Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Skip Beat!

We've finished watching Skip Beat!. My first episode review is here.

Kyoko dropped out of high school to follow her childhood friend Shotaro from Kyoto to Tokyo -- he wanted to become a star there. She works day and night to pay their rent, while he becomes some sort of pop-star. One day, however, she overhears Shotaro talking to his manager about her -- to him, she is nothing more than some sort of maid! Obviously, Kyoko's heart is broken, and she vows to take revenge!
And the best way to get revenge is to overtake Shotaro in his own chosen field: showbiz! Certainly not an easy ambition, as she has to work very hard to get into the audition at the agency of Shotaro's main rival: the actor Tsuruga!

It's all quite typical shoujo fare: a girl from humble beginnings who slowly starts to rise to the top, surrounded by pretty boys that she may or may not be able to get along with. Of course she has to work hard, and of course everyone she meets (literally everyone!) who could be described as a 'rival' immediately starts to act antagonistic and tries to bring her down. But of course, Kyoko manages to overcome the difficulties to advance in her carreer!
...and then the series ends -- very abruptly. Just when things were looking up for Kyoko, it's like the makes said: "Whoops! That's all the time we have -- we'll end with a little two-minute montage with a voice-over, and then roll the end credits for the last time! Thanks for watching -- read the manga if you want to know how it ends!" Suffice to say that I found that... unsatisfying.

Visually, the series is uninspiring. The character designs aren't really detailed or refined, and it all looks a bit dated -- like it was made right after Fushigi Yuugi. And, like that series, there's lots of super-deformed hijinks too. Especially Kyoko's hatred for Shotaro (and occasionally Tsuruga) is depicted quite over-the-top. However, unlike with Fushigi Yuugi (or especially Ayashi no Ceres, that other Yuu Watase creation), the super-deformed segments are never toe-curling bad like with those two series.
There's some well-known voices participating in the voice cast, which is fun. There's the typical 'pretty boy voices', but the cast is large enough to round that out with some solid other voices.

The director of the LME agency deserves a special mention. He seems to like cosplay, and really takes it to the hilt. How cool is someone who has his own attendant samba dancing show, or who brings his own friggin' cocktail party when he visits the set of a series where some of his people work!? (On the other hand, how bad is it when an infrequent supporting cast member is the coolest character of the whole series -- with a very large distance between him and number two?)

Good points:
- Shoujo anime that isn't toe-curling bad or irritating;
- The depiction of how Japanese commercials and TV-shows end up like they do is actually pretty enlightening;
- The directory of the LME agency.
Bad points:
- Ends very abruptly;
- Visually uninspiring.

All in all, typically shoujo. A fun ride, but certainly not one of the great series of last year. I'll give it a 7.
Tags: anime, full review

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