Lights Out (aka: An Evening Something Wonderful May Happen) Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, March 30, 2006
Release Date: Saturday, October 01, 2005
Translated by:Ellen Choi
What They Say
Gun is still having a difficult time trying to win Seung-Ah's love and attention. To make matters worse, Seung-Hyuk, a close friend of Seung-Ah and former resident of Lucky Residence enters the scene. On top of everything else, Seung-Hyuk also happens to be a famous motorcyclist. To counter this threat to his goal of attaining Seung-Ah, Gun decides to take up motorcycling so he can compete in the Grand Prix and prove his manliness. Will Gun manage to place in the top 5 so he can qualify for the final round and Seung-Ah's love?
Lights Out feels like a late-night manuscript written by a high-school kid hopped up on Red Bull and No-Doze; it's pace is all over the place, making it hard to focus on anything for longer than a chapter. Sophomore slump indeed.
The new cover art looks great, but unfortunately is not representative of the type of artwork you'll find inside. I wish the insides looked as good as the cover. The print reproduction looks fine, perhaps just a tiny bit dark in some areas. There is one full chapter that was originally full-color, but no color plates were used here. There is no extra content in this volume.
Myung-Jin Lee's artwork is very rough around the edges, with loose lines and somewhat sloppy tone work at times, and definitely shows it's age a bit. The perspectives are also much too close, crowding each panel with headshots and very little backgrounds. Overall that leaves the book feeling very crowded at times. Character designs are pretty basic, but also feel quite lively.
SFX are not translated, with the exception of a couple random ones that are subbed. I know I sound like a broken record, but TOKYOPOP really needs to rethink this decision. SFX should be translated! The translation reads alright for me, it's fun and silly and seems to capture the *attempted* humor of the title.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
After reading this second installment of Lights Out, I'm beginning to wonder if Myung-Jin Lee has trouble with focusing on anything for longer than a chapter, sometimes even shorter than that. Now granted, the debut volume had this same issue, but I'm more willing to be lenient with introductory volumes as the creator irons out the bumps and warts to gain that focus. Sadly, this second volume seems to have escaped what little semblance of structure existed.
The core of this story, from what I can gather, is a romantic comedy where a hapless ex-thug, Gun, tries to win over his beautiful, motorcycle driving housemate, Seung-Ah. However, there are two problems with this: no comedy and no romance. While I thought the first volume was just barely quirky enough for some laughs, this volume just falls completely flat with a few jokes absolutely incomprehensible in their delivery. I can only laugh at exploding nose bleeds for so long before I get one myself due to a brain aneurysm. The romance usually involves Gun doing something stupid to push Seung-Ah farther away, getting irritated at a potential love rival, or accidentally groping her (which leads once again to the splooging). How romantic, right?
At the turn of a page, the story changes focus into becoming a motorbike racing competition, as Gun learns how to ride (and race!) a motorcycle in the span of a couple days in order to compete against another boy from Seung-Ah's past. In the span of about 30 pages, Gun goes from training on a bicycle to competing in the World Grand Prix and holding his own against the best in the world. How or why did we get to this point!?!? To add to the hyperactive plotting, new characters are introduced, including an outrageous and unfunny new housemate who only shows up to add fuel to the ADD fire.
Wow, what a difference a volume makes, eh? I had a really hard time getting through this second installment of Lights Out. It was even harder to get collect my thoughts, as the frenetic pacing made me feel as though I was shot up with amphetamines, spun around in circles while blindfolded, and then placed in front of a bright screen ready to type! This title is marked as a comedy, but there is nothing really funny here outside of the standard jokes and material that I've read a million times over already. The poor pacing doesn't allow for any action scenes to develop properly, forcing the reader at warp speed through the book. If things would just settle down, I could at least hope to focus on something and find some bit of enjoyment.
Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Left to Right