Hanami: International Love Story Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-59307-739-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Hanami: International Love Story

Hanami: International Love Story Vol. #03

By Patricia Beard     June 24, 2008
Release Date: March 05, 2008

Hanami: International Love Story Vol.#03
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:PLUS / Sung-Jae Park
Translated by:Taeson Kang / Derek Kirk Kim
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
Joonho had stumbled his way into every teenage boy's dream. He was surrounded by sweet, cute girls on all sides: Hanami, his magnetic next-door neighbor from Japan; Joori, his spunky coworker at the fast-food restaurant; and Sae-un, his longtime crush from back home in Suwon. But when Joori makes a pass at him - with a kiss! - Joonho is thrown into emotional turmoil!

It's hard to stay true to Sae-un when temptation gets this aggressive. And to make matters worse, Hanami is thinking about moving back to Japan. It's time for Joonho to make a decision, and fast.

The Review
This Korean take on the well-worn "harem" genre continues and the distinctions to its Japanese counterparts make it well worth reading. This penultimate volume in the series highlights Joonho's problem in finding a resolution to the conflicting feelings that he has about the three young women in his life - first girlfriend Sae-Un, schoolmate and Japanese native - Hanami, and his coworker, Joori.

Joonho is not the geeky guy or nebbish that one would expect. He is a popular guy at school, both for his personality and his athletic prowess. He's a nice guy who tries to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the "right thing" tends to be situational. In this volume, he tries to juggle two dates at once, not out of any craftiness, but out of indecision and fear of offense. He's a likable guy and the reader does feel for him in his predicament.

The fun in this volume is dragged down a bit by the story arc, or lack of one, with Hanami's stalker. It's really unnecessary and detracts from the flow. I would have preferred to see more of that young woman of prodigious strength, Hena, and the students of Hanami's Japanese language group. I would have liked to see more Hanami. For having her name in the title, she's not much in evidence here.

There is some very mild fan service here, mostly involving the enthusiastic Joori. Joonho's behavior is a bit boorish at times, but it does have a point in the context of his heightened interest in matters sexual. Nothing is gratuitous here. Well, except maybe the surprising bodily fluids comment made by one of Hanami's language group friends. Hanami looked shocked and I'll admit that I was surprised. But it's what makes Korean comics so interesting.

More of a teen romance-comedy than a harem comedy, Hanami: International Love Story retains its charm and it's well-developed characters with a very real predicament. Dark Horse continues to give Hanami a fine presentation with a patterned semi-matte cover (Joori, this time) and a matte color plate inside.


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