Zippy Ziggy Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Infinity Studios LLC
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 180
  • ISBN: 1-59697-161-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Zippy Ziggy Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     December 10, 2005
Release Date: August 01, 2005

Zippy Ziggy Vol.#01
© Infinity Studios LLC

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Eun-jung Kim/Seung-Man Hwang
Translated by:ae-wa Jeong
Adapted by:

What They Say
Reputation is everything in a world of icons and popularity contests. So why not score some points here and there by being the nice guy? This is the way Shinghi Ghang legitimizes the fake personality he has everyone believing. Armed with his above average looks and a (completely false) angel-like personality, he has every girl in school head over heals, and all the guys looking to him for guidance. With the exception of having a screwed up cross-dressing devil for a dad, Shinghi's life is perfection... that is, until Soong-he transfers to his school.

While being a complete martial artist freak, she also likes to fib just a little in front of those who know her... you know, like acting like she's just a scared little girl who'd play with kittens rather than break brick walls with her head! After all, how can you go wrong with anything when you're as cute as Soong-he?

Fate has brought these two masters of lies together and the two must battle it out to see who will be crowned the undefeated heavy-weight champion of fakeness!

The Review
Nothing says first impression like lying about yourself. Nothing says national model student of the century like a con-artist sociopathic compulsive liar.

Shinghi Ghang and Sung-hae Um have to keep their dark secrets hidden at all costs, if not for themselves then for their proud Hahk-Ah High!

Infinity started publishing titles about a year ago and I have to say if anything at least their presentations have improved greatly since. Having read my share of their titles, I can say Zippy Ziggy is easily one of their best-looking titles so far.

First, we have the original cover art. This cover features lead character, model student/scam artist in training, Shinghi Ghang on a navy background. It is a simple image but now that I think about it, the idea is quite relevant to the content. Since Shinghi is someone who thinks of only himself and his image, seeing him looking even cooler and better looking than usual made perfect sense to me. The logo is similar to the Korean version as it has the same font and color. Both are compact and the color just jumps off the dark background. The opposite cover has an image featuring the main players in this volume standing in front of Hahk-ah High School " (fron left) Thuk-chir Kim, Seung-hae Um and Shinghi Ghang. All of this is done on a matted finish.

Inside, Infinity has included 4 color plates. This was a big surprise. I have seen volume headers and content pages, but few publishers include more than two plates if any at all. I hope they are able to do more of that. The paper they are using now is very white. For those who bought the Wanderer from Ironcat early 2004 or PopoCan from Infinity earlier this year, this has the same feel and look. I don't like it. Too bright and the GN looks cheap. However, the printing looks good on this paper and the paperweight makes this 190 page GN look a little more than half the width of a regular GN. At the same time, the paper also lets the ink bleed through quite a bit. So, this was not a good solution to something that was not broken. At the end of the GN, Infinity provides a couple preview pages and a handful of ads.

I don't know why, maybe it is the funky hair layering or the detail done to Hwang-sensei's female characters when they are kicking but I get this Oh!Great vibe when I look at the art for Zippy Ziggy. Okay it is nowhere near as lush and detailed as Oh!Great's current work and miles away from his cover art, however I still feel that there is some resemblance there. Characters are stylish, using many similar designs " hip-hop, punk and preppy. They both tend to super-deform their characters for effect and comedic relief. I noticed a good amount of detail setting up the action as well. Hwang, often positions his characters for maximum effect " to get the motion of each blow, the continuity between each combo chain and to get the best angle for fan-service (bijin or martial arts). I also noticed the style of shading and inking Hwang employs. This is earlier Oh!Great, where the lines are heavy and almost distracting but I thought it worked because of the funky comedy stylings. Characters are both long and fit looking or big and beefy and unless you are in the background there is no in-between. But in general, they all look good with their spikey hair-dos and slightly altered school uniforms.

