Bring It On! Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ICE Kunion
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 186
  • ISBN: 89-527-4451-9
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Bring It On! Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     December 29, 2005
Release Date: October 30, 2005

Bring It On! Vol.#01
© ICE Kunion

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Baek HyeKyung
Translated by:Eugeng Chung/Sunny Kim
Adapted by:

What They Say
Tomboy Miha is an extremely active and competitive girl who hates to lose. She's such a tomboy that boys fear her - exactly the way her evil brother wanted her and trained her to be. It took him six long years to transform her into this psuedo-military style girl in order to protect her from anyone else.

Bishonen Seung-suh is a new transfer student who's got the looks, the charm and the desire to sweep her off her feet. Will this male beauty be able to tame the beast? Will the evil brother of the beast let them be together and live happily ever after? Bring it on!

The Review
My first experience with an ICE Kunion title left me with a very good first impression. Bring it on! is printed in a large A5 size GN left to right (standard Korean format). The front cover features an image of main character Miha in a cowgirl outfit (completely out of character for her). I love the logo which is in Bodini font with a dumbbell as the “i”. While we don’t see anyone working out much in this series, there is a reason behind that concept. The opposite cover has a collage of images with Seung-suh, dumbbells, flowers and school materials wrapped around the volume description.

Inside the printing is quite clean. I did not notice any alignment problems. ICE Kunion keeps includes nice looking headers and bumper art. ICE Kunion also provides some nice extras: an interview with the mangaka, an art gallery, a word from the artist and an artist bio. Finally, at the end of the volume there is a long preview of Angel Diary.

The art has to be the weakest aspect for this title. I think I have seen this type of design more often than I can count - lean characters without much muscle tone or bone structure, gigantic detailed eyes and long flowing hair. There is really very little detail to any of the characters. Unless characters are in super-deform faces don't change much. Back seems to have a problem drawing characters out of a specific pespective. Profiles and changes of depth tend to make the eyes and noses a asymetrical. Costume designs are really boring as well. I was shocked by this because of the cover art, but the more I read manhwa the more I am starting to believe this is a standard technique to get sales. To be honest, this is a good thing as the costumes you see on the cover and in bumper art is hideous. I'd much rather see their casual wear and school uniforms.

The layout is very hyper. Baek uses all sorts of panel sizes and positions to present unique perspective from either action or comedy. Baek also uses a ton of manpu to set up the mood of her scenes. At times they can be a bit distracting, moreover they tend to be used more than Baek's stale backgrounds. Not sure what I feel about that.

Ahhhh, manhwa always give me a hard time in this category. First, I don’t read Hangul so I have no clue how accurate the translation is. Then, I did notice a few references that seemed to be Americanized – a Britney Spears reference along with a William Hung reference. I am not sure if those were originally written in by Baek-sensei but they did through me off a bit. But I can say that the manhwa generally sounds fine (though there was a pretty confusing grammar error in the first chapter).

SFX are translated with subs. For the most part they are small subs that do not compromise art. However, in panels where there is nothing else going on the SFX are of the same size as the original.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In Bring it on! main character Miha seems to be living a normal, albeit sleepy school-life. She comes from a single-parent family and as such she has grown accustomed to training hard before school, studying hard at school and working hard after school. She might not have all the time that her classmates have, because of all the work her small family has her help with. She might not have fashion and boys on her mind either, but Miha she has plenty of friends and a solid head on her shoulders (just like her big brother always wanted). A life of hard work has given her strength physically and mentally, even though you one can often see her sleeping through first period. Her work has also given her a strange reputation.

Seung-suh on the other hand is a complete brat. He plays hard, acts hard and fights hard everyday. Seung-suh puts his image before anything else and does not mind taking advantage of others to cover his own downfalls.

Easy to imagine these two would not get along. They come from completely different worlds. One feels entitled to be able to stomp on those less "fortunate" and the other strives to prove everyone wrong everyday of her life. But when these two are together their antagonism goes way beyond natural enemies. They started poorly and their relationship is only getting worse. From salvos of painful words to fiery hot fisticuffs not a single second is wasting for second thoughts. And as the altercations continue, the chance to hear each other out seems further away. There is only one way out - putting on the gloves and bringing it!

Nothing beats an amazon-like tomboy for laughs and romance, especially when the male lead is supposed to be an angst filled bishonen. According to the book description this is supposed to be a beauty and the beast love story, but so far this series appears to be a simple sitcom about a girl and the guy who hates her.

Bring it on! sets the stage for a virtual battle of the sexes right from the start in rather dramatic way - Miha finding a drunk unconscious boy (Seung-suh) in the girls locker room. From that point on, nothing about Seung-suh would ever win Miha over; not his good looks or his popularity. In her eyes, he can be nothing but a pervert transfer student who found himself sleeping where no man should be sleeping.

Seung-suh would not take this either! He might have been drunk and stupid but that did not mean anyone had a card blanche to ruin his rep. Anyone who stands in his way is going to be hurt and everything is fair game.

Miha and Seung-suh are really the driving force behind this story. While Miha’s background could make for its own decent manga on its own right; her rivalry with Seung-suh is so hilarious I found it difficult not to like this title. There is something about an elementary school relationship – guy picks on girl and then starts to like her – that is so simple but seems to be so amusing. Maybe it is the intense dynamic between the characters, as they tend to often be at each other’s throats. Moreover, as their backgrounds are so different and they personalities are so strong I can see an opportunity for these battles to continue indefinitely.

Conversely, there is very little else to this story and I am not sold on the art. While I am impressed by Miha’s background and her working class attitude, I do not see that playing that much of a role in this series. Actually, when the mangaka tries to involve Miha’s family, the storylines end up feeling truncated a bit (sending the story into tangents). Seung-suh’s short temper and unrelenting vengeance does not help much either.

Overall, Bring it on! is a hoot. Lots of fun based on an extremely simple concept. And while I am enjoying this so far, I could not help but feel that the premise is flimsy at best. Maybe I am just having a hard time believing Miha could ever fall for Seung-suh (or vice-versa). Their personalities are perfect for rivals, but I will need some serious convincing if they start dating. Hopefully, future volumes will work that out, but until then I hope their fights can only grow wilder.


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