A MASSPRODUCTION COLUMN (09/30/98)
Are Recent Heroines in Japan Geniuses?
Miki Nagasawa played the role of the heroine in "Princess Nine." As I wrote at this column, the anime deals with Japanese-style sports spirits.
Thirty years ago, Late Ikki Kajiwara created "Kyojin No Hoshi (Star of Yomiuri Giants)." The hero was Hyuma Hoshi of Yomiuri Giants. He had to make efforts in order to win games. Their rivals were geniuses. Therefore he often lose games.
Parodies on Kyojin No Hoshi sometimes appear in TV commercial films. At present, Hideki Matsui, a young slugger of Yomiuri Giants, plays the role of "Mobile No Hoshi (Star of Mobile Computing)" at a CF on Fujitsu portable PC.
Ten years ago, Naoki Urasawa, a famous cartoonist, created "YAWARA!" The heroine was Yawara Inokuma, a high school student. She was good at judo. However she wanted a sweet love. She was a genius. She had a rival, Sayaka Hon-ami. Her father was a millionaire. Ms Hon-ami was not a genius. She had to make efforts. But she was always defeated by Yawara.
This time NHK and Norihoshi Date, a music producer, created "Princess Nine." The heroine was Ryo Hayakawa. She was a pitcher. She was also a genius. She also had a rival, Izumi Himuro. Her mother was a millionaire. Izumi was not a genius. She had to make efforts. She was also a tearjerker. But she could not hit Ryo's fast balls.
I made a table on these three stories.
|Spirits and Efforts Will Make A Drama|
|Titles||Kyojin No Hoshi||YAWARA!||Princess Nine||Glass No Kamen|
|Authors||Ikki Kajiwara||Naoki Urasawa||Norihoshi Date||Suzue Miuchi|
|Hero, Heroine||Hyuma Hoshi||Yawara Inokuma||Ryo Hayakawa||Maya Kitajima|
|Genius or not||No||A Genius||A Genius||A Genius|
|Rich or not||Rather Poor||Not rich||Not rich||Very Poor|
|Sports||A Professional Pitcher of Yomiuri Giants||A Judo Wrestler, A World Champion||A Pitcher, A high schoo student||An Actress|
|Fathers||A Coach, thereafter he coached for Chunichi Dragons, Hyuma's Rival Team||Lost, thereafter he coached for Sayaka, her rival||Dead five years ago||Dead|
|Secret Arts||Major League's Ball||Ippon Zeoi||Inazuma Ball||She subjects herself to suggestion on her role.|
|Rivals||Mitsuru Hanagata||Sayaka Hon-ami||Izumi Himuro||Ayumi Himekawa|
|Genius or not||A Genius||No||No||No|
|Rich or not||A millionaire||A millionaire||A millionaire||A millionaire|
|Sports||A Professional Slugger of Hanshin Tigers||A Judo Wrestler||A Slugger of Ryo's team||An Actress|
Producers of NHK thought female high school students would not make efforts for sports. They created Yoko Tokashiki and Nene Mouri. The two character were easy-going. Moreover NHK producers let Ryo not want to train herself.
However the character of Izumi Himuro began to grow up into a sportswoman with Japanese-style sportsmanship. She always had a lot of scars on her palms. She trained herself very hard in secret.
If she played the important role in a baseball game, it seemed that she helped her rival Ryo. Ryo always thanked Izumi. Friendship among the team led Ryo's secret art "Inazuma Ball."
Generally speaking, Japanese-style sportsmanship consists of Tough Spirits and Steady Efforts. Traditional sportsmen and coaches still think spirits and efforts (Konjou To Doryoku) lead the championship.
Ten years ago, Japan experienced bubble economy. In the bubble, some laborers forgot spirits and efforts. Some rich people in Japan still forget spirits and efforts.
On the other hand, Japan is very poor. Many laborers lost their jobs. So laborers like spirits, efforts and their tearjerkers. Last year (1997), as you know, Battle Athletess Daiundoukai was very popular. In the story, some characters made extreme efforts. Japanese began to lay stress on spirits and efforts again.
When Japanese Football National Team was defeated in France in 1998, Luis Ramos, a famous aged player of Kawasaki club, said, "They need spirits and efforts."
Some rich people blamed Ramos for the opinion. But most of Japanese took Ramos' side. At present, Japanese love spirits and efforts.
This pattern appears at entertainment business.
TV-Asahi (ANB) broadcast a drama program "Glass No Kamen" based on Suzue Miuchi's cartoon. In the drama, Ms Yumi Adachi played the role of Maya Kitajima. Yumi Adachi is a teenager actress. She played the various roles at many titles for many years. It is said she is a genius. "Glass No Kamen" needs high quality skill on performance. Of course, her performance is very good. On the other hand, Ms Megumi Matsumoto, an idol star who played the role of Rimururu from Samurai Shodown, played the role of Maya's rival Ayumi Himekawa. She is famous for her beauty. She is also a teenager. She has played the role of Ayumi twice. It is said her performance is improved very much. At present, she also plays the various roles at many titles because she has studied Yumi Adachi's performance.
On the other hand, Glass No Kamen is an old title. Formerly a genius actress appeared. Her name was Shinobu Ootake. She got popular when she was a teenager. It was said her performance was very excellent. She won several awards on entertainment and performance. It was said Maya meant Shinobu.
Thereafter a genius actress appeared. Her name was Yuki Saitou. She was also famous as an idol star. She also got popular when she was a teenager. She played the role of heroines in Kazuki Oomori's movies. She also won several awards on entertainment and performance.
Now Yumi Adachi is very popular. But she is a plain girl. These three genius actresses had no rivals. Shinobu Ootake is a good performer, but not excellent at present. Yuki Saitou is married and has few jobs.
In the real world, we Japanese have had few geniuses. Moreover such few geniuses have had few rivals. So they have not made efforts. Of course, they have not made a drama.
"Princess Nine - Baseball Club of Kisaragi Women's Senior High School" Copyright (C) Norihoshi Date/ Phoenix Entertainment, NEP21, Kakeru Takamine 1998
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