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Manga: Skip Beat!
After graduating from Junior High, Kyouko Mogami follows her childhood friend Shou to Tokyo to help him pursue his dream of being an idol. Although Shou doesn't help her at all and even mistreats her, Kyouko still believes that all her efforts (working several part-time jobs, paying all his expenses, acting as his housemaid) will be eventually repaid with love and gratitude.

Until she learns, from the mouth of Shou himself, that he has no feelings towards her, and the only reason he asked her to come with him was because he knew she would act as his personal servant for nothing.

Another woman would have cried right then, or pleaded for explanations... but instead this revelation opens the sealed Pandora's Box inside Kyouko's heart, unleashing (and materializing) all the demons she had kept inside her for years. She vows to have her revenge, but Shou simply mocks her and scoffs that the only way she could hurt him would be if she became as famous as he is.

So she decides to become as famous as he is.

The rest of the series follows Kyouko as she determinedly works her way up the ranks of show business, improving her performance skills, making friends and enemies galore, butting heads with talented and handsome fellow actor Ren Tsuruga, and most of all trying to rebuild her life anew now that she's out from under Shou's thumb.

An Anime adaptation ran in autumn 2008, which can be legally watched on Crunchy Roll. There is also a Taiwanese live-action adaptation that aired in winter 2011.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Abusive Parents: Played straight with Kyouko, whose mother is distant and neglectful, not to mention emotionally abusive. She doesn't care where her daughter is now, and may not have seen her in years, since in one flashback Shou's parents were seen wondering whether she was ever coming back to get her, and Kyouko seems to have spent much of the latter part of her childhood living at the ryokan. Ren was believed to be a case of this because of his reluctance to talk of his past, but in a subversion it's revealed to be the opposite: his parents are too loving so he can't breathe.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Kyouko does an In-Universe example when she is cast as one of the villains in a remake of a late 80's drama. The character is a Rich Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who harbours some major resentment towards her cousin, who is the heroine, and both her own older sister and mother (also villains). She uses the facial scar her character got from an accident, which her sister caused on purpose, to emotionally blackmail both her and their mother, who has always looked down on her youngest daughter. The original actress interpreted the character as an apparently timid girl who was not ashamed to use the Wounded Gazelle Gambit near constantly, using Peek-a-Bangs to conceal her Evil Scars. Kyouko instead plays the character as a bitter, resentful teen in perpetual Passive-Aggressive Kombat mode, openly showing her scar and having a more "in your face" attitude. Kyouko's justification is that, while the original interpretation was valid and all twenty years ago, she couldn't see the daughter of a rich family sporting such a big facial scar now: if you had gotten such a scar twenty years ago, you would have had to live with it, but nowadays you could easily get a plastic surgeon to erase or minimize it. Since the scar blackmailing is fundamental to the character and the plot, Kyouko decided to play her as the kind of person that would have kept the scar on purpose.
  • Almost Kiss: Many, many times.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Well, sort of:
    Kyoko: Oh, this is like a confession of loooove! I can’t beliiieve I said I liiiike Moko!!
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: The "Love Me" uniform is a glaringly pink jumpsuit.
  • Becoming the Mask: The intention, more or less, of bringing "Tsuruga Ren" into existence at all. To the point that he now does the Spider-man thing in his internal monologues and refers to both his birth name and his current name as separate people with their own sets of emotions which can be put on and off like other roles. Apparently Kuon decided to die after whatever exactly happened with Rick's death, and the only way to deal with those emotions is to consider Hizuri Kuon an ex-person and become Tsuruga Ren all the time.
    • His identity crisis issues, documented from around chapter seventy, have been getting more complicated with the addition of Cain Heel, especially to an observer like Kyoko. Although the character doesn't add much input of his own, he encourages violent situations that give Kuon trouble and romantic-potential ones that strain Ren's self-control.
    Ren: Ever since living life as Tsuruga Ren, until now Kuon's emotions had never been brought forth, not once.... When I returned to Tsuruga Ren, my emotions were steadily altered.... To me, both sides are so important, and yet I will have no choice but to choose one sooner or later. (Chapter 167)
    • Chapter 167 spoiler above? Counts as progress on his part.
    • More recently he has been seen conversing with his mirror, which held the image of his repressed self. He seems to be aware that this is just a metaphor.
