Skip Beat! (Part Five) - Anime

>> Saturday, June 25, 2011

Seriously, this is the last part of the review. Like as not, anyone who's read this is going, "whew!" but I've loved gushing. I also have to tell you, I just watched the whole anime again and I'm about to reread the manga. So, I'm hooked. Good and hooked.

Bottom line: good addictive anime, if not as pretty as some, and with an incomplete ending. 25 total episodes.

This is the first time I've had a post that just focused on the anime instead talking about the manga with the anime as an afterthought. It's ironic because the story's basically the same as the manga. No, it is the same as the manga, which isn't always the case with anime, although there's usually at least a common thread. In animes, which frequently come to an end while the manga's still going strong, an interim end (one that frequently foreshadows the ending some long distance away) is devised so, in particular, the last few episodes of the anime tend to vary the most from the original manga. Unfortunately, this did not happen here, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Most of the anime I've purchased have been released in the US with dubbed dialogue and I've been almost universally pleased with the caliber of the English speaking voices involved (Tamaki [Vic Mignogna] and Kyoya [J. Michael Tatum] are particular favorites from Ouran High School Host Club). Skip Beat! (the anime) is not licensed in the US and is not dubbed but subtitled. I watched it anyway, became hooked, and found it on-line for purchasing from Japan, theoretically. Since I'm learning Japanese anyway (also another story), I'm buying some subtitled anime in Japanese now.

One advantage to hearing it in the original language is that it has a different feel to it. The Japanese actors seem less inhibited and tend to be more, er, exuberant in how they express themselves. True, this is an exuberant anime (and manga), but even so. I've found myself duly impressed with the Japanese talents in this anime, not only with the expressiveness of the voices, but the versatility shown by the voice actors, particularly the one playing Kyoko (Marina Inoue) who must not only fake a deeper male sounding voice, but voice the grudge Kyokos and a huge range of extreme emotions effectively. That she does so well enough one can readily determine her emotions (even in another language) says a great deal about her talent. Almost as versatile is Mamuru Mayano who does the voice of Sho, who must be, at turns, seductive and snotty and nearly as volatile and childish as Kyoko at times.

I'm also quite fond of Ren's (Katsuyuki Konishi) relatively mellow and mature voice, which doesn't require as much versatility, but does provide a fine contrast. Lory (Kouji Ishii) has a beautiful deep voice that is just a pleasure to listen to.

Since we're talking sound, I've also got to mention the music. There are two different opening themes and two different closing themes. I have to admit that I like all of them very much except for the second opening theme. I like them enough, in fact, I usually listen rather than skip them, even when I'm watching episode after episode. There's also a song done by Sho in Episode 18 that, though only pieces of the complete song play, I really really liked. I wouldn't have minded having the whole damn thing, but they never played it as a whole. I wonder if it had been made available in Japan.

For the most part, the artwork follows along with that of the manga and is along the same lines, but with a simplification that is occasionally irksome. Sadly, the one who suffers by this the most is Ren. Sho, though the defacto "villain," comes across well and still looks good in most of his fashionable and/or outlandish clothing. Damn good even. Kyoko does equally well. But Ren. Poor Ren. The issues in the manga I've noted are far more pronounced in the anime, with his face looking even more distorted simplified in thick lines and a nose that looks much like a predatory bird's. His fashionable wardrobe from the manga is inexplicably exchanged with far less appealing garb that hangs gracelessly on his large frame, which is a pity because that was one of the strengths of the manga artwork. Ren was largely lost in the translation, artwise.

However, the anime has a wonderful color palatte and a great deal of charm, taking advantage of the many manga sight gags along the way and being amazing true to the original manga. Given the caliber of the original manga, that's saying something.

In particular, I love the episodes involving the shooting of Fuwa Sho's music video where Kyoko is hired as an angel to kill him. The costuming is as glorious as the manga's (the same, actually, but losing nothing with the addition of color and movement) and the arguments and interaction of the two most versatile voices a joy, well worth watching over and over. And, as I mentioned, there's the really cool song. If Kyoko's faking the attitudes of an air-headed Sho fan wasn't amusing enough, Sho's reaction to one of Kyoko's many transformations into gorgeousness is more than worth the time. Not to mention their arguments over whether he should feel responsible that Kyoko went through her childhood without friends because of Sho's vindictive admirers. What fun.

It's fun. It's frenetic. It's compelling (even Ren though that's more due to the script and the voice acting than the animation). In fact, I loved it, though I would have loved it a good deal more if it had ended differently or, better yet, hadn't ended. I'd mentioned most animes make a point of bringing some sort of resolution to the story before fading out. It seems pretty clear to me that this anime was intended to included, at least, another one or two episodes, perhaps even another season because it came to an abrupt end just before a climactic part of a story arc. True, I know how it ends (since it's the same in the manga) but how incredibly frustrating! And with the manga now a good eighteen volumes beyond the end point of the anime, a second season with more adventures of this entertaining group would be welcomed at least by me. There's certainly plenty of material to work with (and we'd get to include Reino!).

Since it aired 2008 and 2009, the odds of a second season are probably slim to none, but a gal could dream. If not for the ending and the way Ren was animated, this would be one of my all-time favorite animes, even without being able to understand the language. Yet.


  • Anonymous

    hi... i want to know if the skip beat is have the end in dvd..?

  • Stephanie Barr

    Sadly, no. We don't even make it through Ren's part of the Dark Moon arc. It was clearly an episode (or three) from a tidy ending when it just stops.

