Manga Review: Skip Beat! Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: Skip Beat! Volume One by Yoshiki Nakamura on Blogcritics.

Skip Beat! Volume One is a manga by Yoshiki Nakamura, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2006. The series is rated “T” for Teen. After reading the first volume of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Skip Beat! Volume 1
Written by: Yoshiki Nakamura
Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 5, 2006

The main character of Skip Beat! is a teenage girl named Kyoko Mogami. She is living in an expensive apartment in Tokyo with her childhood friend, Sho Fuwa, the support him as he becomes an idol. Kyoko has been working two jobs in order for the two of them to afford the apartment, and she isn’t going to school.

In addition, Kyoko is really in love with Sho. At one of his appearances, Kyoko comes dressed as a delivery girl from one of her jobs and is able to get backstage. Unfortunately, Kyoko overhears Sho telling his manager that he doesn’t have any romantic feelings toward Kyoko, and that he basically only brought her along so she could take care of him while he focused on becoming an idol. She also finds out that his talent agency made arrangements for him to continue her schooling. Kyoko bursts into the room and vows to have her revenge by becoming an idol herself.

Kyoko moves out of the apartment, and moves in with a couple who are her bosses for one of her jobs. She also uses some of the money she has to get a haircut, dye her hair, and get a new look. Kyoko tries to get a break with a talent agency, and she also has run-ins with Ren Tsuruga, Sho’s rival in the idol business. Can Kyoko get the break that she needs in order to exact her revenge against Sho?

When it comes to the storytelling, I’m really having to use my “willing suspension of disbelief” in order to accept some of the plot points that happen in this manga. While this series is a little more grounded in the reality of an idol than Fairy Idol Kanon is, I still find myself thinking some of the story is a little farfetched. By the end of the volume, I really didn’t find myself caring about whether or not Kyoko would succeed or not. I think this is due to the fact that I just didn’t find Kyoko to be a very sympathetic character. Admittedly, I’m not in the target market for this particular manga title, so this could be a major reason why I’m not really getting into the story in this series.

As for the art, Nakamura is definitely relying on the shojo trope of having a “beautiful boy” design for Sho and Ren, the two main males in the series. When it comes to the rest of the art, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. There are some panels that have impressive detail for the characters’ facial expressions, there are also a number of panels in the volume where there doesn’t seem to be much detail or effort being put into the drawings.

While I’m personally in no hurry to continue reading this series, I think Skip Beat! could have a strong appeal to teenage girls. I would recommend this series to female manga readers who are thirteen or fourteen years of age and older.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Skip Beat! Volume One that my older daughter purchased.

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