|Perfect Pickup Artist|
|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami|
|Original Release||September 20, 2016|
|Arc||A Lotus in the Mud arc|
Perfect Pickup Artist is the 240th chapter of the Skip Beat! Manga Series.
Kyoko becomes uncertain about what to do regarding White Day, having received other people's gifts but not Ren's. She decides she isn't eligible since she didn't give him chocolate. With Ren absent and not needing him, Yashiro temporarily becomes Kyoko's manager.
Kyoko looks into the suspected saboteur of Erika's audition via her blog. She's a cute girl by the name of Kimiko Morizumi. Kyoko's is taken aback by one of the blog's headings - that she went out on a date with Ren. Kimiko bubbles on about how Ren is so mature and that they had such a great mood between them. But after scrolling down she reveals that he was actually just escorting her to the cast and staff party of Purple Down II. Kyoko is surprised to find out that she has previously co-starred with Ren the year before last. Kyoko stares at the girl's picture which is a beautifully shot publicity photo showing her with a cutesy image.
Yashiro comes upon Kyoko with the blog up on the monitor and says the girl's name a bit confused. Kyoko glances around at this and Yashiro asks why she is looking at that girl's blog, is she a fan? Kyoko says she's not, that she was just trying to find any information on her, what she's like and so she checked the internet which is where she found her blog. She muses that the girl has starred with Ren before so does Yashiro recall anything about her? Yashiro confirms he does. Curious Kyoko presses for information. What kind of person was she? Inwardly she wonders if she is the type to resort to dirty tricks to get a role because she doesn't seem like that at all by reading her blog. Yashiro ponders how to best describe Kimiko. If he had to say it simply it's that show business is in her blood. Kyoko blinks at the phrasing, does he mean like Hiou? Yashiro continues sighting an example that the producer of Purple Down II was actually her father. Yashiro explains that he had heard that her receiving the role was pretty much a lock because of Producer Morizumi's decision but he is not sure of the real details. However apparently this happens quite often whenever a Morizumi relative is involved. If they have a member as the director or casting recruiter it's not rare to find her cast in that show. That's why he thinks the rumour is true. Kyoko absorbs this and wonders if Kimiko is fine with using her connections to gain jobs... This is the world of acting she would have to keep her skills sharp or she would fall out of favour wouldn't she? Yashiro answers that he has never found her acting lacking. Kyoko still thinks that something doesn't feel right. Kimiko is apparently blessed with both connections and talent yet why doesn't she receive a great deal of publicity or exposure? Kyoko feels she is not as indifferent to the world of showbiz as she used to be but Kimiko's name still did not ring a bell without her having to look it up. She recalls Erika's bodyguards giving her Kimiko's name and even the spelling so that she could place a curse on her but even then she hadn't felt any stirring of recognition from the name. She remembers Sayou telling her that Kimiko knows someone on the production team of A Lotus in the Mud. Coupled with the new information from Yashiro, Kyoko is suspicious enough to search A Lotus in the Mud's production team. She goes ashen when she sees the producer/screenwriter's name - Jouji Morizumi.
She stammers out the question wondering if he was the Purple Down producer who was also Kimiko's father. Yashiro says that he isn't but he believes this is his older brother. There's a beat of silence as Kyoko realises that this makes Jouji Morizumi Kimiko's uncle. Yashiro puts two and two together and figures out why Kyoko may be looking into Kimiko. He asks if she is also auditioning for the role of Momiji. Still shell-shocked Kyoko manages to eek out a yes that she is most likely going to. Finally Kyoko slumps onto the table, her head in her hands as she lets out an anguished cry. It's all rigged! Yashiro tells her to calm down. Kyoko groans that this is the producer they're talking about. The decision-maker! Even if the director wanted to cast Kimiko as long as the producer is against it the director's opinion would be scrapped. Basically the winner is whomever the producer favours. Kyoko recalls that Erika did initially have possession of the role at one point and then they decided to do a second audition. That's because Erika's father demanded it but still it means there is some sense of fairness in the producers for they allowed someone other than Kimiko to get the role. Accepting a delay in choosing an actress as opposed to rushing the decision shows a flexibility too. Kyoko ponders inwardly how much she wants to act out Momiji and she knows if gets an opportunity to show that appeal to the judges she might have a chance. She recalls that the same thing happened at the Curara CM for the producers were pretty much set on Erika but then she and Kanae had a brilliant comeback. She definitely wouldn't have been able to do it without Kanae but she's matured since then. Even though they aren't acting as a pair Kanae is still by her side. Reassured and her motivation regained Kyoko is determined to land the role as she pumps her fist.
