Skip Beat! vol. 1 by Yoshiki Nakamura
First published on February 2002 in Hana to Yume
Published in America on July 2006 by Viz Media
Genre | Shōjo, Romantic Comedy
Kyoko knows she’s not plain and uninteresting, no matter what Sho says. With the help of a little makeover, Kyoko’s ready to exact her revenge. But first she needs to land an audition, and she sets her sights on the agency where Sho’s lead rival works. Her persistence pays off, but her broken heart turns out to be a disadvantage. Kyoko has lost the will to love anybody, let alone fans she’s never met. Can the agency see past this problem to Kyoko’s true star potential? (Courtesy of Viz Media)
Review| ★ ★ ★ ★
The plot is simple and straight forward. Kyoko Mogami is a young girl out of junior high school who has devoted herself to her “prince” and childhood best friend, Sho, only to be left and abandoned. This serves as Kyoko’s driving motivation to enter into a world she really had no prior interest in–show business.
The steps Kyoko takes to trying to get into show business is very interesting to read about, especially when things get a little absurd. I can’t help but root for her throughout the entire manga.
Ah Kyoko…I would have probably turn a blind eye to this series if it wasn’t for her. She starts off as the typical shōjo heroine–innocent, good natured, earnest for the sake of love–but once Sho’s true nature is revealed the shock unlocks Kyoko’s Pandora Box releasing her darkside. Kyoko is a very determined girl from the start–running away from home, working two jobs to pay rent–and once her focus shifts from being subservient to getting to her revenge, we get to see how far she is willing to go for her goal. Despite how fierce Kyoko can be, her heartbreak and vulnerability brings out a quality that readers may relate with. In short, she’s a very unique character yet very relatable. I just love reading about her.
Sho Fuwa, Kyoko’s childhood friends. He’s a jerk and I hope he burns in fire.
Ren Tsuruga is the currently most popular actor in show business and Sho’s make believe rival. He’s a pretty smooth operator, but not really on Kyoko’s list of favorite people. He’ s not that predominant in this volume, but I get the feeling that he will be an important character later on.
Mr. Sawara and Lori Takarada both work at LME, the company that Kyoko is trying to work for. Mr. Sawara is basically Kyoko’s first obstacle into getting into show business. I found it hilarious how he puts up with Kyoko’s crazy antics (She was basically stalking him. I would just call the cops at that point). Lori Takarada, on the other hand, is the eccentric LME president. I love him because everything he does is so outlandish (his introduction came with exotic dancers. How cool is that?).
Kanae “Moko” Kotonami introduction in the manga just screams out “Kyoko’s rival”. She’s a talented actress looking to work for the LME just like Kyoko. She comes off as a bit snobbish, but then again most rivals in shōjo manga are. It’s interesting how Kyoko’s nickname for her, “Moko”, stems from how she says “mō” after everything she says. “Mō” was used as an interjection in the original Japanese and the “ko” (子) at the end is what is commonly used to make names feminine.
Yoshiki Nakamura’s art style in Skip Beat! is basically her take on the shōjo genre. What makes her style unique from the rest are the dewy eyes she makes for her characters. She also mixes up her drawing style by switching from very expressive faces to chibi style.
Would I recommend it?
I would recommend this to shōjo manga fans looking for a funny Rom-Com with a strong female protagonist.