What is it that makes Skip Beat! the ultimate shōjo experience?
- Hot, tortured male protagonist;
- Adamant, gutsy female lead; only slightly clueless;
- Opportunity to act on mutual attraction without changing the underlying friendly relationship necessary to continue the story = catharsis without main conflict resolution
- Love triangle, sometimes square, occasionally pentagon; plenty of jealousy;
- Secret past, part of which is shared by protagonists;
- Female lead kicking ass of bitchy female characters we love to hate;
- Various impediments of psychological and social sort standing between protagonists;
- Familial relationship between characters;
- No character is beyond redemption (most often through interaction with female protagonist).
- Multiple bishies
In short, Mogami Kyōko is in love with Fuwa Shō and she is prepared to devote all of her being to his happiness and comfort. However, once she learns he is an exploitative asshole, Kyōko decides to lock up her feelings and exert vengeance upon Shō.Through sheer stubbornness and monomaniacal focus, Kyōko enters the world of show business. Why? Because she is determined to dethrone Shō, who is no.1 pop idol in Japan.
Tsuruga Ren, as a more mature and experienced man is juxtaposed to Shō. And even though Kyōko is largely concentrated on her vengeance, caring very little about her acting career or anything else, in time this changes. Ren comes to the forefront, first as a role-model, and then as something more. Kyōko starts to see past her obsession, past Shō and towards a future of self-realization, instead of a future realized through someone else.Kyōko and Ren are both actors, members of LME agency – something Nakamura Yoshiki uses to torture you with, employing endless role-play routines in which you do not get what you want, but somehow you manage to get close enough.
Delayed gratification? I dunno. I’m pretty much prepared to believe anything Tom Hiddleston says. If me wait. Me going to get cookie.
I keep wondering just how much of this Guilty Pleasure business is related to latent masochism? To illustrate, it took 12 years for Kyōko and Ren to kiss (although, technically, it was not a kiss between Kyōko and Ren). The greatest problem of them all is that Nakamura-sensei can keep on doing this shit until all the fans of Skip Beat! shrivel up and die of a serious case of unmet expectations. But I have learnt my lesson.
I’m aware that, led by cookie-logic, I might sit and wait, telling myself: “If me wait. Me going to get Tom Hiddleston” which is highly unlikely and would be very inappropriate. Yet, when Skip Beat! is concerned, I’m ready to accept cookie-logic and let it guide me.
What is your ultimate shōjo experience?