Good God, who do they think they're fooling with their little "Spicier Than Kimchi: Fresh Hot Manga From Korea"? Allow me to quote the final paragraph:
Why have these Korean series thrived? Without the kind of constraints a manga-ka might encounter in the Japanese industry, a lot of Korean work is pushing the boundaries of art and narrative to create absolutely incredible comics.
Don't make me laugh. The Korean manhwa industry is every bit as regulated as the Japanese one; after all, guess what it's modeled on!? Artists don't do stories in Korea that editors have not already approved. Not to mention that Korea is much more strict when it comes to violent and sexual content.
Even worse: In "The Straight Guy for Shonen-ai," they are calling Legal Drug by CLAMP, Fake by Matoh Sanami, Gravitation by Murakami Maki, and Hands Off! by Katsumoto Kasane "shonen-ai manga." It's great to live in a fantasy world of one's own creation, isn't it?
This free magazine is a good idea, so why do they have to ruin it by writing factually inaccurate articles???
Anyway, a small pile of Tokyopop books last night to wash away the unpleasant taste of Tokyopop Takuhai:
Gravitation Vol.12 by Murakami Maki
Final volume, and Bad Luck's singles release competition with Nittle Grasper comes to a head. Who was behind all of these crazy machinations? Why, Ryuuichi, of course, who is grooming Shuuichi, in his own decidedly demented way, to take his place! Yep, that's the final punchline of Gravitation, and while it is a convincing one, the rocky stops and starts of the manga, when it's clear Murakami doesn't know where she wants to go with the story, makes the ending less powerful than it oculd have been. Methinks she got the idea from watching the anime? *winces* Of course, the humor doesn't stop, and I almost died of laughter when Shuuichi broke out his final "song." Oh, err, that final epilogue with K about the series being over is a Tokyopop invention; Murakami has come back to her classic with new chapters just recently!
Lament of the Lamb Vol.7 by Toume Kei
Yet another final volume, and lemme tell ya I was lovin' it lovin' it lovin' it until the very end. So Kazuna's year with Chizuna was wiped from his memory!? Is that it!? I hate those "it was only (like) a dream" endings, and I see them way too much in fantasy-tinged stories. I would much rather have seen Kazuna legitimately overcome the Takashiro curse; perhaps and epilogue of him dying of ripe old age surrounded by descendants also free of the curse would have been a pleasure. Still, the beauty of the primary metaphor, of a lamb in wolf's clothing with wolf's teeth, cannot be overstated. Toume has something great her going, in a manga of quiet dignity so different typical of BIRZ Comics but so different from the Shounen Jump dreck that has been innundating our shores lately. Highest recommendation!
Snow Drop Vol.10 by Choe Gyeong-a (Choi Kyung-ah)
The double Romeo & Juliet plot is coming to a head, with So-na at least renouncing her love to Hae-gi and marrying Hwi-rim in order to protect Ko-mo, who was near-fatally attacked by goons working for her and Ha-da's family. At last, we get to see our boys together in bed (though strangely they never seem to shed their clothes--Korean censorship at work), and while Ha-da confesses true love, Ko-mo's still out for revenge. I'd really, really like to see them live happily ever after, even more than the protagonist and her man clutch, if only because you really do get a sense of how forbidden this kind of stuff is in Korea. (Not to mention the conflict between the families.) Only two more volumes to go in this epic sunjeong manhwa series that represents one of the best of its genre to make it over to the US.
Next up for today: The first DVD volume of Tenjho Tenge!!!! I kid not.