Friday, December 30, 2011

Skip Beat! Review

I recently watched all twenty-five episodes of the shoujo anime Skip Beat! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the title), and I decided to make it the first anime I'd review. It should be noted that this review contains some minor spoilers. So, if you haven't watched this yet but are planning on it and don't want anything spoiled for you, consider yourself warned (of course, if you already know you want to watch it, why are you reading this?). With that out of the way, here we go...

Premise: Kyoko followed her true love and childhood friend Sho to Tokyo so she could help him reach his dream of becoming an idol. She cleans, cooks, works three jobs and does nothing for herself because she loves him so much, but gets nothing in return. Still, she remains by his side. But then one day she goes unannounced to his agency with a delivery, and overhears him talking about her; he reveals to his manager that he only took her with him as a maid, and that he doesn't care for her at all. Upon hearing this, Kyoko doesn't just sit around and cry. She cuts and dyes her hair, changes her clothes and attitude and thus begins her journey to join showbiz and have her revenge against Sho.
  -- ANN

So, as one can tell just from the plot summary above, Skip Beat! differs from the standard shoujo set-up of "girl likes popular guy/popular guy likes girl." Instead of a hardworking, average girl who vies for the attention of the school gigolo popular guy at school, we have a hardworking, average girl who tries to do something seemingly impossible for her (enter the show business despite being normal), and also has the decidedly "gray" goal of vengeance. As it turns out, this is a good thing. The radical premise stops potential viewers from writing off Skip Beat! as "just another shoujo anime," and it helps the show remain interesting. Furthermore, it allows for something very surprising to happen; realism. It may come as a surprise that an anime with a premise as implausible as the one stated above could be more believable than an anime where a guy and a girl simply fall in love. However, the truth is that it can, and is. There are a number of things that give Skip Beat! this quality, and I'll discuss them now.

The first and most obvious aspect that provides this is the characters, especially the main character:

Kyoko Mogami, our protagonist

Kyoko's character is honestly one of the best things about the show. Now you might be wondering how such a seemingly unrealistic character could feel "real." After all, she's set up to be a sweet, hardworking person who loves this guy and then does a total 180 and impulsively decides to become famous so she can get revenge? What? But, when you stop and think, it actually makes a lot of sense. Betrayal is not something you just shrug off, so it's perfectly reasonable that she'd want to make Sho pay. I mean, Kyoko's initial reaction was a little overdone, and I found it somewhat hard to believe that the character we'd seen throughout the episode would be so angry. However, it was the scale of reaction that bothered me, not the reaction itself. When people get upset and angry, they start making rash decisions. The greater the hate, the more resolve one has, and consequently the easier it is to do otherwise implausible things. Since she keeps seeing Sho and getting ticked off at him again, it's no wonder that her anger doesn't subside. Additionally, the "old" Kyoko only appears at length in the first episode, and for the "new" Kyoko such a reaction would have been totally plausible. Really, the two are different characters, and I kinda stopped seeing them as the same person. This is the greatest fault with Kyoko's character; her current personality and the one she had before don't quite mesh. It's not totally unbelievable, but it's not completely natural, either. On the whole, though, while her motivation and character U-turn could possibly have been done better or been made more realistic, I thought they were still done pretty well, and all the concepts were used were solid, so I'll give this a pass.
     With the plausibility of her backstory taken care of, now I can move onto what really makes Kyoko such a great character; her emotions and reactions.You see, her character makes use of a wide spectrum of emotions and feelings, just like a real person.

The way she reacts feels like the way a real teenage girl might react. That's what makes her character so great; she feels like she could be a real person (well...most of the time, anyway). This is probably the best possible trait a protagonist in this kind of anime could have, especially one that takes place in a setting most people aren't familiar with (show business). Success in the shoujo/shounen genre pretty much hinges on how easy it is to relate to the main character. Since characters that feel real are easier to relate to than those who aren't, Skip Beat! already has half the battle won just with the main character.

     The other specific character I'd like to focus on is Fuwa Sho, Kyoko's ex-boyfriend.

