Cover of Skip Beat volume 1 as published by Hakusensha, featuring Kyoko Mogami
|Genre||Comedy, Romance, Showbiz, Music, Slice of life, Teen drama|
|Written by||Yoshiki Nakamura|
|Magazine||Hana to Yume|
|Original run||February 7, 2002 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kiyoko Sayama|
|Written by||Mayori Sekijima|
|Music by||Akifumi Tada|
|Studio||Hal Film Maker|
|Original network||TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, TV Hokkaido, TV Osaka, TV Setouchi, TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting Co., Ltd.|
|Original run||October 5, 2008 – March 29, 2009|
Skip Beat! (Japanese: スキップ・ビート! Hepburn: Sukippu Bīto!) (abbreviated as Sukibi) is a Japanese shōjo manga by Yoshiki Nakamura. It is the story of Kyoko Mogami (最上 キョーコ Mogami Kyōko) a 16-year-old girl who discovers that her childhood friend and romantic goal, Sho Fuwa, only keeps her around to act as a maid and to earn his living expenses, while he works his way to become the top pop idol in Japan. Furious and heartbroken, she vows revenge by beating him in show business.
In Japan, the manga was first published in Hakusensha's shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume in February 2002, while in the United States, it began publishing under Viz Media's Shojo Beat label in 2006. Forty volumes and one fanbook have been released in Japan, and thirty-eight of the volumes have been released in the United States. In 2002, a drama CD adaptation was made and released by Marine Entertainment, and covers the first volume (chapters one to five) of the manga. An anime adaptation is produced by Hal Film Maker, and began airing October 5, 2008. It ended airing with episode twenty-five on July 12, 2009.
Pied Piper has licensed the series and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the series on DVD and Blu-ray with an English dub. The Kickstarter campaign was successful meeting the goal and the stretch goal needed to produce the Blu-ray release.
Skip Beat! follows the story of Kyoko Mogami, a sixteen-year-old girl who loves her childhood friend, Shotaro Fuwa, but is betrayed by him. Having spent a large part of her childhood at Shotaro's parents' inn, she learned a great deal about hostelry and other such jobs. Shotaro, not wishing to take over his parents' business, asks Kyoko to run away with him to Tokyo, leaving high school and her life in Kyoto Prefecture behind to help him pursue a career in music. Upon arrival in Tokyo, Kyoko lives an unreasonably frugal life and works multiple jobs to support Sho, as he is called by his fans, spending nothing on herself and doing whatever she can for Sho, who eventually becomes ranked seventh of the top twenty most popular male celebrities of Japan. One day, she overhears Shotaro complaining about her to his manager, saying that she is a boring and plain girl who he thinks of as a doormat. He proceeds to sweet-talk and flirt with his manager, in stark contrast to the cold and demanding attitude he usually exhibits towards Kyoko. As she storms away, Kyoko doesn't shed many tears when she learns that Sho wanted her along only to handle housekeeping duties. Instead, her "Pandora's box" opens and she vows vengeance on Sho. As she is carried away by security, Sho mockingly tells her that if she wants revenge, she had better become a bigger star than he is. And so, Kyoko changes her appearance and enters the entertainment industry, facing many challenges along the way. After this introduction, Skip Beat! follows Kyoko's journey climbing up the showbiz ladder at first to gain her revenge but later out of love of acting. Along the way Kyoko meets many interesting people, troublemakers, foes, and friends alike, as she develops both as a person and as an actress. Additionally, she begins to regain the sense of compassion and other tender emotions that she lost when her heart was broken by Sho (Shotaro). Once she enters show biz Kyoko meets Ren Tsuruga, who at first disapproves of Kyoko for such a silly reason to begin acting, a profession he holds semi-sacred. As Kyoko cultivates her acting and friendships, she soon discovers a sense of self separate from her initial plans for revenge.
