Manhwa-ga: KookHwa Huh/SuJin Kim
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: December 2009
Synopsis: “Now that she has discovered Si-Joon’s secret fiancée, Doe-Doe will stop at nothing to rip the masked girl away from Si-Joon, whom she has already claimed as her own. But Mu-Yeon’s affection for Si-Joon is not something to be trifled with, especially when dark spiritual forces are involved. As memories of his past life with Mu-Yeon resurface, the time when Si-Joon will have to face the mystery of the pig bride head-on is drawing near. But will he be prepared when the moment comes?”
Past-live dream exposés, the feeling of sinister eyes upon him and the clock ticking ever closer, Si-Joon has more than a few things on his mind. But with his life (or is it his chastity?) at risk at the hands of an ‘assassin’ on top of that, and his constant refusal of Mu-Yeon’s advances, the Pig Bride needs to turn to some different tactics with only a day left to lift her curse and have Si-Joon finally confess his feelings of love (whether they exist or not).
Mu-Yeon (aka, The Pig Bride) herself is amusingly aggressive, a personality trait that isn’t at all betrayed by her timid demeanor the majority of the time. Leaping at Si-Joon with obvious intent any chance she gets manages more than a few chuckles. Mu-Yeon has a lot more spunk and gusto under that mask than any may think but then again with a curse like the one she has on her, who could blame her? Well, many readers perhaps but not for lack of some sympathy at least.
Sympathy where sympathy is due however, and you can’t help but have it for Si-Joon. He’s essentially being forced, tricked and pressured into falling in love with the Pig Bride, Mu-Yeon. The end of the book brings the real stingers. Not only does it over emphasize how his emotions now hold Mu-Yeon ‘s life in his hands but also now the fate of his friends as well. Come on, leave the poor guy alone already! At times Si-Joon seems overly harsh with Mu-Yeon but its hard to blame the guy who never asked for this in the first place, another character bound to events both of his childhood and past life.
A particular end scene was especially potent in regards to Si-Joon as a character when he’s confronted with the potential for harm coming to his best friend, Ji-Oh Yun. The whole book shares a pretty even tone but when this emotional eruption occurs it allows the book to leave on a very memorable note. This scene alone will likely leave readers eager to get their hands on volume four. Leading up to it is a montage of moments from his childhood that work as good premise of his painful cry for Ji-Oh’s well being.
Doe-Doe, a young woman against Mu-Yeon and Si-Joon as a couple, plays the role of interfering acquaintance but she goes through more than her share of misfortune. This allows her to be more likeable than not in this particular volume. Not many potential love interests survive getting struck by lightning and still come running back after all. She does struggle with her own emotions however, especially in regards to a past event where she almost killed Si-Joon, the cause of which still remains mostly a mystery since she doesn’t fully remember doing it. On a lighter note, a short conversation between her and Ji-Oh near the end of the book is really cute and fosters a hope that her heart may turn elsewhere and her feelings bare more fruit.
The art style of Pig Bride is also manages to be adorable in its own right much of the time. It has a distinct attention to details on the hair and clothing that readers of Korean manhwa have likely come to expect. Not without its obvious flaws however, the faces could really use some more polish though, with overly steep jaw lines and lopsided eyes that on occasion look more like sunnyside-up eggs trying to ooze down the characters’ cheeks.
Some amusing character antics, amidst the seemingly non-consensual emotions, and a hefty amount of flashbacks make this volume fairly entertaining and pinnacle when it comes to plot. With many aspects of Si-Joon and Mu-Yeon ‘s past fates explored, there’s a decent amount of resulting curiousity for what comes next. Still, the forceful nature of Mu-Yeon and Si-Joon’s quasi-relationship may leave readers hoping for a different-than-expected result.