a weak spot from an otherwise consistently good author, Popular Hits seems to draw from a weak conception/premise, "what if 5 socially geeky boys fought 5 middle-aged used-up women." although containing steady escalation of firepower, no real urgency/connection to social problems and/or sympathy invited with any character.
unlike Ryuu Murakami's other work, there is no 'dramatic necessity' to the writing. in classic RM, everything proceeds gruesomely by necessity in a conflict of claims resulting in believable and dramatically necessary violence. Hits of the Showa Era fails on both counts.
as the main review for the book says, 'hey it just escalates quickly.' why doesn't anybody just LEAVE and go to a distant countryside town. it's unnecessary vengeance, the pattern of which everyone sees.
also thermobaric bombs are not so easy to create.