Skip Beat!: No Skipping, But Lots of Beating

Daikon beating, to be exact.

I’ve just watched the first three episodes of Skip Beat! and I am wondering two things:

  1. What just hit me, and
  2. Do I want it to hit me again?

Having just come off Itazura na Kiss, Skip Beat is like a 180° from the antics of Kotoko wooing Irie, except it’s more like a 360° because Kyoko punches everyone in the face and that’s a wrap at the mid-point of episode one because everyone’s dead.


I can’t fault Skip Beat! for being “bland” or “unoriginal” shoujo, since over the three episodes expectations and conventions kept getting knocked down like crazy: Shoutarou being an unrepentant obnoxious self-centered bastard who’s let fame get to his head too much (or, rather, has an inflated opinion of himself, which seems to help in the talent industry of Japan), his arch-rival Ren who is just as much of a self-centered bastard, to hardcore daikon art, to failing the audition (we’re totally out of Tanemura Arina territory here, folks). I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into the first episode, and, coming out of the third episode, I’m not entirely sure what to expect out of the next n episodes (except, apparently, pure awesome).

The sneaky part about Kyoko’s goal to become a talent superstar to eclipse her childhood friend Shoutarou is that she goes about it exactly like he did. I’m pretty sure, by the end of episode 3, the realization has dawned upon her that she, indeed, cannot power her way through auditions and the horrors of being a rising idol in the highly competitive industry in Japan when all one has to fuel one’s goals is a burning desire to trounce your cocky, overconfident friend. Such a desire is natural when scored, especially at a young age, but such an action is counterproductive as it makes you the exact same kind of person as the one you are hoping to be better than: petty and vindictive. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed-and-didn’t-enjoy this early setting-up of the story: Kyoko spent far too much of it being a girl with a grudge (the parts where she was endearingly dense and single-minded and completely unknowing of proper protocol made up for it), so it wasn’t until she’d realized that she’d had her feeling of love replaced with a codependent relationship with Shoutarou that I started to warm up to Skip Beat! I’m all for giving Shoutarou the what-for, but not when one must stoop to his level to deliver the what-for. Now that she’s figured that out, I’m ready to see how she goes about things in the right way: living well, after all, is the sweetest revenge, although also impossible to pull off consciously.

As long as Skip Beat! stays true to whatever it is I watch shoujo series for (I don’t even want to go there right now, I’m trying not to think too much–think “character” and “emotion” and maybe “bubbles”), which all signs point to yes as far as I can tell, I’m sticking with it.

Because if I don’t, I don’t want Kyoko to stalk me until I do. And she’s a seriously scary stalker. Especially with that knife…

4 Responses to “Skip Beat!: No Skipping, But Lots of Beating”

  1. 1 blissmo 12 November 2008 at 12:53 am

    I’m not one who normally picks up a shoujo and decides to watch it because it’s a shoujo, but for some reason I found Skip Beat! rather enjoyable. Getting revenge, etc, does bring Kyou down to Sho’s level, but nevertheless, it was hilarious watching her try so hard to get into the industry. Both Ren and Sho are arrogant, but I like Sho’s personality, although this could be because I really like the guy who voices him. Sho reminds me of another Tamaki, from Ouran, but definitely worse, and yet I still like him :D

  2. 2 tango 12 November 2008 at 2:44 am

    Yeh. It’s true. Sho is a lot more likeable in the anime mainly due to his cute voice, especially him eating pudding and his cries of woe!!! Since I read the manga first, I don’t I can ever really like Sho since I’ll always see the manga version of him where he’s always an arrogant jerk without a cute voice. I don’t hate him but for me Ren’s complexity as a character wins!!

    It certainly is unpredictable. I’m up to the latest manga chapter and I still don’t know what to expect of what’s going to happen next. In a side panel, the mangaka said once she had to give in to fan pressure for a certain scene, but when she drew the scene it was not what the readers expected at all.

  3. 3 OGT 12 November 2008 at 8:14 am

    I actually liked Ren a bit more, because a) Konishi Katsuyuki + Inoue Marina = voice actor hilarity (someone needs to do fanart of Ren and Kyoko dressed as Kamina and Yoko and screaming at each other soon) and b) he didn’t seem like quite so much of an arrogant jerk, even though he was one. Sho didn’t care a whit about Kyoko, but Ren seemed to still have a shred of humanity.
    How amusing that these guys, who are “the hottest men in Japan” according to the polls, are callous jerks who’d dash a girl’s dreams to shreds if she ever saw them in the wrong context. O idol industry, what terror you wreak upon poor lives…

  4. 4 usagijen 12 November 2008 at 11:38 am

    Reading the later volumes of the manga made me hate Sho a lot less, but of course, no one can ever top Ren-sama!! What’s done is done, Sho has already trampled on the poor Kyoko, and he has no right to get her back, even if he begs her!

    Things can only get better now that Kyoko stepped out of the shadow of revenge (not completely, but still, getting there) :D

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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a ridiculously long and only partially organized list of subjects


November 2008

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