    • Also Kyoko's character-creation method, though most of the time she's good at snapping out of it again. The early stages of Mio and especially Natsu were pretty alarming, though.
    • Basically, the way the story treats 'acting,' our leads are naturally spending all their time on the verge of a (mental) Shapeshifter Identity Crisis, and Ren's extra issues just increase that past the boiling point.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Series! Kyoko was an Extreme Doormat but when she snapped, she got scary.
  • Big Eater: Kuu regularly eats enough for twenty or thirty people at a sitting. At least he can cook.
  • Big "NO!": Combined with Gratuitous English in the Japanese dub when Tsuruga gets a cold.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Shou is the main example, but plenty of the actresses Kyouko works with that don't get a name act like this. Basically, if there's a Jerkass in this series, they'll be one of these.
    • Justified by the fact that most these are in the entertainment industry, and have to at least put on a well-mannered facade, whether they are actually that way or not, in order to survive in the industry.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Both played straight and subverted, somewhat. Played straight as Sho is represented as blond and is the man who broke Kyouko's heart, which warped her personality (she definitely views him as evil). He even has a Dark-haired rival in the main Love Triangle! Somewhat subverted as well, in that Ren is a natural blond who dyes his hair dark, and Sho is a natural brunet who bleaches his.
    • Can be considered a Zig-Zagging Trope when you bring Reino into the picture. He has long, white hair, and not only is he a Stalker with a Crush, Ren and Sho have to fight him off.
    • And then there's Kuu, half-Japanese Hollywood star who enters as a complete elitist Jerk Ass but is very quickly revealed to be faking in order to get Kyoko to complain to Ren, so that Ren will come yell at him, because Ren is his baby boy and avoiding him and this makes him sad, so even being yelled at is an improvement.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Kyoko and Moko are repeatedly mistaken for this.
  • Break the Cutie: Kyoko, and, possibly, Ren.
  • Brick Joke: Yashiro's status as a Walking Techbane of all things, used maybe once the entire series as a threat against Ren returns in one chapter.
  • Bridal Carry: When Kyoko breaks her ankle, Ren finds her and carries her up to the nearby film shoot. She quickly protests and demands that he put her down.
    • Although unlike most Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like, Kyoko was solving the 'get up the hill' problem herself (badly), and considered the scenario something of a forced one-sided Enemy Mine, since at this point she really, really disliked him. (And he seemed to enjoy his freedom to torment her.)
  • Broken Bird: It's kind of a trend for any female cast member who gets more than a single story arc's treatment. Heck, it's the entire reason for the Love Me section to exist.
    • Also male cast members, including Director Ogata with his panic attacks and Ren before he was Ren. Ren still, really, but being Ren is his way of coping.
  • Broken Hero: Seems to be a running trend, but especially Kyoko and Ren.
  • Broken Ace: Ren, we increasingly discover. Not only does he pull out more and more absurd numbers of talents as we go (speaks several languages, powerful martial artist, does his own stunt driving) but his issues just keep spooling out. At first it was just that the mask of perfect courtesy parted for Kyoko and the actual human being showed through, but the current Ren is legitimately psychotic.
    • Summary of Ren's issues as currently understood in late 2013 spoilertagged here. Do not look if you don't want all the twists spoiled. His Parental Issues were huge from around the age of ten, due to his doting parents being busy and his father's reputation intimidating. He was apparently bullied for being interracial. He had a hard time making it in Hollywood due to being a brat. These things gave him identity and anger issues. Then his best friend chased him into traffic while he was working on beating up a bully, and died, and he cracked up and became catatonic. Takarada pulled him out of it with an invitation to come to Japan and reinvent himself as a different person, and thus Tsuruga Ren was created. Unfortunately Kuon's issues have festered while he was busy being Ren, and his temper is becoming truly dangerous.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Rory Takarada. The heights of his insanity have extended to a giant pirate ship on wheels in the street on a normal day, as a means of transport, and bringing a brass band and elegant masqued garden party onto a movie set when just stopping by for a quick word, but the pythons and camels and dating sims and the constant insane costumes just don't stop. Plus the special arrangements he made that allowed both Ren and Kyoko to change their lives by joining his company. But? The company he founded is one of the most powerful in the business.
    • He also used to get top scores on exams by guessing.
