Angel Cup Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 196
  • ISBN: 1595323031
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Angel Cup Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     June 26, 2006
Release Date: June 13, 2006

Angel Cup Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kim DongWok / Youn JaeHo
Translated by:Grace Min
Adapted by:

What They Say
So-jin had given up soccer years ago after losing to her rival, Shin-bee. But when she transfers into a co-ed high school, the "football" bug returns, and she challenges the boys to a soccer tournament!

The Review
If there was anything that initially brought me to this series it had to be the presentation. Just seeing that cute high school girl jumping to catch a soccer ball was enough to get me to preorder this book. Moreover, until I actually got to read the book, I was under the impression that this was going to be a shojo title. The pink and violet color scheme used suckered me into believing that nothing that cute could be a shonen title. Boy was I wrong.

This is about as cute as this manga gets. Main character So-jin is never this peppy in the rest of the manga. The opposite cover with her juggling a soccer ball is more her style. Both sides look good for what they intend to be. And I also enjoyed the very Major League Soccer style logo with ball shooting across the A in Angel. Turning the spine into a goal net was another nice touch.

Inside the printing is fine. Boy did TOYKOPOP have a hard title to work with here. Youn-sensei overuses screen tone so much in this volume it is distracting. However, TP reproduces the tone and line work rather well here. It's not perfect but I will say they are improving in this area.

No extras outside of a preview blurb for volume 2.

Youn-sensei's art through me for a spin once I started to really get into this title. I was expecting to see shojo designs with huge eyes, lighter line work and a controlled use of screen tone. Instead, what I got was a very action heavy design with thick lines, lots of speed lines and an excessive use of tone. These characters, all have super sharp hair and completely lack any sense of style. Nobody is drawn to proportion with the freshmen cast all either super ripped and muscular (which is something the comic makes fun of) or so busty they are bursting out of their uniforms. With these designs I constantly had flashbacks of the mangaka for Baron Gong Battle because of the beefcake level and the overall hair sharpness (and that includes eyebrows and eyelashes). Moreover, the artist cannot keep design details right either. At times his characters are wearing school shoes. The next panel they are in cleats. On moment, a character has shoulder length hair, then they have butt length hair. That inconsistency is everywhere from the art to the writing so I guess it is only fair.

Not a bad translation from TOYKOPOP. However, I will say soccer fans might scratch there heads at times at the terms used. Honestly, I don't think they are TP's fault. For some reason, I think the source material was just a little off at times - getting soccer terms and sports phrases a little confused. The adaptation really brought out the contrasting personalities very well (especially the jerks and there are a few of them).

SFX are not translated and as my Korean is still in its early stages I was a little annoyed that I could not get the full effect of the layout. So far this series does not feature a lot of SFX, but I still would like to see these translated in some form.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
People think soccer is a man's sport. They think that the game's speed, power and skill level is so far above the limitations of women that they do not respect the women's game. There are even those who think that women cannot even make good team managers. Moreover, in soccer mad countries like Korea where all the success has been seen from the men's national team, seeing women in shorts instead of skirts can induce anger and violence.

Lee So-jin has long had one love in her life... Soccer. She loves the competition and the teamwork. She lives for the action and the taste of victory. And when she was in middle school all she knew was fun and success... Until her team got to the national championship match where she was 0-4. She is such a competitor that she could not stand losing that title so often.

So after he graduated from middle school and moved on with her education she decided to trade in her soccer cleats and shorts for a skirt at a prestigious school. Han Shin High School does not even have a girl's soccer team, so there is nothing to tempt her. Nevertheless, she cannot shake that feeling she would get on the soccer pitch. So much fun and the excitement could not be compared to anything. The thrill of winning and the teamwork meant so much to her.

Well, looks like the gods were smiling on So-jin because soccer is following her wherever she goes. As soon as she transferred to this new school, they get a new girls soccer team. And on her first day on campus, she meets her life long soccer rival Shin-bee. She is going to the same school and now the game is one to get Shin-bee and nine other girls to join the new club.

Easier said than done. Shin-bee is the manager of the boy's club, one of the top teams in the nation. She is also very resilient with her stance on not returning to organized soccer as a player. Moreover, the boy's team refuses to acknowledge the girl's team, therefore any playing time and any recognition will have to be fought over. Sounds like a tough first match for So-jin. But she has been waiting for a while for a challenge like this... Ever since the last championship she lost, to be exact.

I am a SAMA fan. Sports and martial arts and I am there. And Angel Cup definitely fits that bill quite well with a good amount of sport action and sports culture. However, Angel Cup ends up being a little frustrating because it does not do the sport justice. In many ways, this title is very much like the Korean soccer version of Princess Nine. A title with tremendous potential, making use of sports action and school drama to develop the characters and plot. Meanwhile, both titles have little issues with execution (continuity problems) and do not have the rules and terms right of the sport they are covering. And strangely enough both titles have their share of girl power elements yet are draw in a very shonen very action heavy way.

After going through this first volume, I found myself in a rare situation where I almost wish that the artist did not draw in the sport action as much. The strength of this story is really in its drama. The cast have rivalries and prejudices to overcome. You can see the passion and determination as it occasionally overflows from the drama to action even at times where it was not at all necessary. Characters caught in conversation all of a sudden get cleats in the next panel and games bust out. The very idea is ludicrous and confusing. Not knowing the rules of the game that well and not framing the action was a bit frustrating as well.

Nevertheless, I could not help but fall for the formula. I wanted to see these girls succeed with their dreams to field a team. As a soccer fan I love to root for the underdog and this title is definitely one. If you are able to get past the quirks, this could be a wonderful crossover title that could bring sports manga to readers on both sides of the field.


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