Daikon beating, to be exact.
I’ve just watched the first three episodes of Skip Beat! and I am wondering two things:
- What just hit me, and
- 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…