Fuwa Sho

Sho is the only real, overarching "antagonist" that Skip Beat! has (the others are specific to their own arcs). All in all, Sho's character was done pretty well. He too feels like someone who could be real, and not just another generic "villain." It's believable that a young singer who's rising in popularity could become egotistical and stuck up, even to the point that he is. However, what I like more than Sho's character is how his character was executed. Sho is a charismatic charmer, but he occasionally lets his selfishness be seen, which really enhances his "immature star" character. Furthermore, we many times see Sho doing things that make us dislike him, though quite a bit of the time this is all just in Kyoko's imagination. The audience starts to dislike Sho in the way Kyoko does. This is because his character is spaced almost perfectly; we see him do something bad in the beginning, then his only appearance for the next few episodes is in Kyoko's mind as she curses him. Then he gets a brief encounter with Ren, in which we see his brash attitude come to light. After that, we see him at the gas station, where his presence strengthens Kyoko's resolve and anger, and at the same time renews the audience's dislike of him. After that, he does nothing of real note for a long stretch. It was at this point that they stumbled the most with Sho's character, when they did the music video arc. In all honesty, I felt like this whole arc was just there to remind us that Sho was still a character, even as I watched it for the first time. I feel like the story on the whole would have been better if Sho just continued to have cameo appearances and shown up primarily in Kyoko's imagination. You see, the show up to that point is constantly teasing us with the prospect of Kyoko and Sho "facing off." In all their encounters previous to the music video, Kyoko is desperately caught between prematurely making him suffer revenge and hiding her identity until she becomes a star. This draws the audience in and makes them want to know how Kyoko's going to avoid being exposed. But then, in the music video arc, the predictable happens; she is exposed. Under the right conditions, this could have been a positive thing, but the way it was done made it with the rest of the anime. You see, in all their previous encounters, Kyoko managed to avoid having her identity exposed by using her wit, reflexes, or fast-talking abilities. Having her do so was a good choice, since it showed that she had some kind of control over her situation. Nobody likes it when their protagonists have no control over things and can't at least slightly determine how things are going to end up. That's my biggest problem with this. Throughout this arc, Kyoko is unable to maintain her resolve, gets exposed because of a foolish action, and has little real ability to affect her fate. Furthermore, while the arc was used to further the story, I get the distinct feeling that it originated from the fact that Sho hadn't shown up in a while and the creator didn't want people to forget that he was still there. These few episodes were the only real flaws with how Sho's character was executed, however, so overall it's not a huge problem. It's simply that the show could have been markedly improved by having Sho appear in a different way, or at least given Kyoko some control over how things happened.

     The next thing I'm going to focus on is not a character, but rather the interactions between two main characters; Kyoko and her rival/friend Mouko.

Kyoko and Mouko

The way these two characters interact is probably my favorite thing about Skip Beat! (no, it's the title that has the exclamation, not my sentence...ah, whatever). Mouko starts off as one of Kyoko's antagonists, but is quickly forced into the "Love Me" section that Kyoko's a part of. Mouko gradually recognizes Kyoko's innate talent and dubs her a rival, but the two eventually become friends. So what exactly did I like about these two? Well, the biggest thing was in the way they became friends. I'm highlighting this because although these kinds of set-ups are often done in shoujo/shounen anime, they are rarely done so well. The process by which the two characters relationship grows is a long and slow one. When they first meet, they're at each other's throats. Again, this is not something unique to this anime. There are many of shows with similar set-ups for main characters. However, what makes Skip Beat! special in this regard is that they remain at each others throats for a while, or at least Mouko does. They don't just become friends over the course of a day or a week; as they realize how similar they are, they slowly grow to respect each other more. The other aspect of their relationship that was done well was the eventual mutual acceptance the two have of each other. All too often, characters like Mouko retain this "I'm your begrudging ally who still doesn't like you" kind of character, and I find that kind of thing foolish. Although Kyoko and Mouko start out hating each other, by the peak of their relationship they don't have mutual acceptance, they have mutual friendship. They almost feel like actual friends (although a little more casual bickering would have been appropriate). Overall, their interactions don't feel forced, and the way they became friends felt "organic" and believable.

