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Helter Skelter  
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Through round after round of extensive plastic surgery and vigorous maintenance, Ririko has become the absolute manifestation of beauty, and becomes a wildly successful model, actress, and singer. However, soon, her body, unable to withstand the burdens of surgery, begins to crumble, and along with it so does her mind, as she plummets towards a frightening and inevitable end.

Note: Won the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Grand Prize in 2004.


Related Series

Associated Names
ヘルター スケルター

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)
v.1 c.7-9 by Mangascreener over 13 years ago
v.1 c.3-6 by Mangascreener over 11 years ago
v.1 c.2 by Mangascreener over 11 years ago
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
1 Volume (Complete)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter

User Reviews


User Rating
Average: 8 / 10.0 (321 votes)
Bayesian Average: 7.87 / 10.0
 16% (51 votes)
 23% (74 votes)
 29% (92 votes)
 18% (58 votes)
 7% (24 votes)
 3% (10 votes)
 1% (2 votes)
 1% (3 votes)
 1% (3 votes)
 1% (4 votes)

Last Updated
June 2nd 2018, 3:35am PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Feel Young (Shodensha)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Vertical (1 Volume - Complete)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #526 increased(+170)
Monthly Pos #1416 increased(+136)
3 Month Pos #2353 increased(+195)
6 Month Pos #2604 increased(+637)
Year Pos #3825 increased(+24)

List Stats
On 118 reading lists
On 401 wish lists
On 749 completed lists
On 17 unfinished lists
On 203 custom lists

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Forum Posts
Helter Skelter live action movie (July 2012) over 5 years ago

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]

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Brutally honest   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by iamananimeniac
June 2nd, 2018, 3:46am
Okazaki really embeds the consequences that come with the pursuit of beauty and the entertainment industry in this manga. Brutally honest about the dangers of cosmetic surgery and showbiz, she truthfully depicts how our society forces women to go against each other, until all women fall. The manga tells the creepy tale of fashion model Ririko. Beautiful and always on top of the rankings, Ririko is initially introduced as a typical diva who takes advantage of others and seems utterly shallow. But while she is cruel, petty, and even dangerous to those around her, she’s also a product of her society. Ririko is both a monster and a pawn of the beauty industry. We are often fed the myth that attractive people have no problems and looking good is the solution to everything. Beauty product industries use this as their marketing strategy. This is just a mere lie, and Helter Skelter depicts that with brutal honesty. Ririko was fed the lie that being beautiful would make her happy, and that the money she earned would be sent back to her mother and beloved little sister. However, she keeps going down the spiral of manipulation and hate, all until there is nothing left of her.

A truly compelling read, with memorable characters. Art is meh, but the story makes up for it.
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Rating: 9.8 / 10.0
by moonmystery
June 10th, 2014, 6:33pm
The title is fitting if we relate it to the lyrics of the Beetles song "Helter Skelter".. which talks about riding down to the bottom and emerging from the top like a bottomless hole where you never seem to see the end.

This series is definitely not made for everyone. Every chapter is gruesome and fills you up with dread as you read about a popular star's inevitable downfall. She succumbs to public pressure and ideal of beauty, and we learn of the consequences of her decisions.

The series is ugly, and it is intended to be so. The author depicts the sick obsession society has with celebrities today, and shows all the dark sides of an industry that chews up stars and spit them out like fashion items that come and go. Nothing is really pretty about any of this, but the series does redeem some of the characters by the end of the last chapter.

It's a dark and gruesome masterpiece in its own way, but there could've been less violence and sex... I think the author went overboard showing us a grotesque hierarchy shaped by obsession with these young stars.

As others have said, the ending was confusing for me and the detective's role was just muddled....but other than that, this series was brilliant in its own way.

... Last updated on June 10th, 2014, 6:38pm
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Creepy as all get out   
Rating: 7.5 / 10.0
by sculamio
April 4th, 2014, 9:22am
Just about the utter destruction of this celebrity and her two "assistants". Obsession and addiction to beauty, wealth, and fame are the main themes here. "Grotesque" would be the word to describe most of the characters. The art is as unpleasant as the story. That is to say, old fashioned and rather messy, but suitable. The only gripe about the art I'd have would be that there is nothing attractive at all about the appearance of the main character, despite how much she is glorified (but maybe this is the artist's intention...).

