Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Skip♦Beat!, vol. 4

The story: This volume continues the end of the acting class scene that volume three ended on. Of course, Kyoko rises to the challenge laid before her and surprises both her classmates and her friends. Hard truths are also revealed about both Kyoko's and Maria's families. Unbeknownst to Kyoko, it seems that she shares history with Ren. Later, she chances upon a job opportunity that brings her into close contact with Sho.

Reaction: Talk about a heartbreaker! This chapter starts off with some serious dramatic moments. Thankfully, it's balanced in the back half with a fairly humorous go-around between Kyoko and Sho. I also particularly loved the scene where Kyoko seems to jump using her hands to reclaim "Corn," her beloved purplish-blue stone.

Deep thoughts: When Kyoko is told she needs parental permission to keep working, she asks if she truly needs to. Being curious, I looked up the age at which people are considered legal adults in Japan. Evidently, Japan is the only country in the world to declare someone a legal adult at age 20. Only Singapore has an older age for legal adults at 21.

Artwork: There are some truly humorous moments in this volume, especially since Kyoko plays the part of Bo, a chicken mascot, on a talent show. The costume is huge and unwieldy, but, somehow, Kyoko manages to wear it well enough to keep up with Sho in a showdown of badminton. It's hard to show movement with such a large costume, but somehow Yoshiki Nakamura handles it well.

The verdict: Highly recommended. This series may not have the best art, but it has an amazing balance of drama and humor. You're never left sobbing, but you won't die of laughter, either. Nakamura keeps it all coming without wearing you out emotionally one way or the other. Skip♦Beat! is available in the U.S. from Viz.

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