Friday, May 23, 2008

Manga: Skip Beat

Unknowingly the last few days, I was totally absorbed by a manga "Skip Beat". Before I knew it, I was laughing through to Chapter 100! Perhaps I am the sort of easily tickled person, but I honestly had such good loud laughs with many chapters. The lead character has a tenacity of a pitt bull terrier!!!

In many ways though the plot may appear common with typical pretty characters, yet it was the unexpected way it lead up to it that got me glued. There was also certain twists that was nicely presented. The various sudden twists in mood and character reactions had me gaffawing my head off. It is certainly not some pansy sweet romantic kick. I wont reveal too much nor the funny bits but here's a summary for those interested. I would rate it a 8/10 up to chapt 122 I had read

Story Plot

Kyoko Mogami, a wistful yet cheery sixteen year-old girl who "adored" her childhood friend, Shotaro or "Sho" to the extent of being ostracised by her peers (in jealousy), but was cruelly betrayed by him in the early chapters.

Sho had asked Kyoko to leave her life in Kyoto life, to help him escape taking over family business and pursue his dreams in a music career (he later became top 20 popular artist). Upon arrival in Tokyo, Kyoko lives an unreasonably frugal life on cost of food, apart etc and nothing on herself .

The stort progress from here and this is where the real humourous bits appear.

Despite her strong belief in fairies, princes and elves, her sealed off "Pandora's Box" of all the ill feelings & murderous intents opened for Sho. She vowed ultimate vengeance on Shotaro, who had mockingly told her to better become a bigger star than him to suceed, before throwing her out. She then single mindedly focused on accomplish her "dream".

Kyōko immediately cuts and bleaches her hair, while selling her possessions to throw away her past. She goes to the largest production company L.M.E. that also manages Ren Tsuruga, one of Japan's most popular actors and Shō’s main hated "rival" (only to Sho). Ren's initial reaction to Kyōko was immense dislike when he found out her revenge plans!

At the first audition, Kyōko, impressed the judges with her originality and uniqueness of her skill.
However, she's failed the second audition. She was told her reaction lacked the desire to be loved. In order to be an entertainer and win over fans, she had to love them and herself as well. Alas, this was something she felt impossible; essentially, Kyōko has lost the feeling of self-worth since her childhood and after Sho "ditches" her.

Nevertheless, Kyōko made a huge impression on the eccentric President, Lory Takarada. So much that he privately notes to Sawara one of his talent agent, that if she returned on her own initiative, he'll have a special program waiting for her. With some initial blunders, Kyōko actually started to excel. She also accquired some feelings of love, as well as some memories of a crystal stone from a boy named "Corn" whom she had a special bond with when she was a child.

Will she suceed? Will she find out what happen to Corn? Will Sho ever regret his folly? I can't wait to find out!

Current Volumes.

The story plot is an easy one probably aimed at older teenagers. However, any adult looking for a light laugh probably wont mind this. In Japan, it was first published by Hana To Yume in 2002, while in the United States, it is published under the Shojo Beat label in 2006. There are currently 19 volumes in Japan and 12 in the United States.

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