Skip Beat! 2 by Yoshiki Nakamura: A-

From the back cover:
After failing her audition, Kyoko has just about given up on her revenge—until Sho shows up at the gas station where she works and doesn’t even recognize her! With her desire for vengeance rekindled, Kyoko goes back to the talent agency and gets assigned to the new “Love Me Section.” There, she can earn points for good behavior, and if she earns enough, the agency will back her debut! The only problem is that she has to do whatever they tell her to! Will her first assignment be her last?

After displaying her passionate desire to make it in showbiz, Kyoko manages to earn a place at the agency where she can work on her defect (lack of a desire to be loved). The majority of the volume is Kyoko taking requests from others in the agency, and the incremental return of the part of her that could give selflessly for others.

The first request doesn’t go so well, and I’m still not entirely sure how the second one is going to shape up. Kyoko started out agreeing to protect a singer/actress from harmful UV rays, and ends up competing against her for a part in a movie when the petulant (and extremely annoying) woman threatens to quit the project when she doesn’t get her way. So, either petulant chick will eventually realize Kyoko truly helped her in the end and give her some points, or she’ll hate her forever. We shall see.

Probably the most interesting thing in the volume is the relationship between Kyoko and Tsuruga Ren, a very popular actor with a strict attitude about professionalism. Sometimes he seems to dislike her and sometimes he’s kind (though not as fickle as this makes it sound) so their interactions are always edifying in some fashion. The experience with the competition seems to alert Ren to some unsuspected talent in Kyoko, so perhaps his opinion of her will soon change.

I like the story and I like the characters (excepting petulant chick), and even though it sometimes gets a little too zany, I am enjoying this series greatly.

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