     Moving on from the characters, I'm going to discuss the next thing that gives Skip Beat! a bit of realism, or more specifically, an illusion of it. This thing is the setting. Now, a romantic comedy set in a high school may sound more real, but there's a reason why it doesn't feel more real. Most people who watch these kinds of things are, well, high schoolers. They know what kind of environment they're in. In most schools, popular, good-looking guys who are also smart and nice, don't have a girlfriend, and secretly love the most normal girl in their class are not too common. In fact, they're kinda rare. Most girls know this, so a show like this in a high school setting immediately puts up a fantasy theme. Level-headed people know that the story isn't real, but they also know that it would never happen. That why putting Skip Beat! in the showbiz setting was such a genius move. Normal people (including me) don't generally know how the internals of show business works. Because of this, they can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of the way the industry actually functions. While they can make a few educated guesses (yeah, the president of a real entertainment agency probably wouldn't be such an overt homosexual cosplayer eccentric individual), they don't know for certain. Thus, for all they know, everything portrayed within could actually happen. This is why I called it the "illusion" of reality. I imagine that most people who are actually involved with the show business would watch Skip Beat! and go like "What the heck? That would never happen!" However, everyone else is like "That seems somewhat unlikely...still, I guess it's feasible." This really surprised me when I first realized it; despite the more "exotic" setting of the story, Skip Beat! actually incorporates less fantasy than the average shoujo anime.

     Finally, moving on to the last aspect that makes this anime seem more believable, we get to talk about romance.

It must be love!

This is probably the area in which Skip Beat! differs the most from other shoujo series. The very premise of the story is that the main character was just betrayed by her love, and Kyoko isn't really the type to go rebounding. Just from this, it is hard for one to imagine romance playing a huge part in this. Well, one's imagination is correct; romance doesn't play a huge part in this. In fact, it doesn't play any part in this at all, until the show nears its end. This is a good thing, since romance is one of those things that can alienate an audience if used too much. Much like the "ecchi" genre (for those of you unfamiliar with the genre or anime in general, you can pretty much define ecchi as soft porn and you're not too far off), romance, if focused on too much, will reduce the potential of any show. Too much of one thing and everything else will invariably begin to suffer. You see, I've never been a huge fan of the shoujo genre, and while I enjoy a nice romance here and there, I prefer a good (or just fun) story, compelling characters, and decent execution. I see things like romance as a "bonus" that serves to make a larger whole better. Most shoujo series make romance the focus, rather than a bonus, and I've always disliked that about them (though that doesn't mean I'll hate it just for that). So, how does all of this fit in with Skip Beat!, you ask? Well, it's a little interesting the way romance is fit in here. For the first two-thirds or so of the show, romance doesn't really play any part. This was a smart move, since the show already had enough on its plate with developing the characters, the relationships between the characters, and the story. Besides, romance doesn't really belong in a series with this premise. Kyoko is trying to get revenge on her past love, so it's unlikely that she would pursue it, actively or passively. In fact, she doesn't pursue it, so yet again, Kyoko's character is a good point.

Kyoko's thoughts on love

Additionally, no matter how naive the audience is about showbiz, they'll still have a hard time believing that popular stars and idols would start fawning over a normal girl because she's, what, hardworking? Yeah, probably not. Keeping romance out of the story was a smart move. But...eventually Skip Beat! succumbs to the demands of its genre and has Ren fall in love with Kyoko. While I dislike this, there were still a number of things about this romance that redeemed it. I'll list them using bullet points.
     - There's only one guy involved. Although it's hinted during the music video arc that Sho might still have feelings for her (or that his feelings have resurged), we know that Kyoko would never get back together with him, so Ren is really the only love interest of the series.
     - It only appears at the end. We don't have a hackneyed love story that won't go anywhere for the next 12 episodes distracting us from the story.
     - Ren has had some prior interactions with Kyoko, and it takes a little while for him to start loving her. Speaking from a story perspective, I'm not sure I like the fact that he knew Kyoko from before. However, from a romance perspective, this was probably a good move, since, as I said before, it's hard to believe that a famous actor who pretty much has his pick of women would fall for a brash 16 year old girl.
     - It's not overdone. As I said before, romance is best as a bonus. Although the frequency and intensity with which the romance is used in the story increases and the show goes on, it still never dominates the focus of the anime, taking a backseat to the rest of the story.
In the end, I think I would have preferred that romance wasn't included at all. It detracted from the believability of the story, and that bothers me. Still, the way it was executed was good, and it was never focused on too much (though I get the feeling it was going in that direction). The show without romance added a little bit to the realism, and it spent more time like this than it did with romance, so overall quantity makes this aspect positive.

