Studio: Hal Film Maker
Director: Kiyoko Sayama
Distributed By: MVM Entertainment
Release Date: March 26th 2018
Classification: 12 (BBFC)
Language: English, Japanese
Running Time: 600 mins
Episode Count: 25
Format: BluRay & DVD
Skip Beat is the story of Kyoko Mogami, a sixteen year old girl madly in love with her high school sweetheart Shotaro. Kyoko leaves school and joins Sho as they travel to Tokyo so he can pursue his goal of becoming famous. However, this story quickly turns as Sho shows his true feelings and breaks poor Kyoko’s heart. This girl decides to focus all her attention on revenge and knows the only way to beat Sho is to get to the same level as him in showbiz. With a new look and attitude, Kyoko sets her eyes on joining a talent agency. Is revenge the only thing that will help her get to the top?
This show has been around for over a decade now, and I am delighted to finally be getting my hands on it. I have done my utmost to avoid any details regarding this series, so I was very surprised with the plot at the beginning, namely two high-schoolers who leave school and run away from home in order to move to Tokyo. What I thought was true romance was quickly undone, showing us how bitterly stung Kyoko was when she learned the truth. From this gripping twist, Kyoko starts to see red and vows to get her revenge on Sho. She soon realises the only way to do that, considering his newfound fame, is to get the same amount of popularity. Thus she approaches Sho’s rival agency and the struggle begins.
All along Kyoko was seen more as a push over and did everything, working several jobs to afford Sho’s expensive apartment and leaving her education behind to support his career path. After seeing his true colors, Kyoko has a little makeover. It wasn’t just her outwards appearance that changed, but her attitude too, focusing all her determination on herself and her revenge. Sho is the epitome of a terrible boyfriend, self indulgent and arrogant. Unfortunately, he is also a good actor and performer, and has gained a dedicated fanbase. His rival though is Ren Tsuruga, the main client of Kyoko’s new agency. Ren takes his work seriously, and respects only people who share hisideals. After a frosty welcome, Ren discovers something interesting about Kyoko that ties their pasts together. This show though is a real eye opener to what the industry can be like.
Rivalry and revenge are the two themes that follow throughout the series. Sho views Ren as his rival, wanting to disgrace the actor and take away all his fans. Kyoko then wants revenge on Sho for breaking her heart and using her. There is also other rivalry happening in the show as well, with actresses crossing paths on set and Kyoko demonstrating her acting prowess in order to put her peers in place. Kyoko begins to realise that she cannot succeed in the industry just by relying on revenge. Ren’s wisdom and comments teach Kyoko that she must do it for the art and fans.
Skip Beat! was first published as a manga in 2002 and is still ongoing. It was created by Yoshiki Nakamura, who also created the manga Tokyo Crazy Paradise. The Skip Beat manga is still ongoing today at 41 current volumes, published in English by Viz Media and is also available in both single and Omnibus volumes. The anime was produced by Hal Film Maker, a company that was formed in 1993 and has since merged with fellow anime studio Yumeta Company in 2009, to create TYO Animations. Hal Film Maker is best known for producing Princess Tutu, Prétear and Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan. The animation in Skip Beat! Is brilliant, it reminded me of the style used in Junjou Romantica and Ouran Highschool Host Club.
Bonus Features Include:
Behind the scenes
Interviews with the English Dub cast
Clean opening and closing
Skip Beat is a must-watch show, I would even put it up there with titles such as Toradora. Even with 25 episodes, I wish there was another season, just to explore Ren’s past and for Kyoko to realise they had crossed paths before. Ultimately, I hope to also see if Kyoko succeeds in her career and to know if she will get her revenge on Sho. The addition of cast interviews as bonus features was a nice touch. You get to see some of the recording process, including some cast interviews and how they recorded the songs. Before watching the interviews, I was unaware that YouTuber NateWantsToBattle was involved in recording the English songs for the show. (https://www.youtube.com/user/NateWantsToBattle)
You can buy Skip Beat! now on DVD & BLURAY from MVM Entertainment.