Writer/Artist: JiSang Shin / Geo
Translated by: Jackie Oh
What They Say
Berry is the girl who has a warm heart, trying to take care of Tsuyoshi. As Tsuyoshi comes to rely on Berry more and more by the day, they slowly come to know each other better, becoming friends.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Life has gotten a lot more complicated for Be-Ri ever since her new Japanese neighbor moved in. As soon as Tsuyoshi joins her class, her friend Mi-Hyuk abruptly declares to everyone at school that Be-Ri’s his girlfriend and, to Be-Ri’s chagrin, won’t take no for an answer. And then to make things worse, an incident involving Be-Ri’s cat leads to Tsuyoshi getting injured! But somehow, in the middle of all this turmoil, Tsuyoshi and Be-Ri come to a better understanding of one another. But how will Tsuyoshi’s love interest Erica take their friendship when she abruptly shows up in Korea?!
The overarching storylines of this manhwa are the angst of adolescence and mutual understanding developing out of hate at first sight. In this volume, a couple simple acts of neighborly kindness take Be-Ri’s and Tsuyoshi’s relationship out of their initial animosity, but despite the progression of their relationship, it’s difficult to care about them because of the extremely wacky situations used to bring out their teenage awkwardness. In a sense, the creators have sacrificed making relatable characters in favor of humor, although their comedy often isn’t that funny. For instance, Be-Ri thus far has been portrayed as a non-fashionable tomboy with a noisy, pushy personality, yet at one point, she has three boys, including the most popular boy in school, simultaneously and publicly expressing interest in her. And later in the story, we have Be-Ri’s humiliating punishment after the incident involving her cat, which itself was a ridiculously contrived scene. While it would be expected that Tsuyoshi would demand compensation for what happened, having Be-Ri drag him around strikes me as more troublesome than simply using a crutch.
The way these over-the-top scenes are juxtaposed against moments of quiet understanding and introspection make the characters, especially Be-Ri, come off as more schizophrenic than deep. That added on top of the confusing way Yen Press continues to handle the translation and translation notes for this title just makes this manhwa a chore to read.
Extras include color pages of the cover art, an opening note from the creators, a three page mini comic describing the lives of the creators, translation notes, and ads for other Yen Press titles.
Content Grade: C
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: C
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 18th, 2008