Sixteen-year-old Kyouko Mogami followed her childhood friend and love interest Shoutarou "Shou" Fuwa to Tokyo to support him while he works toward his dream of becoming a top idol in the entertainment industry. But after finding out that Shou considers her as little more than a mere housekeeper, she swears to enact revenge by entering the entertainment industry herself and beating him at his own game!
However, Kyouko's revenge plan suffers a setback almost immediately when she is rejected by the talent agency of her choice. Fortunately, the president of the agency gives her a second chance, and places her in the newly made "Love Me" section. Kyouko then begins her long journey to stardom, cultivating her skills as an actress and forming relationships with new friends along the way.
When I first heard about Skip Beat, I (sadly) wasn't one of the first people who loved it from its summary. In fact, after reading the brief summary I went "Psshhh, what's so great about this? No originality at all! The art isn't even that great either!" and walked away.
The reason I first started to read it was because
1) I had finished my favorite manga at the time
2) I was extremely bored and it was ranked quite high
Horrible reasons I know, and I really didn't think I would enjoy Skip Beat at all. In fact I don't know why there were so many
people that love this series.
After the first chapter, I was hooked. The main girl at first was just like any other but the comedy and sarcasm and carefully drawn out eyes got my attention. Plus, the originally "not so original" plot began to seem much more interesting. After that, I read every single chapter up to 139 in about 3 days.
Story: It's not that high on the originality style because I can probably name a couple of stories that revolve around revenge and etc. However, the plot after the beginning, although a bit cliche, is still quite different and makes you crave more. That's the important thing, sure plot is necessary but even if the plot isn't "original" so long as the characters are good, then the story will automatically be good. Which is why this is 9.
Art: Okay, so the bodies are a bit exaggerated and elongated to show how "beautiful" they really are. Even though this a bit of a turnoff for me at first before I read the manga, I grew to be able to ignore the bodies and focus more on the facial expressions and eyes. Her eyes are amazing, it shows you all of the emotions and feelings. Since you can grow to ignore or later like me now, enjoy the exaggeration then art goes to 10. If you can't, it's more 9 since you cannot deny that most shoujo manga art is quite beautiful.
Character: No matter what anyone says, characters are JUST AS or even MORE important than the plot. No matter how unique or original your plot is, if your characters don't match up to it, the book or manga is not going to fare well. What Skip Beat lacks in it's originality department, it shows up in the characters. I won't go into great detail at the people because it would border on spoilers but as you read you can greatly identify each of the character's inner thoughts. Since this is told in Kyoko's perspective, you get to see how crazy she gets and laugh your head off at her "misfortune"! Truly an interesting main character.
Enjoyment: It's great. That's all I can really say. You laugh, you sympathize, you cry and you get angry along with Kyoko. It's amazing when a manga can get you going that much. This manga really is great and I'm sure even the worst critics (like me) can enjoy this.
Overall: 10. Simply (almost) perfect. A great read!
(Man that really was long! But I hoped this helped at least someone!)
Skip Beat isn’t your classic Shoujo, The cover is deceiving, on the outside it looks cute and fluffy, you open it up expecting a pleasing little love story with the usual clichés of a cute protagonist and her knight in shining armour.
But Skip Beats protagonist is not a mere Mary sue… Not at all, she’s dark, vengeful lacking in essential emotions such as love and her knight in shining armour Shoutaro, is an egotistical user.
Story: I first started reading this manga after being dumped in a foreign country for a local Thai girl, so for me this was like medicine… I could really relate
to the character, and laugh with the story as it puts light on a dark subject.
It isn’t fun being used by the person you love, but instead of Kyoko rolling up in a hole she deside’s to get her revenge on Sho by entering his scene, the entertainment world.
The only possible down side to the story line could be the length, if you like the couple to be together within the first five chapters, Skip Beat might not be for you. But I found in this Shoujo I didn’t need them to be together for this to be one of my fav’s. Factors such as the humour, the characters personalities, and the story arcs all make up for this.
Characters: it’s a pleasure to read about these Char’s, Kyoko may be on a mission for revenge but her char grows throughout the story, she’s abit of a dork and lovable, you’ll be laughing during every chapter.
All the chars do advance during the story, at first you see Sho as the bastard he is… But later on he starts to grow on you… and the reader starts to forgive what he had done.. Its an emotional journey when you start to feel bad for the villain.
Art: To be honest, I did not like the art so much at the start.. (This proves how good the story line must be.) But I find now… I really like it… Why…. Well… I think her drawing is flawless in that style. It isn’t exactly a style I see a lot, but she can express things so well in the story. Hand actions, facial expressions, I even find the main man Ren quite attractive. This is Strange seeing as I didn’t like the art style to be gin with… I deduce that It must grow on you. But something I loved right from the start was her chibi’s! They are so very cute!
