Jae-Gyu has to learn how to live in the city, and deal with the responsibilities of being the demanding Whie-Hwan’s fake girlfriend.
Writer/Artist: Gong GooGoo
Translation: JiEun Park
Adaptation: Natalie Baan
What They Say
Thrust in the middle of a family feud, Jae-Gyu reluctantly accepts Whie-Hwan’s proposal (he may be a jerk, but he’s loaded!). For the next month, she’s agreed to pose as his live-in girlfriend and obey his every command! It’s been less than a week since she moved to Seoul, and already she’s in way over her head! And small-town life has done little to prepare her for the dark deeds of city nightlife. When Jae-Gyu’s ignorance lands her in a roomful of eager playboys with money to burn, will it be her millionaire “boyfriend” or her rock star admirer who comes to the rescue?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Jae-Gyu can’t turn down Whie-Hwan’s offer – the money’s too good, even if he’s a complete jerk. And it’s lucky for Jae-Gyu to have him in her life when her unbelievable naiveté lands her in trouble after one of her friend’s coworkers convinces her to take a job at a party – with the girl failing to tell Jae-Gyu it’s a “slave auction”, and she’s up for bid! Jae-Gyu is too easily is suckered into something that is obviously a sketchy situation, and then proceeds to embarrass herself by getting completely wasted on the free alcohol. Despite her obnoxious behavior, she manages to snag the attention of a none-too-pleasant man who wants to win her in a bid. Whie-Hwan gets her out while using her to make a big show in front of her staff, but not without angering Jae-Gyu’s would-be bidder, a man who already has a bone to pick with the Thai boxer.
Jae-Gyu isn’t the only person having issues with living arrangements – her brother gets kicked out of the apartment he was staying in after the woman he modeled for felt he was developing “inappropriate feelings”. I wish the author had decided to spend more time on the brother. His parts in the manhwa were brief, and interested me more than many of the things Jae-Gyu was up to. Instead, we leave him halfway through the manga, simultaneously rejected, broke and homeless, with no inkling as to what will become of him.
Sugarholic’s love story gets more complicated when an old love of Whie-Hwan’s is revealed. An older woman who is now engaged, it’s unlikely that she’ll create any sort of disruption to whatever kind of relationship is blossoming between Jae-Gyu and Whi-Hwan, but the accompanying backstory reveals that the ornery boxer actually has a soft, protective side.
Someone who does show the potential to shake things up is Hee-Doo, a rock star who happens to be Jae-Gyu’s childhood friend. Hee-Doo is determined to follow her (with the help of Jae-Gyu’s friend). Though he’s obviously in love with her, the way he thrusts himself at Jae-Gyu isn’t as amorous as he seems to think, and the way he risks putting her in danger by angering his fans isn’t pulling her any closer. Instead, we see our lead girl being drawn to the rich boy who seems to only have cruel words for her, happy to at least have someone waiting for her to come home.
A plain, naive girl that all the boys are in love with isn’t a fresh idea, and after reading so many stories that follow this trope it’s pretty boring. It would be more exciting if Gong GooGoo had tried to do something different with it, but instead, it looks like Jae-Gyu will be following the same path towards falling in love with the snarky male lead that so many shojo heroines have walked before. A look into Whie-Hwan’s past gives him more depth, and while he might not show too much character growth he does become more interesting to read about. This will probably be saved for future volumes, but it would have been nice to see more of what happens to Jae-Gyu’s brother, even if the characters were getting too numerous and easy to confuse. Sugarholic has it’s cute and funny moments, but if you’re already bored, or annoyed, with the shojo genre then this manhwa is a pass.
Content Grade: B- Art Grade: C- Packaging Grade: B Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+ Released By: Yen Press Release Date: November 17th, 2010 MSRP: $10.99
Angela has been writing about anime, manga and comics for the past few years, and her work can also be found on Manga Bookshelf and Creative Screenwriting. She recently received her MFA in Creative Writing for Young People from Lesley University.