Bright, diligent, and yet naïve 16-year-old Kyouko Mogami works hard to support the career and dreams of her childhood friend, crush, and rising pop icon, Shoutarou Fuwa. Toiling endlessly at burger joints and tea ceremonies, the innocent Kyouko remains unaware that day in day out, all her tireless efforts have been taken for granted, until, one day, she finds out that her beloved Shou sees her as nothing but a free servant. Shocked, heartbroken and enraged, she vows to take revenge on the rookie star by entering the ruthless world of entertainment herself. As she steps into this new life, Kyouko will face new challenges as well as people who will push her out of her comfort zone.
Based on the best-selling shoujo manga by Yoshiki Nakamura, Skip Beat showcases the growth of a young woman who slowly unlearns how to work herself to the bone for the satisfaction of others and takes her future into her own hands instead.
Crunchyroll officially streamed the anime with English subtitles.
Aside from the manga and anime there are a series of novels written by Ayuna Fujisaki. There is also a Taiwanese drama named "Hua Li De Tiao Zhan" (Extravagant Challenge) inspired by the series, and a total of three drama CDs that cover different parts of the story.
Lovers of comedy, dynamic characters, and stories with the realistic backdrop of a dog-eat-dog show biz world, rejoice! There is a perfectly enjoyable and ultimately very satisfying anime in store for you called Skip Beat!.
Skip Beat! follows the endearing young Kyoko Mogami as she travels 200-something miles across Japan to support her childhood friend Sho in his debut as a pop singer. She continues to bail him out until she finds out he's only been using her for her delicious cooking and wife-like, hardworking traits. And he's allowed to because he is THE Fuwa Sho? Kyoko doesn't think so.
Here's where the anime
gets a little interesting.
Unlike other female leads who might cry over numerous tubs of ice cream while re-watching their favorite soap operas, Kyoko takes this pain and suffering she's gone through and turns it into something beautiful. She uses her new-found hatred for Sho as an endless supply of fuel for her journey into the mysterious and somewhat scary world of show business.
Like Kyoko, all of the characters in this anime have a reason to do what they are doing. They all have a single purpose they are trying to achieve through professions such as acting, singing or debuting in big-budget films.
Because not all of the characters were there for the same reason, we as viewers are able to see some great ideology clashes and disputes that break out among this wide variety of characters.
Thinking back, the sole reason why this anime was so enjoyable was the cast of wacky, memorable characters who brought a sense of purpose and bursts of life to what could have been a very stereotypical, bland and fabricated holywood-glamorized portrayal of the world of show business. This cast includes the enigmatic Tsuruga Ren, the selfishly obnoxious Fuwa Sho, the tsundere-dere "Mouko" and the all-knowingly eccentric LME president. While their characters may seem generic and cardboard-like at first, the story's excellent pacing and wonderful use of character interactions gives depth and meaning to each character....
even the most unlikable character becomes slightly tolerable as you learn to appreciate his existence in the anime.
That being said, the characters' designs were not exactly up-to-par or great. I am an artist myself and it's probably the reason why I am so particular about the aspect of art in an anime. The colors were generally very bright and one-sided, while the character designs themselves didn't stand out much. I did like the emphasis on the expressions of the characters that changed when they were acting but other than that, there was nothing much to look for.
It was truly the characters themselves and the cast of seiyuu who did a fantastic job portraying their animated-counterparts that made me like this anime.
The same goes for sound. Nothing was very special about the upbeat, very forgettable pop-song opening but the ending did a very nice job of capturing any left over angst and anxiety from being a victim of horrible circumstances. OST's turned out to be fine as well, mostly in the department of dramatizing an event or adding extra suspense.
Lastly, I appreciated the anime's ability to create an engaging atmosphere with the audience as it tackled the tricky topic of what really goes on behind the camera. How much are we seeing of these underpaid actors who go through sleepless nights and bottles of gin to try and perfect their role?
We only see their perfectly chiseled faces covered in pounds of make-up and we think, "man that's the life."
