In spite of the things I don’t like about the manga, “Skip Beat!” is a work that has many, many merits for me. I talked already about how much I love the depiction of female friendships, especially those between Kyoko, Kanae, Maria and Chiori. I love the quirky characters (wah! Where did that giant horse come from? Oh, hi, President Takarada!). I even love the relationship between Kyoko and Ren, even if he acts like a controlling douche half the time.
Most of all, I love Kyoko.
I love how determined she is. In spite of being knocked down, several times, she still picks herself up and tries again. What does she do when she doesn’t make her first audition? She goes out and gets another chance. What does she do when a job isn’t like she pictured it? She stays professional and does it anyway. What does she do when Ren’s behavior confuses and hurts her? She talks to him, like a freaking adult (no, Ren-chan, I wasn’t being sarcastic! What made you think that?), and clears up the misunderstandings as best as she can.
I love how she’s able to swallow her pride when she has to. Kyoko is not some kind of miracle actress, nor a self-made star. In fact, at the beginning of the series, she blunders about and generally, her breakthroughs happen by sheer chance, not an actual skill. But when she has problems with a role, she doesn’t hunker down and complain about how tough life is - she goes up to her friends and asks for help.
I love her imperfections. In spite of growing by leaps and bounds, Kyoko doesn’t turn into a perfect human being overnight. Her Achilles Heel (Cain Heel and Setsuka Heel? Connection?), which is her bitterness at being used, brings her down over and over again, but she still manages to recover, faster and faster an faster.
I love how she is there for her friends. When Kanae was ready to give up, not once, but twice, Kyoko was there to help her through, even when doing so meant endangering her own career. When Maria was wallowing in self-hatred, Kyoko helped her reclaim her birthday, and made her rediscover the joy of being young. When Chiori was on her way to self-destruction, instead of handing her over to the “adults”, Kyoko confronted her in such a way that Chiori was able to break out of her own circle of hatred.
I love how she would help Ren and Sho, even when they didn’t realize it. Okay, so maybe Kyoko’s relationship with those two men needs to be taken with a grain of salt. That doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s always been a good influence to them. It’s thanks to her that Sho has a career in the first place, and she is the reason he didn’t back down when the copycats showed up. The love Ren has for her enables him to face his own inner demons, and she often helps him when it gets too tough. In spite of how Ren and Sho choose to treat her, Kyoko is always there for them.
Kyoko Mogami - kicking butt in pink overalls since 2006.