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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
Helter Skelter (Spanish)
ヘルター スケルター

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)
v.1 c.7-9 by Mangascreener over 19 years ago
v.1 c.3-6 by Mangascreener over 17 years ago
v.1 c.2 by Mangascreener over 17 years ago
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in Country of Origin
1 Volume (Complete)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter

User Reviews


User Rating
Average: 8 / 10.0 (427 votes)
Bayesian Average: 7.89 / 10.0

Last Updated
March 4th 2023, 1:28pm



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 #724 increased(+12)
Monthly Pos #1762 (No change)
3 Month Pos #2932 increased(+239)
6 Month Pos #3482 increased(+895)
Year Pos #6015 increased(+178)

List Stats
On 159 reading lists
On 499 wish lists
On 993 completed lists
On 21 unfinished lists
On 260 custom lists

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User Comments  [ Order by usefulness ]
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Woman Moment: the Manga  
by Choror
May 12th, 2023, 1:09pm
Rating: N/A
The manga is somewhat entertaining, though sketchy artstyle gets tiring after over 200 pages. Albeit the protagonist has schizo tendencies, they are realistic enough as to warrant not counting it as schizocore. Definitely something you have to read yourself to have any opinion on; no review can make the same strong impression as the manga itself.
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i read this few years ago  
by Miachann
September 17th, 2020, 11:18pm
Rating: 10.0  / 10.0
but so i reread this again now, and lol i enjoy it very much, the plot is good even tho the mc personality is trash yea she is antiheroine afterall but the weird thing is i dont hate her at all, dislike her maybe a little bit but hate her? no and i pitying her so much.. and because im so slow it takes me long time to know what the endings.. so Hada still with his bf? and Ririko still alife.. bruh Hada u must go away and life your own life

... Last updated on September 18th, 2020, 12:02am
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One of best 1990s mangas.  
by Zahr P.
December 23rd, 2019, 12:38pm
Rating: 9.0  / 10.0
You see, this is my first time writing a review here after almost one year been delving into manga after how manhwa as webtoon, scrolling style which WebToon leads well, it changed my cynical view on comic in general as part of pop cult like film stuff I've doing about one decade and so yes, I'm interested in how manga (sliding and reading from right) as the pioneer influenced both manhua (left sliding and reading) and manhwa thru my aesthetic study.

Truth to be said, it is hard to dig on manga because unlike film stuff that is all over internet, it needs a little more hacks on my own.

I found this manga on my josei hunting on Mangarock, thoroughly. I couldn't get past this manga's cover which looks otherworldly enough for me to click. The style overall was totally unlike the cover, but was so on point as 1990s manga but I spotted some bits to influence 2000s as well probably because it was mid 90s already. The panels, bubble texts looked sorta scattered and sometimes hard to follow, thus it doubled down the psychological effects as a genre so it was worth my pain to get used to this style, aesthetic wise. Great focus is needed, obviously.

Plot wise, it's really tight and well written. As most have said here, Helter Skelter was Beatles' song, and as it is. Twin Peaks-y vibes thru Ririko and the detective's dreams, tiger and feathers. I couldn't stop thinking about Gia Carangi as I read this whole manga, because she was definitely some 1980s broken beauty whose third-person stories from everyone around her just like Ririko's and Ririko herself here. Heroin chic, yes, Helter Skelter sums up 1990s about right, with supermodels and heroin chic itself at that time.

The ending was really unlike what I've expected because I generally had myself well prepared for the worst as for this genre. That's it, Imma call this Japanese Twin Peaks in manga style. FIGHT ME.

I doubted how this manga could highlight my 1990s manga project but now I'm confident it is worthy enough to mention for while I dig for another 1990s indie manga stories since I'm already done with 1960s, 1970s, 1980s manga as part of my study. Known some 2000s and 2010s as well but not as serious as old ones, yet.

In short, this has to be one of my few psychologically tasty mangas. (~‾ ▿ ‾)~

... Last updated on December 23rd, 2019, 12:52pm
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Brutally honest  
by iamananimeniac
June 2nd, 2018, 3:46am
Rating: 10.0  / 10.0
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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by moonmystery
June 10th, 2014, 6:33pm
Rating: 9.8  / 10.0
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  
by sculamio
April 4th, 2014, 9:22am
Rating: 7.5  / 10.0
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  
by bakerygirl
February 1st, 2014, 9:56pm
Rating: 9.8  / 10.0
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  
by whitespade
March 2nd, 2013, 3:04am
Rating: 9.5  / 10.0
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"  
by dalek
February 7th, 2013, 6:22am
Rating: 10.0  / 10.0
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  
by maidenrose
November 13th, 2012, 11:30pm
Rating: 6.0  / 10.0
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, 1:07pm
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