So that’s the reason that keeps happening in shojo anime and manga!

Earlier this month, our male Japanese-language reporter and in-house otaku Seiji Nakazawa tried out the new Manga Genic eyeliner from Japanese cosmetics maker Kate. The results were mixed: Seiji’s eyes definitely looked more dramatic and defined, but, sadly, he was unsuccessful in his attempt to transcend the bonds of humanity and permanently transform into an anime/manga character.

▼ Seiji, still a 3-D dude with 2-D dreams

But Seiji soon had another idea. What if the reason he hadn’t fully crossed over into an anime existence was because he’d forgotten to use manga heroine mascara? There’s a certain kind of logic to that theory (crazy logic is a kind of logic, right?).

So it was back to the store for Seiji, where he bought a package of Japanese cosmetic company Isshan’s Ten Made Todoke! (“Reach to the Heavens!”) Volumnious Curl Mascara Heroine Makeup for 1,100 yen (US$10).

From the package’s illustration, it’s clear that Issehan is appealing to fans of classic shojo manga (girls’ comics), such as The Rose of Versailles. Fittingly, Seiji was immediately faced with a sudden plot twist/crisis: having never used mascara before, he had no idea what he was supposed to do with his purchase!

Thankfully, there’re diagrams and instruction on the back. Looking them over, Seiji learned that you’re supposed to apply mascara at the base of the eyelashes, then brush the product outwards and upwards.

This was just mascara, though, not false eyelashes. Could it really make Seiji’s lashes appear longer, fuller, and curlier? He was skeptic, but decided to reserve judgement until the end of the test. After all, he remembers hearing someone say “The proof is in the pudding” (he thinks it might have been one of the characters from Baki the Grappler).

Even if Seiji was going to have to wait to see it would make him beautiful or not, though, the manga mascara immediately made him terrified.

Following the directions, he tried to apply the makeup as close to the base of his eyelashes as possible…which also meant getting it within millimeters of his eyeball! With his hand trembling, Seiji felt a newly deepened respect for women who apply the stuff every day. They must have nerves of steel, he thought, pushing themselves right up to the invisible edge of disaster, like the street racers of Initial D.

▼ Night of Fire (-like burning pain if you get this stuff in your eyes)!

With his heart racing at Eurospeed-caliber BPMs, Seiji pressed on…

…and eventually, he was done!

As he took a few test blinks, he could feel an unmistakably enhanced flutter effect above his right eye, and looking in the mirror, they difference between his new, manga heroine eye and his normal, middle-aged SoraNews24 employee one was easy to see.

But on this day, Seiji learned about more than the power of mascara and the courage of the women who use it. He also learned something surprising about what it must feel like to be a shojo anime/manga character, in that they must literally see the world differently than we humans.

Seiji’s epiphany came when he noticed that applying the Ten Made Todoke mascara affected his field of vision.

▼ Artist’s rendition of Seiji’s field of vision after applying mascara

But while Ten Made Todoke is a pretty significant eyelash boost, it’s still not as over-the-top as the lashes you’ll see on the cast of the most popular shojo series. Because of that, Seiji hypothesizes that shojo characters they must see their worlds like this:

Think back to all the memorable melodrama in shojo series that stems from someone being just around the corner of a school hallway or a booth away in a fancy restaurant when they overhear some juicy gossip, dark secret, or ambiguous confession of love or hatred. Or how regularly magical girls like Sailor Moon are able to keep their ordinary schoolgirl identities a compete secret just by changing their hairstyle or slipping on or off a tiny mask or pair of glasses. Shouldn’t the other characters have noticed there was someone eavesdropping, or spot the similarities between their classmate and the protector of humanity?

Not if half of what they see is obscured by their impossibly, glamorously full eyelashes. So even if Seiji remains a flesh-and-blood human, he know feels like he’ got a better understanding of what it’s like to live inside an anime.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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