Silly Confession: How I Feel Mako Shiraishi Fills My Kimberly Hart Nostalgia Void!
It's no denial that I'm a Mako Shiraishi fan although she's definitely NOT top-tier like Yuuri, Lin and Momoko though I find her better than Saya. The whole event started with Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, my first Super Sentai series I saw from start to end with Yasuko Kobayashi as its headwriter. She's still in my list of favorite pinks. I cannot deny that until now, she's still in that list. As of late, Mako went down from my first favorite Kobayashi pink to my second favorite Kobayashi pink thanks to Yuuri/Time Pink.
Just a bit of background for a start. I would admit that I did return to Sentai because of other girls like Nanami, Ranru, Jasmine and Sakura and my favorite from that list is Jasmine. But I cannot deny that even Jasmine didn't really fill my void. Now I wonder why for some reasons did Kimberly stick into my head like glue. Even after seeing Megaranger's Chisato, I still think Kimberly's hotter. Then after so and so, it just got dumber and dumber.
Moving on... I'd like to discuss how Mako filled my Kimberly Hart Nostalgia void! It sounds stupid but I felt I wanted to write confessions related to Super Sentai every now and then. Now remember, this is MY OPINION and it is not fact. My fandom for Mako is widely exposed, too obvious and I simply would like to talk about one part of her that is my silly and pitiful reason for liking her. That is IMO, she filled my Kimberly Hart Nostalgia void. And isn't that really a silly reason to like her right?
So how did Mako Shiraishi as a character fill my Kimberly Hart Nostalgia void? Here's a bit of relative and factual about Mako and Kimberly. Hot can be relative... and during that time, I still considered Kimberly hotter than any PR or Sentai girl while Mr. Smith gave the title to Jasmine. Looking at Mako and Kimberly, they are both pink rangers, they love children and they are fanboy material (this is more relative). So how did Mako fill that void? So I can discuss a few points about Mako piece by piece. It wasn't an instant effect, it slowly emerged.
Now remember this is mostly opinion... and a silly confession!
Now remember the first episode... Mako is a pre-school teacher. The reason why she was a pre-school teacher wasn't explained at first until a few episodes in Mako's rather slow development. The reason why she became a schoolteacher was revealed in episode 12... with Kotoha. She wanted to provide kids a better childhood which she never had. Remember, she didn't have a normal childhood because of family issues like her mom was too sick... so she had to be left in Japan to fulfill her incapacitated mother's footsteps. Being a schoolteacher was how she helped children, to give them a better childhood that she never had. But what does this have to do with the Kimberly nostalgia void?
In this MMPR Fan Club video, Kimberly stated that she wanted to become a schoolteacher. Now Kimberly's fate after MMPR is never known or what she was doing. Still, I can't help but make a comparison at what is merely mere coincidence. It's most likely just a coincidence. Still, I can't help that whether it's intentional or unintentional.... even Mako's first episode brought me a bit of Kimberly nostalgia with her being a teacher (2:09-2:13).
Even episode one began my stupid reasons to like her... and I've been caught red-handed FOR A LONG TIME. Well yeah, I'm crazy and I admit it. Even the first episode was really getting me into her. Then I was already reminded of activities I did before. Also, it reminded me of the stupid reason why I watched MMPR as a child. Shinkenger for a good portion of it during my first run anyway was just me looking at her. I soon felt like a child stuck in an adult's body during the time Shinkenger ran. I would always consider it for now, that while I still like Mako was a pink ranger but I've liked her or stupid reasons. Just think.. it should be a pity of a gorgeous girl with a kind heart has her kindness unnoticed. Both Kimberly and Mako were pretty and sexy characters.
In episode 4 "Nightly Tears of Sympathy" I felt like it was a better and different take on "Different Drum" which is I'll confess, forced comparison. Remember when Billy fell down and Kimberly told him that it's not the way to meet girls, not helping him up? If Kimberly shows her being blunt and easily annoyed, so does Mako. She directly tells Ryunosuke straight at his face, "You're annoying." then hit him when he annoyed her all the more. It was a bit more dignified than Kimberly's "Let me tell you a little secret, this is not the way to meet girls." thing although she didn't have to hit Ryunosuke but at least, she wasn't mocking him. Funny how that act somewhat impressed Chiaki, Takeru and Jii... though I would have already done the same in her place!
The episode also featured how Mako was as a character. Like Kimberly, she tends to help broken people. Kimberly dealt with a deaf/mute girl named Melissa, Mako here dealt with a child and Ryunosuke. Ryunosuke actually gets some butt monkey here from eating food fiasco to Mako dropping the reality of the situation. He thought Mako was interested in him in some way... which he saw it the hard way that she wasn't. Okay nothing romantic here... it's a huge misconception. The reason why she got blunt again at the end of the episode was... she had to really tell him the truth that she only wanted to help him, nothing more.
