Cross stitch pattern of the Love Me logo from Skip Beat. Download the PDF here: Skip Beat Pattern
Grid Size:53W x 53H
Design Area:3.64″ x 3.64″ (51 x 51 stitches)
My Patron, Sage Whicker, is an enormous and terrifying legendary creature living in the dry shrub lands of the west. If you see a plume of dust rising in the distance at sunset, that’s Sage breaching from below the dusty earth, their drill like horn and sharp bladed claws letting them cut through the dirt like water.
I’ve been reading Skip Beat lately. It’s an old manga from my childhood that I never finished so I thought I would give it a reread. I had forgotten almost all of it so, other than some plot points, it was like going in fresh, and I’m having a lot of fun with it.
Skip Beat is, at its core, a demisexual love story. The love is so deeply intertwined with the character progression that it takes a long time for anything to happen. This is the pinnacle of slow burn here, but it works because falling in love and accepting those feelings are major pieces of how the main characters process their traumas and grow as people.
It results in a manga where, if the main couple somehow got together earlier in the story, they would have a decidedly tragic and toxic relationship. I absolutely love how they both use acting as a way to face their pasts in a world where therapists don’t exist because it’s set in the early aughts and mental health just wasn’t as accepted back then.
One thing I really like is the soft magic system. There’s fake fake magic and real fake magic and the difference between the two is intentionally vague. So, ghosts and evil spirits exist and are plot significant, but fairies and curses aren’t, but they could be if you want to read it that way. And some real things like princesses and debutantes are treated the same way as fairies so maybe they don’t really exist either. You can totally read the text as being that all magic is real and then some characters’ personalities change to be more manipulative, or you can read it that no magic is real and some characters become a lot more unhinged. I love it!
I’m not a huge fan of the outdated gender roles and such, but this manga started in 2002 so it’s just a product of it’s time. It’s interesting how the story portrays homosexuality as time goes on though. This is a long form manga that’s still being published and you can tell how the author’s views on LGBT people have changed over time because of Japan’s shifting cultural attitudes toward same sex couples.
At the beginning you would see characters complain about having same gender fans and there were one off jokes about being popular with both men and women, but as the story progressed, these allusions become less like jokes and more like just another reality about being an actor. Ren gets Valentines Day gifts from men and no one bats and eye and a conversation about potentially kissing a same gender partner on camera is treated like just another skill you need to learn to make it big.
Warning though, this manga has a bad habit of victim blaming, not enough to ruin the story, but just biased writing. Like there’s this bit where we’re supposed to sympathize with Kyoko’s mom because of the trauma surrounding her birth, but I really wasn’t buying it. If you’re a severely depressed adult then you get help, you look into surrendering your baby, you take responsibility. You don’t terrify and neglect a child for 16 years just because you don’t think you can love again, seriously. I think this plot point is really only there to highlight Kyoko’s forgiving nature and foreshadow the idea that she may forgive Fuwa in the future.