Couple Vol. #01 -

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Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-58664-951-5
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Couple Vol. #01

By Megan Lavey     July 21, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004

Couple Vol.#01
© CPM Press

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Story by: Jae Sung Park
Art by: Sung Jae Park
Translated by:Christina Sohn
Adapted by:

What They Say
What they say: Opposites attract...or do they? Young Ho has just moved into his first apartment and looks forward to his junior semester at college. Everything is going great until he meets Yu Mi, as first year student without food, money or lodging. Once Yu Mi moves in, her problems are over...but Young Ho's are just beginning!

The Review
I like the way this book looks. The front features a full-cover picture of Young Ho sitting on a wall, looking slightly embarassed with a picnic lunch - complete with kittens - sits next to him. The back cover is a continuation of the same picture, with Yu Mi sitting on the wall and her feet are in the water as well as she smiles. Things are kept pretty simple on both the front and the back, with the logo and the summary not intruding into the picture. About the only thing I don't care for is the font used for the word "Couple" itself. The curly nature seems to go against the overall feel of the cover.

The characters are typical shoujo (or the Korean equvilant.) Most of the characters look like normal people you would meet on the street, though Moon Ki Jo reminds me a lot of Umino (aka Melvin) from Sailormoon. There is no attempt to hide normal biological functions in this volume, so we get to see some humorous scenes with Young Ho having an erection and masturbating to deal with it - and no, you don't actually see the latter happening - along with some full-frontal nudity.

Since this is a manhwa, the book is flipped. The SFX is subtitled and it took me a little bit to get used to it, because this is my first time reading a manhwa. I'm used to seeing Japanese SFX rather than Korean. But, it took me very little time to get used to it. This is a case where I had to rely on the subtitling rather than already knowing what the syllables sound like, so I am grateful to CPM for subtitling this.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the first manhwa that I've ever read, and while it's a different language, much remains the same between it and its Japanese counterparts.

Couple is a character-driven story centering around Young Ho and Yu Mi. Young Ho is going back to college after serving in the army for three years and Yu Mi is a college freshman, who has lost all of her rent money and is forced to go back to her country home unless she finds a savior. That savior happens to be Young Ho, who runs across her and can't get her out of his mind. So, in a gallant move, he takes her into his apartment and his life.

Much of the volume is used to set up the living situation, including the Young Ho's sexual attraction to Yu Mi. This is done through several chapters as Young Ho first meets Yu Mi, sees her situation, then can't stop thinking about her. He deals with not wanting to help her out, trying to be a Good Samaratian and hoping to get some all at the same time - realistic emotions.

We also see a lot of Yu Mi's basic personality - she's very cheerful and hates to give up. Furthermore, she's pushed by a drive to succeed in the city. It's fun to see her reaction to the little things, such as taking a tour of the college campus. There is a slight mystery around her, as attention is drawn to a couple of little things that seem a bit off about her when she first introduces herself to Young Ho and later when she visits the communal baths.

The one thing that strikes me as odd is Young Ho's personality, and especially his attitude toward women. He doesn't act like someone who's spent three years in the army. He is a mixture of innocence and street smarts, but the innocence comes across a bit more here. Then again, he's not as innocence or naive as Yu Mi is - the latter causing her to get into more trouble than she bargained for.

The main member of the supporting cast we see for the most part is Moon Ki, who is very much a pervert. He's such a stereotype that I don't care for him much. His parents are even worse. The other two housemates, Suh Jin and Seung Hooh, appear toward the end of the book - but don't get a lot of screen time here. However, the setup is here for this to be a very Maison Ikkoku-like series. However, with the time that was needed to set up Young Ho and Yu Mi's life as roommates, I'm glad that they don't get a lot of time here.

There is a good mixture of seriousness and humor. The best comes when Young Ho asks Moon Ki for some clothes for Yu Mi to wear while her things are drying, and the best he comes up with is a bunny suit. So, Yu Mi prances around like a girl from Hugh Hefner's mansion for awhile, causing some laughs, but some sweetness as well.

Couple is a very sweet story that manages not to be too sweet. You learn a lot of life as a typical Korean college student here, and it's nice to compare and contrast with what you know about Japanese college life. This series is definitely aimed at adults, with frequent references to sex and masturbation and the feelings surrounding each. There's a few mysteries that spring up that cause me to wonder about Yu Mi a bit, and the book ends on a great cliffhanger. If you're looking to get into manhwa, I definitely recommend this tale. I'm looking forward to the second volume of this series.


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