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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Skip Beat! Rating and Review


Series: Skip Beat!
Animation Studio: Hal Film Maker
Original Run: 25 Episodes
English Licensor: N/A
Adaptation of: Yoshiki Nakamura's manga "Skip Beat!"

Summary: The entertainment business certainly does its job well, doesn't it? It has actors, musicians, and other talents, that simply enjoy their jobs and the public does too! Yet, even if we see their faces everywhere and we could recognize them a mile away, we don't really know them...well that is unless you're a childhood friend of one! Meet the heroine of "Skip Beat!", Kyoko Mogami. A spunky teen who is head over heels in love with her childhood friend, and followed him to Tokyo when he asked her to. Her dear friend is, Shotarou Fuwa (aka Sho Fuwa), who is a rising star in the Japan music industry, and like most stereotypical stars, has a huge ego. In the beginning, Kyoko blindly follows and does things for Sho, like a happy slave, and is content with being near him. That is, until she found out the reason why he asked her to come with him. The answer: He brought her to be his personal maid/slave and was eventually going to drop her.

This causes a huge change in Kyoko as the darkness in her "Pandora's box", is opened and as her inner demons are released, she swears revenge on Sho, stating that she will enter sho-biz and become a bigger star than him. She changes her entire image (dying and cutting her black hair) and personality, but unfortuneately, getting into the entertainment business isn't a simple feat. She auditions at the LME agency but fails as she has lost her emotion of "love," and now is nothing more than a ball of anger and revenge. Yet since she has potential she is invited to join a new special department known as the "Love Me" Section, which offers tasks and jobs to help rebuild a missing vital component in an actresses. When Kyoko starts out, she is given grunt work like cleaning the halls or carrying other senior actors' stuff, and it doesn't help that she sticks out like a sore thumb with a bright pink jumpsuit. Luckily she isn't alone as she is later joined by another actress named Kanae Kotonami, and the two develop an interesting friendship.

As Kyoko continues her work for the "Love Me" Section, she receives more offers for actual jobs like helping be a mascot in a variety show, appearing in a commercial, and even debuting in an actual drama. As Kyoko starts out with her career in the entertainment world, she meets Japan's top actor and number one celebrity, Ren Tsuruga, who is also under LME. Initially, Kyoko hated Ren just because Sho despised the guy out of jealousy for being the top male celebrity of Japan, where as Ren didn't even acknowledge Sho's existence. At first the Kyoko and Ren's relationship is bumpy as her vengeful reasons for joining the entertainment business slip out of her mouth leaving Ren disappointed in her to which he begins to constantly annoy and tease her. However, as Kyoko spends time with Ren, she realizes that he is a respectable actor and soon aims to be a wonderful actor like him. Ren's disappointment also fades as Kyoko's skills as an actress evolves into something more than an assault of revenge towards Sho. As so, he begins to help and support Kyoko as she begins to blossom into a true actress. 

As the series goes on Ren begins to develop feelings for Kyoko, but Kyoko remains oblivious due to her lack of "love". But every now and then, Kyoko shows signs that she also has some feelings for the Casanova, but always somehow reverts back to her twisted mind-set. But she isn't the only one with a painful past, as Ren also holds some dark and unpleasant memories. Despite Kyoko being incapable of love, she still holds a loving and cherished memory of her childhood; "Corn". No, not corn as in "corn on the cob", but her treasure, a stone she named after the fairy prince that gave it to her when she was crying one day. Yes, she still has some fluff left, as she loves fairy tales and yes, she believes in fairies. Of course, Corn wasn't really a fairy but a boy, and his name wasn't really Corn (Kyoko just couldn't pronounce his name properly when she was little so the habit carried on). The stone is like a good luck charm to her that helps her calm down and takes her worries away. Yet unknowing to her, Corn is actually Ren who also treasures that memory. But he refrains from telling her as he thinks she is better off not knowing and leaves her to her fantasies of what became of this "fairy prince".

Kyoko does eventually meet Sho again and the two begin their battle with one another. However, Ren also gets involved in the mix as he begins to hate Sho for his previous treatment and relationship with Kyoko. "Skip Beat!" focuses mainly on Kyoko's development as an actress and her climb towards becoming an idol. Yet it also throws drops of romance as the boys' and hers relationships grow. This is a series geared more towards girls with lots of romantic comedy aspects, but it is a good watch for those that like stories involving the entertainment business without the heavy dose of " cheated on ". The story may be based in the entertainment world but it displays the actual aspects of acting as opposed to scandalous paparazzi drama.

A.I.'s Rating: 8/10

A.I.'s Review: Oh, "Skip Beat!" you are a clever series. I enjoyed watching this anime since I found that the storyline stayed true to the original manga and the characters were brilliant. Kyoko's inner demons add to the comedy aspect and it makes the subject of her cruel heartbreak a easier to digest. There are scenes in this series that I found to be incredible as Kyoko's natural acting skills just made her seem astounding. Also, the comedy aspects were well done too. I give my praise to the studio on those notes. However, I have to say that I was disappointed as the series ended on a cliffhanger (it ended in the middle of a story arc), and there has been no said plans for a second season. I can't say that the art is the best I've ever seen but I will say that the background music was pretty good for the series. But I will say up front that I find the manga to be much better but only because the anime ended in such an awkward way. Although, for those that go into this series without reading the original manga with no expectations, I don't see there being a problem there.

Overall, the series is okay. It's not as funny as Ouran but it is just as creative and original. I think the most memorable thing with this series is Kyoko's unpredictable acting. Really, she does some pretty ingenious things, that even impresses Ren and those around her. The romance aspect is iffy as, again, not much is developed as the series ends mid-story. But there are moments, so it isn't like this series was sucked completely dry of romance.  So, if you're interested in a series that talks about entertainment, check "Skip Beat!" !   

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