Skip Beat has been an incredibly frustrating series for me; and not because it was incredibly bad: instead it’s been incredibly good. It’s a true breath of fresh air in the Shoujo genre, I became a fan of it instantly… and yet every single tiny flaw tends to stick out like a needle here. Ack.
While from the outside this series doesn’t look anything special: shoujo series about a girl who enters the idol business have been done before, but never in the way that this series has done. By a lack of a better description: this show has BALLS. The amount of guts it has continues to surprise, and to be honest, I can’t think of any other shoujo series that has a better sense of comedic timing than this series has. It’s amazing how careful and yet how witty this show is when delivering the jokes. It knows exactly how to deliver its jokes. The show is definitely on its best when two people with incredibly clashing personality are in bitch-fights against each other. It’s guaranteed hilarity!
And that’s the thing: if there’s any series that deserves to progress flawlessly, then it’s this one, but it’s such a bloody shame that the drama-bit of this series is shaky. While better than your average romantic comedy, the drama especially in the middle suffers from being WAY TOO RIDICULOUSLY CHEESY for its own good. The incredibly soppy drama unfortunately takes itself seriously, and doesn’t seem to realize that it’s incredibly formulaic.
The problem with this series is its trademark bitch-fights: while hilarious to watch, it becomes horribly dull when characters aren’t either trying to scratch each other’s eyes out or teasing the hell out of each other. The biggest offenders are the two middle arcs, about the chief’s daughter and the commercial filming. In such a hilarious series, these arcs break the flow terribly and are a pain to get through.
The romance also starts out incredibly shaky. Kyoko, the female lead, doesn’t just happen to run into one of the most respected actors in the business, she also grew up with the friggin guy when she was just a child. Especially the latter is jarring, since it wasn’t needed (or used, for that matter) at all in order to spark up the romance between him and the lead female.
THANKFULLY, though, this series does pick itself up as it goes along, resulting into a bunch of episodes of awesomeness in the final third, and it closes off with a strong arc. Unfortunately, it then proceeds to end the series with one helluva cliff-hanger. Kyoko herself is a really diverse character that has a huge amount of different sides to her character. Unfortunately, some of these sides feel forced. And that’s the bloody thing with this show: for every great point it seems to have one flaw or so to bring it down.
Nevertheless, I recommend this show for those looking for a great shoujo-series. Great shoujo-series like this one are very rare, especially since most shows of the genre feel like a simple rehash of an existing formula without much of an own identity. Skip Beat, while too soppy for its own good at time is a genuinely funny series, and we can only hope that a second season will be made some day.