Super Sentai Speculation: What Could Have Become The Reason Why Mako Shiraishi's Characterization Ended Up The Way She Was Written?
Now take MANY deep breaths as you can whether you like her or not... because as a Mako Shiraishi fan (Though I'm still more inclined to like all the 90s pink much better, sigh what's wrong with post-Timeranger?!)... this is going to be full of preposterous speculations from me. I'll draw in some facts and I'll give in some of my assumptions of what really happened behind the scenes.
Now for the basic facts. Yasuko Kobayashi prior to her first Sentai headwriting job, she wrote 14 episodes of Megaranger as a sub-writer so at least she should be familiar with the Megarangers. Well Miku being spacey isn't her idea.. but she may have copied the concept into Kagura. Now let's think about the fact that she is the headwriter of Gingaman and Timeranger, both 90s Sentai when action for all rangers and villains was really badass. I mean just think... the 80s-90s had REAL badass for almost every color. But I'll just focus on pink since Mako is pink.
Saya is a strong but shy girl... and elegant but badass pinks were common fodder back in the 80s-90s when almost everyone had incredible badass moments. For example, back in the pre-Zyuranger days you have Mai from Changeman and for one I'm very famililar with... Momoko from Maskman who is elegant yet she is really one huge eye bruiser and not just eye candy. Yuuri, perhaps Kobayashi's best shade of pink... like just take how Mika Katsumura can really fight a lot out of suit.
Now it's time to understand Yasuko Kobayashi and all her pre-Shinkenger works. Now I can only make a partial analysis. For one, Ryuki was her first headwriting work and it was one messy work at the end of the series. She was also the headwriter of the Anime series Shagukan no Shana and Witchblade which featured female main characters... both I haven't really seen. She also had little involvement in Winspector, Janperson, Blue SWAT, B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto,
Now I think I want to focus more on Sentai. While she's the headwriter of Gingaman and Boukenger, she was the sub-writer for Megaranger, Gogo V and Boukenger. So I was thinking what caused Mako to be written that way? Now most of the events here are most likely just Wild Mass Guesses of sorts so remember, it's more opinion than fact!
NOW TAKE AS MANY DEEP BREATHS AS YOU CAN BEFORE YOU READ THIS!!!! GET ALL YOUR HEART MEDICINE AND EVERYTHING BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO READ ME JUST SPECULATING. NOW REMEMBER, MOST OF THIS IS SPECULATIVE AND I'LL STATE FACTS AS WELL. GET YOUR REBREATHER AND EVERYTHING!!!
The time and the setting. Remember Shinkenger takes place AFTER Timeranger. For Timeranger, I believe they are the last of the truly really badass group. Now it's highly possible for these personality types were to be fit into Mako. I guess she wanted Mako to be written more or less like Yuuri in Timeranger. Rin Takanashi I believe could pull out that role even if Mika Katsumura is a better actress for me. Seeing she also wrote Gokusen as a sub-writer where she may have wanted Mako to be like Kumiko Yamaguchi. Now looking at Gaoranger up to Go-onger, one can notice a lot less action and two, more CGI which is radically different than most Sentai which forces you to tone things down or try a different approach. Three, much less badass and their badasses usually pale to others.
Yasuko Kobayashi wrote that episode involving Sakura getting really badass. Now I wonder if time and setting would have criticized her for writing that scene where Sakura and Natsuki both got into a reckless rage (The Boukengers are most likely drunks). Then again Yuuri vs. Sakura, Yuuri wins. I just thought circumstances not executives may have forced her to bend her script a little more before Mako's characterization was completed. I can blame circumstances... in fact I believe she wanted to make Ryuki a tragedy but executives meddled in to make her write that stupid finale. You might as well consider producers wanted less seriousness and more fun. Then again, maybe she felt she needed to experiment a little bit more than repeat the concept on Mako.
Mako Shiraishi's character is mixture of traditional and modern values. Traditionally she dreams of becoming a bride and a normal housewife BUT you can see some modern values. Like Mako's not overly conservative... she's even taken a job as a teacher (weird that Kimberly stated in her MMPR fan club video, she wanted to be a teacher), she dresses up in Western clothes and earning her own income. Actually, it's only normal for some women to have the choice of marriage and becoming a homemaker (then later return to career without ruining the family).... maybe Kotoha in a way, has the same view but the series won't place it into her because she's still that young (while her actress Suzuka Morita was an adult during that time, her character wasn't). Even at the end of Shinkenger, she chose to try and bond with her parents after they were forced to leave her to take her mother's post. Now I'm trying to think of why she was characterized the way she is.