It's always a shock when you start submerging yourself in a story that you don't think will be that interesting and suddenly find yourself completely lost in it. Being a big fan of stories about the underdog, I'd have to say, Skip Beat! definitely captivated me; you're pulled in and can't stop reading wondering what will happen next.
The characters themselves are very unique and well developed. The main character turns out to be a young heroine, Mogami Kyoko, probably one of my favorite characters. Her natural frankness and unsurpassed perseverance makes you just want to root for her even though the way
she was introduced into the entertainment world is so unusual. Despite being undermined and looked down upon, it's just amazing how much she achieves and shines. Besides Kyoko, there are so many characters that you meet in the story, each with their own complex story and background. The characters are so dynamic, each in their own way that it just makes you want to know more about every single one of them.
It's no surprise that the characters themselves are so well developed since even those characters have to try act out other characters within the story, almost like a story within the story. The main storyline is quite simple, but the complexity lies within the background of each actor, each character. As you read on, you find out that everyone has a secret that they don't wish to be revealed, and that must be how it is in the entertainment industry.
As far as art is concerned, I must say that I have no complaints at all, although the author does tend to "chibi" forms a lot probably because of the difficulty and detail involved with each character. However, when it comes to the crucial moments, the expressions and looks on the faces of each character are amazing. When a character looks angry, it sends chills down your spine. The author certainly breathes life into each character. A smile can be from genuine to cruel to down right evil.
Overall, I loved the characters and the story development of Skip Beat! If you enjoy stories about the underdog, someone with a little bit of talent and a lot of perseverance, then I definitely recommend giving Skip Beat! a read.
Skip Beat! is the one and only manga that I have followed religiously. And I truly mean religiously. Every month, I check for the latest chapter as if it were a ritual ingrained in me. And having been a dedicated fan for over a decade, I now invite you to join the cult. So settle down, my friends, as I sing the praises of the masterpiece that is Skip Beat!
Story: Meet Kyouko Mogami, a young girl pouring her heart, sweat and blood into supporting her childhood crush Shoutaro so that he can fulfill his dream of becoming a top celebrity. Turns out he’s a narcissistic
jerk who’s been using her all along for his own benefit, without a word or hint of gratitude towards her sacrifice. Upon realizing that her pure feelings have been trampled upon, Kyouko decides to destroy Shoutaro’s career by one-upping him and making him fear the terrible wrath of a woman scorned. In the strangest and most hilarious way anyone has entered show business, Kyouko weasels her way into a top talent agency called LME which sets into motion a series of life-changing experiences. Thankfully, the manga does not remain fixated on the initial hook and instead focuses on Kyouko’s journey into the unfamiliar world of acting, where she seeks to regain her lost self-confidence and hope and sense of self-worth, nor does it allow you forget Kyouko’s painful history or make you feel that her fixation with revenge is shallow or unwarranted. So don't be fooled into thinking that the synopsis offers a full picture of what Skip Beat! has to offer.
There is a wonderful balance struck between the light-hearted humor of a romance comedy and some of the more somber elements of a dramatic narrative. Every arc adds more complexity and depth to the story and the characters. The author, Nakamura-sensei did a superb job using flashbacks, supporting characters, and different jobs to highlight and draw out the various layers of the protagonist. I’m constantly blown away by the storytelling. No detail goes unnoticed, for one or two panels may be subtly foreshadowing the events of a chapter that will come out months or even years later.
Art: Nakamura-sensei has been working on Skip Beat! since 2002 so you can imagine that her style has evolved over the years. The art is clean and is a credit to the mangaka's skill. I admit I was put off by the men at the very, very, very beginning but the mangaka's style improves considerably. I can say that they contend as some of the hottest manga characters in shoujo manga. Another visual treat is Kyouko's many transformations according to her roles.
The expressions are stunning and lend authenticity to the characters' conflicts. The eyes are particularly captivating and every emotion is perfectly captured by the images alone. Chibi art is often incorporated alongside the more detailed anime profiles in a seamless and amusing manner. Although the art is gorgeous, it doesn't rely too much on the surroundings. Instead, the manga focus on gestures and convey a sense of "movement” that exists within the pages.
