Friday, July 16, 2010

Ren Tsuruga

So, since I've been feverishly trying to get through the 160 chapters of Skip Beat that have been posted, I've gradually gotten to know this character, Ren. Now that I'm finished with those 160 (sometimes shocking) chapters, and am waiting for more, I can take a moment to explain his character while its still fresh in my mind.

Overall, his character is largely mysterious. There are a lot of things he won't talk about, and probably even more from his past that he doesn't want to remember. Ren is more of a secondary character in this series since he's a potential lover to Kyouko (the main character).

So far, we know that Ren, once having been named Kuon, had some sort of very deep sin etched into his past. Its possible that he may have even killed someone when he was in his teens. However, considering the other circumstances of his childhood, it seems rather unlikely. From many brief bits, as well as an awkward situation or two with Kyouko, we also know that he lives in a very loving, rich family, with two parents that in the end had to put too much time into their jobs, leaving him feeling probably very unloved. Its also very clear that Ren, around the age of ten or so, met Kyouko, and even was very close friends with her until he moved away.

That being said, when he meets Kyouko again, she and he both have completely changed. Up until the current chapter, Kyouko still has no idea that he is her friend "Corn." He, however, is fully aware that she is the girl, after having seen a rock that he gave her many years ago.

Ren's character seems to change throughout the series. At first, he's very rude, very selfish, and coldly gives very little care to Kyouko. He has little tolerance for such selfishness as revenge. His intentions aren't ever actually bad though. He respects Kyouko's determination and strength. A huge turning point is when she is forced to take over his manager's tasks for several days (due to illness), and Ren actually falls ill himself. While she's helping him mend, perhaps for the first time, he really starts seeing her as a friend.

Another interesting thing to note it that he is seemingly completely cool with the fact that Kyouko makes dolls of him and talks to them when she's faced with something while he isn't around or she can't tell him in person. He perhaps gave her a weird look or two when she gave Maria a version of him for the girl's birthday, that was the equivalent of a life-sized barbie... making the comment that if her dolls were so accurate, she probably fantasized about him. But he never really seemed creeped out by it the way most men probably would be.

His feelings progress toward her, and on different occasions, he finds different emotions. He uses what power he can to watch out for Kyouko. He fakes smiles, teases a lot, and so on. In reality though, he does fall in love with Kyouko, he does feel extreme jealousy, and even shame. He goes to extreme lengths to protect what he has with Kyouko, and yet won't admit to her directly how he feels about her. He respects the four year gap between them. He even goes as far as to say that he can't be with her because of it, and maybe even after it.

On at least three particular occasions, Ren showed a kind of anger that had never been seen before. Each had to do with a man (or men) that Kyouko had somehow come in contact with. One was when he arrived on location to film Dark Moon later than everyone else. Kyouko's own personal enemy, a male music artists named Shou, arrived to save her from a group of men that had been making his own life difficult... a group, who's male vocalist almost raped her. When Ren ended up finding out about the whole thing, he became so angry that he sent everyone away (for the first time ever in the series). The second time was probably right after when he found her being pinned to the floor by the same man who had almost raped her, not but a few days before. A guy who was seemingly afraid of no one, was deathly afraid of Ren.

The third time was when he ended up playing the character Cain Heel. Kyouko was enlisted to help him with his role and play his sister Setsu. On his way back from helping her shop and leaving her alone outside for just a few minutes, he finds her surrounded by several men. She, playing the role, acts out her female charms, and points out Ren as he returns. Ren, now twenty years old, tries his best to defuse the situation at first, simply grabbing Kyouko and walking away, but then it gets interesting. One of the gang decides to attack Ren from behind. Still trying to avoid a fight at first, he simply dodges. Although, his amazing reflexes and ability to fight are also an interesting thing to note about his character.

After a while, the other party pulls out a weapon and Kyouko tries to stop them. When she gets hit with the weapon, he snaps and instantly fights back, giving the other guy a concussion. Shortly after, he takes out the remaining thugs and totally loses himself. He's about to do in the last guy completely when Kyouko has the sudden realization that he isn't going to stop. So she screams for him not to kill the guy.
Now, Kyouko is still unsure whether the person fighting was Ren or Cain, but its pretty clear to the reader that Ren actually lost himself entirely for a good several minutes... probably do to the rage of trying to protect Kyouko. When he came to, he was facing the wall, with both arms holding him up. When Kyouko touched him, his expression was incredibly fearful. He even asked her who he was at first. What other details are revealed about this has yet to be discovered, but this perhaps adds another deep leaf to his character.

All in all, Ren is rather a gentlemen, with an inexperienced heart, distance from family, and an active role as an intoxicating image of extreme fame. He notices the fine details in things and acts accordingly. He knows how to push his luck and get away with it, but also feels something when he causes pain. He's over protective, and only extremely jealous when his love is in contact with particular other guys. Beyond all that, Ren also has a secret side, a much darker side, that we have yet to discover.

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