Tag Archives: shojo manga

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 10 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 10   

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The remake of Tsukigomori is getting a lot of attention. Kyoko is worried about the director. He seems so frail, as if the weight of producing a better film than the original is getting to him already… and they haven’t even begun shooting! Kyoko makes the mistake of asking Ren if he is nervous, and he gets irate with her. She is reluctant to admit that one reason she took the role was for a chance to act with him and watch him act. At a press conference for the film, a reporter asks the director why he changed his name and he passes out!

Kyoko shows up on the set on her first day as Mio, having already been transformed for the role, complete with scar. Her make-up is so realistic, she frightens some of the actresses playing school girls! Mr Yoshiro praises her for acting so scary only to discover she was being herself. Ren wonders when she changed, and speculates that it’s all Sho’s fault. The actress who played Mio originally, Miss Iizuka, who is playing her mother in the remake, arrives on the set, and she is clearly angry with their choice of Mio. She thinks Kyoko is a no-one and doesn’t deserve to play Mio. She decides she needs to test Kyoko on the role, and if she doesn’t perform to her satisfaction, Kyoko will have to step down! Meanwhile, Sho’s agent is trying to keep Sho from learning that Kyoko has landed a role in Dark Moon. Luckily, he is often oblivious to his surroundings. The trouble is they are headed to the very station that is producing Dark Moon!

Kyoko has a sudden inspiration and tells Mr Yoshiro she’ll be back soon, dashing away. He chases after her but to no avail. This sudden departure just feeds into Miss Iizuka’s prediction of failure if they continue with Kyoko as Mio. But Ren is confident that she will return, he has faith in her. The director prays that he is right. Three hours pass before Kyoko returns – with dyed hair and a new haircut! One that exposes Mio’s scar! What can she be thinking? Will the old battleaxe get her way and have Kyoko removed from the cast?

I love to watch Kyoko grow as an actress. She is so intent and so serious, and determined to give everything her best. It was hilarious when Mr. Yoshiro told Kyoko that Ren loves her but she wasn’t even listening! Watching the director of the film grow a backbone and tell that old witch he’s in charge was great! Kyoko’s interpretation of Mio is going to put her on everyone’s radar, I’m sure! I’m curious to see what Sho’s reaction will be, now that he’s seen the Dark Moon poster. Will he want what he can’t have? He did say that he considers Kyoko his!  Looking forward to the next volume!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 9 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 9   

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko has an ongoing role as a giant chicken named Bo, but very few people know that, thank goodness. What are the chances that the same bratty child who said that Moko’s career is done should be the guest on the show? Kyoko sees it as her chance to find out what happened, but ends up being told her career is done too! Kyoko refuses to be intimidated by the child. Even when he threatens to out her to the world as Bo! (Unfortunately clever that one is!)  Kyoko engineers a meeting between Hio and Moko in order to find out what really happened, and why this brat is so vindictive. Turns out that on the set, Moko threw Hio, who claims to have suffered grievously at her hands. Why would she treat a child like that? And why doesn’t she see anything wrong with her behavior? In order to clear up the mystery, and explain why she did what she did, Moko takes Kyoko and  Hio to her home. Kyoko is excited to see Moko’s family, but she is in for quite the shock!

Ren is called to an early morning meeting with Lory, who is curious about the reason Ren’s phone was broken, assuming it had to do with a woman. But Ren denies that. Ren becomes confused when Lory brings up the lack of romantic gossip concerning Ren, like that’s a bad thing. But Lory finally comes to the point and tells Ren that “his acting of love sucks!” Ren is shocked as Lory explains that he’s hidden it so far because his roles haven’t called for it, but it’s obvious he’s never really loved. Ren tries to deny that, but can’t prove it and is dismayed at the way their conversation is going.

Kyoko and Moko have finally figured out what Hio’s problem is. Well, mostly. And Moko confesses to Kyoko what she has been doing for extra money, which is simply acting and nothing horrible at all. But Moko calls Kyoko out for not telling her own secrets, despite having confessed to her. Kyoko is terrified that Moko won’t like her anymore and she’ll lose her only friend! So Moko walks away!

Kyoko is shocked to learn she is being offered a part in a drama! She was even recommended for the role by the producer of Sho’s video! The drama is the remake of one that was very successful twenty years before. And oh, the lead actor is going to be Ren! She tells them she has to think about it, suddenly terrified of being around Ren like that. Meanwhile Mr. Yashiro is trying to find out what is bothering Ren, and for some reason he keeps linking Ren’s bad mood to Kyoko.

