KookHwa Huh / SuJin Kim – Yen Press – 2010 – 5 volumes
Hey, how about I read the last volume of yet another series I liked? Between all the last volumes and volume ones of series that never saw a followup, we’ve got a lot of finality tonight.
The beauty pageant was cute, if a bit shallow, but a good way to end the series. Mu-Yeon enters Si-Joon’s school, and in order to get accepted by both him and his grandfather, she decides to enter the school-wide beauty pageant that determines which girl at the school would make the best bride. This is, of course, Doe-Doe’s territory, but she’s running out of competitive steam, having second thoughts about the way her mother is spending the school’s money on her, sees that Si-Joon is head-over-heels for Mu-Yeon and a lost cause as far as husband material goes, and is starting to fall for Ji-Oh. But the other girls at school bully her into it, so she has one last hurrah as Queen Bee of the rich campus.
The beauty pageant itself gets ugly when the other girls treat Mu-Yeon poorly. She does well at the pageant itself, but the girls ruin her talent portion and Si-Joon deliberately sabotages her makeup to make her less pretty. Not out of spite, but to keep the other guys from eyeing her too heavily. Everything goes wrong, Mu-Yeon’s wrath is felt by the other girls, the grandfather is won over, Doe-Doe’s corrupt mother is exposed… you know.
Nothing too far out of the ordinary, but it was adorable and well-executed, and the element of Mu-Yeon’s slight magical power and provincial origins made this a lot of fun to read. Plus, it was nice to see a rich protagonist who wasn’t completely spoiled. It was also fun to see Si-Joon fall for Mu-Yeon over the course of the series. The last scene absolutely killed me, where each was trying to hold out unsuccessfully against the other for sex. Seeing Mu-Yeon stab herself in the leg out of frustration was especially awesome.
The one strange thing was Doe-Doe’s migration from Si-Joon to Ji-Oh. This was left unresolved, though it was clear that Doe-Doe was pretty far gone on him by the end of the book. But the story had been setting up a little romance between Mu-Yeon’s sister Mu-Hwa and Ji-Oh, which does continue (in its way) through this volume. It’s left open-ended at the end of the book. I assume this was to placate fans and enemies of Doe-Doe alike. Want her happy at the end? Miserable? Draw your own conclusions. Its infuriating when that happens. Just… end it.
But it was adorable, and a lot of fun. Pretty consistent with Yen Press’s other Korean romance titles. There are some that are a little more mature, and more steamy in the romance department, but this one has a lot more fun and takes a light tone, in addition to going off the beaten high school romance path a little. Odds are, if you like this type of story, you’ll love Pig Bride. Check out You’re So Cool while you’re at it, too. That one’s my favorite.
KookHwa Huh / SuJin Kim – Yen Press – 2010 – 5 volumes
The last volume had a pretty nasty cliffhanger, so this jumps right into the middle of the action, with Ji-Oh tied to a tree and poisoned and Si-Joon forced to figure out the difference between the real Mu-Yeon and an imposter.
This scene is pretty over-the-top action-wise, and I was surprised by the direction it took. Si-Joon’s deduction was the biggest shock since he seems more like the type of character that would luck out of a situation like that, and the climax to this confrontation results in Mu-Yeon’s mask breaking. That’s not to say that Si-Joon solving the situation in a legitimate way is a bad thing. On the contrary, it gives him a lot of depth that somewhat simple and selfish characters like him usually lack. He’s interesting in a lot of ways… he is selfish and rich, but he doesn’t use his status against others, and his selfishness is very innocent. He also possesses a surprising self-awareness on occasion, something else that characters like him usually lack.
Now, the mask breaking is significant, but we still don’t really see the aftermath in this volume. Most of the characters still don’t know what she looks like (not as big a cop-out as it sounds since the reader does get a very good look at her), and the breaking of the mask signals a huge drop in her confidence. In fact, she is so ashamed of what she’s done that she flees Si-Joon, who works his way into a funk until Ji-Oh suggests they find Mu-Yeon. Things get weird, and… well, the book ends in a very strange place story-wise. I’m sure the next volume will bring about a happy ending, but I’m not quite clear on how things will be explained, or why Mu-Yeon is doing what she’s doing. Unless it’s a status thing. That would make sense.
As a side note, the last couple pages are ridiculously romantic, even as wordless as they are. Si-Joon is not the romantic type, especially when it comes to Mu-Yeon, but his face says a lot on those pages. Wonderful stuff.
KookHwa Huh / SuJin Kim – Yen Press – 2009 – 5 volumes
Yes. This will be short, since I’ve already talked about why I like the series so much. But I still like it. A lot. A little more with every volume, too.
The appearance of the villain in this volume was quite nice. I loved her tactics, and I loved that the mask’s importance was played up even more when Si-Joon pointed out that there’s no way to recognize Mu-Yeon’s real face. I also liked that Mu-Yeon finally got serious and told Si-Joon that there was no helping him out of this one. The cliffhanger was agonizing, but I suppose it wasn’t as bad as the one from last volume, were we were led to believe that we would get to see Mu-Yeon’s face.
I also loved the aftermath of the confrontation between Mu-Yeon and Doe-Doe. Doe-Doe definitely came out on the worse side of that all around, and what happened between Mu-Yeon and Si-Joon was pretty cute. I particularly loved the promise that Mu-Yeon extracted from Si-Joon before she did her part, and how sad it made her when she realized what was actually going to happen. Aww.
