Manhwa-ga: Shin JiSang – Geo
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: June 2008
Synopsis: “Kum-Ji may have started following Yo-I to get close to her favourite boy band, DDL, but it’s E-Wan of Yo-I that she can’t get out of her head! With E-Soh’s confession still heavy on her heart, a confused Kum-Ji joins her fellow fan girls in strategizing for the next tour. But Barbie, the fanclub president, has other ideas. When a surprise attack leaves Kum-Ji bruised and beaten, it’s E-Soh who becomes her knight in shining armor!”
It’s girl loves boy, girls love band, girl hates other girl and boy loves girl who loves other guy, in volume five of Chocolat. It’s a slice of life drama, spiced up with trendy clothing and beautiful boy bands. Kum-Ji is the character’s lead and most of the book follows her as she deals with unrequited feelings, boy-band crushes and a dangerous fan club leader who sends flunkies to crack the skulls of her self-proclaimed enemies.
While I had a few problems keeping the characters straight at first, it didn’t take long for me to begin enjoying Chocolat. It doesn’t tread any new ground or feel unique in anyway, but despite that it was a pretty entertaining read. Kum-Ji is a cute, spunky lead who, by the end of the volume, had my respect for the way she dealt with issues. Other characters were interesting in their own rights, often with appearances that cover their true personalities. Humour is slipped in to keep the mood upbeat and, despite some of the less positive moments, the whole thing felt generally light hearted and sweet.
The artwork in Chocolat is similar in style to most Korean girls-comics I’ve read, making it’s origin easily recognizable but also pretty stereotypical. Just about all the characters are really pretty, which did make me do double takes a few times. Kum-Ji is apparently unattractive? What? And who’s… oh, that’s a boy. Regardless of some of those difficulties, I loved how they looked and really enjoyed the artwork, especially the attractive fashion and hairstyles.
Throughout the book there were a few gutter issues, but nothing too severe, and some careful strained opening of certain pages allowed me to catch the words I couldn’t see. Other than that, I’ve no complaints with Yen Press’s work on this title and I really enjoyed the full coloured pages at the beginning and the cut size of the book itself.
Overall, Chocolat is a generic title but none the less a charming one. I look forward to reading the next volume to see how things go for Kum-Ji (and E-Soh!) from here on out.