Kyoko meets Moko at a karaoke box and confesses her past relationship with Sho Fuwa. Moko is shocked, having believed Kyoko to be a mega-fan of Sho’s. They discuss Kyoko’s options regarding her acting and the offer of the drama. And then Moko drops a bombshell when she dares to suggest that maybe Ren actually likes Kyoko.

Ren is disturbed after leaving Lory. Maybe the man is right, maybe he shouldn’t accept the role. But a familiar scream draws his attention. And yes, it’s Kyoko, who has just read the script and realized she is not being cast as a rich nice young girl but a disturbed one. She has just run into the director of the drama, who is pleading with her not to change her mind, that she is the one he wants ever since he saw her play the angel in the video. Ren is caught unawares by the knowledge that Kyoko is to appear in the drama as well. And suddenly he accepts the offer to be the star!

So much going on in this volume! At least the mystery of Hio has been solved (even if he is still somewhat of an entitled brat) and also we learn a lot about Moko’s home life (egad, that would drive me crazy!). Now on to the drama! Both the series and the behind-the-scenes drama! I wonder how Lory would react to the knowledge of Ren as Corn, and his past relationship with Kyoko. After all, his current one is very complicated. I think he would not only understand, he would see through both their protestations. Of course, Kyoko doesn’t know Ren is Corn, and the longer he waits to tell her, the bigger the explosion, I’m sure. Especially if they manage to draw closer in the meantime.

Love, love, love this series, so awesome!  Until next time!

Book Review: Skip Beat, Vol 8 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 8     

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

After winning a part in Sho’s new music promo, Kyoko is finally recognized by Sho, to his surprise and horror. Sho’s agent and the other co-star, Mimori, whom he has been flirting with, are shocked when they realize Kyoko and Sho have past history, especially Mimori. Kyoko assures Mimori there is nothing between her and Sho, and Sho assures his agent that he always thought of Kyoko as a housemaid (which is true). But he also goes on to say he still thinks of her as his. Seriously?

In the promo, Kyoko and Mimori play angels, one good and one bad, while Sho is the devil who falls in love with the good angel (Mimori). Kyoko’s bad angel is infuriated that he has done this to her friend and kills him. But whenever they shoot the scene where the bad angel chokes the devil before he falls to his death, Kyoko gets into the role a little bit too much and almost kills Sho for real. She wants to do her best, not for revenge, but for her acting career, which she has begun to take very seriously, but she’s afraid her hatred for Sho is overcoming her acting abilities.

Who can she turn to for advice? She calls Moko, but the call goes to voicemail. She considers Ren, but she doesn’t even have his number. She manages to obtain that and calls, leaving a panicked garbled message. Moko calls back, and gives Kyoko some advice that really makes sense and helps her decide how to play the scene. Meanwhile, Ren is on set with his agent, Mr. Yashiro, between takes. Yashiro is surprised to see Ren look at his messages and actually listen to one, something he never does. And then he is shocked to see Ren return someone’s call! He knows the call can’t be work-related, as they would have gone through him first. So who can this special person be?

After the scene, Kyoko and Sho get into an argument, and while they are fighting, Kyoko’s phone rings. Sho grabs it and answers, not speaking. He is shocked to hear a voice he recognizes as Ren Tsuruga’s! Why is he calling Kyoko? What’s going on between them? Sho turns immediately jealous and barks something into the phone before clicking off. Unfortunately, Ren recognizes the other voice as well and jumps to all the wrong conclusions. When Kyoko runs into Ren and Maria back at the agency, she is horrified to find him angry with her, although he disguises it well. But she can tell by his gentlemanly smile that he is mad. And now she’s also in the middle of a mystery with Moko that her friend refuses to explain, so Kyoko and Maria follow her to learn what is going on with her.

Kyoko is growing as an actress and as a person, as she realizes that her need for revenge on the deceitful Sho is being overshadowed by her love of acting and her desire to be the best actress she can be. Sho is such a brat, and he has the nerve to think he owns Kyoko! He’s only interested because he’s seeing her as a person for the first time, and has never truly appreciated her. He’s still just a shallow vain punk, and I hope and pray Kyoko never falls for his tricks and insincerity ever again. On the other hand, I was tickled to see how jealous Ren is and how he is becoming more and more transparent to his agent, who is already beginning to guess at Ren’s feelings for Kyoko. Just imagine if he knew the whole truth! Sometimes I forget that Ren is just four years older than Kyoko, at the age of 20, because he acts far more mature and worldly. I wonder how much he will reveal to Mr. Yashiro, and what exactly did Moko do that has threatened her career?

