Moon Boy Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ICE Kunion
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 89-527-4604-
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Left to Right
  • Series: Moon Boy

Moon Boy Vol. #01

By Ron Quezon     July 23, 2007
Release Date: May 30, 2006

Moon Boy Vol.#01
© ICE Kunion

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:YoungYou Lee
Translated by:HyeYoung Im
Adapted by:HyeYoung Im / J. Torres

What They Say
Apart from the fact that the color of her eyes turns red when the moon rides, Myung-Ee is your average, albeit boy-crazy, 5th grader. After picking a fight with her classmate Yu-Da Lee, she discovers a startling secret: the two of them are "earth rabbits" being hunted by the "fox tribe" of the moon! Five years pass and Myung-Ee transfers to a new school in search of pretty boys. There, she unexpectedly reunited with Yu-Da. The problem is, he mysteriously doesn't remember a thing about her or their shared past at all!

The Review
On the lower right of the white bordered cover is Yu-Da Lee in his black, mandarin collar high school uniform. In the upper left is the heroine, Myung-Ee Joo, in her high school outfit with a pink vest. The background is a blue sky and clouds, and there is a volume 1 in a blue circle on the upper right. On the cover's lower left (in raised lettering) is a pink Moon Boy logo, with stars and Korean characters in a few of the letters. On the bottom of the cover is a small Danbi logo and the author's name (last name first).

The back cover is reddish pink with a chibi version of Myung-Ee in the center. On the upper left is a large, white quarter circle with the Moon Boy logo in the middle. Just beneath Myung-Ee is the Moon Boy summary in black text. On the bottom are the Ice Kunion logo, the teen 13+ symbol, the price, and the barcode.

The Moon Boy package has no shortage of extras. Tucked inside the cover is a double sided, color mini poster foldout of Myung-Ee, Yu-Da, Sa-Eun Won, and Ho-Rang Jin. There is a page of facts about the author (complete with blood-type) as well as a note from the author. The back of the publication has character concept pages (called Character X-files) and congratulatory messages to the author. There are advertisements for volume 2 and other Korean titles. Additionally, there is a splash page of the main characters at the beginning of each chapter.

This Korean publication includes the traditional elements of Japanese manga. The heroine, Myung-Ee, has long beautiful hair and large eyes that sparkle. The men have slender physiques, spiked hair, and dazzling good looks. There are numerous variations of tones, shading, flowers, and cute little rabbits. As a side note, Hodori the Tiger (the mascot from the 1988 Seoul Olympics) even makes it into the story as one of the teachers.

Panels are vibrant, detailed, and the inking does not run. There are 10 two page spreads throughout the volume. Moon Boy has a nice mix of art styles, including chibi rabbit-like versions of Myung-Ee dotted through the story to emphasize moods and reactions. Additionally, the author does an amazing job illustrating hair styles throughout the volume, including Myung-Ee's waist-length black hair and Sa-Eun's white sea-urchin looking hair.

There are sections that are hard to follow. For example, in the initial confrontation between Myung-Ee and Sa-Eun it's easy to get lost among the many flowers, stars, and tones. Though these additional elements can enhance the story, too many can clutter the panels.

Translated dialogue is easy to read, covers the original Korean text, and matches the mood of the scene. Names and certain key words have been translated into the English phonetic equivalent. Sound effects are visible and the majority of the translations are placed close to the originals. In some sections, the translations are printed over the original Korean text, making the Korean text unreadable. Units have been translated to metric, with height and length in meters and centimeters.

The dialogue is smooth and contemporary with references to the internet and blogs. The translated dialogue is appropriate for high school teenagers and the tone works well in later portions of the book. However, earlier sections of the book take place in the 5th grade, and the tone doesn't change between grade school and high school.

Some of the translations and notes are too fine or hard to read. For example, "Bon-ga" is not translated, but there is a note for "ancestral home" in very small print that is easy to miss. These hard to read notes/ translations are enough to slow the reader down and lower the text/ translation down from an A- to a B rating.

Boy crazy 10th grader, Myung-Ee Joo, has just transferred to Chun-Ah High School and finds herself surrounded by pretty boys galore. However, one boy in particular catches her eye, Yu-Da Lee. He isn't the tallest or the prettiest, but Yu-Da is a mystery from Myung-Ee's past. Like Myung-Ee, Yu-Da's eyes turn red at night. Five years ago, they were 5th grade classmates until the day Yu-Da suddenly disappeared. The problem is that Yu-Da doesn't remember anything about their shared past: Seorin Grade School, Myung-Ee herself, or their shocking secret that they are Earth rabbits!

Long ago, a race of rabbits lived peacefully on the moon. Their peace was changed forever with the arrival of the foxes that hunted and decimated the rabbits. Many rabbits escaped to Earth and disguised themselves as humans. These rabbits integrated into human society over time, lost their identity and powers, and became Earth rabbits. However, it was only a matter of time before the hungry foxes would follow the rabbits to Earth to continue their hunt.

Myung-Ee learns all too well that the foxes are on Earth as she escapes an encounter with one! She has so many questions for Yu-Da. Unfortunately, as the transfer student and the outsider, she has her work cut out for her against the inner circle of the elite student council. To complicate matters, Myung-Ee has trouble making friends and is bullied by classmates at school. On top of it all, Myung-Ee learns that the other three members of the student council are all foxes!

Will she get Yu-Da to remember his past? Why is Yu-Da together with the student council members, who are foxes? How will Myung-Ee rescue him from the fox tribe?

If you call yourself a Shoujo fan, you should definitely give Moon Boy a try. It is an engaging mix of a likeable heroine, high school angst, light comedy, and magical suspense. The story focuses primarily on the development of the protagonist, Myung-Ee, rather than the over arching battle between moon rabbits and foxes. (That being said, there are plenty of encounters between the moon rabbits and foxes). The title Moon Boy refers to Yu-Da and is really about Myung-Ee's pursuit of Yu-Da and the foxes keeping him away from her. She has a sincere desire to help him remember his past-- and validate her own in the process. Though Myung-Ee's interest in Yu-Da is not a romantic one, it's bound to turn into one.

The first 42 pages of Moon Boy are dedicated to Myung-Ee and Yu-Da as 5th graders. Introducing the characters this way is a refreshing change from the typical Shoujo flashback approach of glimpses and hints of the characters' pasts. Myung-Ee and Yu-Da as cute grade school kids draws you into the plot and creates the context to empathize with Myung-Ee's concern for Yu-Da when they are in high school.

There are a couple of items in the plot to note. The relationship between Yu-Da and the student council is curious. Even if Yu-Da is different from other rabbits, why bother with the whole buddy-buddy charade? Wouldn't it be easier to lock him up in some dungeon for a while? (Then again, if that happened it wouldn't be much of a story.) One scene of Myung-Ee being bullied is another curiosity. None of my Korean friends have heard of bullying someone by making her go around in a skirt without her underwear. Actually, to one of my friends it sounded like a teen boy fantasy more than anything else.

Overall, Moon Boy is a solid title. Add a color mini poster fold out and character design descriptions (Character X files), and you have an impressive overall package. If you haven't touched Korean titles yet, Moon Boy makes for a great title to try out Manhwa.


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