Fever 2

April 13, 2009

Again, I really enjoy Hee Jung Park a lot, and I’m a little sad her stuff came out right when the Tokyopop axe fell.  That being said, I do like Martin & John and Hotel Africa much more than I like Fever.  But my problem with Fever is probably more that it needs a closer read than I’ve given it.  It’s got a lot of characters with a lot of different stuff going on, and at least two different main plots running alongside one another.  I was a little lost since it had been so long since reading the first volume, and I was intrigued enough to give it a re-read after I finished this.

The main theme of Fever is teenagers finding themselves.  What the two main characters (one female, one male) have in common is that they stay at a sort of school/commune-type place called “Fever,” and are supported by their friends while they try to sort themselves out or reinvent themselves.

The main plot from last time, with the main female character, Hyung-In, loosing her friend and getting fed up with the pressure at school, sort of fizzles in this volume since Hyung-In manages to move into Fever and sort of loosen up around all the new people.  Most of what goes on here for her seems to be setting up character relationships to build more story on, so there’s not a whole lot of payoff on her side of the story just yet.

The male main character, Ji-Jun, has a weird time of it here.  His story last time was a bit more interesting, but it’s hard to argue with the entertainment value of him beating up a famous rapper after the rapper pees on his shoes.  There’s a little less of the stuff between he and Ah-In, which is sort of what I liked in the first volume, but instead he gets dumped by one girl and picked up by another who warns him to keep apart from Ah-In.  As a bonus, there is a really nice scene between the two boys at the end of the volume.

It’s got a lot of nice, in-depth character stuff going on.  Ji-Jun and Hyung-In are separate but together, and it’s interesting (if a little hard to keep track of) some of the characters that move between both their lives.  All the characters are quite unique, with their own strengths and weaknesses, and I would love to see them all developing their individual personalities.  I do hope that Tokyopop can pick these Hee Jung Park series back up at some point.

Fever 1

March 23, 2008

I saw this and Hotel Africa awhile ago, and I’m glad Tokyopop sorta explained what was going on with a press release recently.  They were both by the same artist, sounded really good, and had odder-than-normal plots.  I may need more convincing before I read Hotel Africa, but I was ready to dive into this one right away.

The main plot summary states that the main character is somewhat out-of-sorts after her friend commits suicide.  This wasn’t immediately clear to me, and it actually kind of confused me for the first part of the story because it seems like the friend just moves away.  She moves away because she’s bullied A LOT though, and the main character does seem to be affected by this to the point of stabbing people.  It’s one of those situations where there’s a high-stress school environment with a lot of peer pressure.  A boy offers her a way out.

Then the plot suddenly jumps to two other characters who are unconnected to the first pair.  A lot of the story in this volume is spent on an orphan who lives at a Buddhist temple and  doesn’t seem to go to school a lot, and his best friend that takes care of him.  I immediately liked both of these guys.  Both are sort of lost in a more ambiguous way than the earlier girl and the somewhat carefree guy, and they seem to support each other.  The responsible friend also seems to have a crush on the other, which is a huge plus.  This is made even more of a plus when the responsible friend’s sister seems like a viable match for the friend.  Even though I like the best friend better, the sister is also hard not to like.  She plays a rather dazzling weather woman on TV, but in real life she has an assortment of wigs and a strange wardrobe that embarrasses those around her when she’s out.

After spending some time with the two boys, the story jumps back to the girl, and we find out a little more about her extremely depressed state, her friend, and her obnoxious family.  Then the two groups come together at a place called Fever, though exactly what Fever is seems to be left for next volume.

The plot is still somewhat mysterious, but the writer does such a good job with the characters that I’m more than willing to come back for the next volume.  The two boys definitely won me over.