Saturday, January 26, 2013

Skip Beat: Bits and Pieces of Tsuruga's Past

I've finally reached a high point in Skip Beat! We've seen some character growth from Kyoko and all the other characters, but one character in particular, Tsuruga Ren, has been given an incredibly obscure profile.
We don't know the full story behind the reason he became "Ren" and dropped his birth name (and personality) as "Koun". But after the "Heel siblings" arc, we start to learn more and more about Tsuruga's past as Koun, and why he tries so hard to protect the dark memories beneath it.

What did Ren do?

At the beginning of this volume, we see Kyoko get transformed into "Setsuka (Setsu) Heel", or Cain Heel's little sister with a "disease-like brother complex". The president tell Tsuruga that he needed a protective charm if he was going to master this dark and dangerous roll. So he sets Kyoko and Ren off on an adventure around the city where they live as brother and sister, share the same hotel room, and protect each other with a feverous sibling-love.
Takes me back to my Nana marathon. Kyoko looks so cool like this
As the two take off to the hotel, we start to see Tsuruga lose his cool. At first we weren't sure whether it was the idea of sleeping in the same room (or bed) as Kyoko, or the fact that the President forced her into this. But as the story progresses, we learn it's a deeper issue. 

"I would have drawn her away...If only I was more composed"
Ren seems to draw out his "Cain" character from his earlier Koun days. But according to Kyoko's earlier memories, Koun was the boy who believed in fairies and magical rocks. What could have happened to him that could act as a basis for a character as dark as Cain Heel? After a brief fight with a gang, Cain comes to Setsu's rescue, but a side of Ren comes out that neither Kyoko nor the readers have seen before: 
It looks like hurting Kyoko (or the one he loves)
sets Tsuruga off the edge.
After almost smashing the guys head in, Kyoko brings
Tsuruga back to his senses.
But the really interesting thing about this volume, was the flashbacks. It happened when Kyoko screamed "Onee-chan! Don't kill him!" and when he got into a dangerous car accident while filming a scene for Dark Moon. They typically include Koun, a mysterious girl, and a man named "Rick". 

I think this woman was Kuon's ex-girlfriend,
but why is she holding his bloodied, dying best friend?!

Ren refuses to let go of that moment. He vowed off of violence, vowed to keep Kuon bottled up, and vows to never forget what he did. But Kyoko, the love of his life, makes him forget. She makes him think of other things than his past, and helps him admit that he can move on, which scares him. He even gets to a point where he wants to fire Kyoko as Setsu so he won't forget the sin he made.

But Kyoko- she holds the key to breaking Ren's sorrow and guilt. She's the only one who can get him out of that dark trance. Her touch works like magic; his protective charm...

Do you hear me? My voice?
Shall we do this? Together?
So it looks like Ren's love for Kyoko is being reinforced, but what about Kyoko's? Is she finally willing to open up the box god gave her? I guess we just have to wait and see in the next chapters!

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