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 7 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 7   

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 3, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

It’s not easy to be a substitute manager, a budding actress, and a wannabe high school student all at the same time, but Kyoko never backs down from a challenge! Even when she and Ren are caught in a serious traffic jam, and she is worried that he will be late to work, thus tarnishing his perfect image, she makes sure he gets there on time, even if she has to appropriate someone’s bike to do it!

At school, she finds herself being picked on by one girl in particular, Mimori Nanokura, although Kyoko doesn’t understand why that is. When Kyoko runs across the commercial she and Moko did together, while walking on the street, she is taken by surprise, although she isn’t exactly flattered by some of the comments she overhears from passersby. Even more surprising is the call she receives from Ren. Is he watching her or something? How? He hasn’t had time to give her marks for being his manager, but somehow that doesn’t work out as well as either one planned.

Kyoko’s manager receives a call from someone who was impressed with the Curara commercial and wants to use the two girls – aka Moko and Kyoko –  in a music video – featuring Sho Fuwa? Can it be? Kyoko is furious at first at the idea of being used by Sho, until she begins to see this in another light, namely as an opportunity to use Sho as a stepping stone for her own career. But Moko has already made another commitment to a 2-hour drama, so Kyoko will be on her own, if they will accept her.

At the audition, Sho keeps staring at Kyoko. She realizes she has to make him believe it’s not her, so she begins to act completely not like herself. But then Moko’s role is re-cast – and given to Mimori? Will she reveal who Kyoko really is? How can she get the girl to stay quiet, at least long enough to get through this music video? Or maybe it’s time to let him see who she really is, so he can worry?

This was a fabulous volume, especially the back and forth between Kyoko and Sho. How like a man, to want her now that he sees what he couldn’t see in her before. The music video they are shooting concerns a devil (Sho) and two angels, and Kyoko plays the angel who wants to kill him. How appropriate is that? Also, Ren still seems to be struggling against his feelings for Kyoko, but even his manager can see he cares.  Kyoko continues to grow, both as a person and as an actress. Loved this, looking forward to more!

Book Review: Skip Beat, Vol 46 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 6       

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!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 5 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 5

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 6, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Playing the giant chicken Bo on television is exhausting for Kyoko, but she’s actually grateful the producer gave her a second chance, after the fiasco with Sho. But apparently the viewers loved her and thought the old Bo was boring, so now she is determined to make the most of this opportunity. To do her best, so she can succeed.

Kyoko runs into Ren at the agency, and his being nice to her and smiling at her has even more freaked out than before. She forgets to inform the agency that she has an audition for a commercial scheduled for the next day. Of course they are happy for her, and Ren tells her to do her best. At the audition, Kyoko unexpectedly runs into Moko, and an entitled blonde who is sure the world revolves around her and her money. Apparently, she and Moko go way back, and she is very condescending and mean to Moko. But instead of fighting fire with fire, as only Moko can, she is down and almost defeated! Kyoko can’t believe what she is seeing. What’s going on here? After the first round of auditions, Moko is ready to quit, but Kyoko slaps some sense into her!

The commercial’s director, who missed the first audition, overhears the discussion between Kyoko and Moko, and is curious to see what they can do. So he changes the casting call from one to two girls, and all the girls have to team up to audition.  Kyoko ends up with Moko. When the others girls, including the rich one, find out that Moko and Kyoko work together at LME, they claim their pairing is unfair. So to even the playing field, they demand that they can’t rehearse together beforehand. Moko is appalled, but Kyoko agrees. But can they play upon one another and bring out the emotions the director and his team need for the product without even being able to discuss it first?

This is a big deal for Kyoko, auditioning for this commercial. No chicken suit to hide inside, only her. Plus she is auditioning against Moko, whom she strongly wants to be friends with. Moko is resistant to her overtures of friendship, but Kyoko isn’t the type to give up easily. I enjoyed watching the director of the commercial as he watched them carefully, sensing something special there. And of course he was right.

Poor Kyoko has no idea that Ren has finally realized how and when he knows her from because she has changed so much, and she has no idea who he was to her. All she knows is that she is afraid of his gentlemanly side as much as his colder side. I love watching the two of them together, but I know they have a long way to go. Lots of fun in this volume, can’t wait for more!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 4 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 4   

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 2, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko shines in an exercise at the LME acting school, at the same time helping the president’s granddaughter, Maria, grapple with issues she has with her father. Maria fears her father doesn’t love her and thinks he blames her for her mother’s tragic death. Kyoko helps her to learn to communicate with him, thus earning Lory’s trust, even if he doesn’t always understand her methods. But he realizes his initial assessment of her was correct. She has something… something definitely worth cultivating.

Lory tells Kyoko that, as a minor, she needs her mother’s signature to make her debut with LME. But he isn’t prepared for what he sees in her eyes when he brings up the matter. Is there a way to work around this, for her sake?

