Full House 4

May 20, 2009

I kind of like this series, but Elle is just so irritating, and she brings out the absolute worst in Ryder, that I have a hard time reading it.  Literally, all the two of them do is fight, and most of the time it’s because Elle is being an absolutely rotten human being.

I thought she might have to play nice, or perhaps not get her way, when Ryder decides to remodel the house.  She actually shows up to a swank gallery opening and embarrasses the hell out of him in order to get him to go RIGHT NOW and stop the construction.  Thankfully he declines, but she sees absolutely nothing wrong with showing up and demanding her way in front of a bunch of people she doesn’t know.

Later, after Ryder agrees to discuss things with her, she sets up a Home Alone-like series of traps in the house and runs Ryder through all of them, in addition to breaking a bunch of expensive stuff in her bedroom, as “revenge” for the remodeling.  Ryder agrees to her conditions (*sigh*) as long as she keeps her damn mouth shut.  Because she doesn’t really want him to think he won, she does things like dump paint in his hair, ruin expensive clothes he just bought for her, and is just a horrible bitch in general.

She needs to be thrown out.  Literally.  Ryder needs to blow her off, remodel the house, and then throw her out into the street.  She won’t compromise on anything.  Ryder is all about breaking her pride, which sounds cruel, but after seeing the way she’s acted since page one, it must be done.  She needs to not get her way once.

This was unfortunately the last volume published in English, and even more tragically, it ends on one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve ever seen.  At this point, I’d keep reading out of a burning need to see Elle a broken human being, but the end brought up concerns about Ryder that will unfortunately never be addressed.  Mysteriously, the series is 15-16 volumes long, and has a sequel, so I’m not sure how “permanent” the situation is at the end of the volume here, but it sounds pretty bad, and is a complication not often used.  Maybe it turns into a Let Dai-like drama after this, which would be a true tragedy since that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for all this time.

Full House 3

May 4, 2009

The mystery surrounding Full House is a good one.  Who is Henry, and how did ownership of Full House get transferred from Elle’s Father/Elle to Henry to Ryder?  It’s a strange plot element, and as bizarre as it is, I’m glad the story is taking its time about having Elle uncover the truth.  Elle finds herself in a lot of trouble when she tries to figure out who Henry is this time around, so it looks like the truth is still a little ways off.  There is the problem of why exactly Elle doesn’t just ask Ryder about this, but I can understand that things would be a lot less fun that way.

I’m glad the story is still pursuing this, because quite frankly, I was a little upset when the series opened with Elle finding out she didn’t legally own the house she’d been living in all her life.  I’m not sure why I can’t suspend disbelief for that.   I just can’t, and I’m sorry.  The fact that Elle sees this as a real problem worth investigating is a huge plus though, because that means the series is a little more grounded than it initially seems.

The bad thing, as of this volume, is that Elle needs to learn when to keep her mouth shut sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that she’s comfortable speaking her mind to whomever she pleases, be it Ryder, the most famous actor in Britain, or Ryder’s rich family consisting of a handful of people that go out of their way to insult her.  It’s actually a refreshing change of pace to see a heroine like Elle with some backbone.

The problem is that these scenes where she performs admirably are few and far between.  Much of this volume consists of Elle arguing with Ryder, and while there are a few situations where her anger is justified, most of the time she is just berating Ryder with the most selfish and childish arguments imaginable, and usually the reasons are not good ones.

The story tries to set misunderstandings up, like when Elle goes off in a snit and locks herself out of the house, and has to sit outside in the rain because Ryder can’t hear her knocking over some music.  A few hours later, she throws a brick through a window, and when Ryder unlocks the door, she goes off on a tirade without letting Ryder explain himself, then retires to her room.  This would be fine every once in awhile (after all, it’s a romantic comedy, full of romantic misunderstandings), but this literally happens ALL THE TIME.  Very rarely does Ryder actually do something malicious to her, and most of the time she holds him up to a childish double standard without letting Ryder get a word in edgewise.  Ryder reacts childishly sometimes as well, but the majority of the infuriating dialogue usually comes from Elle.  Ryder very rarely gets a word or explanation in edgewise.

At the end of the volume, Elle finds herself in a situation where Ryder has every right to be furious at her, since some facts have come to light that make him think she sold her house and is trying to scam him out of it in order to get it back in her possession.  She doesn’t feel the need to explain herself in the face of his anger, despite the fact he invites an explanation, and she actually makes the situation worse by firing off a series of snide comments.

Basically, Elle is infuriating and selfish.  I keep hoping I’ll get to see her treating Ryder civilly before I have to stop reading, but given the mess things are in at the end of this volume, I’m guessing that won’t happen.

