Mania Grade: A-
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- Art Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B-
- Age Rating: All
- Released By: Infinity Studios LLC
- ISBN: 1-59697-144-4
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Left to Right
Unbalance Unbalance Vol. #01
By Matthew Alexander
January 18, 2007
Release Date: November 01, 2006
Unbalance Unbalance Vol.#01
© Infinity Studios LLC
Writer/Artist:Story: Dall-Young Lim / Art: Soo-Hyon Lee
Translated by:Je-Wa Jeong
Adapted by:What They Say
A young man finds and returns a lost wallet and cell phone to a beautiful young woman, thus begins the destined relationship between two strangers. Sound typical? Well then, how about making the young lady the young man's future homeroom teacher, and give them both a twisted sense of right and wrong. And just for kicks, let's have the young man help himself to a self proclaimed reward from the lost wallet before returning it... but of course, this scenario wouldn't be complete unless the young lady was very unforgiving when it came to teaching one of her students a lesson on morals.The Review
Unbalance x2; a romantic comedy with a strong male protagonist, characters dealing with deep emotional issues, and much love given to the Packaging. Oh, and a smoking' hot teacher!
Contains non-detailed nudity.Packaging:
The front cover depicts the teacher Hae-Young against a solid tan background. Hae-Young is buttoning the bottom portion of her sexy dress and carrying a pointer and lesson planner under her arm. The cover is very attractive, but I was a little disappointed with how much the title covered the artwork (go to the wallpaper section over at Infinity Studios website to see the full picture). The back cover has a story synopsis and another picture of Hae-Young wearing a more respectable dress suit. The print quality is excellent from start to finish. The book has a nice dust jacket and for me, the most impressive part of this book is the color pages. Infinity Studios included the glossy color pages at both the beginning (6 pages) and the start of chapter four (4 pages). I don't have to tell you people how rare this type of publisher love tends to be, so kudos to Infinity Studios.Artwork:
The artwork really adds to the enjoyment of this title. The character designs are attractive and well proportioned. For instance, Hae-Young is incredibly well endowed, but at the same time, she is very tall with wide hips and an almost 'big-boned' appearance that nullifies the Barbie doll look. I also enjoyed the average, everyday appearing high school boys, especially the protagonist Jin-Ho who seems like he could take care of himself in a fight. The artist did a good job with facial expressions and I especially enjoyed the use of shadows in the panels of Hae-Young headshots when she is angry or very serious. Backgrounds are plentiful and the shading is well executed. Text/SFX:
The text reads okay. The translation seems fine, but there are numerous grammatical errors scattered throughout the text. There are a couple tense problems, but most of the errors consist of missing words such as conjunctions or linking verbs. These problems with the text did not lessen my enjoyment of this title, it's just I'm much more aware of these things when I'm in 'reviewer mode'. SFX are translated, woohoo! The original SFX remains with an English translation added alongside. Some readers may think the English SFX is too big, but it didn't really bother me.Contents:
(Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
One day, 19-year-old Jin-Ho finds a wallet and cell phone in a bookstore. He checks the inside of the wallet and finds a small amount of cash and a woman's id card. He takes out a few bucks then goes to turn these items over to the lost and found. Then he happens to see the woman pictured in the ID card. The woman is incredibly good looking so he decides to hand deliver her lost items. Unfortunately for Jin-Ho, the woman checks her wallet and accuses him of stealing money. He fesses up and promises to repay her sometime in the future. Okay, personally, I wouldn't have taken the money, but he's only a teenager and it was only a few bucks so I'll let it slide for now.
Here's where everything goes from a small morality problem to a big daily problem for Jin-Ho. When he starts the new school year, he discovers the lost wallet woman is named Hae-Young, and she just happens to be his new homeroom teacher. To top it off, Hae-Young is a real hard ass and she refuses to let any of her students get away with anything. Unfortunately, Jin-Ho is incredibly stubborn and a slacker, so it's inevitable that these two are going to butt heads.
With the setting in place, the story bounces back and forth between the private lives of Jin-Ho and Hae-Young. Jin-Ho usually hangs out with his popular guy friend Young-Ghi and cute class rep Ji-Sue. Jin-Ho is also president of the AV club, which only has two members and doesn't actually make any movies. Jin-Ho used to write scripts, but now days the AV club passes time playing Go and watching French porn.
Hae-Young is in her mid-twenties, pretty enough to be a model, and lives with her older sister and niece. Hae-Young is an interesting character with a lot issues. Her mother was a teacher and eventually a school principal and her father was an award winning documentary director that moved to France.
This story has numerous serious issues, but these never overshadow the comedy. A few examples to whet your appetite; Jin-Ho drinks too much milk and in a state of panic runs into the women's bathroom where he kicks open the door where Hae-Young is in the middle of something. Jin-Ho's friend Ji-Sue mistakes his invitation to a movie bar (Korean version of a karaoke bar where couples often hook up) as an advance on her virginity, which she thinks wouldn't be such a bad thing until the moment finally comes and she over reacts. While at a public bathhouse, Jin-Ho mistakes Hae-Young for his aunt and sneaks up behind her to deliver a powerful boob squeeze, DOH!Comments
I enjoy harem/romantic comedies, however, the normally wimpy male protagonist does wear on me after awhile. That's exactly why I love this book. Jin-Ho is a slacker, he's obstinate, and prepared to fight for what he wants. Hae-Young is stubborn, beautiful, and ready to castigate any student she thinks is misbehaving. Lock those two in a room and watch the furniture fly. Actually, this is probably going to happen in the next volume since Hae-Young disbanded Jin-Ho's AV club. What does Hae-Young have in mind? Is she taking her anger out on Jin-Ho, or does she have plans for improving the AV club?
I really enjoyed all of Hae-Young's emotional baggage, which makes her a more realistic character. On one hand she's subconsciously competing with her mother, on the other, her father abandoned her at a young age. Then to make her life more complicated, Jin-Ho refuses to back down from Hae-Young until she finally blows her top and slaps the snot out of him. Jin-Ho uncharacteristically takes the abuse without fighting back. What does this say about his past? For Hae-Young, laying the smack down on Jin-Ho only makes her feel worse and even more confused about how to deal with her troublesome student.
I'm dying to see where this story is going. Will Hae-Young get a handle on her class and come to grips with her father's abandonment? Will Jin-Ho ever realize Ji-Sue has a crush on him? Or will the antagonism between Jin-Ho and Hae-Young flame into unbridled passion?
This is somewhat unrelated, but while perusing the Infinity Studios website I came across the Wallpapers section. Very cool. This publisher has created wallpapers from many of the covers and color pages of their books and made them available for download. No titles or dialogue boxes covering the coveted color artwork. A wallpaper section is something a few of the small publishers are doing and I'm surprised none of the bigger companies are partaking.