     There were other things I liked about Skip Beat!, as well, things that didn't make it any more real, but did improve the show as a whole. For example, the "Chibi" (deformed) style was used to great effect in the show.

You know you love it

I'll make this brief, since it's only a minor point. Notice I said the Chibi style was used to great effect, not "Chibi style was used in great quantity" (although it was used fairly often). What I mean by this is that it wasn't used just to make things funnier, but to change the mood of scenes and help set the feel of the show. It was used with excellent timing, in proper quantities, and used for the right things. I could talk a lot about this point, but I said I'd make it brief, so I did.

     Finally, the last thing about this show that really stood out to me with its quality was the comedy. You see, you can generally expect pretty good comedy from shoujo series. This is because while shoujo is intended for girls, authors realize the advantages of having boys in their reader base too. Additionally, even girls will get tired of just romance for an extended period of time. Thus, something to draw more readers in, and stop current readers from being bored, is necessary. Since action usually isn't appropriate for shoujo series, comedy is the safest bet. Now typically, shoujo authors put a lot of work into what they work on. I'm not trying to stereotype here or anything, but usually, shoujo anime and manga are known for their detailed character and foreground artwork, and most authors put the same level of effort into comedy. The result is usually several good laughs that anyone can enjoy. With Skip Beat!, the comedy is taken even higher. As I mentioned, romance isn't really a big part of this show, at least not till later on. Basically; excellent use or chibi + the fact that romance isn't a big part of things, allowing the focus to turn elsewhere + well done, "real" characters + shoujo = high comedy standard. It's worked in flawlessly with the rest of the story, and the show never really slows down in order to "have a funny thing happen." Comedy happens, you laugh, and the story remains uninterrupted. That's really all I have to say. I mean, I could talk about how the comedy was more high-brow than other shows (not saying it is, just using it as an example), but really, comedy is somewhat like music in that it's a very subjective topic. Everybody has different standards of what's funny and what isn't. I personally thought this show was a riot, but I realize that someone else may not. I guess all I'm trying to say is that I liked the comedy in this show, more so than in many other similar shows, and I think most viewers will as well.

     Now, with that said, Skip Beat! is hardly flawless. While most of the problems are situational and quite minor, they bugged me quite a lot, and I feel that they really limited the show's potential. I'm going to list several of these problems (or perhaps "perceived problems" would be better) here. Like I said, most of these are fairly minor problems. By the way, this is what contains most of the spoilers, so...

     Sawara-San's Unfiled Harassment Suit:

This was the first thing that really detracted from the believability of the show. Sawara Somebody is the talent producer at the agency Kyoko wants to join. However, Sawara, who believes her motives to be worthless (not her actual motive of revenge, he doesn't know about that), refuses to let her join. Kyoko goes on to ceaselessly question him about it and beg that he let her join for the following 2-3 days. Sawara then caves-in and lets Kyoko audition. My problem with this: the harassment lawsuit that Sawara would surely have filed against her for such actions. Not only did she continue to bother him and his family for an extended period of time by shouting and stalking him, but she actually invaded his property and starting scratching his windows. Now, Sawara's is a meek and subservant character. However, most people, when they and their loved ones are continually bothered and harassed with no reprieve in site, start getting annoyed. When the person is a teenager trying to annoy you into something for several days, you get downright angry, no matter how nice you are. If Sawara were an actual person, Kyoko would have a lawsuit on her hands faster than she could say "I'm sorry!" And you know Sawara would win it, because he's got several witnesses and is an actual victim.