    • He believes in the Power of Love to the point it almost seems to make him some kind of Reality Warper. Considering the other fantasy elements that somehow exist in the setting, it wouldn't be that surprising.
    • He's also single. Presumably a widower, since he has a granddaughter.
      • He never has "second thoughts," by his own admission. Which means, of course, that he wakes up, thinks, "Today, I want to dress like a cowboy/Prussian nobleman/pirate," and, since he's rich enough to get away with it...
  • But Not Too Foreign: In-universe this trope seems to have been the secret of Hizuri Kuu's success, first in Japan and then in America, as he's half-Caucasian. (Probably somewhat more than half since he's blond, but the official word is half.)
    • A more complex and meta case is his one-quarter-Japanese son Kuon, who due to a bit of cultural myopia on the part of the creator experienced a specifically Japanese form of racism during his adolescence in Los Angeles and then, as Tsuruga Ren, managed to dye his fair hair dark, wear dark contacts, and pass himself off as full-blooded Japanese.
      • Whether the fact that 'Kuon', who is presumably much more American in behavior and outlook than the new identity, also appears to be something of a raging psychotic is connected with international stereotypes is unclear. Though there are a lot of stereotypes floating around.
  • Care Bear Stare: Kyouko does this to Moko many times, to the point where Moko does it to herself even when Kyouko isn't around.
    • Also, Ren's "heavenly smile" seems to operate like this, since it usually sends Kyouko's demons running away in terror.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Subverted - more than once. A character will note that a celebrity looks like their childhood friend. It turns out that they really ARE that childhood friend (whether or not the observer figures it out) with the help of a new hairdo and acting lessons. Seen when Shou sees Kyouko in the soda commercial and once when Kyouko spies Ren taking a solitary walk.
  • Celibate Hero: Kyouko, of the "bad past experiences" variety.
    • Also (apparently) Ren, who is by now the other main character, with the private comment on the subject that "I'm not allowed to have anyone so close to me now."
      • It's unclear whether he's actually not had any girlfriends since he was fifteen (which would have had an odd effect on his reputation) or just hasn't managed to keep any very long. As a kid he was always getting dumped.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mimori towards Sho, Maria towards Ren.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Kyoko. No one can understand quite how her mind works, but Shou when he tries can get at parts of it, Kanae and Ren are getting better all the time. Also, Maria.
    • Young Kuon, too, as revealed in recent flashbacks. He may have found Kyoko's 'Palace of Scrambled Eggs' nonsense to the point of hilarity, but around age fourteen he made the same kind of leaps of Insane Troll Logic to which she is still prone. And it was hilarious.
      • He's still a doofus, he just doesn't know it. Part of his worth as a character is that he and the world take him so seriously, but the people who know him best and the audience are aware of moments like 'heavenly hand dance' and that time when he slaps his hand reflexively over his forehead to avoid a 'flick' from his father right after ranting about "when your son was still innocent and cute."
  • Coincidental Dodge: Erika trying (and failing) to injure Kanae, after the CM audition. Repeatedly.
  • Cool Big Sis: Maria views Kyoko as one.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Kyoko and Ren, the first time they ever had a one-on-one conversation.
  • Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: One actor Kyoko works for is prone to this behavior.
  • Determinator: Kyouko. The leitmotif phrase about her being "a scary kind of actress" not only refers to the eerie dark aura she exudes, but to her obsessive dedication and getting so deep into Method Acting she gets Lost in Character.
  • Doting Parent: Turns out Ren had these, although they were also very busy a lot of the time. His father particularly is a complete 'baka-oya' who adores his family beyond all reason—and in consequence is a little overbearing sometimes. To the point of being jealous that his son cares enough about Kyoko that upsetting her is an effective way to get to him.
    • Asked for one specific trait of his son, the man winds up standing on a chair, declaiming the grace, beauty, and talent of his progeny.
  • Drool Hello: In one of the extra pages installments of the manga, Maria has a rather large, remote-controlled, robot spider she uses to scare off women who get too close to Ren. Guess how she introduces it. Go on, guess.
  • Embarrassing Rescue: When Sho rescues Kyoko from Reino, it just makes her more angry at him because of this trope.
  • Enjo Kosai: In one of the arcs about Kanae, the other characters believe she is doing this because they see her with other males, among them an older man. Yes, there are paid relationships, but not of the type the others thought: Kanae was simply playing Replacement Goldfish with the men, so they could learn to act with a girlfriend, discourage a persistent even stalkerish admirer, or, in the case of the old man, reconnect with his own estranged daughter.
