As Clown World is ramping up, I’m more interested in escapism than following news on a new “caravan” of hundreds of thousands of soon-to-be legal immigrants from Central America moving towards the U.S. border, Biden’s plan to print another 1.9 trillion dollars, or the never ending “lockdown” in the West to combat a virus that is about as deadly as the flu because it is the flu. Wherever you lock it’s just wall-to-wall bullshit. Thankfully there are two things to keep your spirits up: Japanese video games and (Japanese) mangas.
One manga I quite enjoyed last year was High Score Girl. It’s about two teenagers, boy and girl, who can’t talk about their feelings for each other but instead express them as they play various arcade games. It is set in the 1990s, which was arguably the last hurrah of that industry, starting with Street Fighter II bursting onto the scene in 1991. To spice up the love story, there is also another, and a more attractive, female character who has a crush on the male protagonist but who gets rejected. That female character is the main protagonist in the spin-off “High Score Girl Dash”. The “Dash” in the title is an allusion to Street Fighter II, the first update of which was SF II’, spelled “dash” instead of the correct “prime”, but video game journalists were uneducated morons thirty years ago already and the name stuck (a ‘dash’ is a horizontal stroke you use for indicating on omission or a — pause).
Anyway, High Score Girl Dash took me completely by surprise, both in terms of the protagonist and the story. Arcade games are only a minor focus. Instead, we get reintroduced to Hidaka-san, the cute blonde teenage girl who did not get laid with the male protagonist in the original High Score Girl. About ten years later she is in her late twenties and working as a teacher. In the opening chapter, she attends the wedding of a friend who openly mocks her:
Then the manga goes on to mock men who marry “ugly and slightly noisy” women. It is implied that the bride is of a similar age as Hidaka, and in Japanese culture, unmarried women in their late 20s enjoy low social status, similar to China.
Hidaka is single and lives in a small apartment. Her life sucks and she’s aware of it. Look at how beautifully this is expressed in these panels:
At school, an ugly single male teacher hits on her, which disgusts Hidaka-san. The old, short, and unattractive female principal hates her, telling her to turn into a “plain woman”. Here are some key panels:
The manga touches some rather heavy topics later on, such as bullying, parental neglect, and domestic abuse. This is done in a pretty intelligent way, too, i.e. a lot is communicated between the lines, similar to how some mangas with big-boobed chicks slip in serious topics that you may completely miss if you only want to look at waifus, not that anybody would ever do such a thing.
(Article continues below.)
Break: To show your appreciation for this article and ensure the survival of this blog, please consider making a donation.
I think High Score Girl Dash would not be possible in the West. While there is plenty of depressing media to be found (just turn on the news!), it is rare that a creator would put the finger in the wound that has been created by women’s liberation. In the West, we feed our teenage girls empowerment porn, even though we have been able to observe the negative consequences both for society as well as women themselves for decades. More women than ever before are on anti-depressants, for instance. Women have never been less happy.
High-Score Girl Dash had a particular effect on me when it showed Hidaka-san entering her small apartment. She then lies down on her bed, listlessly. This reminded me of some women I pulled who were already figuratively with their back against the wall or, hopefully, on the brink of realizing that their life is in shambles, which might help them to fix the mess they were in. It’s one thing to go home with some chick who shares an apartment with some other chicks who are all in their early 20s. Yet, plenty of women are seemingly not able to move beyond that, particularly in expensive cities. Surely, it can’t be desireable for them to live the same kind of life in their 30s.
Once I had a one-night stand with a woman who lived in a very small studio apartment in a big European city. When I entered it, a pinch of sadness hit me. It was not my job to set her straight, but I think she was missing a strong father figure who should have told her, years ago, that her life plan is nonsense. What is worse, she put on a fake, exuberant persona. I would have liked to grab her by the shoulders and shake her, asking if she’s fine living like that, and where she thinks she’ll be in ten or fifteen years.
I was reminded of the previous episode just the other day when a work colleague had sent out an email. He was trying to help a female friend of his find a place to stay. When I read that email, I asked myself why, as a society, we are doing this to our women. In short, his friend was 42 years old, single female without steady income. She was looking for a room in a shared apartment, preferably at least 15 square meters big. I do not intend to sound too cynical, but what economic purpose does this person have? She does not have any biological purpose either as her fertility window has closed. The rest of her life will consist of boredom and suffering. My colleague also attached a picture of her. She had short hair, dyed in feminist pink. You can bet that woman berated her peers in her younger years when they wanted to settle down. You can now say that this is poetic justice — and you would be right! Yet, this is an expression of a life clearly wasted.
Unfortunately, Western media does not push sad but true stories of women who are running their life into the ground. I wonder if it would help if we did so. On the other hand, it seems that there is now a generational change afoot, with Zoomers being much more conservative than Millennials. We have not seen many millennial housewives, but I’d say that Zoomer women will be much more willing to jump on the opportunity, should it present itself. Partly, this would be due to a more difficult labor market, but surely them being aware of women in their community or wider social circle who ended up as sad, constantly drunk cat ladies would be a factor in that decision as well.
This blog depends on your contributions. So, share your view and comment on this article (comment policy). Then, to ensure the survival of this blog, donate. If you haven’t bought Aaron’s books yet, buy them, all of them. Lastly, if you want tailored and honest advice, book some one-on-one consultation sessions.