    Very irksome.

    And I still have watched it several times. I can't help it.

  • Jade Pomme

    I didn't like Ren's rendering at all as well. He seemed more middle-aged rather than 20. At certain points, I thought he resembled Kaname from Vampire Knight. Otherwise, loved the series. It's a shame no other seasons are declared. Anime business is under pressure to produce 13 episode seasons instead of the 25 episodes as well as placing a lot of weight in product marketing viability in order to recuperate the cost of making the anime. But I do feel the anime ended too soon -- barely scratched the story. sigh....

    There is a soundtrack for Skip Beat which features Sho Fuwa. It has Prisoner sung by Mamuru Mayano (aka Sho Fuwa).

    Speaking of Mamuru Mayano, he also is the Japanese voice actor of Zero/Ichiro Kiryu in Vampire Knight and Tamaki in Ouran High Host Club -- which cracks me up that the same English VA plays those roles as well. On another note since you've mentioned ordering this, Mamuru Mayano also voices as Shushei in Urabok (Betrayal Knows My Name/ Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru). Trivia: Kyouko's VA also plays in Urabok as Toko.

    Ren's voice actor, plays a similar character in World's Greatest First Love, Sekai Ichihatsukoi - Masamune Takano. This kind of reminds me of Skip Beat in that the relationship between Ren/Kyouko resembles that of Masamune Takano/Ritsu Onodera though I want to throttle Onodera sometimes. I sometimes think of it as the Yaoi version of Skip Beat.
    It's cool in that it's set in the shojo manga publishing industry and from articles I've read that it does accurately portray the craziness involved in publishing it.

    If you want to check out Urabok or World's Greatest First Love, these animes are on as well as Skip Beat. You can watch for free with commercials. Enjoy!

  • Stephanie Barr

    Alright, I will.

    You make me very interested. I wonder how I could get my hands on the soundtrack for Skip Beat! Now, I'm coveting because I really liked the music (mostly).

    I'm not really surprised to see that voice actor in so many other places - I thought both Kyoko and Sho's voice actors were terrific.

    I will check out some of those other animes. One can't have too many obsessions.

    As always, thanks for the insight.

  • Jade Pomme

    It's harder to get the Skip Beat! Soundtrack featuring Sho Fuwa. I just checked, you can only get it from third party vendors who don't ship internationally and it seems like it is out of print :(. The other vendor I use also doesn't have it either.

    But you might be able to get the other songs when they are sold as singles. Dream Star, the first opening song, is done by the Generous. Here's a link of one place that sells the album that includes an English version of the song. This site allows you to search in English and has reasonable shipping costs.

  • Stephanie Barr

    I also discovered that, with a little search, one could find it online as an mp3 (really most interested in "Prisoner" though I like the end songs, too).

    Thanks for looking (had found out the same at and yesasia where I usually look. I did find it at

  • Jade Pomme

    Cool. Thanks the Playasia lead. I'll have to check it out when I'm allowed to buy more Japanese CDs. Just bought a visual kei band album that just came today hehe...

  • Jade Pomme

    hehe...I did it. Ordered it from the website you mentioned. I really like the soundtrack music...sucker for that kind of stuff. Thanks for the lead.

    Can't wait for the next chapter to come out. Magazine comes out on Monday. They are doing a lot of promotion for it since it coincides with vol 30 coming out and it being the 10th year. I can't wait to see how the story with Ren plays out. But I'm also really impatient to see this type of character development with Kyouko.

    We get hints but no real development. It's almost parallel to Ren's character issues and closing off his heart, hiding another side that he loathes etc... I often wonder about Kyouko's darker side. She must suffer a lot of self-loathing herself with regards to her mother's treatment though we really know nothing about it except that her mother seemed to have hated her and abandoned her.

  • Stephanie Barr

    I've always liked the complexities in the characters created by Nakamura Yoshiki. They all have depths and twists and aspects. Even a shallow megalomaniac like Shou Fuwa has moments where he isn't acting in his own interest. Although I'm not of the idiotic faction (sorry if a fan of Fuwa Shou is reading) that think his cruel attempts to manipulate and control Kyoko and overt jealous denote "true love," some of what happened in Karuazawa doesn't seem purely selfish.

    True, he didn't want the kook, Reino, to have Kyoko, but he was focused on Kyoko getting to her job, rescuing her throughout that episode. That he could use it to lash out a two different rivals (and inspired him to greater singing glory as Kyoko snapped his out of his funk) were unexpected bonuses. That he knows she felt a bit in his debt despite her words, he knew too. There are remnants here and there of his childish, if careless, affection for Kyoko that reminds me more of a brother than a lover.

    His behavior since Karuazawa is across the board selfish and even vicious. Nor does she seem to have much impact on his mental state from day to day.

    Still, that episode made Sho more flesh and blood, more complex, more human than he could have been and made the story that much more interesting. And his complexities and depths are but puddles next to the swirling whirlpools of our lead characters.

  • Jade Pomme

    Agreed!...I read your analysis of Sho and throughly agree with you. Nothing to add...preaching to the choir! :)

    I especially loved the part during the promo video shooting that despite the fight they are having and he realizes that he could never stand her crying and is deeply affected by it still as well as going so far to protect her during the whole Kauazawa episode.

    A part of me does hope that Sho and Kyouko end up with a mature sibling relationship rather than regret for dumping Kyouko. And their relationship was very much sibling like to begin with anyway. But he's still a self-centered brat when all is said and done.

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