Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review: SKIP BEAT Volume 34


CARTOONIST: Yoshiki Nakamura
LETTERS: Sabrina Heep
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7743-2; paperback (April 2015); Rated “T” for “Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN

Skip Beat! is a shojo manga by Yoshiki Nakamura.  It was first published in Hakusensha's shōjo manga magazine, Hana to Yume, beginning in February 2002.  VIZ Media has published the series in English

Skip Beat! stars Kyoko Mogami, a sixteen year-old girl who loves her childhood friend, Shotaro “Sho” Fuwa.  She follows him to Tokyo and works hard to support him while he pursues his dream of being a top pop idol.  Sho betrays Kyoko, however, so she decides to get revenge by becoming a bigger star than Sho, who is ranked seventh among the top 20 most popular male celebrities in Japan.

As Skip Beat!, Vol. 34 (Chapters 201 to 206) opens, Kyoko is worried about “White Day,” the day boys and men give something to the girls who gave them something on Valentine's Day.  However, The President of L.M.E., the talent agency that represents her, has called Kyoko for a special meeting.  Before Kyoko can declare her feelings for the actor, Ren Tsuruga, he gives her some time off.

Kyoko heads to the island of Guam, and since fate wants what it wants, so is Ren.  Even as the two assume alternate personalities, their hearts threaten to slip their bonds.

My VIZ Media press rep sent me a copy of the Skip Beat! manga for the first time.  I always thought that Skip Beat! was some kind of sports or music manga; that's how little attention I paid to it.  After some initial feelings of disappointment, I found the premise exciting.  I hope Kyoko gets sweet revenge against the boy who betrayed her.

After reading Skip Beat! Volume 34, I can say that I wasn't particularly impressed with the basic story.  I was, however, impressed by the graphical storytelling – the way the art, lettering, and graphics tell the story.  Yoshiki Nakamura presents a visually striking story using beautiful renderings of characters and a diverse range of deformed figure and facial drawings (from super to tame).  The visual presentation makes the characters pop off the page.  I am interested in how Kyoko has evolved over 200+ chapters, and, even after one volume, I want to see how her story ends.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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