The episode where children got replaced with what Mako calls as "that thing" was another episode. Now Kotoha did have focus in that episode... no questions asked. She and Mako saved the day in that episode. I found that episode to be a nice tribute to the girls. At the same time, I had a thought that Mako's love for children in that episode further gave me the Kimberly nostalgia, even if Kimberly's not the first pink in either Super Sentai or Power Rangers to do so.
It just added to the Kimberly Hart Nostalgia void I wanted to be filled with Mako's smiles. Her smiling faces reminded me of Kimberly's smiles. I just couldn't help but think she filled that void. The more I saw Mako's smile, the more I was reminded of Kimberly's smiles. Now other smiles were also nice like for instance, Jasmine's smile.
It was Mako's smile that reminded me of Kimberly's smile. For my silly reason for that beautiful smile, they're both hot and pink... though hot can be relative. And I would still admit I have liked her for shallow and stupid reasons... the same shallow reasons why I like Kimberly Hart... and why I continue to curse the writers of the "Dear John letter" in Zeo. Watching Shinkenger for Mako reminded me of watching MMPR for Kimberly. Yeah I know it sounds stupid but I was there. Rin Takanashi during Shinkenger reminded me of Amy Jo Johnson during MMPR's first run.
One trait Mako shares with Kimberly is her sub-par fighting. Sometimes I cannot help but comment that she's possibly the weakest (physically) of the group but she makes it up with her wits. So at least, she's balanced compared to Natsuki. Kimberly was a witty person, she was also one. She's not impressive in fighting except episode 34 where she actually goes so mad, she beats Akumaro in full rage. Akumaro is forced to retreat but that's the only time I think she was really showing her fighting ability solo.
Like Kimberly, Mako hardly gets development becoming more eye candy than character. As much as I like the character, I wonder why in the world do we have to wait until episode 34 to know more about her?! In a way, Mako tends to become a display item instead of a character. Episode 13 featured a bit of her development... A BIT. We know more about the families of Takeru (his biological father), Chiaki's father, Ryunosuke's father and Kotoha's sister. We also know Genta is a sushi seller. Mako's parents appear in episode 34 revealing her family life which should have been done earlier. But we do have a positive side about Mako. Although she lacks development, the rest of Shinkenger features her as the big sister, sweet character.
Yet another thing worth pointing out to nostalgia is Kamen Rider Decade's crossover with Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. Looking at the Shinkenger arc in Kamen Rider Decade, I thought that it's fortunate that Mako wasn't sick. She was healthy throughout the whole crossover. On the other hand, I still couldn't get over Kimberly being sick during "A Friend in Need". I thought that Mako being not sick during the Shinkenger arc in Decade was in fact, an additional filling of the Kimberly Hart Nostalgia void. That's how Kimberly should have been carried out during that MMPR/Masked Rider crossover.
One trait Mako has in common with Kimberly is that they can sing. The Shinkenger OVA showed Mako with her theme song. As much as I love the song, why don't we hear the others' songs in-show?! Most of the time, character songs end up as bonus content. Mako was lucky to get hers into the show... it was nice but I felt like other characters deserved to have their character songs sung in-show. Kimberly sang in the second season of MMPR but it wasn't a theme song for her.
On the other hand, it's also important to point out some differences between Mako and Kimberly that they are two unique characters, not copy/paste to each other. Kimberly was portrayed as a teenager, probably 16 or 17 years old while Mako is an adult in her twenties. So Mako is a more mature person than Kimberly. While she like Kimberly is a fashionable character, Mako has been more or less semi-conservative with her dress code. Also Kimberly had a normal childhood, Mako like the rest of the Shinkengers didn't... although Mako had her training from her grandmother than her mother... because her mother was an ailing woman. Also Kimberly's cooking abilities were never shown nor tackled upon, Mako is already an established bad cook. Mako's parents are still married, Kimberly's parents are divorced.
Post-Shinkenger, I soon watched Power Rangers Megaforce for the pretty girls. However neither Gia nor Emma the two Kimberlys of the show really filled that void for me. Emma felt like a Kimberly wannabe and not hot enough imo. Gia is hot but lacks Mako's charm. Even so, I think Mako outweighs both girls in Power Rangers Megaforce. No matter how much I try to invert things, Rin Takanashi's acting beat both Christina Masterson and Ciara Hanna. Both girls easily lose value in the long run.
My overall impression of Mako is that she is a more mature version of Kimberly who hasn't gotten over the weakness of being overly blunt. All my reasons above in this silly, silly post had given me a lot of wrong reasons to like Mako... and ignored the better reasons to like her. =P
But still... GO GO MAKO SHIRAISHI!