  • Everyone Can See It: Kyoko and Sho, except they're not seeing what they think they're seeing; Ren for Kyoko, except Kyoko and Ren send mixed enough messages to the world that these people then get very confused.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: Surprisingly, Kyouko still believes in the most classic Fairy Tales; most of her mindset was shaped by the (evidently Bowdlerized) fairy tales she read in her childhood, with "Cinderella" being the most prominent example. Many of her imagination spots shows her as a Princess Classic surrounded by cute fairies (who look like a cleaner version of her Inside Demons). She even genuinely believes that a boy she met in her childhood was the Prince of Fairies. The scary implication is that she was forced to cling to those beliefs as a way to ease the pain of her difficult home life, the ostracism from her peers, and to give herself hope. If she still believes, it is because she doesn't know any better way to console herself.
  • Falling into His Arms: During the Dark Moon arc, Kyoko loses her balance while reaching for a high shelf in Ren's kitchen, and he catches her. Almost Kiss and Ship Tease ensue.
  • Fangirl: Yashiro is a rare male example, but nevertheless, he is as active in his Ren&Kyoko Shipping as a proper fan girl can be.
  • First Kiss: Kyoko loses hers to Sho. Who did it for no other reason than to twist her mind and make her only think about him. You'd think someone who's been on the receiving end of Kyoko's temper and onryo-gundan, he'd know better.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Some of the outfits.
  • Food Porn: All the time, mostly with sweets, usually cooked by Kyoko. A lot of it in the party arc and the Kuu arc, since her main job at the time was to feed his ridiculous appetite, but since cooking is one of Kyoko's most successful social maneuvers and Ren's tendency to skip meals if left to himself is a frequent excuse (of Yashiro's and Lory's) to shove him and Kyoko together, the food just does not go away. Looks yummy, too.
  • Forceful Kiss:Shou on Kyouko in Chapter 145.
  • Friend Versus Lover
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Kyoko does it to Moko at one point.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Kyoko has these, though the “good” ones hardly ever appear.
  • Good Parents: As a surprise twist, Ren turns out to have more or less had these, although their fame and the lifestyle that goes with fame wasn't good for his mental state and his mom had a problem with force-feeding him her bad cooking.
    • Yashiro, too, apparently, though each of his parents have had one mention each.
  • Gratuitous English: The only thing funnier than the "Love Me" section is just how much difficulty the VAs have in pronouncing it. And most of those difficulties were predicted in the manga.
    Kyouko: Rugby section??
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The fuel of several characters. Kyouko was the victim of such an attitude from her former female classmates, due to her closeness to Shou (another thing she blames on him).
  • Groupie Brigade: Kyoko has to get Ren through one of these during her stint as his substitute manager.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Kyoko does this to some poor sod when she's assistant-managing for Ren and needs to get him to his next gig on time.
  • Heroic BSOD: The series starts out with one, in essence. Kyoko temporarily shuts down when Sho reveals his betrayal and she reboots as the Voodoo Doll-toting Woman Scorned who we all know and love.
    • Tsuruga is prone to them. Most notably after the car-chase scene incident, when he reverted to active catatonia, but also in the backstory he was having a Flash Back to at the time, and to a lesser extent when having things like Love Epiphanies or after he realizes he lost his self-control. (I.e. when 'Setsuna' shouted for him not to kill Seaweed-head.)
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Kyoko and Maria are very apt to do the stereotypical voodoo doll thing, among other styles of black magic; in fact, that is what mutually bonds them in first place.
  • Hot Guys Are Bastards: Played with. Kyoko tends to assume this in the wake of her relationship with Sho, but she sometimes turns out to be wrong.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: At 190cm, Ren tends to tower over most men, so naturally Kyoko looks tiny in comparison.
  • I Am Not Spock:invoked In series. Kyoko is very unhappy to discover that, thanks to her performance as Mio in Dark Moon, all of the job offers that are coming to her are for antagonists - and all of them request that she "just act like Mio."
  • I Didn't Mean To Turn You On: Poor Ren. Thank goodness he has the self control of a monk.
    • Kyouko still has no idea.
  • Idol Singer: Kyouko has to deal with a particularly bitchy one. Shou is the male version, and his musical rival Reino is part of a Visual band.
