Skip Beat! 1 by Yoshiki Nakamura: A-

From the back cover:
Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he’s casting her out now that he’s famous! Kyoko won’t suffer in silence—she’s going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

Kyoko knows she’s not plain and uninteresting, no matter what Sho says. With the help of a little makeover, Kyoko’s ready to exact her revenge. But first she needs to land an audition, and she sets her sight on the agency where Sho’s lead rival works. Her persistence pays off, but her broken heart turns out to be a disadvantage. Kyoko has lost the will to love anybody, let alone fans she’s never met. Can the agency see past this problem to Kyoko’s true star potential?

Yep, another new series. I’m trying to make some progress on my tremendous manga backlog.

Kyoko is an interesting character. She starts out a bit of a doormat, but once she overhears her childhood friend Sho telling his manager that he’d only brought Kyoko to Tokyo to serve as his housemaid, her inner evil self is unleashed. Many a shoujo manga heroine would’ve blamed themselves in such a situation, but Kyoko immediately vows revenge. The scenes of her persistence and scary determination are fun, but sometimes her ignorance about the realities of what she’s attempting is a little annoying. I guess it’s like Hikaru no Go in that way.

The art also reminds me of HnG, though the styles really look nothing alike. In fact, Nakamura’s is a little… weird. But there are lots more middle-aged characters than are common in shoujo stories, which I like, plus a plump woman is drawn without resorting to some perpetually genial caricature. I particularly like Lory, the weird (they’re always weird, aren’t they?) president of the talent agency.

My favorite part of the volume is the audition process, which occupies the last two chapters of the book. It turns out Kyoko does have a special talent of a sort, and ends up attracting the president’s attention. And even though I think it’s silly to screen out candidates who don’t have a desperate (in my opinion, unhealthy) desire to be loved by the audience, I did appreciate that it made Kyoko ponder just what her subservience to Sho had cost her emotionally when she failed to qualify based on that requirement.

This series looks like it’ll be very interesting. There are some unexpected character types, and it doesn’t look as if Kyoko’s goal of stardom will be achieved instantaneously. I think I’m gonna like it.

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  1. […] seems like a pretty accurate adaptation of the beginning of the manga. Some of the comedy bits are a bit too loud and zany for me, but I can’t complain much […]

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