     The President's Cosplay Gimmick:

Now, I have no problem with the fact that the President is an eccentric person who likes to dress in exotic, outlandish clothes. It makes his character more interesting, and it helps identify him as someone who goes against the norm. My problem with this is that they just sort of abandoned this whole gimmick halfway. Seriously, after he gets the Arabian outfit they barely bother changing what he wears, even though he would change outfits up to three times in a single episode. Granted, he does change a couple times, but only after about 7 episodes. It's like "What? Is that, like, what you normally wear? I thought this was your gimmick or something, why don't you keep it up? And if you're going to stop trying, then why don't you dress normally? WHY?"

     The Chicken Suit: For one of her jobs, Kyoko has to act in a chicken suit. Some stuff happens, and she gets told that if she does this thing, she's going to be fired (well, she's specifically told that she won't be allowed to enter the TV station again). Despite her best efforts, though, she does the thing that she's not supposed to. Then, several episodes later, she appears in the chicken suit again, apparently after having just finished working in it. My question: When did she get the job back? She doesn't appear int the suit anytime between the two episodes, and I don't recall ever hearing about someone shifting their influence so she could get it back. I don't think I missed it (tell me in the comments if I did). So what's the deal here? Was she forgiven and we just weren't told about it? Were they at a different TV station, and she didn't lose the job, she just wasn't allowed into that particular station? What happened?

     Kyoko's Hidden Ability: So, for some reason, Kyoko has this innate ability to become totally immersed in her roles. At first this works. She's had experience performing complex Japanese rituals, and her luck and anger towards Sho allowed her to pass those acting challenges. Later on, however, we see that Kyoko just has this natural ability to "become her character." Now, mind you, I don't care whether she has hidden talent or not. It's perfectly possible that she has some innate acting ability. The problem I have with this is "Why?" I mean, like I said, it's not totally unbelievable, but in a show who's greatest strength is its realism, I feel like a reason for her being so able would have been appropriate. Again a fairly minor problem, but one that bugged me.

     Kyoko's Fracture: "Wait, she FRACTURED HER LEG BONE?! Oh my god, we need an ambulance for her, now! Quickly, it's on her lower leg and the fracture hasn't been treated for like at least an hour! We need to get her to a hospital quickly, before she develops Compartment Syndrome!"
...Is what no one said when Kyoko fractured her leg bone.

After this, Kyoko gets put in the sticky position of having to try to act with her fracture, including sitting on it. Additionally, other characters even say that her leg is fractured, so it's not just like Kyoko assumed what her injury was incorrectly. And all she got as treatment is some quick first aid from Ren's manager. Who is probably not a paramedic. Oh. Now, if she just sprained her ankle very badly, I wouldn't have a problem with this. The point is for her to have to act and keep her composure in spite of pain. However, a bone fracture is not something you just shake off. A bone fracture is something you spend several weeks in a hospital for. This bothered me so much that I actually looked it up. I was only able to find one translation for the anime (the one above), so I looked for summaries and, according to them, her ankle was only sprained. So, I decided to look at the manga (Skip Beat! is based off a manga, for those of you who didn't know), which I could also only find one translation of. According to that translation, it was "fracture" and not "sprain." So, I guess I have to give this a pass, since I can't confirm the accuracy of the translation. But if it is indeed "fracture" then I would be disappointed, because the things she does with her injured leg would no longer have even a bit of believability.