  • Ill Girl: Kyoko mistakes Ruri for one.
  • Inspirational Insult: The plot starts because Shou, on dismissing his childhood friend Kyouko, calls her a plain, boring, worthless girl with no talent, and that the only method of revenge she could use against him would be beat him in the entertainment world, which for a girl like her would be impossible. Kyouko, furious for having been duped into being her servant by him exploiting her devotion, has since set herself into proving him wrong on all of those points, so far with a certain degree of success.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: How Ren hand waves the kiss on the cheek he gave her and Kyouko's kiss with Shou away.
  • Jerk Ass: Sho, so very much. In the beginning of the story he is totally an idiot when out of his idol act; now, thanks to Character Development, at least is sightly more considerate towards Kyouko and less of a jerk towards the whole world. As of Chapter 145, he's reverted back to this.
    • Reino: A Sho look-alike with an insane crush towards the main character, a stalker and a wannabe rapist.
      • Also a psychic who could apparently blow Ren's secrets out of the water but finds him too scary to bother, and who can take Kyoko's hate-demons hostage.
  • Lap Pillow: Kyoko does this with Ren when he needs to 'nap.' His last-minute replacement request when he realized he was about to hit on her and this would scare her away forever.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Kyoko and Sho are labeled as this when they are reunited post-breakup and immediately start bickering. Both deny it vehemently.
  • Like a Son to Me: Ren to Takarada, a bit. Kyoko is like a son to Kuu, now, due to creating her own impossibly adorable version of 'Kuon' as an acting exercise, and getting it improbably correct because she chose to model her act initially on 'Corn.' Then her Parental Issues appealed to the large part of his identity that's tied up in being a parent, and then so it was.
  • Like Father, Like Son: First introduced with Director Ogata, who turns out to look and speak and think so exactly like his father that he's started to doubt he actually exists as a separate person. So he naturally sets out to remake his father's greatest success, because that'll really distinguish him.
    • As it turns out, Ren had a very similar problem growing up, though not to that extreme, which explains why he knew the right thing to say to Ogata. In the same remake, he is (unbeknownst to everyone bu himself, Takarada, and Kuu) playing his father's original role, and his inability to improve on the original performance in a pivotal scene nearly destroys him.
      • Since then, he has also been enthusiastically compared to a character his father played early in his career, to great acclaim. There is no escape from Hizuri Kuu as a lead actor who strongly resembles him.
  • Little Girls Kick Shins: Kyouko may not be a little girl, but she still pulls this on Shou when they’re reunited post-breakup.
  • Love Bubbles: Played straight in most cases, including Kyoko's fantasies, but subverted with Ren - every time these start appearing around Ren while he's smiling with fox eyes, he's lying through his teeth.
    • Or just messing with you, probably because he's angry, especially after Kyoko makes it clear that she knows those smiles are fake.
  • Love Epiphany: Ren has one about Kyouko and it almost sends him into a Heroic BSOD.
    • Likewise, when Kyoko starts to think she might have feelings for Ren, she also nearly goes into a Heroic BSOD.
  • Love Hurts: The whole reason Kyouko swore off love in the first place.
  • Love Triangle: Ren is in love with Kyouko, who can't love anyone 'cause her heart is full of hatred towards Shou, who eventually develops feelings for her too. In conclusion, a pretty hard rebus to solve!
  • May-December Romance: An important issue in Ren's hesitancy to voice his feelings toward Kyouko. Also, there is this thing between Kanae and Hiou...
    • Kanae and Hiou are just... Normally, no one would bat an eye at a six year age difference. However, things are a bit weirder when there's Ship Tease material for a pairing where one is seventeen and the other is eleven. Yeah. You read that right.
    • Kyoko and Ren are only four years apart and apparently that's not an actual issue, just one of Ren's excuses early on, because:
      Ren: Anything will do. If it can become a chain so that I will not love this woman, any excuse is good enough.
  • Method Acting:invoked As stated above, this is Kyoko's main way of acting. Occasionally she gets Lost in Character. Examples include:
    • Sho's music video in which she uses her own relationship with Moko to understand the sadness of killing a man her best friend loves and having her friend forever hate her, but also relishing in the joy of saving that same friend.
