Skip Beat Volume 26

Skip Beat! Volume 26 by Yoshiki Nakamura

I’ve been in a bit of a post holiday blogging malaise, what with going on vacation, getting sick, coming back from vacation, still being sick, and just dealing with work. But there isn’t any better way to snap yourself out of a manga blogging funk than to pick up a fresh volume of Skip Beat! The plot arc introduced in this volume looks like it will be really fun, and this volume would be a good jumping on point for anyone who has read a few volumes of the series but hasn’t kept up with recent developments.

One of the ways Nakamura excels as a manga artist is that she’s great at drawing someone in the grip of absolute rage. We get treated to several panels of anger in the early section of the drama, where Kyoko and her fellow LoveMe Section members are dealing with the emotional fallout from their Valentine’s Days. The president of LME Lory asks how everybody’s day went and a dark cloud descends over Kyoko and Moko. Kyoko yells “It was a nightmareish evil day that threatened my peace and quiet!” Moko fiercely proclaims “It was a day that polluted society…a day that made idiots even more stupid!” Lory is disappointed in everybody’s progress and hands out new assignments with the word describing Kyoko’s as “Dangerous.”

Kyoko is told that she has to pick up a new actor named Cain Heel who apparently resembles a member of the yakuza. When she sees a man dressed in dark clothes, radiating such a hostile aura that all the other people in his vicinity are stepping away and staring at him, she walks up and says “Mr Tsuruga?” The man stands up without saying anything, Kyoko falls to the ground and he stalks off, stepping over her. Kyoko is mystified because she thought that the man was Ren based on his proportions. As she’s walking down the street trying to process her experience, a long dark arm snakes out from an alley and pats her on the head. It is Ren after all, and he’s portraying a new actor in order to further his career. Lory announces that Kyoko is going to be Cain Heel’s lucky charm, his treasured sister Setsuka. Kyoko gets a gothy-makover and the Heel siblings are ready to launch Cain’s new career. This means that Kyoko and Ren are going to be forced to be in close quarters, with plenty of agonizing moments and crazy fashion to look forward to. What more could any fan of Skip Beat! want?

Lory speculates that forcing his two actors together will result in great things, and he takes particular note of the fact that Kyoko must have been observing Ren very closely in order to penetrate his disguise. Kyoko gets to work thinking through the character of Setsuka, hoping that her acting will get Ren’s approval. In the meantime Ren is being tortured by the mini-skirts Kyoko has to wear as Setsuka. Skip Beat! is always entertaining, but I’m really excited to see what Ren and Kyoko will get up to as the Heel siblings.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

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