Something I always forget to mention, but I also love Mu-Yeon’s clothing. She wears traditional Korean clothes, and they get pretty ornate during one or two scenes in this volume. It’s a nice detail, and I like that it’s one more thing that really, really separates her from everyone else Si-Joon knows.
But now I have to wait until April for the next volume, which apparently really does have the mask coming off. I will suffer in silence, but I’ll miss it in the interim. Maybe enough to pick up a few issues of Yen Plus.
Kookhwa Huh / SuJin Kim – Yen Press – 2009 – 5 volumes
Here’s another series I am well and truly addicted to, though I’ll freely admit it’s mostly because it presses all the right buttons for me. Cute story, likeable characters, slowly-progressing romance, supernatural elements, past lives… yeah, those are all my types of things.
Mostly, I think I like Mu-Yeon. She’s the right mix of supernatural and real girl, and the mystery surrounding her face is tantalizing. I like that Si-Joon more-or-less drops his obsession with seeing her face in this volume, but others pick it up for him. Doe-Doe seems pretty obsessed, and succeeds in removing the mask at the end of this volume. I’m sure the view of her face isn’t nearly as extreme as its made out to be, and that what looks like a reveal at the end of this volume will go nowhere, but all the same. Good stuff.
I also like Mu-Yeon’s confidence when dealing with Doe-Doe. The fight between them is mostly on Doe-Doe’s side, with Mu-Yeon not even registering her as a threat. Their conversation was to die for at the end of the volume, though I disliked that Doe-Doe took it where it eventually went. That’s not very ladylike.
I also enjoy how well-liked Mu-Yeon is by everybody but Si-Joon. She gets introduced to the greater public in this volume (to be fair, not as Si-Joon’s fiancee, since it’s still not proper for him to have a no-name gir from the country as his wife), and is instantly the darling of all of Si-Joon’s classmates. Ji-Oh, Si-Joon’s best friend, is also a lot kinder to her than Si-Joon is, and I liked the cute romance that was developing between Ji-Oh and Mu-Yeon’s ninja sister.
To Si-Joon’s credit, again, I love the fair treatment of his character. He’s certainly rich, and is a little stuck-up, but is acting like a pretty normal person under the strange circumstances. It makes sense that he would reject Mu-Yeon’s persistent and strange advances, but when it comes down to it, he’s not overly cruel. He overreacts a lot, but he also has his moments with her that develop the romance. He’s likable while still being the rich kid, which is quite a feat. I know he’s written according to plan and there’s not much to marvel in a likable main character, but all the same. He’s good.
Pig Bride’s just made of good stuff. The plot is still revolving around Mu-Jeon protecting Si-Joon from an approaching evil while trying to win over his heart and remove her own curse, and I like all the wacky, serious, and supernatural situations that go along with it. It’s just a well-written girls’ comic, and it’s hard not to enjoy it for what it is.
KookHwa Huh / SuJin Kim – Yen Press – 2009 – 5 volumes
I bought this knowing full well I am ridiculously weak to this type of series. First off, there are few Korean girls’ comics I don’t wind up liking. Second, it’s got a ridiculous arranged marrage plot, which are great if they are done right. Third, it’s got the mystery magic bride/groom. And I also like the ridiculously stuck up main character, who is surprisingly likable for being a bit of a brat. I also like the curse involved with the main couple, and I like the mystery surrounding the bride’s pig mask. And the series is only 5 volumes long (in retrospect, I probably should’ve waited ’til July and snapped up the whole thing at once). What’s not to like, at least from my perspective.
Si-Joon is the only son of an extremely wealthy and powerful family. As a youngster, he gets lost in the woods and… er, found by a rather strange family. They explain that he, along with their daughter, are descendants of people from a well-known legend, and explain that he is fated to marry the daughter, who conceals what is allegedly a remarkably ugly face with a pig mask. Si-Joon agrees, since he is eight years old and they promise to feed him after the wedding, but he wakes up elsewhere and thinks the events a strange dream, one he has often until he turns sixteen and realizes it was all true. He’s still wealthy, a little stuck up, and a little bit of a troublemaker, but he’s also popular with the ladies and has his eyes set on Doe-Doe, one of the prettiest and apparently most popular girls at school.
The Pig Bride shows back up to remind him that they are already married and that they need to consummate their relationship in order to break her curse, but he refuses, rejecting the weird, magical situation entirely (something you can’t really blame him for, considering she tends to just appear and do bizarre things, and so does her ninja sister). She stands by him though, and vows to protect him from evils. She’s a kind character and appears to be a good wife, and her suffering apparently mirrors that of her ancestor from legend. Both she and Si-Joon are likable characters, and the story does a good job of showing the story from both their points of view. Si-Joon also has a best friend to confide in, and along with being a good friend, he seems to have a knack for seeing people for who they actually are. He gets along with both the Pig Bride and her sister, and avoids the beautiful Doe-Doe like the plague. Doe-D0e seems to be the perfect girl, but given the friend’s reactions and some other hints laid out in the story, her hidden nature isn’t too difficult to figure out, and it reveals itself before the end of the volume. The thought of the saintly Pig Bride being made to wait on her errant husband and serve him anyway is definitely a little… er, uncomfortable, but I think it works okay, given how old-fashioned the character is made out to be and also the gently overbearing way she chases Si-Joon.
I like it. I like it a lot. But I knew I would. I’ve got two more volumes of it here, and then I’ll be left starving for more, like I always am with these types of series. I just can’t get enough.