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Introducing the Starring Cast of Skip Beat!

Skip Beat! follows a young woman's journey to become the most famous celebrity in Japan. Along the way, she meets many actors, singers, directors, and other industry professionals. Let's take a look at the major players who impact her life and career!

by removed_user
Sep 9, 2015 11:00 PM | 6,225 views

Kyouko Mogami

Skip Beat - Kyouko Mogami

As a sixteen-year-old girl, Kyouko should be enjoying the fun, carefree life of a high school student: studying for exams, hanging out with friends, and confessing her love to the boy she likes. Instead, she left her hometown of Kyoto to follow her childhood friend and crush, Shou, to Tokyo and help him realize his dream of becoming a top pop idol. To support him, she works multiple jobs without complaint, dreaming of the day that her Cinderella fairy tale would come true.

Those wishes all come crashing down one day when she walks in on Shou complaining to his manager about how boring and plain Kyouko is. Even more insulting, he claims she's only best-suited as his maid. Enraged, Kyouko confronts him and swears revenge for his taking advantage of her good nature. If he intends on becoming the top singer in Japan, then she'll become an even bigger star to eclipse him.

Unfortunately, Kyouko doesn't know anything about show business, so she approaches LME, a top agency that rivals the one managing Shou's career. Although they initially turn her away, she hounds one of the agents there, day and night, until he agrees to invite her to an audition. While Kyouko passes the first stage of the audition process, she fails the next step miserably.

The setback shakes her confidence, but not one to take things lying down, she bounces back and tries again. Good thing, too, because the judging panel at the LME audition couldn't forget her. They create a special section at their agency called Love Me for promising talent that's missing one crucial trait to succeed: a capacity to love and to be loved. Even though Kyouko has no plans of ever falling in love again, she admits this is an important human quality to have and becomes Love Me's first member in order to get it back.

As a Love Me member, Kyouko gets tasked with a variety of odd jobs from cleaning floors to carrying luggage to stepping in as a substitute manager. Along the way, she learns about show business and what it takes to be a top celebrity. Neglected by her mother as a child, Kyouko has spent her entire life trying to earn the love and approval of other people. That's partially why Shou's rejection stung so badly, because she gave everything up for him. She's never had the chance to find out what her true interests are, but thanks to the opportunities offered to her as part of LME, she just might find out who she truly is.

Skip Beat - Kyouko playing Choko

Although Kyouko embarked on this quest as a means to humiliate Shou, she makes an even more startling discovery: she has a natural gift for acting! Even more shocking, she genuinely likes it. While revenge is never far from her mind, now Kyouko wants to get better at acting and learn from all the experiences it brings her, so she can make even top actors like fellow LME talent Ren Tsuruga acknowledge her abilities.

Ren Tsuruga

Skip Beat - Ren Tsuruga

Voted the top male celebrity in Japan, Ren is a famous actor and known heartthrob. His popularity made Shou jealous, so Kyouko hated him by default. But now that she no longer supports Shou's aspirations, she has no reason to carry those feelings over to her new life as an LME talent. This works in her favor since Ren is managed by the same agency!

Unfortunately, Ren and Kyouko get off on the wrong foot. Like many other people, he assumes Kyouko approached the agency to get closer to him. While he's later disabused of this notion, her true motives impress him even less. Ren takes acting seriously and dislikes people who don't approach the job with the same level of professionalism he does. If someone doesn't take an acting role seriously, then he sees no reason to take them seriously either. Although Ren is famed for being kind, Kyouko sees through his polite, smiling mask. In fact, she seems to be the only one who can tell whether Ren is actually being malicious or angry.

Over time, however, Ren changes his opinion of Kyouko. The shift begins during a movie shooting when he discovers that even though Kyouko is an amateur, she has more professionalism than actors with more experience. Later, his changing impressions are confirmed when she serves as his substitute manager and takes care of him while he's sick. Now, Ren considers Kyouko his junior at the agency to whom he should offer advice when she needs it.

The history between Ren and Kyoko goes further back than their fateful meeting at LME. When Kyouko was a child, her mother's harsh treatment often upset her and she would seek out a hiding place where she could cry. During one of these times, she met a boy whose blond hair and green eyes caused her to mistake him for a fairy prince. For Kyouko, that boy became her solace when she was unhappy and for that boy, Kyouko became the embodiment of a good, Japanese girl. When the boy had to leave, he consoled the sad Kyouko by giving her a blue stone that she uses to this day to dispel her negative feelings.