     That's all the small stuff. Now, there's only two major flaws with the show left to discuss, and the first flaw is the Love Me section and the way it supposedly works. The Love Me section is a new section at the agency Kyoko works in that is designed for those particular people who have talent, but are not mentally prepared to enter show business for real. Basically. So, at first, this sounded great. You see, this kind of thing let's the audience "physically" gauge a character's progression towards their goal, and that's good. People like seeing progress as it's made. However, this idea quickly turned disappointing. How? Well, for starters, it's totally abandoned by the second half. Neither Kyoko nor her compatriot Mouko show any interest or progress in gaining the feeling of wanting to be loved (which is the exact purpose of the section). It's just totally abandoned. The only use it serves is for Kyoko to have a stand-out uniform.
     However, there's an even worse offender than the section itself, and that's the "points system" the section uses. So, there's this points system that ranges from the negative numbers to one hundred, and Kyoko is given points for doing a good job. The closer to a hundred she gets, the better a job she did, is the basic set-up. Apparently, everybody at her agency carries these points stamps around with them, for the sole purpose of giving points to the members of the Love Me section (member count: 2). These stamps are used a total of five times throughout the show and serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever. I'll list the five times they're used, and what purpose they're supposed to serve in the story.
     - Kyoko receives -10 points from the old actress, Kamio-san. Used to introduce the system to Kyoko and the audience. Because it is only used to introduce itself, this doesn't count as serving a purpose in the story.
     - Kyoko receives 10 points from Sawara. Serves no purpose other than to get her depressed so she can end up on the stairs and meet Ruriko.
     - Kyoko receives 100 points from Ruriko. Serves to show that Ruriko has forgiven/come to like Kyoko, although this is redundant since she explains all that in the following scene.
     - Kyoko receives 100 - 10 = 90 points from Ren. Serves to introduce a comedic sequence and and show that Ren is starting to change the way he feels about Kyoko (romance is hinted at for the first time).
     - Kyoko receives 100 points from Ren. Serves to introduce a comedic sequence a couple scenes later. No real purpose. I guess maybe to show how Kyoko and Ren's relationship is improving?
 So, only three of the five serve any purpose, and of those three, only one (the 90 points from Ren) does anything that impacts...anything. The biggest problem with the points system, though, is that we are never told what the rewards and consequences are. What is the points system for?

Um...okay. What's "this" supposed to be?

Seriously, I'm not kidding, we're never told what "this" is. In fact, We're never told anything, really. What happens if Kyoko gets a really high score? What happens if she gets a really low score? What happens if she gets enough points? Will she be given a really good job if she does? Will she be fully accepted into the agency if she does well enough? We're never told the answers to these questions, and the result is that we don't care if she does a good job or not. After all, it's not like she gets punished if she does badly, right? I mean, we're never told that she gets some kind of penalty, and similarly, we're never told if she gets some kind of reward for doing well. Does she just get some minor respect? Is that what this is, a system for members to boost their self-esteem for doing a good job? Wow, I care about that so much. Yes, please, invest lots of time explaining what this section and its system are to the audience, without ever telling us how they work. That sounds like a good idea.

     The other major flaw with this is the ending. The show ends in probably the worst way possible right in the middle of an arc and with no resolution of any kind. Without revealing too much, Ren has hit a slump in his acting, and they've had to stop filming for a little while. The show ends as Ren goes back to the studio to take another shot at the gig, and Kyoko has her standard "everything's great" end-of-shoujo-series monologue. Now, the makers Skip Beat! did a pretty good job with the material they had, and the ending certainly made you feel like it had ended. But your brain knew otherwise. This ending would have been great (not ideal, but great) if they had at least shown Ren get over his slump (it seemed pretty likely that's what was going to happen). Even if they didn't finish the arc, the ending would have been improved. However, as it stands, nothing is resolved, and the ending actually goes so far as to introduce a new character in five seconds before they cut away. Mouko, who hasn't shown up in several episodes (unfortunately) is of on some set, apparently for a job we're never told about, and some kid gives her a water bottle. We don't know who he is, and the only reason he's there is to tease for a second season and to make people want to read the manga. So, what happened? Kyoko still hasn't gotten revenge on Sho, Ren still hasn't gotten out of his acting slump (at least, not as far as we know), and Mouko is off doing something we don't know about. Huh.

Yes, this is what to say when you end a show. You can tell that Skip Beat! is really subtle in how it asks for a second season.

