Skip Beat! Episode #17 (Mania.com)

By:John Zakrzewski
Review Date: Thursday, February 12, 2009
Release Date: Monday, February 02, 2009

Kyoko’s finally got the chance to attend high school, but thanks to an unexpected job offer, the last thing on her mind will be enjoying a normal teenage life.

What They Say
As Kyoko's job as manager ends, Ren tries to help her pass her entrance exam as Kyoko has longed to experience the full life of a high school student. As a thanks for her selflessness job while he was sick, Ren gives Kyoko surprising marks in her stamp book. Meanwhile, LME has requested for Kyoko to appear in a promotional music video for, none other than, Sho...

The Review!
A note before moving on: Episode #17 of Skip Beat! is the first to be covered here at Mania.com.  We’re jumping into Crunchyroll’s simulcast schedule a bit late, so for the sake of remaining current, I’ll be following the show as new episodes are released, while filling in Skip Beat! #1-16 on a more leisurely timetable.

Hope you’ve been paying attention, then, because here we go…

As the show opens, we find our heroine, Kyoko, looking fine in a new school outfit, ecstatic over finally being able to attend high school and enjoy a normal aspect of most teenage girl’s lives.  Of course, average high schools aren’t catering to a whole student body full of verging idols, constantly primping, preening, and worrying over their next big chance at stardom.  For the moment, though, we’re only given a glimpse at Kyoko’s class, albeit with a rather obvious wink to future story development. 

What Episode #17 primarily revolves around is Kyoko’s reunion with former slave-driving, womanizing, self-adulating would-be-boyfriend-turned-pop idol, Sho Fuwa—the man whose crushing rejection drove our slightly cracked protagonist onto the path of revenge, reinventing herself and joining a talent agency with the hopes of crushing Sho’s own celebrity.

Kyoko’s recent soft-drink advertisement caught the eye of Sho’s company, which wants to cast her in the singer’s upcoming music video.  Not surprisingly, Kyoko doesn’t react too positively over such an opportunity, as she hardly feels well armored enough to openly face the rising music star.  Running away wouldn’t create very interesting fireworks; however, so after a somewhat under-whelming pep-talk curtsey of Love Me member number two, Kanae, our girl’s powered-up with righteously malicious energy, ready to claw her way to the top using Sho’s bloody corpse as a steppingstone.

Unfortunately for Kyoko, the decision to place her in the video isn’t free from its own set of entanglements.  Sho’s seen her commercial, and the all too familiar visage of its short-haired girl with amber eyes is nagging him, something fierce.  While he’s hardly willing to believe the ever docile and intently affectionate Kyoko would take a shot at idol-dom, her furiously determined warning of finding a way to destroy him remains stabbing at the back of his brain.  Ultimately, Sho agrees to use the girl for the video, with the ulterior motive of confirming whether this stripling is, in fact, his discarded childhood acquaintance.

From here out, the episode settles into comfortable predictability.  Kyoko meets with Sho at his office, trying as best she can to hide her identity; Sho stumbles around performing an is-she-isn’t-she routine, all the while attempting not to reveal his true intentions.  The only addition to the two’s shadowy interplay is Mimori Nanokura, a second girl also cast for the video—Mimori’s solely infatuated with Sho, reminding Kyoko much of her former self.

Summary:
Although I continue to enjoy Skip Beat!, the problem here is horrifically obvious: one can’t even possibly avoid questioning how Sho is unable to immediately recognize Kyoko.  No matter the cropped-dyed hair and some make-up, she still fundamentally looks exactly the same.  This is a girl who, just a few months ago, he was living with and seeing everyday.  As much as it was likely unavoidable that the show would present viewers with a Superman/Clark Kent scenario, it probably does mean the amount one is able to suspend disbelief and accept this absurdity will determine whether they can continue to truly enjoy the anime.

Of course, Episode #17 wraps over a tense lunchtime discussion between the three idols and contains a major cliffhanger, so maybe this case of fraudulent persona won’t be in place for all that long.

Features
Japanese Language, English Subtitles



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: No Rating
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Skip Beat!