Yaoi Manhwa: Audition, Vol. 1

August 22nd, 2006

No, you did not read the title incorrectly. Today I am hitting *two* firsts for Okazu – reviewing a yaoi narrative and a manhwa, a Korean comic. :-)

Trust me, okay?

Here is the incredibly succint synopsis that I found on buyDVD.com for Audition, Vol. 1, by Kye Young Chon:

Buok Pak runs her own detective agency, but she’s without a case. Business is slow and she needs to make rent. As luck would have it, she gets a visit from her first potential client. Too bad it’s none other than her old high-school rival, the beautiful and spoiled Myung-ja Song.

It turns out that Myung-ja’s father, head of Song-Song Records, has just passed away. An eccentric man, he had put a crazy stipulation in his will that keeps Myung-ja from inheriting the company outright! In order to claim her inheritance, she has to find four genius boys that he met in the past and bring them together to form Korea’s greatest boy band!

The four “geniuses” have grown up into talented young men – but their personalities are not exactly “star” quality. Can Buok and Myung-ja find them in time to sign up for Song-Song’s Audition?

Okay, read the first two paragraphs again. Notice the lead characters. They are, in fact, the typical love-hate Yuri rivalry couple. The boys are, at least for Volume 1, nothing more than background scenery in front of which the two women become reluctant partners, roommates, boss and employee, and mistress and servant. Seriously.

See – you can trust me. Even in BL, I can find Yuri. :-) I am not alone in this, by the way. My beloved wife, who is not a Yuri fan, nor does she go around burdened with a set of Yuri goggles, saw a  Yuri vibe immediately between Buok and Myung-ja.

Audition marks the first time I’ve been able to review a book by my good friends at Drama Queen, one of the coolest group of Yaoi fans I know. Drama Queen is seeking to do for BL what ALC Publishing is doing for Yuri – find and promote good stories and great artists. Their books are always sleek and clean, with solid translations and a good look. Obviously, because of the focus on Yaoi, I’m not likely to read too many of their series, but the owner of DQ, my friend Tran, is always shooting me off a few copies of stuff she thinks I’ll enjoy. In this case – she hit it head on. Both of the readers in my house finished this volume with “I’ll definitely read the next volume.” And when you’re talking about two people with a gazillion series they’re following between them, you *know* you’ve made an impression.

The one down side of this series is, I’m sorry to say – the art. I am not a fan of the typical tropes of BL art, the long-limbed, sunken-chested lads with girlish faces and behaviors. As you can clearly see from the cover above, this particular artist has issues, as well, with proportion. If *I* can see that the head is too small for the body, it’s obvious. The story is rife with handwaves but, like, Simoun isn’t? :-) I don’t see anything actually happening with Buok and Myung-ja, but that’s what fanfic’s for, isn’t it? LOL

Ratings:

Art – 4
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 2 (doesn’t need Yuri goggles to see, but they help)
LFG – 2 (the pretty boy stereotypes, sure to become annoying in later volumes, are barely distracting in this one)

Overall – 7

Character trumps art in this case and Audition, Volume 1, remains enjoyable for Yuri and BL fans alike.

 

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