A young woman in her first year of teaching high school finds herself the object of a student’s attentions.
Translated by:Dongjin Oh
Adapted by:Barb Lien-Cooper
What They Say
Miss Jung is a young, pretty new high school teacher. Handsome, dark, and mysterious, Ryu Min flunked his senior year and is now an adult student in her class. And Mr. Nam, a former classmate and fellow teacher of Miss Jung's, has been in love with her for years but doesn't have the courage to tell her. As Ryu Min's advancements toward Miss Jung increase and Mr. Nam starts to notice, will Miss Jung follow her head or her heart?
The cover illustration is the color version of the two-page splash art for Chapter 1. Purple and gray hues dominate the drawing of "Prince Charming" Ryumin and his girlfriend Hayoung. The two lock gazes as Hayoung, wearing a slinky flower print dress, leans seductively over Ryumin, seated in an armchair. The splash drawing doesn't have any background imagery, and Tokyopop uses a solid white backdrop for the front cover and solid pink for the back. The title logo and author's credits in hot pink and gray are aligned to the top of the front cover. The volume number is placed to the lower right in white and gray. The Tokyopop logo in gray is aligned vertically along the left edge. On the back cover, we have the title logo followed by the story synopsis in white lettering, and at the bottom are ISBN, genre, and age rating icons.
The print quality, binding, and materials are satisfactory. Extras include a four-page afterword in comic book style from the author and ads for other Tokyopop releases.
The artist's illustrations vary in quality depending on the intensity of the scene. For the more dramatic moments, both male and female characters have meticulously shaded and lashed eyes and detailed lips that I find reminiscent of a Barbie doll. However, for more casual and especially crowded scenes, characters' features are extremely simplified. In some panels, the artist doesn't even bother drawing facial features. For comic scenes, facial features are exaggerated and distorted for effect. Bodies are proportioned realistically, and males tend to be on the pretty side. Backgrounds, mostly school, home, and city backdrops, are about average. The artist occasionally uses flowers and flowery screentones around the main characters, but they are by no means overwhelming.
Tokyopop uses a decent variation of lettering styles for this title. Some signs and books are translated with overlays, and the vast majority of sound effects are not translated. Tokyopop has chosen to change Korean honorifics to English equivalents in this translation.
In regards to the dialogue translation, the editing is somewhat sloppy; I found grammatical errors in three spots. In addition, the text is awkward in places; for example, in one scene, Ryumin calls Daoun's brother "senior." I'm assuming that the original Korean was a term of respect for an older classmate (similar to the Japanese sempai), but in English, it sounds weird for one teenager to call another teen "senior."
Daoun Jung is a young literature teacher in her first year at Daiwon High School. However, the challenge of instructing for the first time becomes increasingly difficult when she starts getting the uncomfortable feeling that one of her students is constantly staring at her in class. Her colleagues tell her it's just her imagination, but Daoun soon discovers that her suspicions are correct when a male student uses the pretense of going over a test score to make a move on her! Daoun rebuffs him immediately, but to her surprise, he withdraws indifferently as if it had been a game.
The student is Ryumin, the school's handsome "Prince Charming," and Daoun immediately writes him off as a player. However, now that he's caught her attention, she can't seem to ignore him, especially when she gets inklings of his troubled home life. And Ryumin's family life is strained, even more so than Daoun realizes, with the source of the trouble going back to a tragic incident involving Ryumin and an older woman.
Soon thereafter, Hyunwoo, a former classmate of Daoun's, transfers into the high school faculty. However, unbeknownst to Daoun, Hyunwoo's had a crush on her for years but has never had the courage to tell her. As Hyunwoo struggles to tell Daoun how he feels, Ryumin takes notice of the older man's attentions while Daoun remains blissfully oblivious. Will either capture her heart or will a tumultuous love triangle result?
For some reason, the theme of "the fordidden attraction" between teacher and student remains a constant in manga, and Seduction More Beautiful Than Love presents a Korean artist's take on the subject. Whereas titles such as Card Captor Sakura or Marmalade Boy include teacher/student relationships as auxiliary storylines, the student's obsession with his teacher takes center stage in this manhwa.
Actually, this entire story seems steeped with deviant behavior. In addition to Ryumin's somewhat twisted obsession with Daoun, we have Ryumin's possessive girlfriend who has her own unhealthy obsession with Ryumin's scars; Daoun's coworker, who makes a point of flaunting her body before her male students; and the way Ryumin kisses Daoun's brother to throw him off balance. The one somewhat normal relationship is Hyunwoo's unnoticed and unrequited crush for Daoun, but that almost feels as if it was thrown in to provide some humor in the midst of all the story's angst.
There are very few actual events that take place over the course of the story, and the author focuses mainly on character feelings and flashbacks. The two main plot drivers are Ryumin's mysterious past and the dramatic confrontations that arise between the different characters of the story. Ryumin is anything but straightforward so you're always left guessing as to whether his words and emotions are real or fake. Regarding character interactions, the primary ones are, of course, those between Ryumin and Daoun, but from Daoun's end, they're less about falling in love and more about trying to figure out Ryumin's game and beat him at it. You have to question her judgment at times though (what kind of teacher takes a student up to her bedroom alone at night?). But in addition to Daoun and Ryumin’s interactions, the story also includes plenty of additional conflict between Ryumin and his parents and between Daoun and the others in her life.
Although Tokyopop labeled this title as a romance, it feels less of a romance and more like the story of a very disturbed student complicating the already complicated life of a young, struggling teacher.
This title is rated 16 + for swearing, sexual overtones, and mild violence.