Comics – Big in Japan

Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 22
Cover Date: May, 1999
Length: 11 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Cheryl walks by a room in the mansion and overhears Jason playing a sci-fi video game on the TV. He’s really into it. She’s shocked and screams “How can you play such a loud and violent game?!” This startles him.

Then he promptly tells her to chill the fuck out and resumes playing. Cheryl is sick of bloody “so-called” entertainment. She wishes for video games that encourage positive behavior, and then she names a bunch of stereotypically girly stuff to try to make video games appeal to more girls. I’m not sure that’s the best message to send. Then she blames violent games on Jason’s “savage” and “damaged” behavior, and she can fuck right off. Also, stereotypically girly games did exist in 1999; she just wasn’t looking. Anyway, Penelope walks by, overhears, and has an idea.

Penelope had just left a business meeting. They were trying to find a niche in the market. (Cheryl has to explain to Jason what a niche is, Penelope praises her, and Cheryl gets in a dig at Jason’s gaming habit.) Penelope has Cheryl write out her ideas, and Penelope will make a few phone calls to “get this girl video game product rolling”. Cheryl decides she needs to do some further research on this idea.

She decides to head down to Riverdale High and have the girls fill out forms on their video game preference. Penelope gets off the phone (that was way too short for a phone call) and says her business associates love the idea and are setting up a meeting for them at the end of the month. Penelope announces Cheryl will be spending her spring break in Japan. Cheryl is positively orgasmic over the news. She starts making a mental to-do list. Jason stalks off to play a video game (I guess he has another game console in his bedroom). Before we move on, I gotta point out Cheryl’s inconsistent eye coloring. On this one page, they change from dark blue to bright blue or blue-green.

The next day, at Riverdale High, holy shit, what’s with Betty’s hairstyle?! I’m sorry, I can’t get over this. Her hair’s down, but she’s got some of it tied up on top of her head. It looks like she’s got furry animal ears. What the fuck?

Anyway, the girls stop at Cheryl’s table in the hallway and fill out her forms. Betty exclaims “I love video games!” Veronica seems annoyed. Cheryl tells Betty that she’d be a great consumer. Cheryl explains what she and her mom are doing. Ronnie makes fun of Cheryl doing business, despite the fact that they’re essentially the same person: the spoiled rich daughter of a business tycoon that will, presumably, run the company someday. Cheryl mentions her upcoming trip to Japan. Ronnie makes light of it: “Big deal! Big there, done that! Got the kimono!” As Cheryl walks off with the forms, she gets in a parting shot: “Well, Miss Lodge, I’m sure your little Kodak moment in Japan was as common as rice!” Ronnie’s pissed. Betty and Ronnie somehow switch places for the final panel.

In Japan, Cheryl (carrying Sugar), Penelope, and Jamie exit the plane and enter the airport. Jamie informs Penelope that their connection is here, but it seems Cheryl has already spotted their host family as she exclaims “Konnichiwa, Nippon!” Penelope introduces herself, Cheryl, and Jamie (who she calls her chauffeur, even though Jamie’s been shown to drive Cheryl around). A girl named Kyoko Fujimoto introduces herself. She’s here with her chauffeur. Her father has sent her to welcome them. Her father will be their business associate here, and they’ll be guests in their home. Um, shouldn’t all of this have already been worked out before they even got on the plane? Cheryl compliments Kyoko’s “cute little outfit”, and Kyoko explains what a seifuku is. Imagining herself in one, Cheryl sees a new fashion trend coming to America. Um, sweetie, you do know Sailor Moon had already been airing in America for four years by this point, right? Whatever, Cheryl’s eyes are now a medium blue.

They arrive at Kyoko’s home. Penelope mentions Kyoko’s politeness to Cheryl, and Cheryl’s worried that she’ll never hear the end of it. Inside, Penelope is greeted by Kyoko’s parents, and Kyoko pulls Cheryl away to show her her room. Kyoko’s big on stuffed animals. She has a collection of toys based on “Japanese cartoon characters”. Cheryl loves them.

Kyoko talks about “cartoons” and shows off some Sailor Moon knockoff manga. Cheryl’s impressed and says she “could never get any of it back in America”. *bursts out laughing* You’re fucking kidding me! Kyoko offers to take Cheryl shopping at Tokyo’s Ginza district. Cheryl says “You can say I have a ‘yen’ for shopping!” *groan*

At Ginza, Cheryl, Jamie, and Kyoko have done some shopping. Cheryl’s hungry. Kyoko offers to take them to a very good udon noodle house. They go there, and Cheryl enjoys the noodles.

That week, Kyoko shows Cheryl all of the sights of Tokyo. Thanks to some Polaroids (presumably taken by Jamie), we know they went to a “cool” teahouse, fed ducks at Hamarikyu Gardens, and seemingly went to a Buddhist temple or shrine as well as another restaurant.

Back at Kyoko’s house, as Cheryl settles into bed for the night (Sugar has her own cushion next to the bed), she thanks Kyoko for the fun week. She’s glad that Kyoko’s father is letting Kyoko join the business meeting tomorrow. Kyoko is excited, wishes Cheryl to sleep well, and closes the door.

The next day, Penelope introduces some businessmen to Cheryl. Cheryl gives the presentation of her ideas, complete with concept art. These include Shopping with Cheryl, Adventures in Make-Up, and Mystery Blind Date – all starring Cheryl, of course. Cheryl is enthusiastic about and confident in her ideas. The dudes don’t get it, though. They make “videos” for their biggest audience: boys. Cheryl is shocked.

Her ideas are dismissed as “cute”. That tears it. Cheryl throws a massive temper tantrum and runs out, much to Kyoko’s horror. Oh, yeah, Kyoko’s here, too. Penelope runs after Cheryl. Kyoko is interested in Cheryl’s ideas and proposes some changes to “Papa-san”.

A few months later, Jason and Cheryl are sitting on a couch, reading. Penelope comes in with a package from Kyoko. It’s a video game. Kyoko says Cheryl inspired it. What? So they rejected her ideas but then went ahead and made a video game “inspired” by her. And then they fucking mailed her a copy? Was there no official follow-up? Who does business like this?

Cheryl is happy that “they finally came to their senses” and pops the disc in. The game features an anime Cheryl shopping at the Ginza district. Cheryl finds it sweet. She buys a dress in the game. Jason is bored. But the dress isn’t in her size, so Anime!Cheryl gets angry and morphs into a giant Godzilla-like monster that tears up Tokyo. Jason suddenly has a blast playing the video game, but Penelope and Cheryl are horrified.

This story was mostly fun but fell into stereotypes and made it seem like American teens knew far less about Japan than they did in 1999. Also, plenty of stereotypically girly games existed at the time. The business meeting was handled poorly. In fact, the entire premise to get Cheryl to Japan (as opposed to just going to Japan for spring break, because she fucking can) was poorly thought-out. Her dad is a software engineer! He could have set her up with a team to make her video games a reality! And that ending! I’d fucking sue.

Between parts 1 and 2 is a page of reader-submitted fashions titled “Mother & Daughter Blossom Fashions” by Holly G! featuring Penelope and Cheryl. The garden dresses are by Felisha Thomas of Carson, California, and the camo-outfits are by Montana Labelle of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

After the story is a 1-page Archie story called “Changin’ Times”. It doesn’t involve Cheryl.

Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

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