Author: JiSang Shin
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: November 2008
Synopsis: “Be-Rei and Tsuyoshi’s newfound neighborliness raises Mi-Hyuk’s hackles, however, prompting him to make a big for Be-Rei’s affections. And as Tsuyoshi defends her from the oncoming love attack, no one is more surprised than Be-Rei herself. But when a familiar face from Japan shows up on Tsuyoshi’s doorstep, Be-Rei’s not the only one who has to deal with affairs of the heart!”
The characters and plot really start leveling out here in volume two, with the who, what and whys generally taken care of in the first book. A web of love has begun as Be-Rei crushes on her sister’s boyfriend, her classmate Mi-Hyuk wants nothing more than to date her, Tsuyoshi has her questioning her initial thoughts on him and meanwhile an old girlfriend of Tsuyoshi shows up with plans to leave there in Korea with him.
On top of the love issues that spark the story, Tsuyoshi continues trying to get used to life in Korea. He seems to have accepted it with little pause at this point but understandably still has trouble navigating the foreign town and speaking in the language. Yen Press handled this book a little more consistently than the last so differentiating between who is speaking what language was much easier. I enjoyed the choppy speech used for Tsuyoshi to show his limited knowledge of the Korean language, and also how some things he says are often misinterpreted when people, like Be-Rei, try to fill in the blanks themselves.
Be-Rei as a main character continues to be a pretty entertaining one, falling inline with the classic molding of a Korean shoujo’s leading lady: loud, spunky, honest and a little violent. I like her and her dash of naivety and teenage-girl selfish nature at times that makes her amusing to watch no matter who she’s interacting with, plus feel fairly rounded for a character in her position.
While there’s a lot of in-story humour in this book, garnered mostly by Be-Rei’s energetic responses, I really enjoyed the playful poking at shoujo story stereotypes. This includes Mi-Hyuk’s step by step plan to getting involve with Be-Rei and an incident that leaves Tsuyoshi injured that could’ve ended much more stereotypically than it did.
A couple other pointed out differences between Japanese and Korean culture are also evident, though they’re, as intended, more interesting side notes than those meant to be entertaining. It’s neat reading a manhwa that points out some of these differences and common parallels, allowing readers to see an overlap of culture thanks to the mix of Korean and Japanese characters.
Geo’s artwork is standard Korean-fare with an emphasis on detailing such as hair and clothes whenever the story allows for some variety (darn those school uniforms!). I do like the style because I feel it suits the story though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some qualms with it. Jaw lines in particular are very steep on the characters, giving them all squished head syndrome when seen from most angles. I also don’t know what’s up with Be-Rei’s hair, being as large, thick and fluffy as it and looking like she cut it herself (which, however, is actually quite in her nature I’d say).
I found I enjoyed volume two even more than I did the first thanks to a more straight-forward plot that didn’t get tripped up by occasional switches back and forth between countries, and a much more consistent writing job on Yen Press’s part. I really look forward to reading more of Be-Rei and Tsuyoshi who I only find more endearing as I go and though I wouldn’t call Very! Very! Sweet anything extraordinary, that of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun read