Project Name: Skip Beat! Official North American Release
End Date: 4/16/2016
What Is It?
On a technical level, Skip Beat! is a 2008 romantic comedy based on Yoshiki Nakamura’s manga of the same name. Kiyoko Sayama (Princess Tutu, Vampire Knight) helmed the project at Hal Film Maker, with Tetsuya Kumagai (Log Horizon, Slayers Premium) providing character designs. Mayori Sekijima (Saber Marionette J, Pandora Hearts) handled series composition.
Looking at just this, though, misses the bigger picture.
Skip Beat! is an infectiously charming agency rooted in the worlds of show business and sweet, sweet revenge. The series revolves around Kyoko Mogami, a sixteen-year-old girl who was (emphasis was) madly in love with her childhood friend Shotaro. When Shotaro decided to chase his destiny as a singer, Kyoko followed to be his everything. She cooked, cleaned, and even worked three jobs so that he could focus on his career. Even though he never showed appreciation, she stood steadfastly by his side through thin and very thin.
Unfortunately, reality is kind of an asshole.
Kyoko’s life is forever changed when she makes a surprise appearance to Shotaro’s agency. There, she overhears Shotaro talking with his manager. Specifically, Kyoko hears him explaining how she means nothing to him. She’s just a tool to him: a housekeeper, a source of money, a thing to be used. Rather than fall into despair, though, Kyoko vows revenge! She find a new person and a new beginning as she dives head-first into the world of show business.
There’s one small problem, though. Thanks to her situation, Kyoko is understandably cynical and unable to love. This normally wouldn’t be an issue, but finding that ability to open oneself to another is a bit of a pre-requisite toward earning a début from her label. The president of her company placed her into a new section made for those missing that special something. Its name? “Section Love Me.”
Skip Beat! is a fiendishly addictive series that captures that quirky, offbeat magic of shows like Yawara! and Kodocha (Kodomo no Omocha) in years past. It’s a smartly written series that can tug on the heartstrings as easily as it inspires gut-busting laughs. The characters are genuine, the plot is delightfully over the top, and the entire journey from down-and-out ex to possible pop princess is a joy to watch.
Unfortunately, the show ended after its 25-episode run, leaving plenty of dangling plot threads that were only answered in the original manga. That said, though, the show has managed to win over fans of all stripes. The series stands at sixth place on MyAnimeList’s user picks for all-time shoujo favorites, and 205th for all anime in general.
Pied Piper Inc, who previously released Time of Eve: The Movie, acquired the domestic rights to Skip Beat!, albeit with a stipulation. TV Tokyo demands that the series receive a dub if it is to be released on DVD or Blu-Ray. Given that, according to Pied Piper CEO Ann Yamamoto, every distributor has passed on “Skip Beat!”, this is the title’s last best shot at a western release.
Thankfully, Ann won’t be going into this alone. She’s managed to enlist a truly impressive team of experts, from Cristina Vee (Sailor Moon, K-On!) and Mela Lee (Rozen Maiden, Fate/stay night) to Justin Sevakis and Command Studios president Jason Charles Miller. Together, they’re taking on the world, one Kickstarter backer at a time.
Notable Reward Tiers
- $1: Thank you message from the team, “Backer Badge” download
- $10: Weekly Behind-the-scenes updates, Name on “Backer Wall”, Wallpaper download, plus all rewards at $1 Tier
- $15: Access to monthly dub updates, plus all rewards at $10 Tier
- $25: Kickstarter Exclusive Embroidered patch, Can badges, & Stationery, plus all rewards at $15 Tier
- $35: Kickstarter Exclusive T-Shirt, plus all rewards at $15 Tier
- $60: Skip Beat! Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD, Vinyl Sticker, Digital behind-the-scenes booklet, plus all rewards at $15 Tier
- $100: DVD slipcover, Skip Beat! “True Love Certificate”, name in Special Thanks insert, exclusive TBA Reward, plus all rewards at $60 Tier
- $150: Chipboard Case, Art Booklet, 11″ x 17″ Poster, plus all rewards at $100 Tier
- $500: Skype access to dub sessions, Skip Beat! baseball jacket, plus all rewards at $150 Tier (Limited 5)
- $900: Private voice acting class with a cast member, plus all rewards at $150 Tier (Limited 1)
- $2,000: 1-Day visit to LA dub session, one-on-one voice acting class with a cast member, signed jacket, “Inner Circle” credit in the Special Thanks insert, plus all rewards at $150 Tier (Limited 1)
- $5,000: Speaking part in Skip Beat! dub, flight to LA to attend dub session, , plus all rewards at $2,000 Tier (Limited 1)
Notable Stretch Goals
As of press time, the sole confirmed stretch goal is an upgrade to a Blu-Ray edition, set at $185,000.
Why Profile This Title?
Much like Kyoko herself, Pied Piper CEO Ann Yamamoto refuses to give up until she’s reached her goal of bringing Skip Beat! to market. The project originally appeared on IndieGoGo on March 1, but stalled out shortly after launch, languishing at roughly $30,000. Rather than admit defeat, though, Yamamoto reached out to those who could help the most.
With new data in hand, and a lot of personal funding, Yamamoto soldiered on, refunding all pledges from the IndieGoGo campaign, and re-launching on Kickstarter. This project has been a labor of love for Yamamoto, who readily admitted that a 25 episode concert would be a challenge, but still she soldiered on:
To be honest, it wasn’t my ideal title simply because 25 episodes increases the costs on all fronts – licensing, dub, authoring, and manufacturing. It is a huge risk. I was looking for a smaller-scale title. But, Kyoko is all about guts. I love the title, and decided to go for it.
This is a passion project for her, and the numerous folks involved. Ann Yamamoto is a woman on a mission, armed with the knowledge that there is a void to fill in the world of shoujo anime. Skip Beat! is a diamond in the rough, and Yamamoto intends bring it out for the world to admire.
What we’ve seen of the project has been sensible and transparent, with Pied Piper publishing a clear roadmap of the costs involved within the project.
On top of this, the talent that the company has been able to bring together, combined with its track record for excellence with Time of Eve makes Skip Beat! an easy project to whole-heartedly recommend.