Manhwa-ga: Ha SiHyun
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: November 2008
Synopsis: “Since her daring rescue, Daria’s fallen hard for Patrick. But her fantasies are threatened when she spots Patrick with Alice on a late-night stroll. Is it just a manhwa lesson, or is it love? Or maybe both?! Daria’s not about to take any chances. Armed with the knowledge of Patrick “Saturn” Kang’s true identity, Daria is prepared to do everything in her power to drive him and Alice apart!”
Daria: the beautiful, kind and talented best friend to Alice, has fallen for Patrick and it seems that the attraction is all it takes for her to take a negative turn. Purposely leading both Alice and Patrick on with intentional misunderstandings, she aims to drive the two apart before anything else comes of their current professional relationship as manhwa-ga and assistant, so that she’s free to pursue Patrick herself.
Alas, my fears came true here in the fourth volume of Comic. When reviewing the third, I pointed out how much I liked Daria for actually being a really nice person and not the stereotypical backstabbing, conniving boy-hunting type. And yet, here we go, the curse of falling in love it seems, to turn a once supportive best friend into a manipulative force. Such a pity.
To all the characters’ credit, I enjoyed how intelligent they were in various scenes. I’m not saying I expect them to be dumb but there’s a certain level of naivety and lacking common-sense that’s utilized across all boards of media to keep certain dramatic misunderstandings in stories rolling that much longer. But here, it didn’t take Daria long to figure out that Saturn Kang is actually Patrick Kang’s penname, and that he’s the one Alice is working for she spots them together one night. It becomes clearly evident to Patrick soon after a confrontation of sorts with Alice, that Daria has feelings for him and when he calls her out on it, soon realizes she’s going to do whatever she can to win him, including blackmail (how do people think that kind of stuff is going to work?!). That leaves Alice as the more naïve one, who continues to miss some obvious signs and take all things said to her at face-value but, hey, someone’s got to keep the confusion going or else all the drama would end too soon, right?
A new addition to the story is a friend of Patrick, a young pretty boy with a passion for dancing. He lives in a pretty strict household where his Father doesn’t approve of his hobbies, but that doesn’t stop the romantically-hopeful teenager from dreaming big, of dance and of love. He’s a cute character and a pretty honest one it seems thus far. I really look forward to seeing how he interacts with the rest of the characters, past the messy little situation he finds himself in with Alice during some secret dance practice.
As a whole I still continue to really like this series since it’s got such a nicely paced feel to it and really likeable characters (even if Daria betrayed me!). The art style is very attractive, as are the character designs in reference to girls and boys alike, so it’s a great visual treat too. I may have only hopped into this mahnwa-making, love-pursuing, high school drama midway at volume three, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying each and every moment of it and I hope to continue doing so in the volumes to come!