Yep, I’ve done it again. I read another manga. Well, shojo, to be more specific. We talked about the different types of manga last time, I believe.
The other day I was killing some time at the train station bookstore and, well, the title caught my eye. Now, the only “Scissor Sisters” I was familiar with were these guys:
They’re certainly no cute Japanese girls. And while it’s kind of nice that the above video starts out at a salon / barber shop… still, these two sets of ‘sisters’ are worlds apart.
Scissor Sisters is authored by Eiki Eiki and Daigo, a sister and brother team. Quite fitting, seeing that the Scissor Sisters, too, are siblings: five sisters, from teens to early twenties in age. The sisters run a beauty salon, but with a twist: they are secretly working for the Japanese government to protect the hair of Japan’s women from hair-eating aliens. Yep, you read that right. Hair-eating.
One day, Momoko, a clumsy / nervous beauty-school graduate looking for work, stumbles upon their salon (which, incidentally, looks like a shrine — because it used to be a shrine) and instantly falls in love with the place. All she wants is to work here. Now, Momoko is sweet and very pretty and has gorgeous hair, but she is also prone to messing up when she gets nervous, and the five sisters really don’t need another girl in the shop. Momoko leaves deflated.
And then it happens: she’s attacked by one of the hair-eating aliens! The Scissor Sisters come to her rescue (with weapons like ‘cuticle shampoo’ and ‘scissor sword’) and, in the process, blow their own cover. They pretty much don’t have a choice — they need to take Momoko into their confidence, and so Momoko gets her dream job. Or so she thinks.
There’s no denying the Sailor Moon vibe in this shojo, though it’s not just the same ol’ same ol’ — still, what’s a good shojo / manga super-heroine without the obligatory semi-nude transformation scene? We do get those. And the ridiculously shaped chests that come with the territory (for more on odd / ridiculous body shapes in comics of all sorts, visit this fun site: Escher Girls ).
Since the focus is on a beauty salon and protecting the hair of Japan’s women, I would have expected a little less of the latter, since that’s more targeting a male audience, but most of the sisters have fairly ample and unrealistic chests in a good number of panels.
What I’m saying, I guess, is that I’m not sure who the main audience is for this series. It does have the whole We-need-to-prevent-an-alien-invasion thing going, but really, at least throughout the first book the worst the aliens have done was leave women bald and wipe lovers’ feelings for each other. Not good, but hey, we’ll live. This is definitely a series you’d read for fun, without much emotional investment: a quick, light read with lots of pretty faces (and a cute… rabbit? dog? not sure what their pet is…).
Below is a cover ad for the series — note the “Hairdressers and Pretty Soldiers” tag line. “Pretty” and “Soldier” are not really two words you see in that combination very often, but it really is what, sadly, a lot of ‘strong’ female comic book characters are: hyper-feminine AND masculine, they are always a twofer: sexy and combat-ready. If you want to really get feminist on this, you could argue that the fact that especially in the Sailor Moon style stories the girls / women need to transform before they can really fight implies that as herself, woman is weak and vulnerable and unfit. It is only through a spell, a magic item, or some other outside force that she can be strong and heroic. Meh.
I don’t want to put you off shojo with this discussion. I’ll admit I enjoyed reading this odd book, with its whacky premise of hair-eating aliens and secret agent hairdressers. Good fun.
You can read Scissor Sisters here: http://www.mangatown.com/manga/scissor_sisters/v01/c001/ and if you like what you see, consider buying an actual hard copy — support the writers. Share the love!