Skip Beat!

Skip Beat! is a bit old – it originally aired late 2008 to early 2009, and despite its popularity, I didn’t watch it until much later.  Besides being a shojo anime/manga, which I don’t usually watch, I didn’t really like the animation style and the look of the characters.

I was finally curious enough to see what all the fuss was about, and I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it.  Fortunately, after a while, the animation will grow on you and you won’t really notice how the character design isn’t that great (the same is true for the manga).

Skip Beat! is about a girl, Kyoko Mogami, who moved to Tokyo at a young age to support  the musical career of her childhood friend and the love of her life, Sho Fuwa. As Sho’s career and ego grew, she realized that he had never really seen her as a loyal friend or appreciated all she had sacrificed to follow him to Tokyo to take care of him.  In realizing that he had only been using her the whole time, Kyoko vowed to get revenge – by changing her image and entering showbiz to become an even bigger star than Sho.

To attain her goal, Kyoko auditions as a talent for LME – Sho’s rival agency, but she quickly learns that the world of acting and showbiz is a lot harder and more complex than she had ever imagined.

Though the story’s premise is of revenge, Skip Beat! is a very funny and entertaining anime – mostly due to Kyoko’s antics and misadventures in LME.  Despite Kyoko’s vow to destroy Sho’s career by outshining him, she discovers her own hidden passion for acting and works hard to develop her talent.

As Kyoko enters the world of showbiz, she learns that determination, especially the kind fueled by anger, may not be enough to ensure a successful acting career, or the respect of her fellow actors.

The 25-episode anime only covers about 20 chapters in the manga, which is still ongoing.  I think the anime should have been continued to include the more interesting arcs in the manga.  The manga, apart from being a lot funnier than the anime, also pokes fun of Japanese culture – especially their inability to express themselves clearly, and always being in the “gray” area.

Skip Beat! is unique in that though it is a shojo manga/anime, Kyoko has very strong feelings of hate against men (more than one in particular), and falling in love.  Though once a loyal follower, Sho’s betrayal had hardened her heart toward men and any kind of romantic advances.

In the recent arc of the manga, Kyoko, now a relatively successful TV actress, will have her resolve never to fall in love again tested by her co-star and mentor.  (No spoilers, so go read the manga) 🙂

Skip Beat! (2008)
Written By:  Yoshiki Nakamura
Anime:  25 episodes
Manga:  Ongoing
Personal rating:  5/5

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