Foreign Friday: Skip Beat

“Just you watch! I will become a bigger star than you, and then I’ll make you sorry!” – Skip Beat

This week’s Foreign Friday entry is Skip Beat by Yoshiki Nakamura.

The Story

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he’s casting her out now that he’s famous! Kyoko won’t suffer in silence – she’s going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

The Characters

Kyoko Mogami is an honest, naive girl who works hard. She can put up with just about anything if she feels it’s worth it – working two jobs and missing out on high school so she can support her true love, for instance. But when Sho (your average ego-centric rising music star) accidently lets it slip that he doesn’t need her anymore, her personality goes through a slight change. She still works hard, is still pretty naive, but is finally putting herself first. Added into the picture is the nation’s top actor and model, Ren Tsuruga, Sho’s rival and the man that seems to have an instant dislike for Kyoko, but won’t reveal all he knows.

What I Thought

Skip Beat isn’t the usual high-school age romantic comedy one would expect upon first picking it up. Instead, Nakamura chose to write about a main character whose difficulty is being so emotionally scarred that she’s practically incapable of feeling love. Nakamura goes about this story of revenge and show business with excellent humor and interesting insight into the lives of actors and other “stars.” Through the series you can watch as Kyoko starts out on the ground floor (or maybe the basement) of show biz, as well as view the hectic schedule of the famous through her colleague Ren, and the trials of an actor’s manager with Ren’s ultra-capable Yashiro. The story arcs are well thought-out and consistent, making it enjoyable from a writer’s standpoint as well. There are 22 volumes currently available in English in the US.

An anime was made that follows the manga fairly consistently until about volume 10, where it ends abruptly. I felt that the humor of the story was better displayed in the manga, but it’s a watchable show.

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