Thursday, July 20, 2006

Just as a by the by, Skip Beat is just as nifty as I was promised by Big Dave. For all those who've been grousing about the anti-feminist tendencies of shoujo heroines, I offer you Skip Beat's Kyoko.

Kyoko starts out as a sweet-tempered milquetoast worker-bee doormat for her would-be pop-star drone of a boyfriend, Sho. He essentially ran away from home & his parents' attempts to get him to marry some dull girl & take over the family inn. His purpose in doing this was to become a "celebrity" (damnit, I can give you odds that this term was almost certainly "idol" before the translator got a hold of it). As he left his hick town, he idly managed to talk childhood friend Kyoko into running away to Tokyo with him, inspiring her to drop out of school and work multiple jobs in support of his pretty, indolent, rather insolent self. She's his biggest supporter, and aside from a certain manic intensity, is your basic self-sacrificing shoujo heroine.

That is, until she overhears him bragging to his manager how he basically considers her a "servant", is kind of contemptuous about how little effort it took to talk her into leaving with him, and drops the news in passing that he's getting the education she's denied herself & that *she* was the "dull girl" his parents were trying to get him to marry. At this point our heroine kind of suffers a full-on psychotic break, and transforms into a *much* more interesting character, one organized around rage, vengeance, and irritability. All while striving to become an idol/celebrity herself, mostly just to spite her ex.

It's a ball, and I can only hope the mangaka doesn't let her revert *too* much to her original self-denying sweetness, although there is some suggestion that this will be the essential thematic conflict. That is, our heroine is a bitter, enraged, alarming personage attempting to make it in a career which rewards sweetness, inoffensiveness, and lovability. The people at the talent agency find themselves stampeded a little bit by the sheer intensity of her new-lit bonfire of a personality, but at the same time quite professionally certain that she'll never make it, because she refuses to be "loved". It's a promising train-wreck, if the author can pull it off.

OK, I admit it, I mostly posted this just to get that new Greg Mankiw blog link up on the blogroll. But Skip Beat is pretty keen.

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