    • Kyoko does this when she gets into her character for Dark Moon. Everyone's shock is real because they didn't know how Kyoko would present her character. It was so unexpected and shocking that Director Ogata falls to his knees.
    • Kyoko got Lost in Character in the Box R arc. In character, she and some other girls were supposed to bully a girl in a cruel manner. Kyoko is so caught up in character that she begins to goad the rest of the girls into bullying the girl for real, forcing the girl to drink cup after cup of tea and nearly choking her. Even Kyoko is amazed at how far she went when she finally breaks character.
  • Missing Episode: In the anime season 1 finale, when Kyoko remembers all the people she met, Hiou and Kanae are shown together, but the entire story about Hiou, Kanae and her family is missing.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Most of the stunts Kyoko pulls, including the Artistic Radish Peeling with BURNING POWER. And the less we talk about her imagination spots, the better. Incidentally, Daikon (as in radish) can also mean a Bad Actor, Kyoko probably didn't see the significance of this when she used it in her audition.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mostly parents in the setting tend toward the neglectful end of the spectrum, but Kuu's parental love is intense enough that he's jealous of the girl his son likes, and even Takarada calls his love excessive. He doesn't appear to have been intentionally controlling, just incidentally overbearing, but there haven't been enough flashbacks to be certain.
  • My Acting Is Stronger Than Yours
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Kanae just doesn't like to work with children. Not because she's a Child Hater (she isn't), but because she has a lot of younger siblings who can only be controlled by playful brute force, and she knows that she tends to act the same way with child actors, which is inappropriate behavior when the kid isn't related to you.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Working in the Love Me section, which initially is a sort of dogsbody position, give Kyoko a close perspective on the private behavior of famous people, when they're not worrying about their images. A lot of them are jerks.
    • Before that, she knew all Fuwa Shou's private behaviors, although he was her hero then, despite not deserving it on any level. She invokes this trope in retrospect during the Bridge Rock incident and in the very significant salt-passing incident during his PV.
  • Nosebleed: Kyoko has one in response to Moko asking her out for ice cream in an over-the-top tearful manner, and calling her by her first name without honorifics.
  • Oblivious to Love: Kyoko. So, so much. The reason for this is the "love" part of her brain died, and she can no longer take a hint when she should.
  • One Head Taller: Kyoko and every Love Interest in the series who's not Ren. She's closer to his sternum.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Used a lot, mostly for drama. Most closely following the trope is when the part of Ren's violent meltdown in chapter 194 that Kyoko focuses on as showing things have gotten really messed up is that he's broken character to have it. The Tsuruga Ren she knows would not stop acting in the middle for personal reasons. Being OOC is OOC, and therefore serious.
    • This trope becomes a mass of confusion around Ren, who at one point had an OOC moment while he was an actor playing a different actor playing a different actor playing a psychopath. The moment consisted of his actual identity being more violently insane than the serial killer he was playing.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kyoko's feelings toward Shou. Shou himself may feel this toward Ren.
  • Only Six Faces: Add this with similiar hairstyles and each character is basically indistinguishable from each other.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kyoko's father is implied to be dead, and her mother just doesn't care about her. May not have seen her since leaving her at the Fuwa inn when she was six or so. Maria's mother died in a airplane crash, and she and her father are too hurt to try to get closer to each other.
  • Parental Substitute: The Daruyama couple seems to be this to Kyoko very often, even if she claims to not understand what a loving parents/children relationship should be like.
    • Around chapter 107, Kuu steps in considerably in an emotional sense, although since he lives in America he doesn't become a day-to-day resource. It's not clear whether they're even in regular contact, but he is her 'father' now, and did a lot in a short while to help with the issues her mother gave her.
      • Which will be convenient if she eventually marries his son.
  • Passive Aggressive Combat: Tsuruga and Kijima have a very faux-friendly one over calling or texting as proxy to who is closer to Kyouko. Ren, of course, rationalizes this as protecting her from someone who might innocently hurt her.
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Poor Communication Kills: Or at least keeps half the plot running. Sometimes gets a tad ugly, like over the stalker thing. Generally in the form of Ren getting upset with Kyoko, but not always.
  • Power Born of Madness: Kyoko has a series of dark powers, particularly being able to control demons and voodoo. Yes, really.
  • The Power of Love: Lory Takarada firmly believes in this. The other characters...not so much.
  • Precocious Crush: Hiou for Kanae.
