Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly

Alt title: Helter Skelter

Vol: 1; Ch: 9
1995 - 2003
3.68 out of 5 from 370 votes
Rank #17,636
Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly

Ririko is Japan's top fashion model; her image is on every magazine cover and in everyone's mind. But in private, Ririko is very unhappy, confused and lost. Overworked and tired, she turns to dangerous experimental procedures to maintain her youth and beauty. However, soon it's not enough and Ririko begins to fall into a downward spiral filled with lies, surgery, and blackmail. Just how far is Ririko willing to go to stay on top? And who is the true woman behind all the make up and rumors?

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The manga's decent enough, but it starts feeling sorta repetitive as Liliko keeps spiraling downward in a predictable way. It also starts feeling heavy-handed the way it keeps hammering home its theme of the extremes that people will go to in order to achieve youthful beauty and fame. It also shows how Liliko cover up the emotional void and anxiety within femself by being sexually "adventurous" and by causing other people pain. Though, honestly, the heavyhandedness wasn't that big of a deal. And the predictability of the downward spiral also wasn't that big of a deal, because there was hope for an interesting payoff at the end. The biggest problem was that there was all of this build-up and foreshadowing regarding the detective and stuff, but then the story just kinda fizzled and plopped to an end. The climax was so lackluster that I wouldn't even call it a climax. And then the final chapter started doing this weird abstract, poetic thing that felt entirely out of place and also nonsensical. Why are Asada and Liliko being treated as though there's some kind of fate connection between the two of them? That's just stupid. It was a disappointing ending to a story that, before then, was actually pretty engaging. I liked the mad scientist vibes of that one scene in chapter 3, and I sorta wish the series leaned further into that and maybe went full sci-fi or something. I liked the way police reports, tabloid articles, and random perspectives from fangirls were used as narrative tools. They helped emphasize how Liliko is in the public spotlight and, with the police reports, also helped create a sense of tension and intrigue as to what'll happen down the line. Though, like I said before, that built-up tension ends up building up to nothing really worthwhile. The art style is haphazard and sketchy. Though even though the proportions are frequently skewed and it feels like it completely lacks in detail, the perspectives and vibes of the scenes are on point. Sometimes I confused Kin and Hada as well as some of the other characters for each other. 

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