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I recently posted about Kago’s new line of “adult” photos that people have been harping about. I’ve been thinking about it more lately, though, and I’ve tried to figure out how Kago’s image changed so rapidly, and why. It’s one thing to say that she’s just doing it because H!P kept her in the same idol mold for too long, and quite another to display it in such a way that is is a believable conclusion. Then, I discovered what made the most sense to me about how she became like this:
kbed
Some of you may be anime fans. Maybe you’ve heard of Satoshi Kon? He’s directed a lot of great things: Paranoia Agent, Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, etc. But the first of them all… was Perfect Blue. It follows the story of Mima Kirigoe as she transitions from part of the idol group CHAM into an actress. Already sounding familiar?

Now, there are important differences to note between “Aibon”‘s life, and that of “Mimarin” in an animated feature. Perfect Blue is a psychological thriller, to start with. There are serial murders happening around Mima involving people key to the change in her image. In a way, she’s kind of going crazy as her life starts to drastically change. Last I checked, not so with Aibon.
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The thing that made me find the parallel here, though, is a certain scene. The two girls leftover in CHAM start anew and are backstage talking before an appearance. They reveal that Mima is about to do a photoshoot with a photographer who’s well-known for getting girls to take it all off. Mima does indeed do so, and doesn’t outwardly show any signs of disliking it. It isn’t until later that we see her disgust.
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Mima’s first dorama is actually something of a bit part in a drama as a dead character’s sister in a murder mystery drama, only her part evolves to something bigger as her manager promises that she’ll do just about anything, and that it doesn’t matter because she’s graduated from being a pop idol. This gives her a much larger part, but it culminates with a rape scene. Her second manager doesn’t think this is a good idea, but Mima agrees to go along with it anyway.scantily
The pertinent line that Mima screams as she’s tearing apart her small apartment and throwing herself on her bed is this: “Of course I didn’t want to do it! But I couldn’t trouble all the people who brought me this far!”
bikini
Is this what is happening with Kago? Someone (her manager?) brought up the idea of the photobook to her, but it’s someone who helped her get back to where she is now so that she felt she couldn’t say no? It makes sense. Kago does look uncomfortable in a lot of her new pics. I argued that she probably wouldn’t have done them if she hadn’t wanted to, but that doesn’t mean that it was her preference.
backstage
Kago is finally making a name for herself, post-H!P, post-scandal, post-childhood, etc. FRIDAY is even talking about her again, trying to claim she’s in some big illicit relationship again. Only, this time? Kago’s management is denying it, and Kago wouldn’t even be “in trouble” if it was true this time. She’s 20… old enough to be allowed to make her own decisions. We, as fans, can only hope she’s making the best ones she can. After what she’s been though and seen, though, I think she will. I have confidence that this Kago will be the Kago that people will truly love forever.
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There are several other lines from Perfect Blue that relate here, and one in particular comes to mind in light of this. Mima, in a scene that blurs between her role in the drama and her reality, says “I’m a pop idol! No… I’m an actress. That’s right… I’m an actress.”

Kago had no plans in the beginning to get back into singing. She was strictly going to be an actress. Now, she’s writing her own music that will start to drop in a few months (something I’m eagerly awaiting). She’s heading back to being an idol, but with a better head on her shoulders, and stronger hands to hold her up if she starts to fall. Yet, she’s not giving up acting in the slightest. It’s kind of wonderful, though to be true, I’m finding that while I like her acting, it doesn’t grab me like when she sings. I’ll keep watching though, because it’s still enough, or at least is for now.
actress
Kago has changed a lot since her debut way back when. I sometimes wonder if she looks in the mirror and fails to see that part of herself that was with her for her H!P years. To quote a last line from Mima… her first lines in her first drama were “Excuse me… who are you?”, and it’s a phrase that is repeated quite often throughout the movie. I wonder if getting back into singing is Kago’s way of reclaiming that part of her life she feels was taken away.

Regardless, I wish her luck, and look forward to seeing the future with Kago in it.

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