I first read David Mack’s Kabuki with the 1998 storyline, ‘Metamorphosis.’ A storyline where the titular character, an assassin, must escape an institution that reprograms secret agents to work in other organizations. While escaping Kabuki is pursued by released inmates and former teammates. Kabuki’s fights are battles against mainstream’s expectations, rejecting the limiting philosophies each inmate represents through their fighting style. The story is a metaphor for Kabuki rejecting expectations and the role she was groomed for, itself an allegory for teenage rebellion.
Kabuki is weighed down by history and without an identity separate from role. Her motivation comes from the scar on her face, a feature she views as making her less than, separating her from the group. To compensate Kabuki perfects the skills of an assassin to impress her paternal grandfather, a general. Kabuki repurposes her combat skills into dance to express herself in pursuit of a new identity against the routine status quo, reflecting the rebellious nature of a maligned subculture. I saw how an identity can shatter expectations, particularly when the pursuit of that identity uses the previous life’s tools. By escaping Kabuki rejects the world, and the role it has tragically giver her.