully in Japan, and going at it from a human angle that well evokes empathy, gave it a particular charm (along with some interesting back-and-forth relations between Japan and America). Unfortunately, its value as entertainment suffers from that same premise, and though undoubtedly more interesting than reading a textbook on the subject, the whole thing still falls flat on the fun scale.