Character: This is easily the manga’s greatest feature. There are no flat characters in the world of Skip Beat! and you’d be hard-pressed to describe Kyouko as a Mary Sue type. Rather, the protagonist can be scarily obsessive about perfecting her voodoo doll-making skills at one moment and then gushing over pretty, fairy-tale related paraphernalia the next. Kyouko is equal parts innocent, crazy, dense, clumsy, funny, friendly, eager, elegant, polite, perceptive, hardworking, professional, intelligent, confused, sensible, vengeful, loving, and ambitious. Readers can quickly empathize with the many facets of her personality. Her acting career draws all of these traits because her roles require a process of self-discovery. Kyouko has a natural affinity to method-acting and the characters she plays essentially “possess” her once attained. At one point, she is described as the eternal butterfly, an actress that nobody recognizes because she disguises herself in the personas that she creates.
Even obnoxious fleas like Shoutaro aren’t discarded after the inciting incident. He is further developed (while still retaining his childishly-possessive nature, because the essential element of his character profile is that he is the World’s Biggest A-Hole) and continues to serve various purposes. This is a relief to me, because I would have easily forgotten him otherwise and would wonder why Kyouko hadn't. I hate to say this, but Sho's existence is actually important. The pain of his betrayal is enhanced as readers slowly learn about Kyouko’s complicated childhood in increments. After all, it is their history that serves as a catalyst for Kyouko’s rise to stardom.
And speaking of complicated pasts, allow me to introduce you to Ren Tsuruga, the actor who has captured the admiration of every woman in Japan. This fully applies to the readership - I have rarely seen another 2-D character ooze so much charisma. At first, he seems to to be just another handsome gentleman the world of fiction has to offer. But our protagonist has developed a phobia of two-faced male celebrities. Upon Kyouko’s first encounter, he is quickly judged to be yet another detestable rival to defeat because of his condescending attitude towards her modus operandi. But even the coldest of hearts cannot help but be melted by his many charms, and Kyouko eventually comes to admire him as a senior and a mentor. Unfortunately, Ren struggles with the cardinal virtue of sincerity. Occupational hazard of being an actor? Not quite. The reader will be exposed to the darkness within Ren over the course of the story and come to the realization that he is the perfect counterpart to our protagonist. He is afforded as much depth as Kyouko and his personal growth is just as crucial to the manga.
I haven't even commented on the plethora of supporting characters. Nakamura-sensei breathes to life an endearing cast that truly feels like a diverse community. Every new opportunity brings Kyouko into contact with new people who feel real and contribute to her growth in unique ways. You can’t miss eccentric characters like President Lori, or the capable manager Yashiro, who provides both solemn advice as well as a true-fangirl’s commentary and thereby establishes himself as the de facto voice of the readership. And there are plenty of other colorful individuals, so I recommend you read Skip Beat! to meet them all.
Enjoyment: Surely, you’ve gotten my opinion by now. If I actually comment on this category, I’ll exhaust the thesaurus of positive connotations that can be related to Skip Beat! ;D
The binge-ability of this manga is extremely high. The only complaint I can bring to the table is that once you’ve caught up, it will be agonizing waiting for the next installment. Sometimes it feels like the story is dragging on for months before you take the time to revisit previous arcs and realize that the pacing is in fact quite excellent. Don’t expect a quick resolution and savor each chapter as they come. I pray and hope that Nakamura-sensei will write the conclusion before I die, but I’ve learned that the most fulfilling of relationships take their sweet time.
Overall: Skip Beat! and its adaptations are one of the main reasons people haven’t lost hope in the shoujo genre. It is a genuine flagship comparable to Akatsuki no Yona, Glass Mask, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge, Ouran High School Host Club, Fruits Basket and Akagami no Shirayuki-hime. If you haven’t read it yet – or any of these other titles, really – put in your top priority.
Re-readability is also very high, for all of those who have already had a taste. I fell in love with this manga the moment I picked it up over a decade ago and continue to love it with the same amount of zeal. I’ve read and re-read all the chapters that have been published so far and have seen the anime and the drama adaptations too many times to count. The story manages to stay refreshing and enjoyable no matter how many times I revisit it.
Parting Remarks: Thank you for somehow reaching the end of this long rant. I apologize if the review wasn’t as substantial as it ought to be but I’m just one advocate out of many. Don’t just take my word for it. Go and find out if you will love Skip Beat! as much as the rest of the fanbase. (And if anyone tries to tell me that Yashiro isn’t a princess amongst us – then you better be ready to step outside because imma fight you.)
Characters with parental issues are nothing new to anime and manga. With Saena’s backstory recently disclosed, Skip Beat! fans are in a debate over Kyoko’s decision following her mother’s tale. Is Kyoko’s reaction realistic or yet another forced attempt to provide a happy ending?
Shoujo anime enjoy some of the top ratings on MAL, but here’s a secret known to industry insiders: Shoujo anime is a tough sell. Will anime fans give Skip Beat! the official North American DVD release it deserves? Or is Kyoko dead in the water? The Kickstarter campaign runs through April 16, 2016.