I Wish Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 978-1-4278-0579-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: I Wish

I Wish Vol. #01

By Ben Leary     June 06, 2008
Release Date: February 28, 2008

I Wish Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyun-joo Seo
Translated by:Grace Min
Adapted by:Che Gilson

What They Say
K is a wizard who can grant wishes--all he asks in return is that which is most precious to the wisher...

Mourning from a horrific loss, Jin Ryu wants K to bring back her parents and brother from the dead. But when K tells her that a wish such as this can only lead to greater tragedy, he agrees to take her on as an apprentice. Now Jin observes K with his various and sundry clients: A father who wants to put a stop to his son's relationship... A young woman who longs for her lover to remember... A boy who will do anything to be accepted...

Global manga creator Hyun-Joo Seo's unforgettable, dramatic tale will ask you to answer one haunting question: What would you give up if you could make just one wish?

The Review
An intelligent manhwa with a fascinating premise: that's a big step up from Little Queen.

I'd like this cover better if it were on a shojo romance (or whatever the Korean equivalent of "shojo" is) but that's not what this series is, even if relationships do figure prominently. It isn't bad, but doesn't really give you an idea of what you're in for. You'll have to go to the write-up on the back for that, which is right next to a smallish picture of K, the wish-granter. There's just too much white overall, though, to avoid blandness. Inside we get a nice print job, however. Something I've seen with several recent TokyoPop titles shows up again here, in that the ex-colour pages look almost as good as the black-and-white images next to them. The monochrome pages, of course, look quite nice too. There are no extras apart from a short introduction by the author.

As in a lot of manhwa the art looks a little "off" to me. I liked K's design at first, and I was all ready to praise its thin, scratchy style for having a creepy and otherworldly feel to it, but then I realized almost all the other male characters are like that. The girls fare better, but there aren't all that many apart from the lead and two love interests in the episodic stories. Layout is very good, though, and once you get used to the way everybody looks it's easy enough to read without distractions.

About par for the course, with some moderate stand-outs. The translation makes for smooth reading, the lettering is particularly good, and there I no errors I can remember. Sound effects are pretty rare, but are translated wherever they occur, apart from a couple of exceptions.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An episodic series has a few things going for it on the front end, regardless of how intrinsically good or bad the content is. They're easy to read; you can take them at your own pace, and you generally get enough variety to keep things interesting. I Wish... has all of that going for it. After the first chapter establishes the premise and main characters, it settles down into a series of episodes, all but one of which are good in themselves yet gain from the framework in which they are placed.

The ability to have wished granted has been a staple of fiction time out of mind. I Wish... manages to avoid a lot of the problems that come with it (such as too-easy solutions) while taking advantages of the possibilities that the device offers. What makes the series is the restrictions - all good wishing stories must have these in order to be stores at all. The traditional way is to restrict the number of wishes: this is done. In fact, it's the most restrictive number of all, one. But the real clincher is that there's a cost for the wish. The cost is the thing the wisher holds most dear. And people don't always know what that is until they lose it, do they? It makes you stop and think what you could wish for that would be worth more than what you value most. Meanwhile, we get to see how other people answer that question. and that keeps us reading...and thinking.

Those are the laws by which the world of I Wish... operates. The character who gives us a way in and a point of view is a girl who accidentally makes a wish (not an "official" one) and comes to regret it in a big way. When she goes to K, the granter of wishes, she can't have her wish granted, since a wish for resurrection cannot be granted, but she can't leave without making a wish, either. K agrees to take her on in the meantime as a kind of assistant while leaving her free to lead a normal life during her time off. We end up seeing a good bit of what happens from her perspective. The only times we're away from her are in scenes where we get a few behind-the-curtain glimpses at who (or what) K actually is. It's a good way to tell the stories. You not only get a frame for the stories this way, but a link between them as well.

All of this holds true and works effectively until the final story in the volume. This feels weirdly disconnected from the others. For one thing, the lead character is almost totally absent. The plot is weaker. It depends too much on misunderstanding for its drama, and even its resolution; and it doesn't make as much sense as it ought to, either. It's even a lot shorter than the other stories. As a bonus story for the end of the volume it would be passable, but as part of the series it drags the book down a little. So I'm going to pretend it actually was a bonus story. Because one more advantage of an episodic series is that if you do get a bad episode, the next one can be a whole lot better.

I can't claim to have read a great deal of manhwa, but I Wish... is easily one of the best I've come across so far. The main premise is so good a bland chapter here and there won't trip it up. I Wish... is shaping up to be a fine, intelligent, and imaginative drama, and is worth a look for those interested in an episodic series with some meat on its bones. This volume fixes all its attention on wishes that are attached to romantic relationships; if it adds a few more arrows to its quiver, there's no telling how many targets it can hit.


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