Skip Beat 27Posted: April 25, 2012
Yoshiki Nakamura – Viz – 2012 – 30+ volumes
Seriously, Skip Beat. If you get any more awesome, my heart will stop in the middle of the next volume. I don’t even know how it does it. Ren and Kyoko still aren’t a couple, and it’s been twenty-seven damn volumes. But I don’t care. I’ve read almost thirty volumes of this shoujo manga, and the main characters still haven’t hooked up, and I don’t care. Because every single volume of this series is better than the last. I mean it. There is nothing like the pure, unadulterated awesome that is a new volume of Skip Beat. I can’t convey the depths of girly joy that every page brings to my heart.
This is the continuation of the Cain and Setsuka Heel story from last volume. Kyoko and Ren have to pretend to be a pair of creepy siblings in order to keep Ren’s new role top secret. Not only does this provide a lot of situations where it seems like the two aren’t even acting anymore (Ren is particularly guilty of this, and his line “spending money on you is the one pleasure I have besides acting” was superb), but there are also wonderfully embarrassing domestic scenes, like when Kyoko walks in on a naked Ren in a shower. I mean, all shoujo manga do it. But it’s usually a throwaway joke where, for whatever reason, it’s the guy’s fault for being naked. Here, Kyoko is so embarrassed she wants to die, but she also has to hide it since Setsuka wouldn’t be embarrassed about walking in on Cain. After having an extremely scream-y internal monologue for awhile, she then begins to berate herself for not taking a good look at Ren Tsuruga during the only chance she would have. This is very funny, but also a little out-of-character, since Kyoko doesn’t really think of Ren that way. But this is all inside her head, and she stays true to Setsuka and doesn’t let anything show in front of Ren. Ren gets extremely depressed about this, thinking that Kyoko’s lack of interest just proves that she doesn’t see him as a man.
There’s a great scene later, too, when Ren imagines having to take a bunch of grief from an excited Yashiro, who would want to know all the details about living and sleeping in the same room with Kyoko, even as a role. This doesn’t happen, and later, Yashiro simply pities him, which makes Ren even more depressed than Kyoko’s lack of reaction to seeing him naked.
But it’s the end of the book… it has one of those scenes that only Skip Beat can do, and it’s the real magic of the series. Kyoko is walking through a crowd of people with a coworker, who is a more established celebrity. After some discussion, Kyoko admits that she can still walk through a big crowd by herself, despite being a little famous, because she’s so plain, and that dressed in her role for the drama nobody would recognize her. Her coworker stares for a minute, and mutters “fairy” out loud. Later, the monologue goes on to explain that the coworker is genuinely impressed with Kyoko’s talent for looking and acting completely different, to the point of being unrecognizable, with each role. But in the heat of the moment, Kyoko gets excited and thinks that there might be a fairy over her shoulder, because she believes in them and that’s what she does. She gets excited for a minute, then spots a crowd of people and assumes they are looking at the fairy. But as she gathers to gawk, Ren Tsuruga steps out of a car in the distance, on the set of something he’s filming. As her coworker looks up to Kyoko as a magic, face-changing being, so Kyoko looks up to Ren, except she really believes in magic. This is made even better by the fact that, unbeknownst to Kyoko, Ren is the fairy prince from her childhood, the one that told her that he was a fairy and caused her to believe in them to the present day.
I don’t know if I’m adequately describing it. The whole thing is just all sorts of awesome. And really, it is what makes Skip Beat so fantastic. It’s absolutely the best shoujo series coming out right now.