Click Manhwa, Volume 4 (English)

November 2nd, 2009

There are two crucial qualities for a “Love Comedy” (as opposed to a ‘romantic comedy,’ which is something else entirely.)

First, there ought to be Love. Almost without exception, both Japanese manga and Korean manhwa fail at this part. (I don’t know if Chinese manhua does, since I have read very little of it, but I suspect so.) Instead of characters who love one another, they are filled with characters who barely tolerate each other and are, from time to to time actively violent both verbally and physically. This, we are meant to understand is because they *care deeply* about one another.

It’s not that this is particularly unrealistic. There are many couples who show their love by sniping incessantly at one another. But it’s less fun than a barrel of monkeys for people caught on the sidelines. (I’m saying this with complete awareness that my wife and I have a strong tendency to be that kind of couple.)

Translated to a story, it makes the characters really unlikable. If you don’t like him, we think, why not just walk away? Love is not some overwhelming magnetic force that means you *have* to stay with her.

The second thing a Love Comedy needs is Comedy. This is also something that manga and manhwa are pretty slipshod on. Flipping up a girl’s skirt is neither romantic nor funny, for instance. “Accidentally” grabbing a girl’s breast is simply not as hilarious as manga editors seem to think. And manic-depression in the form of denial, even when you call it tsundere isn’t really all that charmingly fun.

The problem with Click, Volume 4 is that it completely fails to have much Love or much Comedy.

There is *some* love. Joonha is “in love with” her idea of Jinhoo, but it’s not Love. It’s more like an obsession, or an itch. They would even make an okay couple since Jinhoo knows from years of experience what an ass Joonha is, but Joonha’s gender change is as much an obstacle to their being together as her original gender was.

Since we all know men and women absolutely, positively cannot be friends without sexual feelings for one another, a perfectly good friendship between perfectly good equals is ruined by Taehyun’s feelings for Joonha. On the one hand, it’s exhausting, on the other, Taehyun’s interest in Joonha is pretty much the only honest affection there is in the story.

And then there’s Heewon. She has no Love in her, for Joonha, for herself, for anyone. She’s wounded and angry and lashing out. And as a joke, she’s tired. Her verbal and physical abuse of everyone around her is exhausting, and the fact that Taehyun’s lackey friend is a perfect partner for her dominatrix side isn’t really satisfying on any level.

Every one of these characters has gobs of talent and money and not an ounce of Love or Comedy in them. It makes for a constipated read, something you watch like a train wreck, waiting for the inevitable crash.

However, I can’t find it in my heart to hate these characters. They, like Jessica Rabbit, were drawn this way. I can’t *quite* stop reading this series until Heewon gives up Joonha for good and then everyone will be tucked neatly in proper little heterosexual boxes, except for the Jinhoo x Joonha thing, which will be strung along as a fake BL story as long as the author can manage.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – .5
Service – 1

Overall – 6

Thanks kindly to the sponsor of today’s review, Dan P. I feel bad for you, my heroes, that better stuff is not being translated, but your support is nonetheless very much appreciated!

Oh, and a Love Comedy that does work? Strawberry Shake Sweet. Funny, and actually about love.

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4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I always feel so bad when I see you review volume 4 or 5 or higher of a series you really dislike.

    What you said about the relations and the fake BL at the end really points out a factor that really sucks me into books. Even a terrible series will get me sifting through it to find out if this, finally will be the series where a lesbian character doesn’t have the roots of her sexuality planted in one event or a dislike of a strict father. Maybe in -this- one they’ll actually stay together instead of reserving themselves to life of stoic filial responsibility in the arms of whatever faceless arranged marriage member of the opposite sex rolls along towards the end, setting off a spark that makes one of those goofy Yuri realize what a silly little girl she was being all this time. Heck, can I get a shojo book where the prince isn’t constantly teaching the heroine important lessons about how easily he could rape her if he wasn’t such a dreamboat each and every episode?!?! RAWR!!!

    Ok, sorry, I really got worked up there, it’s frustrating…

  2. warpshadow says:

    As a fan of the podcast tbtl I am offended by your use of the word rawr to connote your feelings about this title. That word is more properly used for titles such as Utena, Simoun and Hayate x Blade, because Rawr is shorthand for awesome.

  3. @warpshadow – You clearly need more irony in your diet.

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