In the past five days, I finished binge-reading an entire manga series. Well, to be technical, what I’ve been reading is actually considered manhwa, since the artist is Korean.
I rarely touch manga for three main reasons: 1) manga series are really damn long, 2) the plots are insipid (looking at you, shojo) or extremely out of hand (*cough* shonen), and 3) it can get really addictive. I swear, manga is more addictive than crack or corn flakes, so I know to avoid it like it’s rabies. What brings me there this time? I can sum it up in two words.
For those not in the know, this is the house from the Korean drama Full House. The entire plot line revolves around the eponymous house. Even though I’ve lived in PV some years and seen some pretty drool-worthy homes, this is one of those houses I wish I could live in (the other one is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hanna House, which is built entirely around a hexagon theme, so I can relive my OChem days forever).
[For the record, I’ve only watched two Korean dramas to >90% completion: Full House and Boys Over Flowers.]
I’m too proud to admit that I watch K-drama, and I wouldn’t be caught dead re-watching Full House to look at The House. So when I learned that the show was adopted from a manhwa series, it was like me jumping off the deep end.
It was only 16 volumes, I thought. Perfectly doable: I average about 0.75 hours per volume, assuming I read every panel and actually try to decipher the SFX markings. It’ll take about 12 hours total. [It was a fairly good time estimate.]
Since there is a dearth of reviews on this particular manhwa online, I’ve decided to add my own few cents and actually write a long, thought-out critique for a change.
Where to begin? Plot: it’s completely different from the show, and features much more sexual tension, WTF moments, and different barriers that drive the two romantic leads apart. [It’s been a while since I’ve watched the show, so bear with me.] The plot is simple, if a little contrived, although I can forgive that because most manga plots can’t start off too convoluted, lest the readers get turned off early before things really get in deep.
The general plot follows what I call the Lovers’ Grind, which is illustrated in detail here. It’s your usual shojo fare, and it appeals to the masses. It’s predictable enough that you keep reading for the inevitable hook-up, but has enough random plot twists to keep you reading. The art’s not bad: eyes aren’t too sparkly or large, and body proportions are, for the most part, reasonable. Hair is luscious all around.
Really, though, I’m a little bothered by the ending, which, although predictable, is just…ugh. Asians are conservative, yes, and sex is a big deal, but should the climax really be a sex scene? I endured eleven hours of hurting my eyes to see them get it on? I can summarize the entire plot line thusly:
I do like the series overall, but of course I must dole out my bits of criticism.
I’m irked at the resolutions for the minor characters, though. It’s pretty convenient to set up Miranda and Damon together, just because 1) they can’t interfere with the protagonists’ lovin’, 2) their frustrated feelings for the leads can now be directed towards each other, because ain’t nothing like a rebound, and 3) manga happy endings.
Angelo got robbed; of all the characters, he was the best comic relief, and I find it unfair that after all the shit he had to endure with the two leads that he gets nothing for it. He and Christine would have been the A+ couple, but no, poor Angelo’s putting his fate into a hands of some sketchy Korean matchmaker service just because the artist was too stingy to allot Angelo and Christine some more panels.
Also, someone get the male protagonist a new name. Ryder Bayer Lyons, honestly? Too many y’s, not to mention Ryder really isn’t a name that rings well for a Hollywood star.