Now I was thinking about how Kobayashi even wanted Mako to be when she wrote her in draft. In my opinion, I thought Mako could have been better IF she were more like Yuuri. Why is that? I mean, let's just think about the episode where Ryunosuke mistook her concern for him. I kind of wanted to think of Mako could have been better if she were like Yuuri. Now that's my opinion and I think Rin Takanashi can perform it. But it made me think that as a writer, she wanted to try new stuff but still, I thought that Mako being another Yuuri may have been better. If executives didn't pressure her to try something new, maybe she thought that making Mako like Yuuri may result to utter redundancy. After all, her four pinks are of different shades and character, first two really stand out the other two don't... not that they can't fight but like most Sentai today, I'm not much impressed with how post-Timeranger seasons are with overall performance.
Now on the bad cook part. I don't know what may have happened behind the scenes so again I'm going to say I'm just speculating. Maybe Mako was already a bad cook at the draft, maybe she was meant to be very cold and stern. But I guess Yasuko Kobayashi wanted to add some comedy considering Shinkenger is much less serious than Timeranger... sure it has its serious moments but like most Sentai/ you get 50/50 on lighter themes and darker themes... Shinkenger is more or less like that.
My speculation may also be she's partly based on Kaoru Kamiya from Rurouni Kenshin, both terrible cooks. But unlike Kaoru Kamiya, Mako is less violent but both are very easy to annoy. I mean, who can't forget the fact Mako hit Ryunosuke with her magazine? Then again, that's a very common reaction that happens when anybody gets angry. Mako on the other hand won't use any physical force on any team members but maybe she will do it on Spike. Then again, being in a samurai setting may have actually demanded all members to have a certain degree of being traditional.
One may take a look that prior to Shinkenger, Rin Takanashi the actress already presented her good cooking on Doki Doki TV. Whether or not the actress made a suggestion is highly unlikely. Maybe they all wanted to test the actress' acting skills by making her play a character who's a bad cook. Maybe Yasuko Kobayashi ended up keeping the bad cook part to see if the actress can pull out the role as a bad cook. Maybe at the same time, she thought Rin Takanashi may not be as good an actress as Mika Katsumura to play a tsundere part.
NOW FOR AN EVEN MORE PREPOSTEROUS SPECULATION... DON'T CONTINUE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO! TAKE MANY DEEP BREATHS IF YOU NEED TO!
Now it's just coincidental (mostly) but what if Yasuko Kobayashi had her own thoughts based on timing, setting and trend? It's possible. Kamen Rider Decade was shown on January 25, 2009 and Shinkenger was aired on February 15, 2009. Now what's my wild assumption got to do with Kamen Rider Decade? If you remember, Kamen Rider Decade had a crossover with Samurai Sentai Shinkenger for two episodes.
MMPR had a three parter called "A Friend in Need" which featured an unofficial crossover of Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, in the form of Saban's Masked Rider crossing over with Power Rangers. The reason was to promote Saban's Masked Rider which became a failure. Now my speculation or wild mass guess may be Yasuko Kobayashi had already established the Shinkengers, maybe she already drafted Mako to be another Yuuri but she ended up changing things at the last minute for Mako only. Again, this is a series of speculations, nothing more.
Now here's what I think... Mako could both have a Yuuri-like personality while wanting to be a wife and mother (ex. Some women politicians are help meets to their politican husbands and has had time to raise kids) but she decided to go scrap it off. Either she felt redundant or she face-palmed about Kimberly's situation (being sick) in "A Friend in Need" again, maybe it's just coincidence. Then she decided to try and add Kimberly's personality instead of Yuuri... and Mako is semi-traditional. She wants to become a normal bride and mother... while she's wearing very western clothes and not an overly martyr type... I mean you can still be modern in one way, traditional in another. I just thought of it that Mako and Kimberly may have a few similarities. Both are fashionable (Mako is more conservative but still very Western way of dressing), very blunt, get easily annoyed and loves children. Then again, it's probably just all coincidence and the two aren't all too similar either. I guess also Mako was supposed to be an archer but the replaced her weapon with a fan instead.
Eventually Yasuko Kobayashi got the mix she wanted and Mako came out the way she was. Overall, this is just my massive speculation on Mako's character development.