This anime reveals all of the ugly that actually goes on behind that makeup and perfectly lit photos while remaining professional, non-cliche and upbeat. There's no unnecessary drama, no stupid tabloid induced scandals, no fake love relationships. It could have easily gone down the reality-tv-show path of "look, stars are real humans too! they eat lunch just like we do!", but it didn't, thank goodness.
We empathize with these characters and their struggles and triumphs because we actually SEE what they're going through.
The anime is able to give us viewers insights on their world in a very down-to-earth and realistic manner.
All in all, this anime was fun and very easy to get lost in. I remember seeing it as a middle schooler thinking "wow this is pretty good" and now, as a more-grown-up-but-still-kinda-childish viewer, I'm still thinking the same thing. If you're looking for a nice way to spend your Saturday afternoon, go ahead and watch it. I encourage you to.
We know the story of the plucky girl making it big in the glitzy world of showbiz. It's the story of Bridget Jones, Josie, the Pussycats, and even Hanna Montana. Skip Beat! puts a welcome spin on it, and it's not just the (fascinating) insight into the Japanese entertainment industry. The story is consistently compelling throughout, and the surreal imagery is inventive and keeps the tone light and humorous, even as its emotions are scathingly deep.
While it's not beneath the show to humiliate the characters or make them look foolish, they are complex and principled, and the show has enough compassion to
give them their dignity. The way it allows even its most prickly characters to learn and change feels natural, authentic and worthwhile. It's rare to see any show about anything from anywhere as concerned with human dignity as Skip Beat! is.
Been quite a while since I last found a shoujo title that I genuinely enjoyed. Skip Beat focuses on the challenges faced by our lead Kyoko in trying to become a successful actress as she learns that she wants to get more out of it besides being a tool to get revenge on her jerk of an ex-boyfriend and popular musician, Sho Fuwa. Some have called the series as something of a Cinderella story and the description seems mostly accurate as we learn of Kyoko's tragic and impoverished back story and dealing with the ramifications of being abandoned by those close to her. The emotional
scars do affect her at the start of the series as she lacks the passion for wanting to enjoy acting at first as she only seen the profession as a means of seeking revenge on Sho. But as episodes progress, she does develop a genuine love for acting, sees it as something she feels motivated to excel in beyond her original goal of revenge and a number of episodes revolve around how Kyoko approaches a role she would be performing in.
Beyond Kyoko, some other characters get focused on within the world of stardom as they come to connect with Kyoko and we learn of their own personal challenges they struggled through to get to the point where they were at within their careers. Tsuruga's character is given the more prominent focus in his interactions with Kyoko as he seemingly hates Kyoko's motivations for persuing an acting career at first, before the changes in her motivations lead him to start supporting her and developing feelings for her. The series does drop hints that Tsuruga may have a more tragic past than Kyoko and he may have known her for far longer than she thinks, but the series abruptly ends before more of these aspects to the storyline could be explored. This weakness appears to be due to the title's manga source material still being ongoing as of this review.
Another issue I did find with the series at points came with its comedy. Scenes with it tend to pop up throughout a good part of the series, serving to either exaggerate on a conflict or emotional state affecting one of the characters or to lighten the mood following a rather serious development in the show's storyline. The title's comedic style was hit-or-miss for me as I had some moments where the humor focused on the former got me laughing, but others left me indifferent and usually had me feeling that they got in the way of the mood of serious scenes for the latter mentioned moments. Fortunately, the comedy does tone itself down as Kyoko's emotional state improves from adjusting positively to her new life as an actress and doesn't intrude too heavily upon later developments with her character and others.
The visuals to the series are rather standard for a late 2000s anime in terms of detail and design for characters and scenery. Details are clean and bright color is used to go along with the show's upbeat mood, but this and the animation for Skip Beat don't particularly stick out. The same thing applies to the show's soundtrack as it does its part to complement scenes in the series that fit for their intended purpose, but have nothing too memorable with them.
Gripes aside, Skip Beat is still one of the better shoujo titles I've seen recently as there hasn't been anything from the demographic that has seriously hooked me beyond a number of titles that came out during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The focus on Kyoko's growth as an actress is a compelling and enjoyable story worth seeing throughout Skip Beat's 25-episode run, alongside other characters in stardom who interact with her. If you're a shoujo anime fan, this is worth a definite look.
