Manhwa-ga: Eun-Young Kang
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: March 2009
Synopsis: “With Da-Hwa in the hospital, Da-Eh’s wracked by built about the way she’s treated her kind little brother all these years. Though her romance with Sun-Nam gets shelved as a result, the two are drawn closer by their affection for Da-Hwa. Does putting family first spell the end of their relationship? And is there no room enough in Da-Eh’s heart for Ta-Jun to squeeze in? Find out in this heart-tugging conclusion to EunYoung Kang’s Hissing!”
Little Da-Hwa is pulling his broken family closer and closer together by doing what he does best: being a child. His bright smiles and cheerful attitude both warm hearts and break them as the whole family watches him on his slow road to recovery. Despite the pain he’s in, Da-Hwa continues to look fondly on the face of his big sister, glad that she is showing how much she cares after all these years.
When I read this final volume I found myself very conflicted. I was sitting in a restaurant on my birthday and wanted very badly to cry. It had been fairly obvious for the last few books what was going to happen, so when the events came to pass I wasn’t at all surprised, but it was put together in a way which tugs at the heartstrings. Da-Hwa is a little trooper, always smiling and doing his best. It hurts when you see someone so pure and kind suffering for no good reason.
The art style remained the same from volume one until the very end, which didn’t help me keep from getting the two male leads Sun-Nam and Ta-Jun confused. If you put a hat on any of the male characters they would pretty much all look the same, and unfortunately they tend to wear hats (as hats are very fashionable for the overly attractive manhwa character). The saving grace of these flaws was that each character had a very distinct personality, so you could easily tell who was who by what they were saying or doing in a frame or two. I would go so far as to say they even had their own body language, as no character moved or stood quite the same way as the others.
For something so predictable, the characters in Hissing were well developed. They carried the story well and made it feel more real. Living their lives around the story, it never felt like they were tied to it. Things would happen that had no weight on the over all plot which kept it from becoming just another girl-meets-boy-and-it-turns-out-they’re-related manhwa story.
I both hated and loved this series for the same reasons at different times. It was a funny kind of flip-flop sensation where in the middle it felt like the story was completely lost is a sea of nearly identical faces. Hissing pulled through on top though, as a solidly entertaining trip through the very real feeling life of one girl trying to make her mark on the world.