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Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly

Review

Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly

 

Liliko is the hottest fashion model and celebrity in Japan. But she’s literally falling apart. It takes countless surgeries to keep her looking like a star, and now that constant work on her face and body is having serious repercussions.

 

Kyoko Okazaki has been a pioneer of women’s-issue-focused manga for decades. She is fearless in her depictions of sex, cultural and political issues, and her examinations of fame and our societal obsessions. She tears through boundaries in Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly, which shows the very ugliest side of fame and fortune.

 

This story was first serialized in the mid-’90s and then published in 2003; Vertical has rereleased the book following its adaptation into a film. It is definitely for adults, featuring graphic sex, language, and nudity.

 

It’s more than just a grim look at fashion, however. As Liliko continues to need more cosmetic surgeries, she is forced to rely more and more on the work of a shady surgeon. But that surgeon is up to some very suspicious things, and that has caught the eye of a police investigator. Meanwhile, Liliko’s relationship with her wealthy fiancé ends abruptly, causing her to go off the deep end even more. Violence and intrigue ensue.

 

The overall effect of HELTER SKELTER’s story is grim, horrifying, and even a little off-putting at points. It’s not a story for everyone, but its intense commentary on modern obsessions with celebrity is often spot-on. 

Reviewed by John Hogan on November 6, 2013

Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly
by Kyoko Okazaki

  • Publication Date: August 20, 2013
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical
  • ISBN-10: 1935654837
  • ISBN-13: 9781935654834