- Kyoko Mogami (最上 キョーコ Mogami Kyōko; stage name 京子, Kyōko)
- Voiced by: Miki Nagasawa (drama CD), Marina Inoue (anime) (Japanese); Caitlin Glass (English)
- Kyoko starts as a 15-year-old girl bent on revenge against the successful pop star Shotaro (Sho) Fuwa, her childhood friend with whom she has been in love for most of her life. She is so devoted to Sho that she completely abandoned her own future in favor of supporting him in fulfilling his dream of a singing career. Prior to the series Kyoko is shown as always smiling and happy to be help others. Sadly, Sho saw Kyoko as a moderately useful subject, which he would coldly and without hesitation casts aside once he succeeded as a famous singer. When Kyoko is forced to see how she has been used, a lifetime of suppressed negative emotions erupt all at once, and she vows revenge against her betrayer--and is promptly ejected by security. Sho mocks her with the fact that his status is so far above hers she has no chance of harming him, and tells her if she really wants revenge she'll have to catch up to him first. Kyoko swears to do so, and begins to remake her identity into someone who can stand alone. Her character continues to develop over the course of the series, with her anger beginning to fade as she develops new relationships, interests, and goals as an independent person.
- Her outstanding features are insane determination and excessive humility, followed by her vastly active imagination. Her background and the skills she begins with are those associated with running a traditional Japanese inn, as she was largely raised in the Fuwa family Ryokan. Kyoko has a warm character to which people are increasingly drawn as she gains confidence, but when she loses her temper she has very little restraint, probably because until her 'Pandora's Box' of repression cracked open, she never dealt with anger at all, and has never learned to do so in a measured fashion. She has a unique way of thinking, yet is often boxed in by her own preconceptions, particularly her low self-esteem. She has a huge respect for authority, but ignores some rules of both society and common sense as though she does not realize they exist. Kyoko loves pretty things, and thinks regularly in terms of Western fairy tales.
- Psychologically, Mogami Kyoko is primarily an emotionally abused child. Her father has never been mentioned, but her mother was a cold, demanding woman who often left her in the care of Fuwa Sho's family when she was still fairly small. Most of her problems go back to this (and having been bullied at school and thus socially isolated); her obsession with Sho began as a coping mechanism and grew into a classic reenactment of her relationship with her mother, but because of the way she was forced to confront his betrayal she managed to break out of the cycle and channel her emotions in a new direction. President Takarada focuses on the way she has begun to suppress the emotion of 'the desire to be loved' as her main problem, though as that feeling was the lynchpin of a severely unhealthy coping mechanism, suppressing it was probably a necessary phase in her development, especially as 'the desire to have friends who care about her' was not severely harmed. Regardless, the environment he provides her allows the chance to heal and reach for her dreams at the same time.
- Kyoko becomes emotionally reliant on Tsuruga Ren as the story progresses, and her immediate goals increasingly relate to supporting him rather than succeeding for herself. This is done mainly through her role as Bo, the mascot of a talk show she plays after the original actor calls in sick. Kyoko is introduced as Bo in the anime in episode 10 when she tries to use this new position to get back at Sho Fuwa. Once the segment is over Kyoko walks around the studio in the Bo costume and finds Ren. Bo slowly becomes an outlet for Ren to express his emotional turmoil while unaware that the person in the chicken costume is actually Kyoko. His emotional state seems to be falling apart as hers has become stable, and for all his failings he is neither cold nor unreasonably demanding, and has supported her a great deal, this is a comparatively healthy place to focus her desire to be useful to people she cares about.
