Having an unattractive heroine doesn’t help make a story more realistic--at least not when she’s surrounded by an entire hot boy band--and it doesn’t make her more appealing, either.
Writer/Artist:Shin JiSang / Geo
Translated by:Jackie Oh
Adapted by:Jamie Rich
What They Say
E-Soh can't take E-Wan's attitude towards Kum-Ji anymore. But what can he do? Nothing, especially when the girl says her heart's not moving towards him. Does he really have to give Kum-Ji up?
Meanwhile, even after admitting her feelings, Kum-Ji is still confused in what to do. Later, when Kum-Ji hurts her ankle during a run-in with Barbie's gang, E-Soh takes her to the hospital. And Kum-Ji can't stop feeling sorry for what she said...
As Kum-Ji continues her membership with the boys of Yo-I, she finds her life becoming more and more complicated. A confession from E-Soh hasn’t helped matters, but only served to increase the tension between him and E-Wan, the true object of Kum-Ji’s affections. Other fans of Yo-I are still on their quest to drive Kum-Ji away from the boy band, resulting to increasingly violent acts such as attacking her in the park and cutting off her hair with a razorblade. She can’t decide what to do, when E-Soh comes to rescue her and forces her to go to the hospital. This heroic intervention doesn’t help our heroine’s internal conflict at all, and she even agrees to go on a date with the boy she previously turned down. Thoughts of E-Wan continue to follow her everywhere, until she comes to see E-Soh and is stuck waiting for him to come back while in a room with only E-Wan. What’s a girl surrounded by hot boy band members to do?
Well, she’s going to do exactly what you expect, but it‘s going to take a volume full of boy-band drama for Kum-Ji to get around to it. E-Wan’s confession of torturing and killing an anemone when he was a child is rather sad and a shade creepy, until he calls Kum-Ji his “new anemone.” Then the comparison is just flat-out disturbing, even if E-Wan turns it into something of a joke, telling the easily-teased E-Soh that he is “nothing but an anemone” as well. Seeing a girl who is obviously capable of obsessing over boys (her method of joining a fan club to get close to DDL is a prime example) continue to have a crush on one who compares her to something he once killed sets off all kinds of alarms for me. The series seems to be playing towards the shoujo concept that you can’t pick the person that you fall in love with, as E-Soh offers a viable alternative. It’s hard not to feel for the boy who rushes to her aid even after she’s rejected him when compared to the jerk who is capable of ignoring her for hours on end… when they’re the only two people in the room.
In the end, Chocolat is just too far removed from reality to hold a person’s attention while the heroine continues to make foolish decision. Sure, it’s nice to have a female lead who‘s considered unattractive by just about everyone, but few people can relate with being surrounded by a famous boy band. Even worse, Kum-Ji comes off as just plain unlikable in several moments at the book, particularly when she takes advantage of E-Soh’s affection despite having turned him down already. She also tells Barbie, the beautiful fan club president, that the members of Yo-I are like older brothers, but confesses to E-Wan just a few hours later. The authors can’t seem to decide what they want her personality to be, either. When she snaps at Barbie, Kum-Ji is labeled in a side-note as having a “short fuse,” but she also puts up with everything E-Wan does with only the usual token measures of shoujo heroine resistance.
If you’re looking for something that qualifies as melodramatic shoujo drama, then Chocolat may be right up your alley. It’s not as good as many of the other offerings on the market today, mainly due to the fact that it has no lovable characters to latch onto. Kum-Ji’s friend Hyo-Sun and her new boyfriend Jung-Yun offer, in the first few pages of the volume, what would make this series worth reading if it were more highlighted: a cute high school romance between two people who actually like and appreciate each other. Unfortunately, this is shoujo drama, so we get five pages of that in a volume that’s otherwise filled with exactly the opposite.