13th Boy 3Posted: April 18, 2010
SangEun Lee – Yen Press – 2010 – 7 volumes
This series keeps taking sudden turns on me. To be fair, the twists aren’t that devious, just kind of bizarre. And some of them are romantic-oriented, so it’s not hard to guess what will happen, but all the same. I’m never sure what kind of screwball pitch is coming next, and I really like it.
Again, I think it’s the subtle use of magic that makes this one special. Normally such a bad thing, here it throws an interesting and fantastic twist into things. And all the magic elements come together in this volume, so they’re not longer disparate and… well, basically, we find out why Hee-So has a talking cactus named Beatrice that turns into a boy every full moon, and somehow, it makes sense. Which speaks volumes about the story here, I think.
Other than that, there’s a lot of normal stuff going on. The triangle set up with Sae-Bom last volume complicates things here as expected, with Sae-Bom in love with Whie-Young, who is in love with Hee-So, who is in love with Won-Jun, who is in love with Sae-Bom. Classic, but it’s working to great effect here. Whie-Young’s crush is downplayed until certain events are revealed, and Won-Jun’s affection towards Sae-Bom is more brotherly than romantic, though it’s more than clear he’s not looking for another girl.
I’m wondering how the character of Sae-Bom will be handled in the future. She clearly has some sort of handicap, which is treated lightly and a little disrespectfully by some of the characters . It’s alluded that she’s in some sort of arrested development state, though we are offered no real explanation or history of this, just a bit of backstory that doesn’t go far to explain it. She gets fierce bullying from girls at school who think she’s faking it, which strikes me as extremely insensitive. Again though, I’d like to think that this will be made up for later. Experience has taught me that these things typically aren’t handled with a gentle touch, but all the same, I’m optimistic.
This is certainly among the better series that Yen Press releases, and with You’re So Cool, Pig Bride, and One Thousand and One Nights wrapping up this summer, 13th Boy will be one of my most eagerly anticipated titles from them for the near future. Great stuff. Weird stuff. I’m excited to see where it goes.