- Ren Tsuruga (敦賀 蓮 Tsuruga Ren)
- Voiced by: Ken Narita (drama CD), Katsuyuki Konishi (anime) (Japanese); Robbie Daymond (English)
- Ren is an extremely kind and gentle person. He takes his acting very seriously and expects professionalism from those around him. While he maintains a perfect public image, he has frequently shown his true face to Kyoko, failing to maintain his polite facade in front of her. He was originally unhappy with Kyoko because of her impure reasons for joining show business, and frequently found ways to annoy and tease her. However, once he realized that her acting was more than a tool for revenge, he began to support her growth as a budding idol. Although at first in denial, he eventually came to terms with his love for Kyoko and grew as an actor as a result of the realization. He makes many attempts to express his love, but Kyoko is continuously blind to all romantic overtures. Ren was voted top male celebrity in Japan on the same poll that ranked Sho seventh, strengthening the latter's feelings of jealousy and rivalry towards him. Ren tends to become insecure whenever anything happens between Shō Fuwa and Kyoko due to their former relationship and now their frequent coincidental, and un-coincidental meetings, giving Sho multiple openings to cause him emotional distress. Despite the obvious obstruction of Shō's closeness to her, Ren has no intention of giving Kyoko over to him. Ren's mysterious past is another obstruction to his romantic feelings towards Kyoko yet to be fully explored in the manga. However, it is known that the actor of 'Katsuki' in the first Tsukigomori, Kū Hizuri (クー・ヒズリ Kū Hizuri), is his father. Tsuruga Ren is a stage name Ren adopted to escape the shadow of his father's fame. His real name is Kuon Hizuri (久遠・ヒズリ Kuon Hizuri). When he was young, he met Kyoko and became good friends with her, although he was mistaken for a young fairy prince and his name mispronounced by the girl ("Corn" instead of "Kuon"). After many years, the two met again, and soon after, he discovered that Kyoko was in fact the little girl whom he had met when he was a child. Eventually he came to realize his true feelings for her. It is also known that he had a much more violent and painful past than Kyoko. This is hinted at during an encounter with Reino, a musician with supernatural abilities. Reino saw the memories of a young Kuon from a stone that Kuon used to absorb his dark feelings. He said that the little sadness Kyoko had could not compare to what Kuon experienced. Ren is only a quarter Japanese. Kuu Hizuri is half-Japanese and while the ethnicity of Ren's mother was not revealed in the anime, it is known that Ren has a mix of Japanese, American, and Russian blood. Ren speaks both Japanese and English fluently, he is also seen speaking Russian semi-poorly, but it is not known whether this is intentional or a better translator could not be found. Ren's original hair color and eye color are blond and green, respectively, which was the reason Kyoko mistook him for a fairy prince when they met as children. In the manga, Ren's mother is a beautiful American model/actress named Juliena. Ren spent his early teenage days in America where he was bullied for reasons not yet completely explored, but his family connections, mixed blood, and acting career are hinted at. In one such strife, his best friend and mentor in America was hit by a car while trying to stop him, and was killed. It left a deep emotional scar in his heart and he held himself responsible. Consequently, Kuon changed himself completely, dyed his hair dark brown, wore dark brown contact lenses, moved to Japan to pursue a career in acting, and adopted the screen name of "Tsuruga Ren."
Shō Fuwa (不破 尚 Fuwa Shō)
- Voiced by: Nobutoshi Kanna (drama CD), Mamoru Miyano (anime) (Japanese); Grant George (English)
- His real name is Shōtarō (松太郎). He keeps it a secret because he finds it very old-fashioned. He is an extremely egotistical, extremely talented music star. Shō had no qualms about asking Kyoko to give up her life in Kyoto to support him in Tokyo, fully cognizant of her misconceptions of the nature of their relationship. After Kyoko's transformation, he is shocked and soon discovers he had more feelings for her than he originally thought. He has disliked seeing Kyoko's tears since childhood, knows her preferences in food, and of her love for fairy tales and things romantic in nature, but stole her first kiss so that she would hate him and obsess over him. Shō holds a great animosity towards Ren because he is hailed as the coolest, number one guy in show biz. Shō declared that he'd steal all of Ren's fans and the title of "The Coolest Male Celebrity" from him. He does not like Ren's closeness to Kyoko and he challenges Ren as he makes it known that he would not willingly give up his place in Kyoko's heart as the one she thinks of the most.
