Today I decided to share one of my favorite shoujo manga that makes me laugh like a maniac. As if I didn’t do enough of that already…
Skip Beat! is a 38 volume (and ongoing) shoujo manga by Yoshiki Nakamura that is licensed by VIZ media. It follows the life of Kyoko Mogami, a sixteen year old girl who follows her crush Sho to Tokyo to help realize his dreams of becoming a celebrity. Working multiple jobs, Kyoko supports Sho and the home they “both share”. Completely devoted, she doesn’t see that there’s something more sinister at play here.
Of course, all of this changes when Kyoko visits Sho on location and overhears a conversation where he confesses that he was only using her as a maid! Enraged by his betrayal, Kyoko vows revenge and thus her determination to enter showbiz is born.
Following their breakup, Kyoko gets a complete image change, moves out of the luxury apartment she’d been slaving over and starts her journey of becoming a well-known celebrity. Of course, this turns out to be harder than expected when she arrives at LME (Lory’s Majestic Entertainment), one of Japan’s largest talent agencies, and they realize she has no interest in authentically becoming a celebrity. Suffice to say she’s promptly removed from the premises.
Not the type to give up so easily, Kyoko stalks and haunts Mr. Sawara, one of LME’s “bigwigs” until he gives her some help, which he does (four days later) in the form of an audition.
Failing the second part of the audition, Kyoko unexpectedly becomes the muse and first member of the Love Me section, LME’s new section specifically created to help people who have talent but lack the will to love. As part of the Love Me section, Kyoko has to complete tasks (cleaning, cooking, carrying baggage, being a dummy actor for a spoiled actress) in a hot pink jumpsuit and receive points from her clients. The points range from “-10 You’re No Good” to “Full Marks 100% Great Job.”
It’s during this time that Kyoko realizes that she genuinely wants to study acting and where her greatest fear starts to unfold. The locks she’d placed on her heart start to weaken as she begins to genuinely care for her co-worker and senpai, Ren Tsuruga. Of course, shoujo manga isn’t so simple as Kyoko starts to pick up admirers from all around the industry, including Sho Fuwa, the jerk who dumped her.
Aside from being a story of revenge and heartache, Skip Beat! is a coming of age story where our protagonist goes into rehabilitation (as she calls it) in order to regain an important human trait: Love. We witness all of the struggles that Kyoko faces as she tries to create “Kyoko Mogami,” leaving behind the Kyoko that was being bred since childhood to be Sho’s future wife.
Throughout the story we get sprinkles of Kyoko’s past and learn about how her mother abandoned her, her father’s absence, and the bullying she suffered as a child. We also get to learn of a mysterious individual that Kyoko refers to as Faerie Prince Corn who gave her a blue gem, claiming that it would help her when she was at her weakest. Eleven years later and Kyoko still hasn’t discovered what Corn’s real identity is.
Luckily for us readers, we get more insider information on who this princely character could be!
With all of this, you guys are probably wondering how this can be a humorous story. Well! It’s everywhere really, from beginning to end: it’s embedded in the characters’ personalities, and it’s even there during the serious and destructive scenes.
The art of the manga really gives the whole series an “lol” vibe. We have Kyoko with a grabby hand coming from her mouth, evil spirit Kyokos that come out when Kyoko is angry, mean and cutting words from a handsome bishounen with a sparkly smile, and extremely embarrassing delusions of a revenge completed. Be prepared to cover your face and wonder what you’re doing with your life (again)…
There are also voodoo dolls that scold Kyoko when she’s in need of a scolding, stalker scenes and taxi-bike chases, a threatening manager with the strange ability to destroy any electronic device he touches with his bare hands, a crazy LME president who appears with a troop of dancers one moment and with a camel the next!
Now, I could go on and on about this manga but this is getting longer than expected! Skip Beat! is definitely worth checking out and if you’re not a fan of manga, there is an anime on Crunchyroll, but be warned that it only covers about 9 volumes of the manga.
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