Sunday, November 23, 2014

Skip Beat! (manga, vols. 31-32) by Yoshiki Nakamura, translated by Tomo Kimura

These were not my favorite Skip Beat! volumes ever, but they were still fun. I found myself returning to them again and again during my vacation, in order to reread my favorite scenes.

Every time I dive into Skip Beat!, my enjoyment of it always seems to take me by surprise. I really need to start buying it. And I'm sure I've said this multiple times in the past – the length of the series always holds me back, even though I know I'd be getting my money's worth.

As always with these "vacation reading" posts, my descriptions contain spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

Skip Beat! (manga, vol. 31) by Yoshiki Nakamura, translated by Tomo Kimura – Ren has one of his scary BJ (Black Jack) moments and almost hurts another actor. Kyoko's voice stops him, and she later wonders what set him off. Was someone hurt in the past because of Ren? Then, while off doing another job, Kijima sends Kyoko an email right in front of Ren. Kyoko is excited to get a GIF-filled email (because she associates those with female friendships, even though Kijima isn't a girl), so she sends one back with a poorly-chosen “Love” GIF – which has the unfortunate effect of communicating interest to Kijima and possibly upsetting Ren.

The dark stuff with Ren was only mildly interesting to me, but I loved the fluffy bit with Ren, Kijima, and Kyoko at the end. It's always fun watching Yashiro freak out about Ren and Kyoko's possible relationship drama – he tends to be more on edge about their semi-relationship than they are. I finished the volume wondering whether Ren would be jealous of Kyoko and Kijima's email exchange, or whether Kyoko would mention her excitement at receiving a “girly” email and Ren would just accept it, similar to what happened during (I think) the Valentine's Day portion of the series.

Another one for the “this series can be so adorable sometimes” list: Ren setting up caller ID for himself and requesting that the agency do so as well, just so that Kyoko could safely ignore all calls without caller ID (like, for instance, Sho's).

Skip Beat! (manga, vol. 32) by Yoshiki Nakamura, translated by Tomo Kimura – Not long after the email from Kyoko to Kijima, Ren is knocked further off balance when he sees Kyoko in a car with Sho. Sho kidnapped Kyoko from school and forced her to spend time with him. She ends up telling him that she has no intention of falling for Ren (because she knows she'd be consumed by those feelings) and only wants to use his kindness to help herself become a better actress. Things take a darker turn when Ren confronts Kyoko about Sho while in his “cold, scary Ren” mode, but Kyoko appears to handle it well.

Wow, Ren is way off-kilter. I didn't like the very end of the volume, with dark, scary Ren, but at least Nakamura didn't quite end it on that note – showing Kyoko turning the tables and taking control right at the very end was a smart move that took some of the edge off that scene. I predict that Kyoko will have an “OMG, I can't believe I did that!” meltdown in the very next volume.

Sho clearly cares for Kyoko, in his own twisted sort of way, freaking out when he can't reach her by phone to harass her the way he normally does. That said, I'm not sure why he continues to get the page-time he does. If Nakamura is trying to turn this into a love triangle, it's not working – Sho might feel some affection for Kyoko, but that doesn't negate the fact that he's a selfish jerk. Plus, Kyoko hates him. If she doesn't end up with Ren in the end, I'd rather she stay single than end up with Sho.

At the end of the previous volume, I desperately wanted to know how the whole thing with Kijima, Ren, Kyoko, and the GIF-y emails went, and I wasn't disappointed. Ren doesn't say “I'm interested in Kyoko, so back off,” but he comes close enough to it (“why email when I prefer to hear her voice?") that Kijima gets the message. On the one hand, it's nice to see Ren being a little more open about his feelings for Kyoko. On the other hand, this volume's dark, scary Ren combined with even slightly possessive behavior is maybe not a good thing.

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