Sunday, August 9, 2009

Skip♦Beat!, vol. 7

The story: With Kyoko finishing up her replacement managerial duties for Ren, it's time for her to move on. While she's still working as the chicken Bo for a talent show, she's also going to school. But, it seems that she's already gotten herself an enemy in classmate Mimori, which proves to be trouble later. Meanwhile, Sho has seen Kyoko's commercial debut and asks for her specifically to star in his newest music video. Knowing that this is her moment for revenge, how will Kyoko fare, especially when her co-star is Mimori happens to love Sho?

Reaction: The reason I love Skip♦Beat! is so apparent here--because of the ridiculous and goofy humor interspersed throughout. While most shojo stories would be content to show the drama and emotion revolving Kyoko's star-studded dreams and revel in her awkward love triangle with Sho and Ren, Yoshiki Nakamura takes it an entirely different, not to mention much more hilarious, direction. Granted, I don't like the backtracking Kyoko does here in terms of character growth, by using acting to take her revenge on Sho, but it is entertaining to watch.

Deep thoughts: I find it interesting that compulsory education in Japan only extends through junior high, making high school optional. Because high school is not mandatory, students must take entrance exams and pay tuition. So, when Kyoko spends so much time and effort studying, it's because she's so determined to go to high school. In many ways, making it into a top-ranked, or similarly your first-choice, high school is much like applying for college. Of course, Japanese students who wish to go continue their education past high school will go through a similar and even tougher process.

Artwork: Some of my favorite artwork in this series so far appears in this volume, specifically when Kyoko tells Ren why she enjoys acting. While she describes how acting is allowing herself to create the "true" Kyoko Mogami, there's thoughtful moments that show her metamorphosis and end with a fairy-like Kyoko emerging from a cocoon. It's a nice way to visualize her character change due to acting and I find the scene wistful and nicely contemplative.

The verdict: Highly recommended. I still really enjoy this series and, while much of this volume deals with the animosity between Kyoko and Sho, it's fairly entertaining while showing Kyoko's growth and subsequent recession when she comes face to face with Sho. Skip♦Beat! is available in the U.S. from Viz.

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