Kyoko has a special stone that is very important to her. She keeps it with her at all times and relies on it in times of stress. So when she drops it, she is afraid she’s damaged it, or worse, she’ll never see it again. Ren Tsuruga finds it and returns it to her, but in the process a memory is awakened…

Kyoko and Moko receive an assignment as seat fillers for the first variety show of a popular rock band that LME is very proud of called Bridge Rock. At the last minute, a supervisor asks if they can help out with something else, as a cast member can’t make it. Moko enthusiastically agrees, until she finds out what the part is and leaves that to Kyoko, who suddenly finds herself thrust into a giant chicken suit!

As if this isn’t bad enough, she learns that the band’s first guest is none other than Sho Fuwa! Talk about awkward. But she comes to appreciate the fact that he won’t even know it’s her in this suit. So, what can she do to sabotage him?

After the debacle of the show, while still in costume, Kyoko runs into a distraught Ren. As she instinctively tries to help him, she begins to discover a whole new side of the actor she never knew existed. But can she keep him from taking off her bird head and revealing who she really is?

I loved this volume, as we get to know Kyoko more and more. She is developing, both as an actor and as a person. Of course she isn’t perfect, and her vendetta against Sho is still very much alive. But watching her with Maria is priceless, and of course her interactions with Ren, who is worth far more than that trashy Sho. Now the question is, what does Ren remember, and what is the story here?

The story is both humorous and dramatic. You gotta love Kyoko’s little voodoo dolls, she is so serious about them. And my heart aches for her as she tries to gain Moko’s friendship. This is a young girl, on her own in a big city, taking care of herself the best she can. How can you  not root for her?

Can’t wait for the next book!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 3 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 3     

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 7, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

When the director offers to give Kyoko a tea-making lesson, as he’s doing with Ruriko, she turns him down. She doesn’t need that, having learned how to perform a tea ceremony a long time ago at the inn run by Sho’s parents. But she doesn’t tell him that, of course.  She’s trying to put all that behind her. When she learns that Ruriko isn’t really ill, as she thought, merely spoiled and pampered, Kyoko grows angry and more determined to best her. Ren tries to persuade her to drop out of the contest, due to her injury, but he doesn’t know her very well, and she refuses to back out.

Ren runs through the lines with Ruriko, and then it’s Kyoko’s turn, and an amazing thing happens. Ren’s acting changes, as he becomes more serious with her, and his acting provokes an unexpected response from Kyoko which blows everyone away. However, Kyoko is more seriously hurt than she has let on…

Kyoko has scared Ruriko enough that she ceases her previous behavior. When Lory learns that the change in his actress is due to Kyoko, rather than Ren,  he is surprised. As a parting gift, the grateful director allows her a photo shoot, complete with make-up, which makes Kyoko very happy.

Back at LME, Kyoko unexpectedly encounters one of the other actresses from the LME auditions, who is surprised to see Kyoko there since she flunked the audition. But Moko can’t afford to be too high and mighty, as Kyoko learns that she is the newest member of the Love Me section! Kyoko is determined that the two of them will get through this together, so thrilled is she to have someone else to share her misery with.

Kyoko wants to attend the LME actor training school, in order to work on her craft, but the cost is rather prohibitive. However, when Lory requests a favor of her regarding his wayward granddaughter, Maria, Kyoko wonders if maybe this is the answer to how she can afford to get into the school.

Much going on in this volume. I think Kyoko is becoming serious about her acting, as opposed to just wanting to become more successful than Sho. It’s not just an ends to a mean, but something she really wants to learn to do well. Also, I think Ren is starting to see her as someone with more talent than he’s given her credit for. Okay, so Kyoko didn’t get the part. No one wins all the time, but she won something more. She was able to make a veteran actress change her horrible ways, and she brought out something in Ren. Or he brought it out in her. Or maybe it’s mutual.

I love Lory’s faith in her. He’s rather unconventional, but a lot of fun, and he sincerely loves his granddaughter, who is just a little girl but is being blamed for the death of her mother. No wonder she acts up! He has a feeling that Ms. Mogami can get through to her. At least he hopes so, as he doesn’t know where else to turn. I love the bonding that takes place between Kyoko and Maria (even if others might find it a little frightening). I love the humor in this series, but it’s also serious and dramatic too.

Looking forward to the next volume.