I am often cautious whenever I get to review a manga from Infinity Studios. Typos, name inconsistencies, grammar and syntax errors have plagued most of their titles that I have previously read. Note I said previously, for I have picked up two of their August releases and both of them are very good. Zippy Ziggy is practically error free and on top of that it sounds good. Personalities really stand out, which is important for there are some extreme characters in this title. Infinity also does something that seems natural to manga but might be new to manhwa " they keep Korean terms in the dialogue. Infinity keeps terms like "do-jhang" (aka: dojo) and "geh-thuk" (pointless) with translation notes placed in the gutters. I think this is a great idea that gives readers a closer look at the language and culture.

SFX are really nice. SFX are subbed with translations that are smaller than the original to preserve Park's nice art. With all of the action in this series, seeing small subs is a perfect way to keep readers into the art and not frustrated by clutter.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shinghi Ghang is living a double life. At school, he is the prototypical model student. He has the best grades, the kindest most humble personality and the good looks that make everyone around him, student or teacher, respect him. In some ways respect is not even the right word to describe their feelings for the young man. These people admire Shinghi almost to the point to where they have placed on a god-like pedestal. He is the role model all the guys look up to and the idol all the girls want to date. You might think all this praise and respect would be hard to live up to but Shinghi truly is an exceptional person in many ways.

Once you see him out of his normal element, you really see how special he is. He is a manipulative, deceiving, self-promoting jerk. Once out of the school gates, Shinghi is a person that is only out to watch for his own back. To Shinghi nothing is more important than his reputation. Despite the self-sacrificing humble act he puts on, every move he makes is purposely thought out to advance his position in life. Therefore, whether he takes advantage of the ignorance of others to get his teachers on his side or he simply spikes the coffee of a rival who wants in on "his" women Shinghi will not think twice about doing the wrong thing to maintain what he thinks is his.

Seung-hae Um has some secrets of her own to keep. As the new transfer student at Hahk-ah High School, she feels she now has the perfect opportunity to start a new life. Usually a spine-breaking hard-hitting martial arts master in the making, she wants to just be a normal girl at her new school. She wants to have friends that are not beefy sweaty dudes in gi. She also wants to keep away from fake weaklings that only try taekwando to hit on her. Moreover, at her new school she can get some rest from the hard working world of martial arts. Maybe she can even join a cooking club while she is at it.

Together these two are like fire and ice. They are both covering up their personal lives, but while one fights to take care of the weak, the other lives to take advantage of the weak. They tend to seriously rub each other the wrong way, but for some reason they have not only yet to come to blows but they are even covering for each other's lies... so far. Then again, their lies run so deep they don't know what each other knows about each other... so far. Give them some time and they will likely end up either killing each other or completely changing the way things work at Hahk-ah High for good or bad.

I found it really difficult to get to fully enjoy Zippy Ziggy. Something about this title just rubbed me the wrong way from the start. Maybe the idea of two liars ruining each other's lives was not for me. Maybe having a cast filled with either gullible or self-centered characters that made the story hard for me to read was it. Whatever the problem was, I do not feel this is a story that at this point would find itself much of an audience.

Okay so I have a beef with the characters. That was the first time and will not be the last. However, there are times where messed up characters can do some entertaining things. Shinghi and Seung-he are nothing out of the ordinary in the manga/manhwa world. One is a shallow weakling that takes advantage of people at any opportunity at whatever cost, while the other is a she-hulk beauty with a short fuse. These are standard characters and while more often than not the roles are not always leads, when placed up from and center one can see how difficult these characters are to make look good. Then there is the plot. It is slapstick based and completely relies on characters embarrassing themselves. So essentially that means one of the leads is abusing the weak or their lies are being exposed and they are the ones being embarrassed. Ultimately, the whole concept is all flash, fighting scenes and fan service and it is neither amusing nor really funny.

High school is not always a fun time, so I can appreciate the satire here but outside of that there really very little sustaining the comedy. There is no plot and no direction. Maybe I am not the right audience for this title. Maybe I am losing something in the translation or the style of abusive humor. But there is so little that this title has to offer I am not sure if I would miss this series too much if Infinity would ever get back to it.


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