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Review: Bring It On! (Vol. 05)

Manga-ka: Baek HyeKyung
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: June 2008Synopsis: “As Mi-Ha and company get ready to celebrate Seung-Suh’s birthday, the birthday boy is confronted by a face from the past! Eun-Yang, with his celebrity good looks, is one sly fox, and he vows to break up Seung-Suh’s fledgling relationship with Mi-Ha in a week! But why is Eun-Yang out to get Seung-Suh?! The past takes a front seat and shocking secrets are revealed in the intense and exciting conclusion to Bring It On!”

The past returns when Eun-Yang appears in town, Sueng-Suh’s best friend from junior high and an important part of prior events. Mi-Ha is annoyed that’s never heard of Eun-Yang before and when Seung-Suh doesn’t elaborate, she tries to find out from the newcomer herself… only to start falling victim to Eun-Yang’s charm. Some risky emotional games are played in volume five of Bring It On.

I hadn’t read the first four volumes of Bring It On before I sat down to read volume five (the last book of the series) so I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy or understand what was happening. It didn’t take long to catch up: Sueng-Suh is dating Mi-Ha, who is often mistaken for a boy, and the other big player in this release is Eun-Yang, who hadn’t shown up until now. With that out of the way, it was easy getting into the book and I was happy I did.

Seung-Suh lacked much in the personality department, and with no story for me to have read backing it up, his relationship with Mi-Ha seemed a little cold and lacking in any romance. That was my biggest qualm story-wise. Mi-Ha, however, is an energetic tomboy who kept the book lively and it was interesting watching her falter at the advances of Eun-Yang, especially her spiel at the end when she comes forward about her changing feelings. The book as a whole was really well written, which becomes evident as you realize the little secrets that Bak HyeKyung was able to sneak in there which gave the story several fun twists throughout.

The characters are all drawn with androgynous beauty in the book, which makes gender a hard thing to figure out right off the bat. If not for the picture of Mi-Ha on the cover, I wouldn’t have known if they were a girl or a boy. The prettiness of the male characters had me questioning the genders of some secondary characters too, a minor problem (though fun at times) to work through. The art style itself doesn’t have anything especially note worthy about it, but it’s decent and works well with the cast and plot.

Yen Press’s work on the translation was nice here and I didn’t come across any problems while reading it. The accursed printer errors irked me a few times throughout the book, with the occasional text bubble difficult to read due to being stuck in the spine of the book. I liked the translation of sound effects, with English equivalents put in place next to the originals, and the cover designs were pleasantly simple.

Overall, Bring It On was a pleasant surprise and despite not having read up to this point, I found I really enjoyed reading it and didn’t have trouble catching up with the important elements. While it’s usually the job of volume ones to hook a person, it seems here that the end has caught me. Thanks to a well-written end volume, I plan to work my way back to the beginning to see where it all began.

Review written June 4, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Book provided by Yen Press for review purposes

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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2 Responses

  1. I LOVED this one!!

    The gender ambiguity was deliberate though i think, and i liked how it was done. But then i have a high tolerance of such things :)

    Also, about the gutter issue, i hate this aswell and have always wanted a reason as for why it happens. Kurt Hassler from Yen gave me the reason:

    The issue you’re referring to is more a matter of the gutter space available and is unfortunately dictated by a number of factors that go into the production of the book: the material’s original trim size, whether or not we are working off of our licensor’s original files or scanned editions of the finished Japanese editions, etc., etc. In some instances, the combination of these factors force material into what is referred to as the “gutter” area. Please know that we are very sensitive to this issue ourselves and do make every effort to edge material out of the gutter as much as possible. As with SUNDOME, though, there are simply some instances where a combination of factors can force matter into the gutter as the alternative would sacrifice art and material elsewhere on the page. We will as always, though, strive for better in the future.

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