Overall, it's not fluff, and it does deal with serious themes, but it's just overly unpleasant. I feel there are better ways to learn these kinds of lessons. If you're looking for the barest bottom of sad, disgusting characters though, go for it. Otherwise, would not recommend.

... Last updated on April 4th, 2014, 9:22am
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Unexpected, Engaging, Poignant   
Rating: 9.8 / 10.0
by bakerygirl
February 1st, 2014, 10:56pm
We are all used to the airheaded, goody two shoes protagonist. I don't know what I was expecting when I started reading Helter Skelter, but it was certainly not a turbulent protagonist with psychopathic tendencies. The manga had my heart pounding in anticipation every single moment. It was a roller coaster ride with Ririko acting high at some points, depressed at others, but certainly never normal. She doesn't enjoy her life as a celebrity. However, she forces herself to work for fear of being abandoned.

Now coming to the story: It is wonderfully thought out. There's a hint here and a hint there throughout the manga. Though they don't seem important at that time, they mesh together in the end to form a gruesome and heartbreaking tale. Every character introduced in the manga has a part to play. They all have their turmoils and their decisions shape the story. The plot surrounding Ririko's life is interspersed by the views and opinions of the detective Asada, which are insightful.

Okazaki Kyouko has brought up questions on several issues: mass media's effects in daily life, the way humans always want more than they have, the idea of beauty as portrayed by mass media etc. The answers are never given clearly and nor can they be. Its something which each person has to think for him/herself. And that's another thing I liked about the manga.

The only drawback is one of the parts of the final arc in the manga. I don't understand how the detective and Ririko are connected. The thing about feathers didn't make any sense to me.

People who are uncomfortable with nudes, sex and blood and gore(toward the end) should refrain from reading this.
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i need more   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by whitespade
March 2nd, 2013, 4:04am
i need more, i want to understand more how does ririko is connected to the detective- i cant understand that part. unless she's just hallucinating. but overall it is awesome, it is great. everything mesh well together, and like the title say, everything is helter skelter, becoming crazier and crazier and crazier until the finish. a must read.
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"A word before we start: laughter and screams sound seems very much alike." Okazaki Kyoko "Helter Skelter"   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by dalek
February 7th, 2013, 7:22am
When I finished chapter 9 of this manga, I felt a intense need to listen Beatles song "Helter Skelter" to complete the feeling that "Helter Skelter", the manga, started in me. Do you know all the definitions of this title? Originally, Helter Skelter is a amusement park ride with a slide built in a spiral around a high tower. On Paul McCartney's explanation to the song we got: "Using the symbol of a helter skelter as a ride from the top to the bottom; the rise and fall of the Roman Empire—and this was the fall, the demise". Charles Manson, a serial killer who believed Beatles songs contained a coded prophecy of an apocalyptic war, defined it as: “Helter Skelter is confusion. Confusion is coming down fast. If you don’t see the confusion coming down fast around you, you can call it what you wish”. It's pure chaos and that's what we slowly see in this manga, we got confusion and chaos, a ride from the top to the bottom with Riroko.

Story: Our main character is the anti-heroine Riroko/Ririko. We enter her celebrity life following her twisted mind since the beginning when her perfect body starts to crumble. When your work is based on using your body image, you start to do everything to achieve the world's beauty concept and to maintain it as time pass by. But, unfortunately, isn't enough. Even with more and more surgeries, the time will come. "It's a rat race".
Helter Skelter introduces us a lot of subjects, be it in dialogues, little panels showing high-school girls talking, quick and smart quotes, small jokes or in one of the character's thoughts. Talks about the media and how it controls the news, about how a person can be loved by millions and still be lonely, makes you question if the person became that way because of the world, the pressure or because of her own choices... and it doesn't give the answer. Tells us about relationships and how weak they can be... Makes you thinks in your principles. Are they right? Aren't you filled with conformity?
This manga has background stories too. The characters are connect somehow, a police detective doing a investigation can be "a feather of the same wing" with Riroko. Her manager Hada, one of those who suffer with Riroko imposing herself, can choose a path that she never imagined.