Kanae ("Mōko") Kotonami (琴南 奏江 Kotonami Kanae)
- Voiced by: Yukiko Tagami (drama CD), Risa Hayamizu (anime) (Japanese); Erica Lindbeck (English)
- When introduced, Kotonami's character looks to be the villain to Kyoko's heroine, but Kanae is much more sympathetic than she first appears. Kanae wants desperately to be a top-rate actress and was at the same audition as Kyoko. Although she made it further than Kyoko, she also failed for lack of love. Thus, she became the second member of Love Me. Kyoko nicknamed her Moko because of her habit of saying "mō" as an interjection. After their tag-team effort in winning an audition for a commercial, despite obvious differences in their personalities, both girls recognize that they are in fact very similar, leading them to become best friends. Although her attitude towards Kyoko may seem aloof at times, it is clear that she values their friendship, as she reluctantly shares her secret with Kyoko when she fears her unwillingness to share her troubles might drive Kyoko away. She is convinced that Ren Tsuruga is in love with Kyoko because of the way he acts toward Kyoko.
Yukihito Yashiro (社 倖一 Yashiro Yukihito)
- Voiced by: Masahito Kawanago (anime) (Japanese); Vic Mignogna (English)
- He is Ren's manager. When first seen he is a serious character, later on he is used largely for comic relief. We get a better understanding of Ren’s subtle emotional shifts from Yashiro’s not-so-subtle reactions to Ren’s interactions with Kyoko. He fully supports a romantic relationship between the two and often needles Ren about his lack of progress in that area. He also tends to associate anything Ren says to Kyoko and Ren’s feelings for her, even before Ren himself came to terms with them. He doesn't know how to drive, which is why Ren is always seen doing the driving. One of his roles as manager is to pay attention to Ren's health which includes checking that he had his share of sleep and food.
- He must use latex gloves when handling electronics because any electronic device that he touches directly will soon be rendered useless. In particular, he has mentioned that a cell phone will die after about 10 seconds of direct exposure to his skin.
Lory Takarada (ローリィ宝田 Rōri Takarada)
- Voiced by: Banjo Ginga (drama CD), Kouji Ishii (anime) (Japanese); Richard Epcar (English)
- Lory is the extravagantly flamboyant president of L.M.E. (Lory’s Majestic Entertainment) and Maria's grandfather. He is known for his signature flashy entrances everywhere he goes, done extremely to the point that every entrance he made were based on a theme. He also wore costumes, had complete props, animals, background music and men for that performance. For him, one of the secret to success in the world of show business and the most important thing an actor must never forget is love, which is his favorite word; for the audience to love him, the actor must also love his work and show that to the audience in order for him to gain fans. For if there is no love at all, the actor won't survive in that world. Lory is one of the first people to recognize Kyoko’s potential of being a great star, and created the "Love Me" section because of this. He seems genuinely concerned for Kyoko and wonders what could have happened in her past to cause her to lose the ability to love. He learns in Vol. 4 that Kyoko does not have a father and has a bad relationship with her mother but does not know the details. Later, when he learned that she dropped out of school he arranges for her to attend a high school that accommodates students working in show business and their hectic schedules. He is also one of the very few people in the industry to have discovered that Ren was in love with Kyoko. It was later shown that he played an important part in Ren's life, particularly in Ren's past, as he advised the young and breaking Ren to beat his father in show business, by first working his way up at the country where Ren's father was born, Japan, and when Ren was finally ready he can go back to America where he can be on his own to enter Hollywood all by himself without Lory's help. With this, he guided Ren during his stay in Japan. As the president of his company, he never show favoritism even to Ren when it comes to serious business at work. Once he is around, his style of judging an actor's capability of staying in his role or not was if he isn't satisfied and the actor doesn't act based on his standards, he will leave even before the scene ends during filming, which meant that the actor was already terminated from the play. He also has an assistant with him who is always around, who constantly wear an arabic costume.