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 2 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 2     

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 5, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko’s audition for LME has failed, so she finds another day job instead.  She feels like a loser, which is bad enough, and then she sees Sho in a cosmetics commercial on TV, reminding her of why she wants to succeed in show business. Then just by coincidence a large bus pulls into the place where she works, and who should step out of the bus but Sho himself? Kyoko is terrified he’ll see her and realize her failure, but he doesn’t even recognize her (in all fairness she did get an expensive makeover after selling her Sho memorabilia).  Rather than release her anger at Sho, however, she pretends to be a number one fan, to throw him off the track, even speaking the words he longs to hear.

Meanwhile, the head of LME, Lory, is intrigued by what he has seen of Kyoko, and sets the stage for her return. At least he hopes she’ll return. Ren Tsuruga does not hope so, since he dislikes her reason for wanting to exceed in show business. But Lory sees something in her and wants to fan that spark into a flame. And go back she does, determined to succeed. Which is how she ends up in LME’s new section – the Love Me Section. Not quite what she was hoping for, but hey, it’s a foot in the door. Work her way up from the bottom? In this case, she’s starting from the basement! And she has to do anything that is requested of her, no matter how silly or menial or demeaning. How well she does will be reflected in the points she is given for her job. And if she earns enough points, she can become a proper part of the agency. What does it matter that she has to wear a bright hot pink uniform with Love Me written on back and front, and that people who see her are laughing at her? He who laughs last laughs best, after all.

Kyoko runs into LME actress Ruriko Matsunai, who wishes to make a request of her, which Kyoko agrees to. Unknown to her, Lory is hoping that by putting Ruriko into a film with Ren,  Ren can help to cure some of her bad habits. Such as lack of punctuality. And demanding to be pampered. Ruriko has had a special umbrella made for some outdoor scenes (costing a day of delay waiting for the umbrella). She wants Kyoko to carry it for her. Kyoko, thinking the actress is allergic to UV rays, is determined to be her white knight and help keep her safe. She ends up carrying the actress up a hill toward the shooting set and injuring herself in the process. Can that be Ren Tsuruga to the rescue? Le gasp!

When Ruriko displays her usual bratty behavior and refuses to work, the director gets Kyoko to step in for her, despite her injury. And suddenly Ruriko is worried that she may actually lose her role to someone she refers to as a hyena. Could this be Kyoko’s big break?

I can’t say enough good things about this series and love it to death. Kyoko is such an interesting character, and certainly not perfect. You could definitely say she has issues, chief among them Sho Fuwa. But she has integrity and she takes pride in her work, and goes above and beyond the call of duty.  And she has a very big heart. How can you not hope she gets the final laugh at Sho? Lory is quite the character, a man of a million costumes and quirks, but he has a good heart and good instincts about people.

Another great volume, looking forward to the next.

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 1 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 1     

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 5, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga/Supernatural/184 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko and Sho have known each other since they were children, practically raised together. So when Sho, pursuing his dreams of stardom by moving to Tokyo, asks Kyoko to go with him, how can she say no? Forgoing high school, the sixteen-year-old gets a job and works hard to support them both, while Sho works at becoming a famous musician. Kyoko remains in the background as he grows in popularity, and has to endure hearing other girls talk about Sho and the things they wish they could do with him. But Kyoko knows that when he isn’t on tour, it’s her he comes home to.

Until one day she overhears Sho and his manager talking about her, and she learns that she is only a housemaid to Sho! Angry and hurt, she confronts him, but he doesn’t even seem to care. How could she have been so blind? He taunts her by saying that if she wants to get revenge on him, she should go into show business and become better than him.

Revenge is on!

Kyoko hasn’t got the faintest idea of how to become a celebrity, and has no particular talent. But that doesn’t stop her. Selling the Sho merchandise she has accumulated, she gets a complete makeover, turning from brunette to blonde. Then she goes to one of the two top talent agencies, the one that isn’t Sho’s but is home to his biggest rival, Ren Tsuruga. Ren is far above Sho, which has always griped the selfish singer to no end.

No talent? No problem! Kyoko is sure that sheer determination and spunk will get her where she wants to go! She is so focused, she is downright scary!

I am actually re-reading this series, and I totally love it! The only minor complaint I have about the artwork is that everyone has really weirdly pointy chins. But in the scheme of things I can forgive that as it’s a really good manga. Kyoko is a strong female character, but she is far from perfect, although she is rather naïve. At heart, she’s a very good girl, but Sho has hurt her, and there is a very thin line between love and hate. In this first volume, we meet some of the people who will become pivotal to Kyoko in the future, including the eccentric head of L.M.E. Talent Agency, Lorry. Also Ren Tsuruga and Kanae Kotonami.

Kyoko learns that guts will only get her so far. She has to develop whatever talents she possesses in order to succeed with her chosen revenge on Sho. In the process, she may just find who she truly is. On to the next volume!