Manhwa-ga: YoungHee Lee
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: May 2008
Synopsis: “Everyone dreams about Seung-Ha, the perfect prince, the shining star of the school. Chasing after the perfect prince is definitely not easy. For Nan-Wo, Seung-Ha was just a dream – far, far, away. However, sometimes dreams exist to come true! But when Nan-wo’s dream comes true, it comes at an expensive price. Who knew the perfect prince was actually a big jerk?!”
Nan-Wo is a spunky, spirited, and ultimately extremely clumsy girl, who like everyone else at her school (girls, boys and teachers alike) has a huge crush on Seung-Ha. Attractive, athletic, smart and kind, Seung-Ha is seen as the perfect guy and no one could possibly for be good enough for him. Then one day he asks out Nan-Wo and everything gets turned upside down.
It’s great picking up a book that has such a basic plot. Not that I have anything against longer, more complicated ones, but sometimes it’s just really nice reading something that requires little in the way of brainpower. But that’s not me saying I disliked that about You’re So Cool: the basic plot keeps the pages on a linear tract and it’s the lively characters who make this such an entertaining read.
Nan-Wo is an endearing lead character, tomboyish but still very much a girl, going through a high school crush. She tackles any problem head-on with honesty, optimism and sometimes a little violence. Sure she’s not the most unique character, with this archetype being as common as it is in manhwa, but that doesn’t make her any less amusing. On the flipside, Seung-Ha is the perfect prince charming and even manages to pull it off in a way that was believable, not too over the top, so all the better to surprise everyone, readers and Nan-Wo alike, with his total 180-personality flip.
Also keeping the story bulked up are some side characters, Nan-Wo’s brothers. While one is a party animal, the other is a more submissive (very cute) type who finds himself dumped by yet another woman. A short side chapter in the book follows the second brother, Jay, meeting a young man who helps him carry his groceries home. It feels like a bit of boys’ love sprinkled in but it’s great how it doesn’t distract from the main plot at all, merely another layer of story to enjoy.
YoungHee Lee’s has a charming art style, one easily recognizable as manhwa. As is often common in a style like this, the boys have a tendency to be prettier than the girls, or at least the lead character in this instance. This doesn’t pose a problem though (short of double-guessing a person’s gender at first), as everyone has nice designs, fashionable clothing and expressive action and expression. There’s a lot of physical comedy here as well, with funny super-deformed freak-outs and the occasional background element that’ll make you stop and take a second look. Overall, I enjoyed the artwork and carried the story really well.
So with You’re So Cool having an easy to understand plot and great characters, it makes for a really entertaining light read. I don’t know how Nan-Wo’s going to get herself out of this mess, with Seung-Ha being such a scary and dangerous guy under his perfect-boy façade, so I certainly look forward to seeing how she survives volume two!