Full House Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Monday, September 20, 2004
Release Date: Sunday, August 01, 2004
What They Say
Elle is an aspiring screenwriter determined to make it big. Ryder Baye is a world famous actor that is always the center of media scrutiny. When Ryder buys the house that Elle is currently living in, these two very different people find themselves dealing with each other's seemingly incompatible idiosyncrasies, as well as an undeniable attraction to one another. Forced to live in the same house together, Elle and Ryder might turn out to be a happy couple... if they don't kill each other first!
Packaged in a tall B6, Full House is presented in left to right fight format. On the front cover there is an out of character image with leads Elle (at least I think it is her, but she normally does not have short hair) and Ryder hugging. The image is full of varying shades of green on top of delicate inking. Very nice cover. The opposite cover has a panel image of Ryder and Elle in black and green beneath the large volume description. The printing is pretty good. I did not notice issues with alignment or screen tone, actually this looked like one of their better printings. As this series does not have chapters there are no chapter headers or even much of a volume header, but CPM tried to compensate by adding a character introduction at the start of the volume and a short manhwa artist biography at the end. They also added ads for Comic Party and World of Narue.
I am not sure why by Won's art reminds me a lot of Kamio Yoko's (Boys over Flowers) works. The characters have crazy hair, overdone eyes and crazy style. The designs are pretty nice. While a little on the long side, they all have sharp lines, good facial expressions and fun costumes. Backgrounds are okay but at times I wonder if there was any research done on English architecture at all. Indoor scenes are fine, albeit almost ridiculously chic. Outdoor scenes just look like a mish-mash of different metropolitan cities nothing looking like the UK I have seen in person. Fortunately Won's layout makes up for the stale backgrounds. Like the main character, Won's layout has a scatter-brained feel to it, with a variety of panel sizes and strange perspective. Occasionally it feels pretty hyper but that really worked as the characters were often in a panicky and confused mood.
Mayuki's translation is sounds really good. Some translations can be pretty flat and void of emotion and personality, but this work sounds good and distinctly gives each character a unique voice. No grammatical errors or typos, so overall a good production. SFX are subbed with a variation of equally sized FX and small text. CPM does subbing better than most studios out there and it shows in this series. Won-sensei uses a variety of techniques and sizes for SFX and asides, CPM overall handles them all equally well. I will say with the scattered layout readers might miss some asides if they go through this manga quickly.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Elle does not have much in her name. She has a few possessions, a script she been working on for ages and then there is the house her father built. Built in England, this two-story house holds all that Elle holds dear and every nook is a memory of her father. It was as if he built it with her in mind, for it has all of the qualities that she would want in a home. Comfortable and full of light, it is the perfect location for Elle to work on her screenwriting. Today, her home will be taken from her. Her father's home appears to have been sold without her consent and the new owner will be moving in the following day.
Ryder Baye is one of the biggest stars in the UK. His face is on every magazine, every tabloid show and in the hearts of millions of fans. Ryder is talented, rich and popular but there is one thing he is does not have... time off. He is always on. Whether it is on the set or even when hanging out with friends, the public and the paparazzi are all over him wanting news about this introverted superstar. And with every new scandal, every interview and article he becomes more and more indifferent. At times he is completely oblivious to the mounting scandals no matter how potentially damaging they may be. To escape from this fake reality, he bought Full House. A wonderful country home with gorgeous foliage, lots of light and tremendous starry views is what he wanted to escape from the overwhelming eye of the public. When he was first shown the space he fell in love, but now it is starting to look like a cancer.
On his way to move into his new place he had an accident. While in a sneezing fit, he took his eyes off the road and ran over the foot of a crossing pedestrian. Elle Gee was crossing the street and now former and current owners of Full House were to meet for the first time. This would be the start of their unique long-term relationship. Looks like they got off on the wrong foot.
Poor Elle had to run into the man who took her home from her as he brakes her foot with his convertible. Poor Ryder has to deal with this stubborn writer that appears to want to take advantage of his fame and now the tabloids have even more to write about. Fortunately, despite their "fire and ice" relationship, if these two work together they could possibly make all their problems go away. Elle could get her home back, and the paparazzi could give Ryder some time off with the right plan. If they could, maybe, say they were engaged! Can instant enemies be able to live with each other, let alone keep up such an act? Well Ryder is an actor, and Elle wants to write stories for a living, maybe it is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Elle says she's game, but is she ready for the spotlight? Ryder sure hopes so, but he knows they have an uphill battle either way, as there is no way either will give up Full House.
Elle has so little in her life and practically all of it is in the home her father built. Her home is her inspiration, her memory of her father, and when its taken from her she is willing to do anything to get it back. Her motivations may be selfish, but she felt she had a right to her home even if she may not have much weight legally. If she were not so uncommitted she might not have been in this situation, but she never did anything once her dad passed away. Ryder is not to blame for her misfortune. He merely purchased an available property that just happened to have a squatter living in it. Like most people he wanted a place in country where he could live in peace away from the stress of work and stardom. Won-sensei has him as the bigger character, which is able to roll with punches even if they are pretty ludicrous. His mild temperament makes him a character that is easier to relate to than Elle, even though he is supposed to be elite star. By making Elle so difficult, Won has created a character that makes the adverse situations she has to overcome. However, Won has also made her versatile enough where she is capable of overcoming her problems despite her pride. In the end it is their often-heated relationship that really carries this title. Both characters possess strong wills and talent that can possibly get them anything they desire. Experiencing how Won has them exploit others with those skills has been entertaining so far.
As entertaining as the dynamic between Elle and Ryder is, Full House does not have much going for it. While the situational comedy might work for TV where the setting and cast would possibly get ratings, in a manga Ryder's status does not translate well when there have not been scenes with him in action or running away from the paparazzi. Instead he just seems like a good-looking Joe. There is nothing wrong with that, but it does not really stand out from the growing number of romance comedies out there. Elle's personality, while entertaining, is more aggravating than entertaining, so relating to a selfish squatter is a tougher task than I thought it would be. Full House is definitely a fun title and a good read but because of the cast I could not recommend it highly with so many other good romances out there.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CPM Press
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Left to Right