The manga Skip Beat, by Yoshiki Nakamura, was released in 2002 and is still ongoing, unlike my other review of “Naruto” which is completed. It is increasing in popularity being 62nd on Manga Fox’s list of most monthly viewings.
The genres that encompass Skip Beat are: comedy, drama, romance, shoujo, and slice of life. As mentioned previously, shoujo is a genre written to specifically cater to female readers and is almost always associated with romance. I decided to review this one because it is practically the exact opposite on the spectrum to the manga Naruto. The plot of this manga involves a young girl who skipped going to high school to follow her childhood crush to Tokyo to help support him while he makes it big in the music industry. When he eventually does make it big, he ditches her and claims that he only brought her along to be his maid anyway (this after she worked three jobs just to pay rent for both of them since he wasn’t paying it). The main character, named Kyoko, becomes infuriated and vows she will join the entertainment industry at a rival company and become more famous than him in revenge. She actually does end up joining the rival entertainment company and she becomes an actress. Along the way she meets a super famous male actor who becomes very angry at the idea that Kyoko is only acting for revenge, but his mean behaviour toward her (which she doesn’t understand for a while) fuels her passion and she vows to become more famous than him too. Kyoko eventually does fall in love with acting and decides to use it to better herself, and that’s just where the manga starts getting good.
Skip Beat follows the typical shoujo style manga where romance is constantly involved and the main male characters are very good looking. This manga also encompasses some small forms of fantasy too, though I’m not sure why it isn’t listed with the other genres. This manga has a lot of inner thought moments and spends a lot of time with Kyoko getting to know her inner self. There are also a lot of infuriating moments when something obvious is happening but Kyoko doesn’t get it, but I’m sure Yoshiki Nakamura did that on purpose since she depicted it so well by showing the side characters’ confusion as Kyoko’s air headedness. The drawing style for the characters is very different from anything I’ve seen before and it is very unique. The faces are drawn quite angular though as the manga goes on you see the artist try to correct that a bit. The older male character’s faces are very angular whereas the young boy’s faces are rounder to show their age, the same goes with the female characters thought the older female character’s faces are definitely not as angular as the male’s. There are many dramatic moments in the manga and almost always, without a doubt the artist uses most, if not all, of a page (or two pages put together) to portray these moments. For example, in typical shoujo style, when a woman appears from a room looking different from usual and absolutely gorgeous, most of a page is used, at least, so the artist can show the impact it made on the other characters and add as much detail as need be. Also, I have read a lot of shoujo manga that depict women as needy and who look to men to save them from troublesome situations. I rather like that this manga did not follow that theme and instead went with a main character, and several side female characters, who do everything themselves and are very much independent of men. This is most likely (in the main characters case definitely) attributed to past trouble with men. This manga shows that there is nothing wrong with being independent, whether you’re a man or a woman.
This is one of my all-time favorite manga’s and I highly recommend it if you’re into romantic comedies, though the romantic part takes a long time to kick in- which I like because it is much more realistic than many other shoujo manga where the characters fall in love instantaneously after meeting once and hardly speaking. Though don’t forget, this manga is ongoing so if you decide to read it, prepare to wait a long time for new releases.