Author: Yoshiki Nakamura
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: May 1, 2007
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
After succeeding in the audition for the commercial, Kyoko and Moko are warned by the director that they have to take good care of their bodies, because that’s what professionals do, and he gives them a rather frightening glare for good measure. Entitled brat Erika is still miffed that Moko bested her and swears she will keep her from succeeding as an actress, no matter what! Her sycophantic toadies leap at the chance to be of service to her and begin to stalk Kyoko and Moko, but no matter what they attempt to do to harm the two girls, Kyoko manages to unwittingly thwart their efforts.
Ren is on the set with his manager, Mr. Yashiro, whom he fears is coming down with a cold, when Maria appears. Right behind her, her grandfather Lori makes his usual grand entrance, complete with band. Maria tells Ren it’s for a commercial that is being shot, and Ren is surprised to learn that Kyoko won the audition. Maria, who is insanely jealous of Ren, tells him the story of how she met Kyoko at Training School, giving Ren much to think about. After he leaves, Lori becomes aware that Kyoko hasn’t been able to go to High school, but not by choice, and offers her the opportunity to do so. That means she will have to study hard!
At LME, when a manager is ill and unable to perform their duties, the company appoints a daimane, or substitute manager. But when Yashiro does indeed come down with a cold, none is available, so Kyoko is giving the job of managing Ren. Neither of them is particularly pleased with this decision but can’t do anything about it. Kyoko is afraid she will screw up and not do a good job, thus earning Ren’s wrath. Ren doesn’t think she can do a good job, and feels like he doesn’t need help, since he’s very self-sufficient. Kyoko finds being alone with him awkward. When he notices her rumbling stomach, he suggests they stop and eat, not taking no for an answer, and he takes time to eat as well, which is what Lori had counted on when he gave Kyoko the assignment, since Ren is prone to ignore such things as meals.
Kyoko is very observant and nurturing, and takes care of Ren despite himself. But when a particular scene has to be re-shot repeatedly because the actress Ren is playing against is too stupid to pronounce a word correctly, Kyoko is concerned, as it is raining and she already thought Ren was wearing himself out and could get sick. When her fears are realized, she goes above and beyond to bring him back to full health!
I really loved this volume of Skip Beat! (Who am I kidding, I love them all!) This one was especially good because of the great interactions between Kyoko and Ren. He’s been suspicious of her motives for joining LME ever since he heard it was for revenge against Sho. But he’s beginning to realize she is really interested in succeeding as an actress. Not only that, she has a great natural talent. Who knew? Of course, he has an advantage in that he remembers her from when they were children, and she isn’t aware that he is her beloved Corn. Wonder how long he’ll keep that secret. Kyoko is growing as a person, and as an actress. Her natural abilities, plus her own kindness and goodness, continue to shine through. My biggest wish is to see these two get together, but I know that’s not in the cards for a long time to come.
Great volume, looking forward to more!