I-Doll Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Christopher Nadolski
Review Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, April 01, 2008

High school punch 'n kick angst - the rock musical!

Features
Writer/Artist: Mi-Ae Choi 
Translation: Jihae Hong 
Adaptation: Liz Forbes

What They Say
When four troublemakers are arrested for a variety of crimes, the judge hands down the ultimate sentence: The quartet must form a band! Ji-Yoo Lee, the top student at school, is arrested for gambling with gangsters. Woong Jung, a gang leader, is busted for allegedly beating up innocent bystanders. And Eugene Kim, the Goddess of Argument, is being held for fighting with another girl over a plush toy. As punishment, they have to unite with a Hyuun-Goo Kang, Woong Jung's rival gang leader, and form the definitive boy band! Will these menaces to society find out what's so funny about peace, love and understanding? Global manga-ka Mi-Ae Choi spotlights the ultimate menaces to society--who are on a journey to find out what's so funny about peace, love and understanding?

The Review!
Technical:
Bare-chested Hyung-Goo replete with blue hair and prim earrings poses against a scribbled classroom chalkboard on the front cover. More chalkboard scribbling on back frames the summary, completing a predominantly slate, drab packaging. Inside, a healthy range of ages - the hip young faculty, wizened and crotchety principals, and the brash, beautiful students - make for plenty of variety in art, faces and rendering techniques. Inking is clean and wispy for the bishonen/bishojo youth, and older characters have plenty of course hatch marking. Screen tones carry a good bit of textural information and clothing patterns, but can become a bit jumbled when also worked in to the backgrounds.

For the most part, things hold together ok, but wow... the monstrous hands! Whole heads could easily fit in the palms of these distractingly colossal hands, and at times they actually do. The paper and ink quality are good, and there is no problem with the translation, but come the end of this volume, the only "extras" to speak of are a one page prelude to the next volume and three pages of advertisements.

Content:
Enter a world of high school angst alongside Moo-Nyung, Hyung-Goo, Yoo-Jin, Ji-Yoo, Rae-Yoo and Woong. If that seems confusing, you will probably be just as confused while trying to read this volume. Let me break it down for you. Basically we have two step sisters and two rival gangs. One of the gangs picks on one of the step sisters who is then rescued by the other gang. The result is a bunch of hospitalized thugs. All these kids go to the same high school, so the hijinks of the after-math form the bulk of this kinda-comedy.

The two gang leaders must be dealt with, and the faculty hems and haws for many pages, deliberating over an appropriate punishment. Meanwhile, three of the other students comprising teen sensation "Mercury", bask in their own glorious, glamorous boy-band enchantment. When not flashing their bare chests on stage, they strut the school hallways, get swooned over by chibi rendered fangirls and seem to be the inspiration for the faculties eventual solution - chastise the offenders by forcing them together to form a rock band of their own. Joining them in this sentencing are two more gang thugs, and one of the aforementioned step sisters who has earned a place amongst the reprobates with her fight-picking ways. Well, not surprisingly it's no match made in Heaven, and the gang hate continues to fester, threatening to erupt with flying fists and feet at any moment... or more appropriately, in the next volume.

In Summary:
It's clear that these quarrelsome characters are trying to be either rapscallion enough to have a mischievous appeal, or villainous enough that readers will "love to hate" them. Though not quite there on either account, the concept - however implausible - of combining a constructive pursuit with disciplinary measures is an appreciable theme which deserves at least a glance. Anyone who has ever had the dubious responsibility of dealing with the tantrum-prone knows that such a feat is either ingenious, or folly of the worst kind.



Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: C-
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 184
ISBN: 978-1427805867
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left