Translated by:SukHyee Ryu
Adapted by:Jamie Rich
What They Say
The sword master of Black Iron is kicked out of the Magic Guild when he's unable to follow an order to destroy the beautiful doll called Fiona. Then one night, his servant Nomi comes home with a letter for him. What are the contents of this letter, and why is Nomi so afraid to present it to his master?
Also included in this volume are Mi-Kyung Kim's early short stories "Strawberry Children," "Alien House," and "The Reason Why I'm Poor and Burdened."
Yen Press has kept the size and design of the original Ice Kunion releases of 11th Cat. They've also kept the gutter printing on some of the pages, which is very annoying. Included in this volume are a four page color short story, author after word, a four page peek at JiSang Shin and Geo's "Very, Very Sweet" and a few full page advertisements for other Yen Press publications.
As readers of 11th Cat will attest, it's Kim MiKung's art that is the attraction and not her narrative skills, which would often seem to elude her. The four page color short story, "Strawberry Children", shows off her considerable illustration talent and is notable for how much emotion, energy and delight she can pack into a few drawings. There are a few art styles here, some of which are represent early works, some which show attempts to adapt an art/layout style to subject matter.
Sfx are subbed, not often the case for Korean works. Many publishers are content to just leave them untranslated. The text reads well for a MiKyung work. 11th Cat didn't have the best narrative continuity, but these stories being shorter, fared better, and I'm inclined to place any failures with the original work rather than the translator and adaptor.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The stories contained in 11th Cat Special require no previous experience with the 11th Cat series. All are stand-alone and complete in themselves.
In addition to the already mentioned, beautifully drawn "Strawberry Children" and the tender, sweet and sad Nomi story ("11th Cat Extra: Pieces from Nomi's Past"), the remaining short stories involve alien dating and alien babies, haunted school libraries and haunted hands, and a prince who just doesn't want to accept his fate.
Each of the stories is entertaining and fulfills its narrative goals and its often modest intent. However, the endings of the stories either lack dramatic impact, much of a point or are somehow inappropriate to what has gone before. They're complete in that there is an ending, but the reader won't feel completely satisfied.
The real recommendation is for Kim MiKyung's art. I cannot praise "Strawberry Children" enough and Nomi is a cute as ever. While the stories may seem a bit wanting, the artwork certainly delivers. Anyone who is interested in how style develops over time or how certain popular styles influence work will also find this of interest.