Smile Down the Runway is a manga and anime series about pursuing seemingly impossible dreams. Whether it’s an aspiring fashion model whose short stature is considered too high a barrier to reaching the upper echelons of the industry or a clothing manufacturer with a penchant for going up against the biggest names in the business. career, part of the appeal is seeing them try to overcome difficulties. and change the way the world sees them. However, in addition to the main characters, there is another situation that intrigues me, because it speaks to the classic division between talent and hard work, but not in the usual way: Hasegawa Kokoro is a talented person. Generational talent in the modeling world has real passion. lies in fashion design.
The character of Kokoro presents some interesting issues about how we view whether a person’s efforts are worthwhile or not. Many people in the world can only achieve a passable level of competence in whatever field they work in, while Kokoro naturally excels at her job. If she were a top 1% model but at best a top 20% designer, choosing the latter could be seen as an absolute waste of talent. And with her natural height and unmistakable temperament making her the envy of her peers, wanting to instead pursue a different path that she enjoys more could be considered a long shot. slag that few people have the opportunity to use. It sounds like the plight of the privileged.
However, it all leads to the question of what makes a person happy and how much we value that feeling. The common advice is that if a job makes you miserable, you should quit if you can afford it, or at least look for an opportunity to start escaping the hell you’re stuck in. But what if you find your current job—the job you’re best at—pretty good? Is it worth moving into a field where you are likely to also be executive? Do we value skill so greatly that we are willing to sacrifice a little for personal satisfaction? We think that standing at the top is the ultimate satisfaction, but Kokoro and people like her can achieve happiness by climbing the path they have found, not the path given to them.
In this sense, Kokoro reminds me of Hololive Virtual Youtuber Calliope Mori, who has spent the past year changing herself to go in different directions that challenge the original image she presented when she became famous. . There were differences — Calli largely continued to maintain her original persona — but the decision attracted supporters and detractors alike for all the reasons detailed above.
When it comes to the concept of talent and hard work, stories like those in manga often focus on one area. How does genius compare to blender? But having both personalities similar—as is the case with Kokoro—adds wrinkles to the juxtaposition that got me thinking about what people, both individually and as a whole, consider important to each other. with a good life.