Full House 2

April 25, 2009

Honestly, I was so disappointed that this wasn’t a depressing drama that I read Let Dai straight through in about two days.  I think getting that out of my system helped me enjoy Full House a lot more this time around.

It’s just such a romantic comedy.  I mean, you’ve got Elle’s old boyfriend coming back, you’ve got Elle and Ryder starting to draw closer even though they hate each other, there’s even a scene where Ryder dresses up as someone else (or rather, stays dressed up after he finishes shooting) and has fun with Elle while she’s unaware of who he is.  There’s lots of comic mishaps, Elle is the type of prude that blames the men for everything (including things that are clearly her fault), and… just… it’s a romantic comedy.  You know what I mean.

Despite that, I’m starting to feel an affinity for the series.  As silly as the scene with Ryder pretending to be someone else was, I was totally drawn in.  You expect the two of them to fall head-over-heels for the different sides of one another.  You wonder if Elle will figure things out.  It’s hard to deny the appeal of what’s going on.

I think the only thing that really bothers me about it is the fact that Elle and Ryder fight constantly, and that is the source of most of the humor.  It’s also unfortunate that a lot of the jokes are based around the characters being selfish (which is what the whole series is based around, I suppose, considering the two are trying to share a house and kind of failing).  Ryder gets jealous of other men around Elle, but doesn’t really want to treat her decently herself.  And Elle is just insanely uncivil for no reason whatsoever.

The beginnings of drama are setting in, though.  Ryder is very “close” to his manager Miranda, and also has a mystery woman called Jasmine.  Elle has her old boyfriend.  And did I mention they were starting to fall for each other?  I suspect the light touch will be kept and that this won’t be degenerating into angsty teen territory, but I like drama all the same, and Sooyeon Won is just so good at it.  It’ll be a total waste if we don’t get to see some angry weeping over lost love.

Hilariously, the characters in the cover illustration look like more feminine versions of Dai and Jaehee.  Not surprising, but still kind of funny.

I’ll probably be addicted by the end of volume four, and then never get to read the rest of it.

Full House 1

April 21, 2009

I mentioned the Right Stuf sale in the sidebar, and if you have any inclination, you should indulge in those ridiculously cheap CPM volumes, I believe the sale runs until the 27th.  Just looking at all the wonderful manhwa they had makes me quite sad, I wish they hadn’t gone under.  Anyway, I took advantage of the sale to pick up the four available volumes of this series.  Now, I’ve fallen in love with everything I’ve read by Sooyeon Won, and Full House is apparently her most popular series, with an insanely popular Korean Drama to go along with it.  My expectations were very high.

Now, I’m reading Full House, and I am rather surprised by what I see.  Both Let Dai and Devil’s Trill were melodramatic and dark.  Full House is a by-the-book romantic comedy.  Not even so much in a manga sense, but in a Hollywood sense.  A woman is mysteriously kicked out of the house her late father designed one day, apparently because it was somehow acquired by the hottest actor around.  While fuming over this a couple days later, she is struck by a car driven by none other than said famous actor.  The sparks fly, and the two absolutely do not get along.  The woman wants her house as settlement for the car accident, and when the actor will not accept the deal, she proposes they get married so that she can have the house that way.  They both have a good laugh before verbally abusing each other some more.  But the actor’s manager sees it as an opportunity to beat a recent string of bad press surrounding the actor, and before you know it, the two are engaged.

What?! Where are the broken hearts?  Where’s the weepy protagonist?  Where are all the events keeping the fated couple separated?  Where are the dramatic monologues?  Where’s the couple destined to be together?  Certainly not Elle and Ryder, they hate each other.

I have faith it will get much better, though.  Hopefully it will happen before I get to the fourth volume, which was all that was published in English.  I doubt it will get to the levels of melodrama that the other two series have, but I’m willing to bet we’ll get to see some wonderful character development before all is said and done.  Plus, with the forced loveless marriage, this volume made me think of Goong, another Korean series I really like with the same theme.

I’m having trouble finding information about the series (even the Korean wikipedia entry for Sooyeon Won failed me), but the artwork in this series is so far behind what it was in Let Dai I’d venture a guess that this came out years before, or, at the very least, this series ran for years and Let Dai just looks better than the volume I’m reading right now.  Her art isn’t bad, but it’s got a mid-90s quality to the hair, fashion, and screentones that are used.  About the only thing my research dug up was that Won is currently working on Full House II, which just reinforces my belief that this is her most popular series by far.  I’m sure it’s awesome, and I’m looking forward to reading what I can of it.

As different as it was from what I was expecting, I still think it will surprise me by making me love a really deep, well-thought-out romantic comedy.