Good Luck Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, February 15, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Translated by:Ellen Choi
Adapted by:Darcy Lockman
What They Say
Shi-Hyun is pure bad luck. That's what everyone says...and in some ways, she believes it. So for their protection and her own, she's developed a hard shell that keeps people at bay.
But when Shi-Hyun transfers to a new school, an array of new characters comes into her life. The Queen Bee has a cool personality and the fighting skills to match. The Cold Prince has the looks and demeanor to make all the girls swoon. And what about the nice girl, Hee-Soo - the only one who will come near Shi-Hyun? Well, she has an agenda of her own...
The cover is quite eye-catching in its predominance of black and white with the image placed along the vertical. The back cover shows Shi-Hyun in a most uncharacteristic girly pose. There is a two-page message from the author and nine pages of advertisement for upcoming titles. I didn't find any insurmountable problems with trim or alignment. E-Jin Kang's artwork has quite a bit of solid black with moderate amounts of tone, and I found no problem with the print quality; the blacks are acceptable and the tone isn't muddied or moired.
E-Jin Kang does very nice work. She has a good handle on using black and white, the balance is pleasing. The panel layout is legible and has the appropriate level of energy for a title like this. The biggest problem I have with her artwork is her overuse of the "three-quarter head position with chin tilt" for many of the characters, often on the same page. This made the characters seem posed and artificial. And, while Shi-Hyun has a variety of poses and expressions, the supporting characters do not, and we see the same poses and expressions (or lack of them) over and over. This has the effect of making it seem as if nothing is going on in this manwha, the pages lose some dynamic.
While there aren't a lot of sfx, about half are not translated, and those that are translated are placed near the sfx. There are no offensive regionalizations.
Contents: (may contain spoilers)
Shi-Hyun Lee is about to start at a new high school, her step-brother's school, after being kicked out of her last school for responding in kind to some bullies who harass her for being "the girl who brings bad luck". And the situation is such that she believes it herself. She allows no one to touch her or get close to her, even her step brother whom she loves dearly and silently.
At the beginning of the volume, Shi-Hyun is waiting on a park bench for her step-brother, Shi-Woo, when she spies a guy in a five-on-one fight, who is about to get a knife pulled on him. Shi-Hyun, expert kendo student, comes to his assistance and drops the knife-wielder. After some teasing and banter with the guy, Shi-Hyun tells him that she enjoyed herself and really does hope that she will see him later. As she walks away, he reflects that she doesn't remember him, but he can't blame her, he would have blocked the memory, too.
At the new school, Shi-Hyun's reputation has preceded her, but one student, Hee-Soo, is kind to Shi-Hyun, knowing full well about her reputation. Hee-Soo introduces the campus celebrities, Hee-Young Lee, the beautiful, popular gang leader who rules the school, and Ma-Hyun, the good-looking, popular fighter, who just happens to be the guy Shi-Hyun was with in the park.
In no time, Shi-Hyun shocks and angers her classmates when she upbraids Ma-Hyun and school idol Shi-Woo (no one knows that Shi-Hyun is his step-sister). It doesn't take long for the harassment to begin. Shi-Hyun's uniform, which her brother made for her, is shredded; she is beaten up by a gang of girls; she is left out of a field trip; she is denied membership in the kendo club. Finally, Hee-Soo is kidnapped and Shi-Hyun is told that it is her fault. In the last scene of the volume, we see Shi-Hyun on her way to save Hee-Soo and the unpleasant realization that awaits her.
The author, E-Jin Kang, takes a novel approach to a familiar subject, school bullying, by allowing the reader privileged information early on. We know from where the threat to Shi-Hyun will come. Shi-Hyun is given such personality and dimension that we do care about how she copes and how she got into this predicament. Unfortunately, the attempts at humor often fail and these failures sap the vitality of the story. The scenes with Shi-Woo are the biggest offenders for this. There is an early exchange between Shi-Hyun and Shi-Woo about chest size which makes no sense. And it's not the translator; it's visual and verbal non-sequitur. There is a cross-dressing scene thrown in and then dismissed. It's not even good fanservice.
This is E-Jin Kang's first published work and I'm inclined to cut her some slack on the excessive posing in the art. It was starting to loosen up towards the end of the volume. It remains to be seen whether the humor will support the story better than it has though. However, I will say that when I got to that last page where Shi-Hyun confronts the kidnapped Hee-Soo, I did want to know more.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Left to Right