In a crowded Tokyo suburb, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer. When one of them, Toshi, discovers that her nextdoor neighbor has been brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor's son. But when he flees, taking Toshi's bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers that rise from within them as well as from the world around them. Psychologically intricate and astute, Real World is a searing, eye-opening portrait of teenage life in Japan unlike any we have seen before.
A 17-year-old Japanese high school girl is penciling in her eyebrows when she hears a crashing sound coming from next door. At first she thinks it might be a burglar, but when she encounters the boy next door, whom she and her friends have nicknamed Worm because of his "sluggish way of walking," he looks "happy and excited, like he was going on a date." He assures her it was nothing. By the end of the day, she will discover that the sound she heard was Worm beating his mother to death with a baseball bat. But instead of turning him in, the four teenage girls in Natsuo Kirino's Real World turn the matricidal murderer into a sort of antihero, lending him phones, money, and a bike in a twisted attempt to enter another world and to elude the control that adults exert over each of their lives.