Life is full of decisions. Are your decisions based on your principles? On the world's ideals? On the others orders? Which one?

Development: I like the development. Some details in the story you can consider overdone a little, but still amazing how everything happens. Like Riroko bruises, surgery after surgery... Can we consider Riroko a Josei creature from "Frankenstein"? She's compared with a chimera, built with every fashion sense of that time, "a unnatural face, it doesn't match". Riroko's story is compared with Norma's from "Sunset Boulevard" too. The way the fashion industry influences womans everywhere, "I want to become her, I want to be like her!". Easily hearing a "I just sleep and eat what I want" from the ideal successful model makes you yearn even more for it. Where did her fall began? People stopped liking Riroko a bit, she became even more twisted and bothered, people stopped liking her even more... It's a vicious circle. For the background stories, the way Okazaki Kyoko connects it is just great. A detail here and there in chapter 1 to 6, one page for the mama, the manager, the clinic... And in chapter 7 to 9 everything collides.

Art: I must say, I wasn't happy with the art style. Since we were dealing with the concept of beauty, I was expecting a detailed art with a perfectionist touch. I was expecting more beauty. Then, I stopped to think: "What was I expecting...? Was MY concept of beauty. What I find pretty." and a quote from the previous chapter snapped in my mind: "Her beauty is a manifestation of our own desires"... Oh, you got me there, Okazaki Kyoko. So, giving a second thought, you realize the art style is just... necessary. Specially for the quickly transformation of beauty to freaky, which is just so easily and well done with a alternative art like this (Nakamura Asumiko is a great example too of how quickly a calm face can change to a face full with anger). How I can't give a 10 to a manga who answered my question with its own character's dialogues?

Overall: You have to read it slowly to enjoy everything. Or read it fast to have a quick ride from the top to the bottom. I don't know. I'm pretty sure this manga is not for everyone and that some won't appreciate it. I was thinking in a 8 when I started it, a 9 in chapter 6, but I could only give a 10 when I finished and started thinking about the quotes and the way she connects everything in the end.

Remember: "Youth and beauty are not synonymous. Youth is beautiful, but beauty isn't youth". What is beautiful for you?
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Not for the faint hearted   
Rating: 6.0 / 10.0
by maidenrose
November 14th, 2012, 12:30am
The story itself got off to a rocky start and veered into grotesque and inane subject matter (the story revolves around the vain, unsympathetic protagonist Ririko) but somehow managed to gain more substance as it progressed. Although the story didn't get a proper end, it would have been a much more worthwhile read if it was shortened. It's fair to warn potential readers that there are graphic descriptions and images throughout and some blood towards the end.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Ririko manipulates everyone she comes across in one way or another from sexually harassing her pushover of an assistant to using her only asset, her body to get favors. Ririko's superficial, self-made beauty is her claim to fame but she often finds herself at odds with the very thing that helped propel her into an idol. Aware that eventually she'd be expendable in an industry obsessed with youth, she teeters from one fleeting moment to the next, until her downward spiral finally comes to an end. Ultimately this is a cautionary tale, about true beauty and one's failure to attain it.

... Last updated on November 25th, 2012, 2:07pm
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Rating: 7.0 / 10.0
by Cassiopea
May 10th, 2012, 5:53pm
Gotta say, this was quite a unique read.

First off, the beginning is a bit of an adjustment. The art wasn't immediately compelling (The style reminded me of the cartoons from the comic section of the newspaper) and some of the scenes didn't transition very well, making scenes choppy or confusing.

However, once you adapt and get used to it, it is actually quite nice and different, a nice break from usual art. The quality, at least in my mind, also gets better as you read along. So word of advice, try to keep going - don't feel immediately put off at first glance.

Now, to the actual plot part....

There are a lot of raunchy scenes. Unglamourous Sex, full body nudes in all angles, graphic terms describing female genitilia (Lot's of "C" and "P" words, if you get my drift). I wasn't sure if it was for character development and awareness, or to feed fanservice to the audience, or maybe a blend of both. Consdering the manga was dubbed as Josei, it just caught me off guard a tad.

