Thursday, December 10, 2015

Skip Beat! (manga, vol. 33-34) by Yoshiki Nakamura, translated by Tomo Kimura

I continue to adore this series and wish I owned it all, so I could go back and reread the earlier volumes. However, I have no clue where I'd keep 34+ volumes, so I continue not to buy any of it. I wish I had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

I'm amazed that, even after this many volumes, this series still hasn't gotten stale. Nakamura appears to have an endless supply of exciting ideas and developments. I only wish there had been more than two new-to-me volumes available for me to read over my vacation.

This post contains spoilers, so proceed with caution.

Skip Beat! (manga, vol. 33) by Yoshiki Nakamura, translated by Tomo Kimura – In order to help Ren regain control over himself, Kyoko embraces her Setsu persona – her behavior with Ren is more sexual than it's been in pretty much all the earlier volumes combined. It forces her to come to the realization that she loves Ren. So basically he's back in control of himself, but Kyoko is desperate and shaken to her core. When one of the people on set develops a crush on Ren/BJ, things become strained. Ren tries to apologize to Kyoko, and Lory witnesses Kyoko in an unguarded moment, battling her newfound emotions for Ren and acting completely out of character (she's still supposed to be Setsu).

Wow. I know it's been 33 volumes, but it honestly doesn't feel like the series has been going on for that long. I had expected Nakamura to milk Kyoko's cluelessness for a lot longer. Maybe forever. While I know that Lory will probably be thrilled at a Kyoko/Ren pairing and that Ren probably wouldn't react nearly as negatively to Kyoko's love as she seems to think he would, Kyoko is an absolute wreck. Now that Kyoko has finally realized that she's in love with Ren, I'm going to guess that future volumes will focus on her learning to accept that love doesn't have to destroy you and turn you into something lesser, weaker, and easier to stomp on.

Skip Beat! (manga, vol. 34) by Yoshiki Nakamura, translated by Tomo Kimura – Kyoko accepts that she loves Ren. She also accepts that her desire that he continue to be alone so that she doesn't have to see him fall in love with someone else is kind of ugly, because accepting and examining her feelings will make her a better actress in the long run. Lory splits up Kyoko and Ren for a while, but the two are reunited in Guam. Unfortunately, Ren wasn't expecting to see Kyoko quite so soon, so he's still his natural blond-haired, green-eyed self. Kyoko sees him and immediately thinks he's Corn, all grown up. However, she gradually begins to realize that he's amazingly similar to Ren (whose physical stats she knows down to his bones).

This volume was incredibly cute for so many reasons. I loved Yashiro's horror at the thought that Ren didn’t get Kyoko a White Day gift – he continues to be a fabulous reader stand-in. I'd be perfectly happy reading a filler volume featuring nothing but Yashiro lurking in the background, reacting to Ren and Kyoko's interactions.

Then there's Kyoko, poor girl. Anyone with half a brain knows that Ren won't react nearly as badly to the knowledge that Kyoko loves him as she thinks he will. I imagine she's going to have a meltdown once she realizes that Corn and Ren are the same person. Although she technically did something similar, back when she acted as a sympathetic ear for Ren while dressed as a giant chicken. Ren still doesn't know the chicken was Kyoko.

Ren is adorable in this volume, getting his nose nibbled by fish and freaking out over Kyoko seeing him without dyed hair and contacts. I like seeing him when he's happy/relaxed and slightly off-balance, and there's a good bit of that here. He hasn't quite caught on to Kyoko's recent revelation yet – I'm looking forward to seeing what the next volume will bring.

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