That boy, of course, is Ren and that blue stone is how he realizes that Kyouko is the little girl he once knew. The change from that sweet, upbeat little girl to the vengeful teenager he knows shocks him, but when he learns the full story behind Kyoko's desire to be better than Shou, not only does he begin to understand, he also starts to resent Shou for the influence he has over Kyouko. Despite the shared history, Ren doesn't reveal the truth to Kyouko because then he'd have to explain why he uses a stage name and no longer has the blond hair and green eyes she once loved so much.

Although he considers Kyouko too young for him, Ren begins to develop feelings for her in an eerie parallel to the television drama in which they both star. Unfortunately for him, she remains oblivious of them, convinced that he views her as nothing more than a junior and work associate.

Shou Fuwa

Skip Beat - Shou Fuwa

Born Shoutarou Fuwa, Shou was all set to inherit his family's traditional Kyoto inn. However, he wanted nothing of that life and left for Tokyo to pursue a singing career. Lazy and selfish, however, he took advantage of Kyouko's romantic feelings for him and convinced her to go with him. Someone needed to cook and earn money to support him while he went after his dream, after all.

After shortening his old-fashioned name to Shou, he was well on his way to becoming a famous star. Unfortunately, he dumps Kyouko once he's established and no longer needs her help. Part of the reason he considers Kyouko a boring, plain girl is that he prefers older women with big breasts. His slender childhood friend never stood a chance.

Shou doesn't take Kyouko's vow to become a bigger star than him seriously at first but after filming a music video together, he soon realizes there are some things he never knew about his childhood friend. Sore over the fact that Ren is consistently voted a bigger star than him, Shou becomes jealous when he discovers that Kyouko is friendly with the man he considers his biggest rival. Even though Kyouko no longer lives with him, Shou still remains possessive of her because she is his oldest friend. She may no longer love him, but he's all right with her hating him as long as he consumes her entire attention. Because of this, Shou views Ren as a threat and takes any opportunity to pick a fight with him.

Kanae Kotogami

Skip Beat - Kanae Kotogami

An incredibly talented actress with a photographic memory and the ability to cry at the drop of a hat, Kanae first meets Kyouko at the initial LME audition. Although she makes it past the second stage that tripped Kyouko up, she still fails at the third stage. Like Kyouko, she lacks a basic human trait that is crucial for a person to become a top celebrity. The two girls meet again when Kanae becomes the second member of the Love Me section.

While Kanae's first impression of Kyouko is that of a rank amateur, she soon discovers that the other girl has a natural acting talent that can't be denied. Because of this, she tries to keep her distance because she believes Kyouko is destined to become her rival. Her attempts to hold Kyouko at arms' length ultimately fail when they both audition for a commercial that requires two actresses. Paired together, the audition solidifies Kanae's respect for Kyouko and the two soon become best friends.

Kanae should be further along her acting career but a past rival used to steal jobs and roles from her through bribery and other unsavory means. She also doesn't have many friends because people were jealous of her beauty and acting skills. In fact, Kyouko is her first real friend. This causes Kanae no small amount of embarrassment but the similarity in personal experience brings Kyouko endless delight.

Kyouko's nickname for Kanae is "Moko" because of Kanae's tendency to express her exasperation with "Mou."

Lory Takarada

Skip Beat - Lory Takarada

The president of LME, Lory is on the panel that judged the audition that Kyouko and Kanae both attended. He immediately spots potential in Kyouko and as a result, is devastated by her stage 2 performance. In fact, stage 2 of the audition is a test he specifically designed to determine whether an aspiring talent has what it takes to become a celebrity beloved by all of Japan. Even though she fails his test and therefore the audition, Lory can't get Kyouko out of his mind and after consulting with the head of the talent section, comes up with the idea of the Love Me section. When Kyouko later returns to LME to try again, proving her determination, he activates his plan.

An eccentric man, Lory is prone to ridiculous, over the top displays. He wears flamboyant costumes and makes dramatic entrances with lots of fanfare. Lory takes care of his granddaughter since his son lives in America after the death of his wife, Lory's daughter-in-law.