  • Pretty in Mink: Some of the outfits.
  • Rags to Royalty: How Kyouko initially envisions her relationship with Shou.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Near the end of episode 12 Moko delivers an epic one to Erika.
  • Relationship Voice Actor and Hey, It's That Voice!: Kyoko and Ren are Yoko and Kamina. Ren and Sho are Johann and Setsuna
  • Revenge Before Reason: Kyoko struggles with this sometimes.
  • Rich Bitch: Erika, Moko's childhood nemesis
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Kyoko seems to want to have this kind of relationship with Moko. It's actually the result of her never having had a female friend before and having mistaken notions about how such friendships are supposed to work.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Meta/Deconstructed. Kyoko realizes that she was Sho’s Satellite Love Interest, causing a brief Heroic BSOD when she realizes that she has no identity of her own. A lot of the series deals with her working to rectify this.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Ren and Kyoko.
  • Secret Identity: Ren doesn't know that Kyoko is the one inside the Bo costume, and Kyoko doesn't know that Ren is her childhood friend, Corn. Later that he's Hizuri Kuon, who she believes to have died when he was fifteen, thanks to Kuu's rather vague references.
  • Security Blanket: "Corn," despite being a stone, manages to fall into this category.
  • Seiza Squirm: During an audition, Kyoko has to sit in seiza with a broken ankle. She pulls it off beautifully for several minutes... and then faints but not until the scene ends, though!
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Yashiro and Ren.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Post-breakup, Kyoko and Sho end up saying this a lot.
    • Also, Moko would like you to acknowledge that she and Kyoko are NOT best friends.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Kyoko never uses make up on herself, because she can't afford it. But when she does get made up she really surprises everyone around her.
  • Shipper on Deck: Yashiro, Ren's manager. He is very persistent.
    • The President of LME has his moments, too. He tends to use less direct methods, however.
  • Shout-Out: When Kyoko helps Maria arrange a party to express her gratitude to the people around her, they're approached by a mysterious benefactor only known as Uncle Long Legs...
  • Smoking Is Cool: Cain Heel.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: When Ren is walking around Guam with his natural appearance as a form of disguise, heads constantly turn in the background, random strange girls approach him with invitations to tea in hopes of nabbing him, and ultimately he goes and hang out on the beach in hopes that he will be left alone there.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": A minor example, but the ou-versus-o romanization varies even within this very page.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Reino, towards Kyoko. At first, he wanted to steal her away from Sho and anger him; nowadays, he's just in love with her dark and hateful side.
    • Also really likes messing with her. I mean, how many sadistic psychics get to hold people's emotional astral projections hostage in exchange for chocolate?
  • Stealth Mentor: Ren ends up as Kyoko’s, frequently giving her advice on how to succeed in show business, in spite of their mutual dislike for one another.
    • Later on, there's no stealth about it, and she's running straight to her 'esteemed sempai' whenever she feels she can't handle something. This eventually includes him training her to do the female version of the catwalk, which Yashiro appears to regard as a Mind Screw. Neither Yashiro nor the audience get to see him do it, though.
  • Stepford Smiler: Played with. Kyoko-Before wasn't quite this because she refused to be unhappy, or at least to admit it to herself. Ren is like this but as someone driven to be 'the best' has a lot of Broken Ace, plus extra identity issues. Amamiya is like this but only to get ahead; she hates everyone. And pretty nearly every character is hiding something.
    • The theme that the 'show-biz world' runs on image comes up a lot. Takarada and Yashiro are pretty much the only major characters not hiding anything about themselves.
  • Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Kyoko has dealt with the entire list, from having her desk hidden to being ignored by her entire class. She notes that that sort of tactic is so common that she couldn't even use it for reference for her role.
  • Stripperiffic: Seen mostly on the male characters. Sho and his look-alikes, Vie Ghoul, favor outfits with sheer fabric. Also, this outfit.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Kyoko causes this on one of her cast-mates once.
  • Super-Deformed: Kyoko can shrink into this at the slightest provocation with happiness, excitement or anger. Also, every remotely silly scene has the characters suddenly resembling lollipops.
    • The Ren chibis can be ridiculously cute and were central to his character development for a while, since they showed all the things that weren't his cool persona, like snarking with Kyoko in the 'false princess' arc, or sulking at "Bo."