Love can make people do crazy things, even if it’s skipping high school to follow your boyfriend to Tokyo to begin his career as a rockstar. Admittedly, the popular rom-com Skip Beat may give bad presumptions when it’s revealed that the main character’s (Kyouko) sole motivation for entering showbiz is to seek revenge on her ex-boyfriend (Shou) by outshining him. In actuality, Skip Beat is just as fun to watch as its name portrays it to be. The plot itself is actually what brings out the comedy in the anime because of the characters’ reactions. The anime is not reflected on a girl’s life that
revolves around her ex, but it focuses on how she discovers herself. Apart from the steady pacing, Skip Beat is also a prime example of how creators advertise a manga by ending the anime with a cliffhanger.
The pacing is steady and engaging, and there are no fillers. The dramatic and funny moments are perfectly balanced. Nothing is immediate, including Kyouko’s attempt at stardom. A romance story develops in the anime, and the steady pacing is fulfilled by showing no intimacy within the series. The story also reflects on other characters instead of solely Kyouko, so the viewer gets to learn of situations from those characters’ points of view.
The only problem with Skip Beat is that the story is incomplete. The romance is still in development and has a while until it fully blooms. Kyouko has a past with another main character that was shown in brief clips in later episodes, but it is never fully revealed. Kyouko is clueless about it, while the other character still keeps it a secret. Additionally, a new subplot was introduced near the very end of the series, and a solution is never reached. Although the story itself is incomplete, the creators did a good job on giving a hopeful ending. All of the characters were given a reflection, and it gives the viewer enough for the imagination. Since there has been no talk of a second season for the past four years, the viewer is left with no choice but to read the manga in the meantime. (7)
Instead of a weak-hearted female lead that is usually present in shoujo anime, Kyouko is an aggressive and driven individual. All characters have their own personality, and it’s cool that some actually address the stupidity behind Kyouko’s motivation for showbiz. The main characters and supporting characters all balance out the theme of the anime. There are some characters with huge egos, contributing to the comedy as Kyouko enters the entertainment world by taking one step at a time. The contribution of the other characters also helps Kyouko develop into an independent and strong woman. The “Character” category would have a perfect score of 10, but the interruption of the subplot placed a halt on some of the characters’ development. (8)
The animation is unique from most other anime. Apart from the plot itself, the animation is to thank for the comedy. Demonic and depressing auras, along with emotions, are drawn hilariously with ghostly figures. Also, the characters’ designs as chibi are both funny and adorable. The colors are exceptionally vivid and bright in the character and background designs, giving off a refreshing and fun atmosphere to the anime. (10)
The voice actors were superb. Marina Inoue (voice of Kyouko) did an excellent job separating her innocent vs. aggressive voices to fit Kyouko’s split personality. “Dream Star” by generous is upbeat and expresses Kyouko’s confidence within herself. The OP and ED changed at Episode 20 as there is more love affection shown between characters. The background music is played at the right moments and fits the moods of each episode. (10)
Skip Beat was very entertaining. I was desperately looking for a rom-com, and Skip Beat was often recommended. I turned it down several times in the past because of the synopsis. I was disappointed with no immediate romance, but the steady pacing caused the anime to exceed my expectations. The comedy and Kyouko’s determination are what mostly kept me watching. After the first episode, I became anxious to watch the next episodes to watch Kyouko achieve her goal. I disliked how some characters’ pasts were not emphasized and how a new subplot was introduced near the end. Now I’m reading the manga to complete the story. (8)
Skip Beat is unique from other Shoujo anime, and it’s all thanks to a strong female lead. The drama and comedy are balanced, and the plot is irresistible as you’ll become drawn to the story and feel the need to watch it ‘til the end. It is meant to advertise the manga by leaving the viewer with a cliffhanger. As someone who read the manga after completing the series (starting at Chapter 67), I say that jumping on the Skip Beat bandwagon is definitely worth the ride. (8)