- Takenori Sawara (椹 武憲 Sawara Takenori)
- Voiced by: Tomoyuki Kōno (drama CD), Kenji Hamada (anime), Keith Silverstein (English)
- He is the head of L.M.E.'s talent section. Sawara was tormented by Kyoko into allowing her to take part in L.M.E.'s newcomer audition (Kyoko originally auditioned under "Talent" rather than "Acting"). Despite the initial meeting, he is actually very supportive of Kyoko, even through her penchant for tripping her own career up. Sawara is under the impression that Kyoko is actually a fan of Shō.
- Maria Takarada (宝田 マリア Takarada Maria)
- Voiced by: Hiromi Konno (anime) (Japanese); Mela Lee (English)
- Maria is the granddaughter of the president of L.M.E. and used to use her cute appearance to get people's sympathy. She does so before Kyoko's audition; however Kyoko recognized this, and calls her out on it. While some people would be angry at Kyoko, Maria begins to idolize her, and views her as an ultimate big sister. Maria also suffers from a huge guilt complex after her mother dies in a plane crash while returning to Japan for Maria's birthday at Maria's request. As a result, Maria thinks that her father hates her. Kyoko manages to make Maria understand that her father doesn't hate her nor thinks that Maria caused her mother's death. On her birthday, Maria is able to officially reconcile with her father during a thank you party arranged by her and Kyoko. Maria shares an interest in black magic with Kyoko and has a large crush on Ren Tsuruga.
- Shoko Aki (安芸 祥子 Aki Shōko)
- Voiced by: Rio Natsuki (anime) (Japanese); Karen Strassman (English)
- Shoko Aki is Shō Fuwa's manager at Akatoki Agency. Since Shō and Kyoko split Shō's been living at her place. However, he was already living at her place most of the time even when he was still living with Kyoko, though the two of them, Kyoko and Shoko, get along rather well. Shoko Aki herself wanted to become an actress (Act.85), but decided she didn't have the talent for it. But she still wanted work that was connected with show business, and got a job as a manager. She also believes Shō has feelings for Kyoko, and tries to hint at him that he should confess his feelings to her.
Skip Beat! began as a manga series written and illustrated by Yoshiki Nakamura which started serialized in Hakusensha's shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume on February 15, 2002. The first bound volume was released in Japan on July 19, 2002, forty volumes and one fanbook have been released to date. The manga was licensed by Viz Media for release in English in North America on Viz Media's Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume was released in English on July 5, 2006, thirty-eight volumes were released. Furthermore, Viz Media has also re-released Skip Beat! in the VIZBIG format (3-In-1 Edition) since March 6, 2012; twelve volumes have been released, the latest combining volumes 33-36.
In total, five drama CDs have been released as of March 2017.
The first entitled Skip Beat! Drama CD was released by Marine Entertainment bearing the catalog number "MMCC-7029" on September 26, 2002. It covers the first volume (chapters one to five) of the manga.
The second entitled BLACK Drama CD was released August 21, 2012 and focuses on the Dark Breath arc. The BLACK Drama CD feature the voice actors for the anime, with the addition of Yuki Kaida as Jelly Woods in the BLACK Drama CD
The third entitled KISS×KISS Drama CD Valentine Weapon was released January 19, 2013 and covers Shou's kiss and Ren's cheek kiss on Valentine's Day. KISS×KISS Drama CD Valentine Weapon like the As the BLACK Drama CD and feature the voice actors for the anime.
A fourth adaptation featuring Kyouko's reunion with Corn in Guam was bundled with the first printing of the 40th volume as a limited-edition release, on sale March 20, 2017, with Marina Inoue and Katsuyuki Konishi reprising their respective roles.
A fifth adaptation, dramatizing the scene from the Dark Breath arc when Setsuka puts a kiss mark on Cain, was bundled with the Hana to Yume issue that went on sale March 18, 2017.