Yashiro seems surprised at her quick recovery, for he had hoped to brighten her up with his present which was his purpose for coming to meet her. Kyoko is confused, why a gift? Yashiro apologises for it being late by a whole month and presents Kyoko with his White Day gift. Kyoko gapes whilst letting a shocked exclamation as she comprehends the reason. Unwrapping it she is ecstatic and quickly transported to her fairy-tale world as she appreciates the Cinderella's horse-drawn carriage themed aroma candle holder. Yashiro is glad to see she likes it. He apologises again for its lateness, he had it ready but just couldn't find a good time to give it to her and it wasn't something he could carry around. Inwardly he muses that the real reason that he held back was because he felt he couldn't give her present without Ren's but apparently there was no reason to feel this way. He found out from Ren after they left Darumaya that he could finally give the gift although belated. Yashiro explains to Kyoko that the past five days his been away for business otherwise he would have given it to her on the 14th but it still would've been a month late and her reaction the same. Kyoko apologises for she was used to getting return gifts on White Day but more than that she was surprised to relieve a gift at all. Yashiro says it's because of the industry they're in. Although White Day is convenient for sending return gifts, given the nature of show business many people rarely find the time to give it on the actual day. Kyoko had never thought of it that way but sees the sense in it. Yashiro continues saying that it seems that Ren takes his time and sends his gifts within a month's time. He's never actually heard him say that but he believes that's what Ren's been doing all this time. So this puts him in the same boat for he causally follows Ren's footsteps in this matter. Yashiro points out that since she hasn't received a gift despite the month mark being passed means she's a special case. Kyoko blanks at this statement and then blushes furiously while apologising for it as it's the first time a man has called her special. Yashiro wonders inwardly if she got the message... Kyoko says that's it's definitely true that she and Ren have a relationship like no other... And it's all thanks to her position as a Love Me member for she got to act as his temp manager and go undercover as his sister. This was all due to her Love Me member's special privileges. Yashiro realises that she mistook 'special' to mean 'unique'. Sighing inwardly for there's not much he can do about it. She is the No. 1 Love Me member after all.
Sawara approaches them and asks Kyoko if she has a minute which Kyoko says she does. Yashiro watches as Sawara introduces her to another LME employee. He glances back at the monitor which is still open at Kimiko's blog and has a complicated expression as he gazes at the girl's picture. He approaches Sawara whilst thanking him for letting him know when Kyoko is free. Sawara inquires as to whether his back in Tokyo already? Yashiro answers that he is indeed back from his business already so he has a lot of time until Ren comes back. Sawara grins as he says that he hasn't told Ren right? Yashiro chuckles as he confirms he hasn't for he wants it to be a surprise. Yashiro looks over to where Kyoko is huddled with two LME employees and asks if she is in the middle of a job offer or something? Sawara says that this one is an offer for a CM, Kyoko is merely hearing out the details. The offers have been trickling in one after the other for her. Sawara thinks it must be because of Box "R" for even though the second episode didn't get great ratings there's still the huge impression her character makes. She really stands out. Yashiro agrees with this especially since Mio and Natsu are vastly different character types. Sawara inwardly muses that the actual person is incredibly different too... He tells Yashiro that Kyoko really wants to focus on her acting but that doesn't mean she can neglect everything else. She's getting caught up in decision making so he's going to have her sit down with one of the company's advisers to help her out. Yashiro looks pensive as he gazes at Kyoko.
Back in the Love Me Section locker room Kyoko puts her White Day gift away in her locker for she has to stage combat practice now. She tells the horse and carriage candle holder that she'll bring it home when she frees up some time and has straightened out her feelings. Kyoko recalls Yashiro's words that people in show-biz are usually unable to give gifts on the actual day due to time constraints. She remembers that on White Day they were all called to the President's office and she had actually forgotten all about it until Lory reminded her. She becomes a bit forlorn because she and Ren had seen each other on the actual day but he had given her nothing. She catches herself feeling disappointed and shakes her head wondering what's wrong with her? She hadn't been expecting a return gift in the first place! No she's not expecting one and that she didn't receive one makes perfect sense. There's no reason for her to wonder why! It would be shameless too she thinks, for the person never asked to be given something so expecting a return gift is just plain rude. Still she has received extravagant return presents from people even though she only gave them two truffles. She looks like an evil loan shark - cheap investments with high returns. Kyoko shakes her head in guilt for the Bridge nii-sans gave her a matching hand mirror, comb and lip balm and Ogata gave her a 2 person tea set. Now Yashiro has given her a fancy candle holder with a candle. All for two truffles. It's actually very fortunate that Ren forgot about it for she can't imagine what gift Ren would give at a reasonable price of 400-600 Yen - the worth of her homemade chocolates. She wonders why all the return gifts from men are worth many times more the original gift...
She recalls the truffles and gasps as she remembers that Ren was the only one who did not have them! She gave him the Queen Rosa jelly! Kyoko has an epiphany that because it wasnt chocolate it wasn't covered under the return gift policy! This makes more sense! This must be a special rule of Japan that if it isn't chocolate a return gift isn't needed! This is a fair rule! She decides that next year she'll bake cookies for she'll start to feel bad about receiving such extravagant gifts. With this sorted out Kyoko feels like the cloudy feeling that had been in her mind has cleared away. She checks the time on her phone as she sets off to the bus stop, intending to catch it to the Nishikiga Manor area. She freezes at the time displayed for she's running late for the bus. She collapses after dashing part of the way there. If she doesn't get on this bus she's going to be late! Ashen from lack of breath and the fact that she's most likely going to miss it. She checks the time again. 18:17. She can just make it - if she runs like hell! Running like a maniac through bushes she scares a couple as she leaps out of the foliage with her demonic visage. She's distracted from her rampage when a car honks at her and parks nearby. A hand pops out the front window and waves her over. Wary Kyoko approaches the car and is surprised by who she sees in the driver's seat. It's Yashiro! He asks if she would like a ride? Kyoko gapes and asks if he has a driver license?! She recalls him telling her that he wishes he could hide this flaw in order to be a more fitting and perfect manager for Ren Tsuruga. Yashiro tells her that in order to become a perfect manager he has come here to train. Two weeks is the length that this Super-Manager can be hired for but it's a limited time offer so would she be interested in hiring him as Miss Kyoko, the actress? If her answer is yes then get in the back seat right now.
Characters in Order of Appearance