Saturday, June 15, 2013

Manhwa Review: Full House

Just in case people didn't get the memo yesterday, I switched the comic and book reviews this week since I just hadn't gotten around to reading a comic as of yesterday so if you came here looking for a book review just go down to the next post. If you came here looking for a comic review then great, you're in the right place because I've got an odd one this week. Odd in the sense that, well, did everyone else know that the now-defunct publisher CPM (part of DC Comics) published manga and manhwa? I hadn't known that until a few weeks back when I stumbled upon a different title at my local used bookstore and was pretty surprised, I hadn't even realized manhwa was being printed in the US in 2004, heck the copyright page for this book (found at my not-so-local library) says it was on it's second printing too, madness! Which is also a good word to describe this story.....

 Full House by Soon Yon Won

Summary: Elle is an aspiring screenwriter living in a house that her late father had designed and is quite attached to it. She's confused and enraged to learn that the house has been sold and she's to be evicted as it's new owner, world famous actor Ryder Baye, prepares to move in yet somehow she ends up pretending to be engaged to him despite the fact that they hate each other's guts.

The Good: Well, it is a bit more unusual to come across manga/manhwa published in the US with adult characters (certainly not impossible but it's usually not what you find first) s that was, nice. I also ended up liking the character Miranda, Ryder's manager, more than I expected for her almost talent at looking at a bad situation and being positive about how it can work out well (and how this weirded out the other characters just a bit) and her scenes were the most fun to read.

The Bad: As a general disclaimer, I'm not a big fan of the "slap slap kiss" romance trope in general, I don't even get why fans will ship two characters together who (obviously to me) hate each other and call it "unresolved sexual tension", this just isn't my area of expertise. However, I think that a lot of people would agree with me that the slap slap kiss go on just far too long. Several times that situation goes down, things start to defuse, the characters walk away, aaaand then one comes back and it starts up all over again! I feel like the author just had no sense of timing (since I feel like slap slap kiss does require a bit of comedic timing to work well) and because of this I can't believe that the characters will ever have feelings for each other. This could be the rare work which doesn't pair up the characters in the very end but as it stands Yon Woo would have to do a lot of writing, and more convincing writing than right now, to make me fully believe that Elle and Ryder could actually fall in love with each other.

The Art: This is a bit random but is it just me or does Ryder look an awful lot like a lady on the cover? I'm well aware of the bishonen trope but if anyone was to pick up this story and think it was a lesbian love story between a pretty girl and a more androgynous girl I wouldn't blame them. Not that you would make that mistake once you looked at the back cover (on which the characters look more like high school students than adults) or within the story itself, although at that point you might be having more trouble with figuring out the reading order of more than a few oddly laid pages (the rapid fire pace of the slap slap kiss made it even worse for me).

This one gets a 1.5 out of 5 stars since I didn't like it, don't think anyone can convince me to read more of it and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Even if you like this sort of romance I will go out of my way to find a better example of it for you to read, although this does mean that the series has won the dubious distinction of being the first CPM work that I've actively disliked, I'm almost impressed.