10, 20, and 30 2

January 1, 2008

Morim Kang – Netcomics – 2007 – 7 volumes – Korean

Happy New Year! I’m back in Chicago, and my updates will probably go back down to normal levels now, because my roommate is much less cool than my parents and won’t let me read as many comics.

Things more or less maintain the status quo established in volume one. There isn’t too much of a direction in the plot, but that’s in favor of a system where events happen in response to other events, which is much more suited to this series.

Belle is more of a background character this time around, which is good because she’s kind of annoying. More of her traits come to light. She’s really self-centered and more than a bit conceited. While she does care about her aunt Krumb and does much to help her cousin Rok through some hardships, when contrasted with those two (who care so much for each other), she just seems very shallow. She also can’t seem to settle for the boyfriend who wants to be with her so badly.

In that, she’s similar to Rok. Rok can’t seem to come to terms with her feelings for Angel, and it’s giving her a lot of problems. Though she hates Belle, she gets angry when Belle disappears and waits until she gets back in order to unload her feelings. Rok’s relationship with her friend at school also seems to be unraveling, and Rok seems to be turning to food for comfort.

Krumb also has a life-altering event. Lots of terrible things happen to Krumb in this volume, and in many ways she’s the saddest of all three of the extremely depressing main characters.

And yeah, I just realized this volume was a real downer. It was still quite excellent though, and the way the characters seem to interact and help each other out, and the way one thing can lead to another is very unique. Despite it being kind of depressing, I still really liked it, and I’m hoping volume three is a little more uplifting. Here’s hoping something great happens to Krumb.

10, 20, and 30 1

September 21, 2007

Morim Kang – Netcomics – 2007 – 7 volumes – Korean

One thing you should know about this series is that… well, the artwork takes some getting used to.  It’s not really all that bad, it’s just different.  I preordered this series almost 10 months in advance because the plot summary sounded so good.  I was very disappointed after I was able to preview it on Netcomics though, because I hated the artwork.  When my roommate saw it, he compared the artwork to an overseas version of Peanuts.  Even though the two look nothing alike, somehow that one worked for me.  As much as I hated the artwork though, by the time I was done reading volume one I had fallen in love, and really, the artwork is just part of what this series is.  It’s not trying to be flowery shoujo… it’s just portraying the relatively down-to-earth lives of the three lead women.  The artwork is somewhat… basic and simplified, is I guess the best way to put it, and it does look more like a cartoon than a manga (or a manhwa, as you prefer).  Taken out of context of every other manga/manhwa, it looks fine.

This is the rare josei gem that us older girls who find ourselves not so rotten get thrown every now and again.  The least interesting of the lead women at this point is the “10” girl, who is 17 and finds herself suddenly in no desire to be in a relationship with her boyfriend (or someone who I gathered to be her boyfriend, he may have just been a childhood friend who stepped things up too quickly).

The two more interesting stories at this point are miss “20” and mrs. “30.”   Miss 20’s in a rather difficult position.  She’s living off her parents money in her own apartment while they set her up with date after date so she can get married.  She doesn’t have a job, her sole duty is to find a husband.  Of course she’s got a lot of… casual encounters going as well, and is trying to figure out whether or not to marry her best friend with benefits when her mom catches the two of them fooling around.  Her parents cut her off and she finds herself penniless and sponging off her aunt Mrs. 30.  She’s still occasionally dating, but the conflict mostly revolves around whether or not to marry the fellow her mom caught her with.

Mrs. 30 is a widow who is being slowly and carefully courted by the most stoic fellow in her office, which happens to be a fashion design firm.  Mrs. 30 is rather scatterbrained and doesn’t realize what’s going on until he says something which thoroughly embarasses him.  Mrs. 30 isn’t quite over her late husband though, and can’t decide what she wants to do… especially since this fellow is the president (or something) of her company.

Things work up momentum and peter out, story threads are left for awhile and then pecked at, things explode and stay that way, the storytelling is all over the place, which is perfectly suited to all the little stories going on in the three lives.  The dynamics and relationships between the three women themselves are captured nearly perfectly, while their male companionships are a bit comedic at this point.  I expect those relationships to get more and more serious as the series progresses though, especially since this volume served as a nice introduction to the series.   It kept reminding me of Happy Mania for no real reason other than that was my first josei series, and it serves as a good benchmark for me to judge others by.  Miss 20 and Shigeta have a lot in common, but Miss 20 is… well, no, those two are a lot alike, Miss 20 just doesn’t have the opportunity to be as obnoxious as Shigeta since she gets less time.

It’s scattered and uneven in a way that makes the story more real.  There’s lots of little cute vignettes woven into what’s going on, and it’s just a wonderful series.  There’s no cliffhangers or anything from chapter to chapter and no great drama left unresolved, and while I really want to read the next volume, it doesn’t leave me aching for it.  I like that.