Skip Beat! 7 by Yoshiki Nakamura: A-

From the back cover:
All Kyoko’s dreams are coming true! She’s got a best friend (okay, so Moko still needs to come to terms with their bosom-buddyhood, but she’s learning). She’s finally going to high school (so what if a mean girl is picking on her—Kyoko knows how to deal with bullies). And she’s landed a spot in Sho’s new video (Yes! Revenge! Bwa ha ha ha!). Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Man, this series is so good. There are some very important things that happen in this volume, and two are centered around Kyoko saying things that need saying. In the first chapter, finishing up her day working as Ren’s substitute manager, she finally explains her motivations for studying acting and he realizes he’s misunderstood her. This prompts some tenderness in his manner towards her that his manager picks up on but to which Ren is oblivious. For the first time (due to character development) I really see their potential as a romantic couple. The best thing about their slowly-evolving relationship is that it’s based on respect.

The other instance of Kyoko saying what needs to be said occurs when her cover is finally blown and she chastises Sho for all the wrongs he committed against her. I honestly thought this confrontation would occur later on in the series, but it’s good to see something like this here, so perhaps she can rise above concern for Sho and not have besting him be her ultimate goal. His flummoxed reaction to her poise and skill is great, and it’s good to see her triumph over him in some degree.

I can’t wait for the next volume to see how she totally manipulates Sho with her acting (a trick she learned from Ren) and succeeds in using him as a stepping stone on her own path to success.

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