Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volumes 22 and 23

I’ve been in a manga kind of a mood recently.  I’ve been reading some new series that caught my attention, as well as trying to catch up on some of my favorites that I’ve fallen behind on.  Skip*Beat! is one of those.  Kyoko is a fun protagonist; she’s a good girl who had her heart stomped on by the guy she loved, and now she’s out for revenge.  Sho is an up and coming celebrity, and in order to get back at him, Kyoko is determined to become more popular than he is.  When she’s in a rage, she’s possessed by her anger, which causes dramatic, and usually, hilarious results.

Now that we are quite a ways into the series, the tables have turned on Sho.  Now he has a crush on Kyoko, but he won’t come out and tell her directly (as is the shoujo way!), nor will she give him the time of day.  Kyoko just wants her revenge, revenge, revenge!  She’s even gotten over her earlier animosity for Ren, one of  Sho’s rivals.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?  Only Ren has developed feelings for the stubborn Kyoko and her never say die spirit, but she’s so oblivious she doesn’t even notice.  Just like with Sho, all of her focus is on becoming a success in show biz.

In volume 22, Kyoko is having a hard time stepping into her latest role.  She’s confused about what the director wants, and she’s holding up shooting with her inability to immerse herself into her new character.  With some help from Ren, her acting mojo is recharged and viola!  She’s become Natsu, a high school bully, much to the dismay of Chiori, one of her cast mates.  Chiori is resentful of Kyoko’s success, and she wants desperately for her to fail.  Chiori’s career is stuttering, and the intense competition she feels for Kyoko isn’t helping her.

I thought that volume 22 dragged a bit, but volume 23 cranked up the drama and the action that I love this series for.  Kyoko and Chiori’s feud becomes explosive.  Chiori schemes against Kyoko, almost causing her great bodily harm. In return, Kyoko pushes Chiori to deliver the very best performance she’s capable of.  Their competition is intense, and I felt really bad for the actress who got caught up in the middle of it.

Volume 23 closes out with the beginning of a fun Valentine’s Day story, which I’m looking forward continuing in the next installment of the series.

Is there such a thing as being too good? With Ren’s help, Kyoko finally gets into her new character. But when she shows up on set and wows the crew with her new spin on the old bully role, it sends some of her costars over the edge! Kyoko’s used to dealing with her own demons, but can she stand up to someone else’s?!

Chiori’s rage threatens the whole production when she lashes out and hurts Kyoko. Kyoko is used to overcoming obstacles, and she uses her injury as an excuse to push Chiori into exploring her acting. But Chiori has a traumatic past. Will focusing on the dark side of her character bring it all rushing back?!