     Lastly, there were a couple things about Skip Beat! that stood out to me, and I didn't particularly like or dislike them.
     The first was the opening and ending theme songs. Typically, in a 20-something episode show (Skip Beat! was 25), the opening and ending theme songs change about halfway through (typically around episode 13), or not at all. Strangely enough, the songs did change, but not until episode 20, when the show had only five episodes left. I really curious about how this happened. Were they overworked up to that point and were just getting around to finishing the new OP/ED's? Were they trying to end on a stronger note by waiting till that point to change them? Were there delays/anomalies in the production that messed things up? Were they in danger of getting unexpectedly cancelled, and were trying to boost viewer ratings? I just don't know, and it's really bugging me.
     The second thing was the fact that Kyoko never once sung. I was totally under the impression that since she was trying to get revenge on Sho (a singer), she was going to try to become a famous singer. Instead, she only ever acted. I guess (and this is supported by the fact that Sho views Ren as his rival, even though Ren is an actor) that Japanese idols aren't really divided into "famous actor" and "famous singer" idols, but rather are considered "famous person" idols. Like I said this didn't bother me, I was just curious.

     In conclusion, Skip Beat! was a lot of fun. It drew me in, more than a lot of other shoujo anime I've seen. Its subtle realism and believability really made it shine, and it provided quite a few good laughs as well. Overall, one of the better shows of this kind that I've seen.
     Plot/Story: The plot of Skip Beat! was pretty good, and despite a horrible ending, it was pretty well done. I wanted to know what happened next throughout the entire show, and I felt involved with what was happening on screen. Probably would have been an 8 if not for the end.
     Characters: The characters in Skip Beat! were probably the best thing about it, especially Kyoko. They had a plethora of reactions and emotions which they all showed well, and the way in which the characters interacted was great. Kyoko and Mouko's relationship was definitely the highlight of the show, character-wise.
          Music: The music in Skip Beat! never really stood out to me. It was used to good effect, enhancing the comedy and tension at times, but was never really exceptional. I don't think I'd ever listen to it on its own. Still, it did what it needed to do, and it did it well. Nothing special, nothing bad.
          Voice Acting: The voice actors for this really did a great job. All of them felt like the voices of their characters, as opposed to the voices that said the character's lines. Marina Inoue (Kyoko's voice actor) did a really good job capturing all of Kyoko's emotions, and the supporting cast was quite skilled as well.
     Visuals: The visuals in this show were pretty solid. The animation wasn't breathtaking or anything, but the art style looked good and I never really had a hard time seeing what was happening. Also, there were a fairly large amount of backgrounds in this show. This may sound pretty basic, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of shows will just put light or solid color backgrounds in the place of actual scenery. Which is not to say that Skip Beat! didn't do this, it did. But it didn't do it in excess, which is the important thing. Additionally, I said how much I liked the way chibi was used in this show.
     Rewatchability: While I'd be willing to watch the show again for the comedy alone, the story was pretty good and the characters were certainly fun. This show would be good for another 2-3 viewings after the first run through.

Overall: I'd recommend Skip Beat! to people who like well-made characters and good comedy. Although it does differ from the rest of the genre, I think shoujo fans will still really like this show, and there's enough good about it that viewers who aren't fans of the genre will still like it.

Any suggestions/requests for my next reviews? Post a comment!


  1. The story isn't complete. The anime show needs at least 3-4 more seasons. Romance will ultimately become the main focus of this story (going by the manga) and these 25 episodes are just the beginning, like ~10-15% of the entire plot.
    I strongly recommend all "Skip Beat!" anime-lovers to read the manga which is still ongoing. You can start reading from ch 67-68 to continue the story. As of Dec. 2016, there are 242 chapters.
    The ending shown in episode 25 was just a cliffhanger, the actual plot and the love triangle among Kyoko, Ren and Sho start thereafter.

  2. The president clothes bugged med too!
    And the Idea that kyoko would begin to sing too would be great !๐Ÿ˜† 'cause she's good at a lot og things ๐Ÿ˜‰ thought I do like the romance too cause it makes it funnier ๐Ÿ˜‚ And you know I belive Kyoko's ability to act comes from the times she has hold back her feelings and the fact that she is really good to understand how others can feel๐Ÿค— I do like the ending to cause it makes me want to see more ๐Ÿ˜‰Thought I don't belive it will come a season 2 ๐Ÿ˜‘ Because it is really old and if it actually were to happen I belive it would be another person who would make it.... I would'nt wait too long if I were you to read the manga ✋

  3. Read the manga! Its the best story ever and the unique love-tension is my personal drug.