Manhwa-ga: Yun JiUn
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: June 2008
Synopsis: “Hye-Min gives Ma-Ha the cold shoulder after discovering how he broke up with Bora. But when Bora seeks her help to reunite with Ma-Ha , Hye-Min can’t say no to her friend. Things get even more complicated when Ma-Ha catches on…and reveals how he truly feels about Bora as well as what he thinks about Hye-Min!”
Cynical Orange is based around the complicated life of beautiful Hye-Min. She’s a lovely girl with a slight body and face which melts most boys’ hearts. In volume one she found out being quiet and polite was keeping the guy she was crushing on from liking her, and the gloves have been off ever since. Keeping the secret of her fiery and violent temper from her classmates, she goes so far as to almost kill someone in a single mad fury over a stolen kiss.
Outside of school, Hye-Min never tries to hide her true self from part-stalker, part-friend Ma-Ha Jang. When they met he broke her cell phone and she forced him to get a job at her Oppa’s (older male relative) Cafe to pay for a new one. Oppa Shin-Bi is a secretive and mysterious character with naturally white hair that has sheltered and been there for Hye-Min whenever things got bad. Strangely enough he seams somewhat indifferent towards Ma-Ha.
Like previous volumes of Cynical Orange, book four opens with the climatic lines that volume three ended with. Forcing Ma-ha Jang to speak the truth about his cruel ways with women, Hye-Min finally tells the jerk to bug off for the last time. Alas, the parting from him is short lived. Getting mixed up in her new friend Bora’s plot to win Ma-ha’s heart back, Hye-Min finds she’s tangled up in things again. She manages to escape without saying a word and it’s our pleasure to finally see the darker side of Ma-Ha when he has to deal with Bora’s broken heart.
On a lighter note, the school festival is on its way and their choice of a Dating Cafe (where you can buy dates with their class members) doesn’t sit well with class president Jung-Yun. He knows what sweet Bora is up to, but majority rules, and he’s forced to go along with it. While the giggle inducing drama that keeps me reading continues, we are gifted with stories from Shin-Bi’s past as well.
Yun JiUn is a wonderfully talented artist. While maintaining the long and slender look of manwha, she keeps important things (like proportions) in check. Though most of the time guys are pretty enough to be women, I think this is the first time I’ve encountered it where that aspect of the style is relevant to the story. She has a way of paneling which draws you in the right direction, moving your eyes over the characters’ figure so you can get a better feel for what it would be like to ogle them like a piece of meat. The clothes and hair are changing constantly, which can become very confusing, but not when done by Yun JiUn. Despite the constant shift in attire, you can still tell who is who with very little effort. The only down point is that sometimes it’s hard to figure out who’s talking at times. Strangely enough this is worst when someone appears to be sitting in a room by themselves.
Cynical Orange is a casual read; it may not keep you sitting on the edge of your seat but you’ll always go back for more. It has a lovely style and a wonderful flow which won’t let anyone down. Now that the action is moving away from Hye-Min and Ma-Ha, it’ll be exciting to learn more about the supporting characters and their pasts. Shin-Bi for the win!