Skip Beat 33
May 16, 2015
Yoshiki Nakamura – Viz – 2014 – 34+ volumes
Here’s a TMI story, because I’ve been reading and writing about Skip Beat today, and I figured a change of pace for myself is in order.
So, when I was a freshman in college, my fun activity every week was walking down to Borders and buying myself a volume of manga (I had never lived close to a bookstore before, let alone one that sold manga). $10 was a ridiculous luxury to spend on something like that every week, and I felt guilty. So I decided to start reviewing it, in order to extend the value of the $10. I quickly found out that reviewing the volumes worked a lot better if I didn’t read more than one volume of a series at a time (the details blur together that way), and I felt like I wasted the money unless I did review every single volume.
Flash forward about 15 years (shut up), and I find myself with a ridiculous compulsion. I cannot bring myself to read the next volume of a series until I’ve reviewed the last one. I tried to do this, because my to-read pile is terrifying and I wasn’t updating my site last year. I figured I could at least enjoy the books I had. But I can’t. I have to write about each one in between.
I will usually mention it if I do read consecutive volumes, because it is a ridiculous luxury, and I have to really be enjoying a series in order to convince myself to do it. It happens occasionally with BL, because the series are so short. It feels a bit naughty to binge, but I like re-reading the short series later when I write them up. Even so, there have been very few.
Series that aren’t BL that I read consecutive volumes of? In the last 15 years… Blue Exorcist, maybe Basara or Please Save My Earth. And Skip Beat. I can remember the day I caught myself up on the series. I bought the first two, loved them, then bought the next seven and sat in front of the heater and read them in a day. I’ve re-read this series three or four times over the years, which I can also say absolutely never happens, especially when a series is this long. I can remember where I was when I read many of the volumes in the series the first time. I love it so much, and it means a lot to me.
I say this because I had a three-volume marathon today. I haven’t marathoned this series in a long time, but what’s going to happen is that I’m going to re-read all thirty-three volumes on Saturday, because this shit is ridiculous.
Kyoko and Ren… are having a conversation at the end of the last volume. Kyoko rightly assesses the fact Ren is being a little bitch about this conversation, and then starts dominating it. She is in character as Setsu, Ren… is not in character. I think Kyoko isn’t really sure who’s she’s talking to (it’s Kuon, but she doesn’t know him. She only knows it’s not Ren Tsuruga or Cain Heel), but she rolls with it as Setsu. Things get… steamy.
Skip Beat – the manga where one of the main characters is always making a face as if the other is going to kill them.
Then, Kyoko breaks character as Setsu to state her opinion to Ren. Her face, and her words, are downright cold-blooded. I loved it.
Things never stop being weird. I think Ren has… kind of gotten comfortable with Kyoko, and starts abusing the Heel Siblings’ relationship to get close to her. He also starts picking up on her anxiety, and trying hard to help her feel better. Does he know she’s close to falling in love?
One fantastic technique in this volume is that Kyoko is obviously forced to act as Setsu. But she is warring with her emotions, and whenever Kyoko Mogami’s personality and wants make themselves known, there is a panel of her plain face in between the ones where she’s wearing Setsu’s makeup to indicate she’s not acting.
There is a great scene at the end of the volume where Kyoko imagines what Ren would say if he knew she was falling in love with him. There’s a great panel where he’s telling her “I feel so betrayed… You have no willpower… and you’re slutty, too. You’re not Kyoko anymore, I’ll call you Ho-ko instead.”
I feel like I want to cross-stitch it, put it on my wall, attribute it to Ren, and call it the greatest line in shoujo manga history.
Ho-ko. Because she fell in love with him.
Anyway. At the end of the volume, we are finally making progress in Ren and Kyoko’s relationship. Maybe. Unless Kyoko takes it all back next time.
But the scene at the beginning of the volume was worth reading the entire series over and over again.