Nevertheless though, the story is deep and original. There is a constant spiral going on with the main female lead, she mixes between being highly unstable to being philosophical, between being insanely cruel to oddly empathetic. Sometimes she is powerful, sometimes she is incredibly weak. It makes you go between disliking her, pitying her, somewhat liking's complex.

The other characters vary. A couple of them are complex too, others not so much. On one thing though....boy, do I dislike the mom! She really does not help a situation, with plenty of unfair anti feelings towards girls.

You also get a lot of honest questions and itty bits of wisdom from the plot regarding what is beauty, reaction to fake beauty or ugliness, the constant fear of aging and the embracing of aging and being different, the reality/stress of living in such a fleeting industry and the normal people who try to strive for that same perfection.

There is also another bit of a twist in the end, regarding plastic surgery.

Overall, it is an intriguing story, definitely go and give it a try. It is not perfect, but far from awful.

... Last updated on May 10th, 2012, 5:54pm
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Ambivalent impression   
Rating: 8.3 / 10.0
by Meins
April 23rd, 2012, 11:07am
Rather bad, to say it frankly. She can't draw real expressions in the faces.
The drawings of humans are something "artistic". You use this if you want to draw the attention of the viewer to some special qualities of the things you draw. And when you think that otherwise this qualities would not be visible. But, the Gods knows i have tried, i could not find which qualities the mangaka wanted to show me whit her drawing style.
Also the drawings are something detail reduced. This is perfectly OK, IF the mangaka is concentrated on the really important aspects of the story by drawing so. But than again, this is done in this manga at best halfhearted.
In my opinion the mangaka tried and failed to draw the manga in a more avan-gardistic style. I could read the manga whit out being disgusted by the art, but it was also no real fun to see the drawings.

The story:
The story about alone Ririko is great. She dissolves slowly in something which is frightening and elusive. Great read.

But the (almost) side story about the "super cool", "super smart" and "super skillful" attorney, which enfolds parallel to Ririkos story, is unneeded and is bad. Yes, in the end the two persons are forcefully thrown together by the mangaka. But the attorney is not needed for the ending of the manga at all. Especially for the 4 last pages of the manga is the attorney non-existent. The attorney is boring: he founds everything out in no time, he knows what would happen if he acts in this or that way, but he is the tragic hero who can not win against the corrupt world. In comparison to the story of Ririki this is boring and superficial. Of course there is no character development for this guy, he is perfect from begin on.

But if you can ignore this "side story", you can, whit a voyeuristic enthusiasm and inner horror, devour Ririkis story being unable to stop reading.
I'm happy that this is not continued. This ending is really cool the way it is. The 4 last pages have even a Tarantino feeling. But yes, it is made ready for a second volume.
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I think..   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by countingwounds
June 30th, 2011, 2:00am
I read through this too fast, and didn't pay enough close attention. Next time I read it, I will be reading it to soak in details, rather than reading it to get to the end like I sometimes end up doing... because even though I did so, this story left me with a heavy feeling...

The characters are very deep, and very psychological, but even the most complex actions become apparent if you stare at it long enough, which I liked. Like others have said, I couldn't come to hate Riri, although she did horrible things - I think erotikill put it PERFECTLY saying she hated those who literally made her what she was. She wanted to take as many down to her level as she could. I really liked the officer character, I think he was my favorite - he was the most interesting, and perhaps the only one I really couldn't place a finger on. I want to know more about this hidden relationship... but... hmm.

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I also liked her old lover for some odd reason - I hated him at first, but I think it seemed like a more shallow relationship on his end. He was simply a coward, and couldn't pursue his love for her and got married. I would have liked to see more of his reactions, especially towards her deterioration, to further analyze their relationship!

So. I liked this, but it still leaves this almost empty feeling.. which I hope can be solved by re-reading for details. I really hope for a continuation! Although I do doubt it. The continuation would do one of two things: 1) Ruin the mystery of the ending, and go too far or 2) Clear up details and carry the story to a triumphant ending. Therefor, I am curious...

Anyways, I would recommend to those even remotely interested, I'm sure it won't waste your time - even with the art, it still has it's moments.
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