The anime adaptation was directed by Kiyoko Sayama and animated by Hal Film Maker, it began airing in Japan on October 5, 2008 and ended on March 29, 2009. The first opening theme is "Dream Star" by the generous. The first ending theme is "Namida" by 2BACKKA.The second opening theme is "Renaissance" by the generous, and the second ending theme is "Eien" by Yūsaku Kiyama. Anime streaming website Crunchyroll also officially streams the anime online with English subtitles through an agreement with TV Tokyo.
Pied Piper has licensed the series for North American release and has launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the series on DVD and Blu-Ray with an English dub.
In 2008, a Taiwanese drama of Skip Beat! was announced in a press conference in Japan, titled (Chinese: 華麗的挑戰; pinyin: Huá Lì De Tiǎo Zhàn) or Extravagant Challenge in English, starring Ivy Chen as Kyōko, Choi Siwon as Tsuruga Ren, and Lee Donghae as Shō Fuwa. It was to be directed by Niu Cheng Ze (鈕承澤) and produced by Gala Television (GTV). A few days before shooting was due to begin, in January 2009, Lai Cong Bi (賴聰筆), Deputy General Manager of GTV stated that the production has been postponed indefinitely due to factors such as restructure of the joint venture company in Japan and script re-write.
In March 2011, it was announced that the project will resume filming in April 2011 with the leading role of Gong Xi (Kyōko) played by Ivy Chen, Dun He Lian (Tsuruga Ren) played by Choi Siwon, and Bu Puo Shang (Shō Fuwa) played by Lee Donghae of Korean boy band Super Junior.
The series aired from December 18, 2011 to April 1, 2012 with a total of 15 episodes. The live-action adaptation also aired in Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Each episode ran about an hour long and stuck very closely to the plot line of the manga, albeit with some comedic elements added in. Given its ending (much like the anime, it left loose ends, although it still managed to get further along in the plot) and the many fans the series acquired, there has been speculation as to whether there will be a season two; many believe the producers are waiting for the manga to finish so as to provide a proper ending.
A video game was released on May 28, 2009 for the PlayStation 2.
The opening song of this game is "Blow Wind" by SMILY☆SPIKY. The game takes place after the animation of Skip Beat! where the main character, Kyoko Mogami, needs to choose her next job and develop her relationships with others. The game is imported from Japan and has yet to be translated into English. Although the game is a continuation of the manga it does not follow the plot specifically.
An original story Kitchen★Words (きっちん★うぉ～ず！？ Kitchin★Wōzu!?), written by Ayuna Fujisaki, appeared in Hana to Yume Bunkei Shōjo, vol.2. The literary adaptation centered on Kyōko's guest appearance in a cooking show and used art from the manga as illustration.
A second story, Fairy Tale♥Ride (メルヘン♥ライド Meruhen♥Raido), appeared in The Hana to Yume released on April 25, 2015. Also written by Ayuna Fujisaki, it centered on a Love Me job for Kyōko and Kanae at a theme park.
A third story, From the Otherworld With Love (あの世から愛をこめて Ano Yo kara Ai wo Komete), appeared in The Hana to Yume released on July 25, 2015. Written by Ayuna Fujisaki, the story has Kyōko possessed by a ghost, and features Shō, Reino, and Ren.
A fourth story, Yukihito Yashiro's Illness Diary (社倖人の闘病日記 Yashiro Yukihito no Tōbyōnikki), appeared in The Hana to Yume released on October 25, 2015. Also written by Ayuna Fujisaki, the story features Ren's manager on a day off due to a cold.
Ayuna Fujisaki has written a fifth story featuring Kyōko working as Bō the Chicken, which appeared in The Hana to Yume released on January 25, 2016.
On September 20, 2016, the five short stories were published in a collection that includes another original Skip Beat! short story by Ayuna Fujisaki as well as original art by Yoshiki Nakamura.
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