Skip Beat! 3 by Yoshiki Nakamura: A-

From the back cover:
Kyoko is determined to win her way into show business, even if it means wearing embarrassing bright pink overalls and putting up with spoiled stars. But her first big assignment proves more difficult than she imagined when she finds herself in front of the camera with an injured leg. Will she be able to ace her first attempt at acting despite the pain, or will she make an utter fool of herself in front of her sort-of nemesis, Ren Tsuruga?

In the first few chapters of this volume, the contest with the petulant diva continued and Kyoko performed admirably despite her injury. Her seriousness inspired a similar quality in Ren, and Kyoko was thrown by how easily he was able to manipulate her responses by subtle nuances in his own acting. This spurred a very important revelation for her: she genuinely wants to be good at acting.

The last couple of chapters dealt with her next assignment—befriending Maria, the trouble-making granddaughter of the agency president. I really expected Maria to be an incredibly annoying and attention-demanding character, but to my surprise, these were my favorite chapters of the volume! Her angsty backstory wasn’t really original, but I liked how it affected her view of grown-ups. She ended up adoring Kyoko because the latter talked to her honestly and didn’t try to disguise any of her feelings. The cliffhanger ending at the end of the volume was actually pretty suspenseful.

My complaints were few. The art still looked a little weird sometimes, particularly where the male characters’ hair was concerned. There was also a repeated gag wherein a character was apparently paralyzed by Kyoko’s vengeful spirits. This might’ve been an A volume otherwise.

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