Beauty Pop Volume Three is a manga by Kiyoko Arai, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens, and after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
High school freshman Kiri Koshiba has a talent for being a beautician and giving makeovers, thanks to having parents who work in hairstyling and makeup. However, Kiri tries to hide the fact that she can give makeovers. Three popular boys at school (Shogo Narumi, Kei Minami, and Kazuhiko Ochiai) are part of a group known as the “Scissors Project,” and they randomly give makeovers to the girls at school who they feel have potential.
Due to various incidents that took place in Volume One, Kiri begins giving makeovers as “X”. By the end of the Volume Two, the “Scissors Project” figured out the true identity of “X,” but only they and Kiri’s friends know the truth. Her lift is also complicated by the arrival of Iori Minomoto, a boy whose family has worked with Kiri’s family and has a crush on Kiri’s mother. Of all the characters in the series that I’ve met up to this point, I find Iori to be the most annoying of the bunch.
In this volume, Shogo receives a challenge from Tsuyoshi Niida, a boy who is always coming in second place to Shogo at the Salon De Narumi Beauty College. Tsuyoshi insists on having it be a five versus five competition to be held at the beauty college. Since the “Scissors Project” only has three members, Ochiai insists on trying to get Kiri and Iori to help out. Kiri isn’t interested, and Shogo wants nothing to do with Kiri. However, Ochiai plots schemes to get them onto the team in time for the competition. While the competition begins in this volume, it is not concluded. If you really want to know how the competition turns out, you have to continue on to Volume Four.
Personally, I was rather unimpressed by the story in this volume. Tsuyoshi is an annoying character; while he’s not as annoying as Iori, he comes in a close second. The whole five versus five competition was just as silly, if not more silly, than competitions that appeared in earlier volumes of the series.
There are also three bonus stories included in Volume Three. The first one is the longest, and has a friend of Kiri’s having a chance encounter with the “Scissors Project” while she’s at work, and falling instantly in love with Shogo. The other two bonus stories also are tied into Beauty Pop, but they are comedic in nature. Personally, I didn’t care for most of the bonus stories.
I admit that I’m still not entirely sold on Beauty Pop. In fact, the only reason I picked up this volume is due to the fact that my 15-year-old daughter had checked it out from the library and it was around the house. While I may not personally care much for this series, I think it will have the potential to appeal to the teenage girls that make up the target audience for this series.