Saving Kyoko from Reino’s attack has finally knocked some sense into Sho’s head, and he realizes how much he cares for her. But before he can declare his devotion, Ren shows up to ruin the moment. Both men realize that Kyoko has no idea of their true feelings for her and begin a secret battle for her affections!
This volume is dedicated to the romance side of Skip Beat. Picking up the aftermath of a stalker attack on Kyoko from last volume, both Sho, Kyoko’s rival, and Ren, Kyoko’s mentor, realize their feelings for her. Kyoko, so wrapped up in her mission to become more famous than Sho, doesn’t see beyond the surface. This of course leads to a lot of melodrama. Kyoko didn’t tell Ren that Sho protected her from the stalker, Ren gets upset, Ren and Kyoko thinks they are hated by the other, and when they start to recover, Sho shows up and makes a challenge/declaration of love to Kyoko.
But, all that drama isn’t so bad actually. It all plays as a natural progression as Ren has been working with Kyoko for a while, and Sho, who’s been away from her has started to realize her value and his feelings. There are also plenty of comedic moments to break it up, and fit my sense of humor just fine. Ren’s charming-but-obviously upset reaction to not knowing what happened with the stalker at first was rather humorous. And Kyoko’s good-to-evil-in-less-than-a-second transformation was great. She looked truly evil.
The biggest problem I have with this volume is trying to tell all the characters apart. Telling Ren and Sho apart could only be based on hair color. And some characters I couldn’t tell gender. They are all tall and thin, with the girls having next to no chest. Half the time I thought Kyoko was a guy and after a few more panels did I realize who she was. Another problem was the lack of any kind of introduction at the beginning. When a series goes on for this long, it really needs a summary of the main characters and a “what’s happened so far”. I could still figure out the gist of things, but it would have been a lot easier with a summary.
Overall, Skip-Beat was more enjoyable than I expected. From the initial premise, I didn’t expect to like it, but, even this far in, it has turned me around. The characters are fun and not unrealistic, and the story isn’t a meteoric rise, giving it more credence with me. I would definitely give this series another try.