Kim Kang Won – Tokyopop – 2009 – 5+ volumes
You know, I like this series. It may have the record for most infrequent volumes in the history of English manga/manhwa releases, but the volumes do keep coming out, and I like Tokyopop a lot for that, especially since it would have been so easy to forget the series after so many years had passed without a new volume. Has it really been two years since volume 4? Holy crap, I thought that came out last year. I am growing too old for my own good.
There’s also the fact that this is awesome, which makes the infrequent volumes… mmm, not worth the wait, but certainly worth reading when they do come out.
The only character that I didn’t immediately recognize was Hajun’s fiancee. I had completely forgotten he was engaged, actually, though that’s not a fact that will likely escape my notice in the future since much drama happens around his fiancee. She seems intent on ruining Hali’s life if she continues to be close to Hajun, but, you know… true love and all that. Hajun and Hali’s relationship gets closer and closer in this volume, and I kind of wonder where it will go from here since this series seems to take their age difference and the fact he’s her teacher pretty seriously.
Hali’s life is already pretty messed up, though. She has more problems with her mother in this volume, and finally has to move out of the house when her father insists that she quit her new acting job in order to save her mother’s sanity. Seeing Hali act like herself, and seeing her in ads, seems to destroy her mother’s sanity, and she gets violent in this volume. Rather than getting the mother professional help, her father seems to think quitting her job is the solution to their problems. Yeah.
Unfortunately, Sey and Siho weren’t in this volume so much. Nor were Jae Eun or Simon. Those four are my favorites, so I was sad to see that at least another year will go by before their stories advance. Jae Eun does get a hilarious surprise on her last page of the volume, though.
Who else… Rea and Hajin’s brother. They’ve got a little something going on, maybe, and Rea develops a career contrary to the one she thought she might have. This seems to be a more positive direction for her, and I’d love to see it go further in the next volume or so.
I.N.V.U. is still great and ridiculously addictive, and I’m thinking about re-reading the earlier volumes when I go back home next week, just so that I can remember. It’s just the right mix of shoujo drama between a group of friends with different, but interesting, paths in life. Now how long will it be before we see the continuation? The conclusion? Well, I’ll still be here.
I honestly never thought I’d see this series continued. It has been years since I read volume three, but I was totally addicted to it when it was coming out. Wow, it was a long time ago, I still lived in a dormitory and reread volumes for days when I got them. Good times.
Nostalgia plays little part in why I like this series though, since it’s an extremely addictive high school shoujo romance. I’d say it’s probably a notch below Peach Girl, which I feel is still one of the better girly high school dramas money can buy. Oddly, I remembered very clearly all the character names and what was going on, which is unheard of for almost any series after a few months elapse, let alone five goddamn years. Well, a little over four, but I want to round up.
Anyway. After all is said and done, there is an extremely frustrating lack of action in this volume, which is a phenomenon which only occurs in the best shoujo series. You read an entire volume in what feels like five minutes, then it’s over, and somehow nothing happened and you need the next volume right away. To say nothing happened is extremely stingy though, since plenty of things did happen. We get a ton of action between the main couple, including what could be a climax or an element of finality in their blossoming relationship. Lots of things could happen from that point, but really, I only want to think about one action from there. There’s also a lot of progress made between the teacher and Hali, who seems to be very successfully forcing herself on him. As down and out as she seems, things go really well for her here for the most part.
Also, the geeky girl draws yaoi comics about the baker she works with, which I thought was awesome. I don’t know if that had been in other volumes (I’m pretty sure the baker was a new crush), but it was still awesome.
I mean, you could be reading Peach Girl instead, but this is still pretty good. Unfortunately, this is still not the end of the series, so I’m hoping we’ll get another volume within the year. One which sets everything right. That would be great.