Beauty Pop Volume 9

Beauty Pop Volume 9

Kiri and the Scissors Project are competing in the All-Japan Beauty Tournament in this installment, but instead of worrying about them almost not making it past the first round of competition, everyone’s more concerned about Kiri and Narumi accidentally kissing. Well, bumping lips, anyway.

As the characters are drawn reacting in exaggerated fashion, even for manga, the scene shows how this series by Kiyoko Arai has changed its focus. Instead of being about how makeovers change lives, now it’s all romance with a bit of competition thrown in. As I noted with volume 8, it’s become much more traditional in story points.

So the next question is, is it entertaining? For me, no. There’s not much character development or any memorable moments, so reading it feels like watching paper dolls being moved around. And there are too many people who do very little but clutter up the panels and demonstrate their defining gimmick every time we see them. In short, the cast is boring and there are too many of them for my taste.

Beauty Pop Volume 9

Then there are the obvious devices that only happen in bad fiction. For instance, Narumi gets a rash when a girl touches him, except Kiri can now touch him without him breaking out. Oh, it must be a sign. Like we hadn’t already figured out that he had feelings for her based on how he was moping around.

The second round of the competition involves cutting the hair of a child, which results in some low comedy based on his obnoxious behavior. After that, there’s a much-too-long sequence about whether Kiri can spend the night alone without being scared. A lot of this feels like padding just to build the page count. And since the art is flat and pedestrian, that’s not a reason to keep following this series either.

There were hints of more intriguing plots beginning to bubble in the background, like Narumi’s relationship with his father, a previous competitor of Kiri’s dad, but they seem to be have been forgotten in favor of much more generic stuff. I had to force myself to finish reading it; as a result, I’m no longer interested in this series. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

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