13th Boy 8Posted: August 14, 2011
SangEun Lee – Yen Press – 2011 – 12+ volumes
Reading three volumes of this in a row was both a good and bad idea. It’s good. Seriously good. I’m a little jealous at myself now, because I don’t think I can save it up for that long again. The bad news is that now I have to wait until November for the next volume. And it’s going to be a long, hard wait with the impending bombshell at the end of this volume. It’s not even a cliffhanger. I know it’s coming. I want to watch that train wreck anyway.
Lots and lots of good stuff in this volume. Hee-So’s depression deepens as summer wears on and Beatrice doesn’t turn back up. Not even Won-Jun can cheer her up, and he, in fact, only makes things worse when she tells him why she’s so sad. He blows off her talking cactus story as a sign he should stay away.
There are a couple criminally well-placed romance plot devices in this volume. The first deals with Sae-Bom, and makes it so that Won-Jun may have to finally come to terms with how he feels for both Sae-Bom and Hee-So and choose one. Another is a rainy day scene that resolves one problem and creates another, but is so terribly mushy and well-played, with both of the couple stories going at once, that I read it two or three times through. I am ridiculously weak for stuff like this, I’m sorry.
Beatrice’s story advances in this volume, too, and things get significantly cheerier through the second half. Which is good, because 13th Boy is at its best when the characters are joking and thoroughly embarrassing themselves in good fun. One of my favorite scenes in the volume is when an outside character gets a first-hand look at Hee-So’s family. It’s such a creepy scene, and it pegs all those side characters so well I couldn’t stop laughing.
I liked that this volume also developed the friendship vs. love themes a little more. Beatrice/Hee-So and Won-Jun/Sae-Bom really do reflect one another, for the most part. Beatrice is in love with, and 100% hopelessly devoted to, Hee-So. Hee-So is hopelessly devoted to Beatrice too, but still seems to put her romantic trust in Won-Jun. Clearly Beatrice means everything to her, so it’s interesting she hasn’t reflected on this. But maybe she really does see Beatrice as more of a brother than a potential romantic interest (although I’m willing to bet that’s going to change, I had forgotten that Won-Jun was boyfriend #12, and Whie-Young boyfriend #1, until this volume kindly reminded me). Won-Jun is still obviously in love with Hee-So, though his most important person is Sae-Bom. Sae-Bom doesn’t seem to really love Won-Jun, nor is he her most important person, but on the other hand, he’s all she has, and she’s a sad character. This volume’s all about making all these characters think and analyze. Who is just a friend? Where does love lie? As cheesy as that is, I completely loved it, and it looks like it will carry over into the next volume.
Absolutely amazing stuff. This is one of my absolute favorites right now, and is quickly vying for a spot as one of my top girls’ comics of all time. I love it, and anyone who loves comic-style romance stories should probably give it a try.
This was a review copy provided by Yen Press.