Tag - You're It! Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, May 15, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Translated by:Bochan Kim
What They Say
Presenting an unprecedented collection of outrageous tales, scientifically designed not to just tickle your funny-bone, but to snap it right in half! You'll meet Jungha Lee, a boy with blackened teeth and heart to match! Then here the self-proclaimed "Doctor of Dating," whose advice should be ignored at all costs! There's Serang, a teenager whose plan to play matchmaker for her lonely boss takes a bite out of her backside! And we're not even going to mention the manic manhwa artist, the sadistic dentist, or the crossdresser! Face it, Fans! If you read only one graphic novel starring a cast of maladapted, myopic, melodramatic megalomaniacs " This is the one!
CPM gives us a collection of semi-related short stories about modern day life in Korea from Sook Kim.
The cover is slightly underwhelming image of a girl and two boys, with the English logo above them. White against pale yellow doesn't do a lot to make itself stand out. The back cover has a nice image of one of the girls from the story in black and white against the pale yellow background surrounded by the synopsis. It's a very typical effort from CPM.
Kim's artwork is very typical of the genre, with spare linework and simple to non-existent backgrounds, but nicely rendered facial expressions. Panels flow nicely from one to another to make this an easy and smooth read. Art reproduction is quite reasonable, though there really isn't anything in the art to tax the limits of CPM's presses.
Sound effects are left in the original Korean, but with English translations next to them. The translations are as large as the Korean writing and in a style suitable for the sound effects. It would be rather crowded in another story, but with Kim's spare artwork, nothing gets crowded out. The story reads well, with a smooth and natural delivery to spoken dialogue. While the dialogue is up to date, it's not heavy with the sort of jargon that will date it in a few years. The only thing that was odd was the end of the final chapter which says "To be continued in ZZIM! 2." ZZIM! is the manwha's title in Korea. I would guess that this was overlooked when the decision to change the title for the US market was made.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are five stories in this volume that are occasionally inter-connected. Each story stands on it's own, however. In the first, Jungha Lee is a young man who is dating the prettiest girl in school, Hyunji. There's only one problem. Jungha Lee hates the dentist so much, his teeth are decaying. He tries to hide it, but just about everyone but his girlfriend are aware of it. He suddenly realizes that his birthday is coming up, and he just might get his first kiss from her. Desperate, he realizes he needs to face his fears and get his teeth fixed before it's too late. In the next story, Gunho Jang has a new girlfriend. But he's a little hesitant about how to handle this new development, so he turns to the self-proclaimed "Doctor of Dating", Taewoo, to the rescue. Meanwhile, Taewoo is also instructing Sohee on how to tame her new boyfriend, not realizing she's Gunho Jang's new girlfriend. Of course his advice to both is contradictory and just drives the two further apart. In the third chapter, Serang is an 18-year-old high school senior with her first part time job at a café. Her boss is young but rather simian looking. Every day at the same time, a beautiful and mysterious woman stops at the café, and has a hot lemonade. The boss is very taken by her, but because of his self-awareness of his less than impressive looks, he's too shy to speak to her. Serang then makes it her mission to put the two together. In the fourth chapter, Serang gets herself a new job, working with Baek-Su, a sometimes actor and full-time housecleaner. They arrive at a house that is filthy and inhabited by a seemingly crazy manhwa artist who is fast approaching her deadline and has no assistants. The two are forced to work for this madwoman all through the night to help her finish her work on time. The final chapter is just the first four pages of a longer story about a single woman who is dealing with her sister's nagging to get married.
These five (well, four and a bit) chapters are a mildly enjoyable, if not necessarily noteworthy look at modern-day life in Korea. Nothing about this title stands out, other than the fact that the first chapter is just a little stomach-turning. There are much worse titles out there, but there are much better as well. It's reasonable middle-of-the-road fare, but only that.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CPM Press
Orientation: Left to Right