Despite the strange tasks Lory often sets his employees to do, he is a very caring man. Since he is the one who noticed Kyouko's latent acting ability, Lory is also worried about what could have caused a young girl to give up on love so early in life. Well beyond her hatred for Shou, he suspects the roots of the issue lay with Kyouko's bad relationship with her mother. Hoping to help Kyouko have the high school experience she never had a chance to live, Lory arranges for her to enroll in a school geared toward students with careers in show business.

Yukihito Yashiro

Skip Beat - Yukihito Yashiro

Introduced as Ren's manager, Yashiro is a serious man dedicated to his job. When he first meets Kyouko, he's surprised to learn she isn't enamored with Ren. Women, and some men, usually are, so her reactions are a novelty to him and strike him as strange.

Like Kyouko, Yashiro can tell when Ren isn't being sincere. He's also able to read Ren's emotions, probably because he spends so much time with the actor. Because of the way Ren needles and teases Kyouko, Yashiro begins to suspect the relationship between them goes beyond colleagues. Ren is usually unfailingly polite, so his behavior confuses Yashiro.

Much to his chagrin, Yashiro figures out that Ren has romantic feelings for Kyouko even before Ren does. He tries to guide his client to realizing them himself, with little success. Yashiro finds it ironic that someone with the face of a playboy has practically no experience with love. Unlike Ren, Yashiro supports a romantic relationship between Kyouko and him, despite the age difference. He genuinely likes Kyouko and once he discovers how Shou wronged her, considers the singer to be a scoundrel of the first degree.

Yashiro also has terrible luck with electronic devices. If he touches them, they quickly break and become useless. Yashiro must be a superb manager since this means he can't be trusted with cell phones to communicate reliably. In fact, he once attempts to coerce Ren into revealing the secrets of Kyouko's past to him by holding the actor's cell phone.

Maria Takarada

Skip Beat - Maria Takarada

The granddaughter of the LME president, Maria first meets Kyouko at her initial, failed audition at the agency. While the other actresses try to comfort the crying girl, Kyouko offers her some no-nonsense advice. The other people present are shocked by her harsh words, but Maria ends up adoring the older girl.

After the audition, Maria asks her grandfather about Kyouko and how she did, proving that she has the same sharp eye as Lory. The little girl meets Kyouko again when the latter is assigned by Lory to find his missing granddaughter. It turns out Maria has been disrupting rehearsals for a play because the storyline upset her.

Maria's mother was a famous fashion model, but she died in an airplane crash. Because Maria is the one who asked her mother to return home to Japan to celebrate her birthday, she feels guilty about her mother's death. This belief was further cemented when she overheard her father blaming her at the funeral. To make matters worse, adults were nice to her face even though this horrible event happened.

For this reason, Maria doesn't trust adults. She believes they lie to children and say only nice things to them, no matter how fake. That's why Kyouko left an impression because she was the first person not to mince words. Eventually, Kyouko is able to prove to Maria that her father doesn't actually blame her for her mother's death and that he does love her.

While Maria looks up to Kyouko and considers her an honorary big sister, she has a huge crush on Ren.

Hiroaki Ogata

Skip Beat - Hiroaki Ogata

A young director who lives in the shadow of his father, Ogata made the decision to remake a famous drama called Tsukimori. Hoping that his version, Dark Moon, will surpass his father's take, Ogata knows the only way he can succeed is by casting Ren as the leading man. Unfortunately, President Takarada is vehemently against Ren accepting the job due to the latter's limitations as an actor. But with the unexpected help of Kyouko, Ogata is able to bring on Ren as his male lead.

Ogata also cast Kyouko as the main antagonist in the drama because her performance in Shou's music video impressed him. This is where the new production runs into some snags. The actress who played Kyouko's role in the previous version has also been cast in Ogata's Dark Moon, this time as the mother of Kyouko's character, and remains possessive of the role. Overcome by insecurities regarding his abilities to break free of his father's name, Ogata gives into the other actress's unreasonable demands until finally even Kyouko's role in the drama is jeopardized.

However, Kyouko rises to the challenge and surpasses his expectations, living up to the spark he first saw in Shou's music video. She brings the character to life in an interpretation completely different from the old version but still wholly faithful to the original vision. Thrilled beyond belief by her portrayal, Ogata sees an opportunity to create a vision of Dark Moon in which Kyouko's rendition can exist while making a name for himself along the way.

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Anime: Skip Beat!
Manga: Skip Beat!

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