    • The style is generally used to control the mood; i.e. three panels of awkward silence between SD characters produce much less tension than the same event depicted in full detail. The ambiguity of whether things written in smalltext are actually said aloud is also leveraged regularly in the manga, leading to a number of jokes and subtleties that can't be transferred to the anime because time is the primary constraint of anime, rather than space. Except in a couple of cases where the 'sub'text actually appeared in the background.
  • Supreme Chef: Kyoko, increasingly.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Kyoko confides in her Corn-stone, telling it her worries and sorrows. The previous owner apparently treated it in the same manner. Kyoko also frequently converses with her posters of Ren and Sho or her Voodoo dolls.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Invoked when Kyoko is told to act as Kuu's son.
  • Take Back Your Gift: When Kyoko refuses to confide in Moko, the latter gives back the Kyoko-shaped curse doll that the former had given her and declares their friendship over. Kyoko promptly changes her tune.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Subverted slightly, in that Kyoko and Moko aren't technically enemies.
  • The Perfectionist: Kyoko forced herself to be this, as it was the only way to get her mother's approval.
  • Through His Stomach: Kyoko has a long history of using food to gain approval and affection from the men in her life. First with Sho, later with Ren and even with Kuu (although he's a father-figure). Kuu suggests that making food for her children would be a good expression of love, and Kyoko responds that that's true, since "making food is something that can be done just for show." (This in context manages to be a Crowning Moment Of Heartbreaking. The ice queen face on Kyoko is painful on its own.)
    • Ren made...something in Chapter 168 which he insisted Kyoko eat, possibly with this intention, though there's some kind of bizarre private motive involved. His food-prep skills take after his mother instead of his father, though, so it is not a happy occasion. He may have been partly messing with her, and he seems to want her there for moral support while he eats his own cooking for obscure emotional reasons. They did some bonding over it anyway.
      • The Omui Rice is revealed in a flashback in the next chapter to be related to the mysterious figure Rick, who seems to have been Kuon's mentor. Also revealed: Ren's mind always worked in strange and mysterious ways, and he used to be almost as bad as Kyoko about it.
  • Trickster Mentor: Takarada loves and cares for his chosen protegees, and they live in fear of his weird manipulations and the awkward situations they frequently cause in the name of their eventual emotional well-being. Ren especially, as his special project, is in the habit of assuming he has ulterior motives for pretty much everything. Usually he cannot figure out what these are until much too late.
  • Ultimate Job Security: The director for Box R should have been sued or something by now; a lot of the stuff he's been allowing or demanding from Natsu's group is actual, literal, unstaged torture of the actress playing the victim. Quite apart from the potential to set her on fire in the first scene, she had tea poured down her throat so she could either swallow or drown, while her head was wrenched back by her hair... They play it as just one of those things that happen on the job!
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked in series, as quite a few onlookers are thoroughly disturbed by the "Super Real Tsuragu Ren Special Size Doll" Kyoko gives Maria as a present - and that's before she introduces the swappable faces...
    Yashiro: Am I the only one who thinks that doll looks a little too realistic?
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kyoko certainly at the beginning of the story was one. Now she'd be the Victorious Childhood Friend, except that she doesn't care for him anymore. Ren (while he was still Kuon/Corn) had a very important, if short, childhood friendship. But of course, only if the mangaka were to finally get them together.
  • Unstoppable Rage: What gives Kyoko her occasional superpowers, except when it's a burning will to fulfill some kind of duty. Also, Ren has a problem with this sometimes. By which we mean once. With a goon who never got another name than 'Seaweed-head.' It preoccupies him rather, though.
    • It's not just once anymore. Apparently as Kuon he had a bit of a rage issue, and giving into it was what got Rick killed. The Stepford Smiler that was Tsuruga Ren is cracking to bits, and he's become prone to fits of violence. Thus far, a fight scene rehearsal segued into an actual murder attempt against an aggravating co-star, and he shoved Kyoko around for contacting Shou.
  • Voodoo Doll: Odd for a manga about being an idol. Kyoko uses them alot, although some of her dolls, far from being creepy are actually rather cute.
  • Willing Channeler: Kyoko appears able to control the evil spirits that float around her, even holding people in place with them.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts? As Setsuka, Kyoko wears positively minuscule shorts.
  • Woman Scorned: Kyoko, with good reason.

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