Thursday, November 15, 2007

Star Project Chiro, vol. 1

By Baek Hye-Kyoung
Released in the US by UDON

Slugline: I think this is the fastest I have ever seen a manga (or manhwa) series fall apart.

Note: UDON seems to prefer using the term manhwa rather than the currently more popular term for manga from Korea, manwha. And this creator has also done the series Bring it On!

Eun-Yo Song has fashion designer brothers who make her fine clothes and the appreciation of most of the boys in school, but cannot make a move on the boy that she is really interested in, Chan-Kyung Woo. But after an accidental confrontation with the pop singer Nan Lee, Eun-Yo's life becomes more than a little crazy. She manages to get into a relationship with Chan-Kyung, but that is challenged when she gains a debt to Nan Lee for burning down his house, mostly by accident.

This started out as a nice little wacky comedy series, but then halfway through the volume things started falling apart. First of all there is a a jump forward in time of a year that I don't really think was necessary, and it jumpstarted some things I think we should have seen, such as the beginning of Eun-Yo's romantic relationship. Several characters seem to be needlessly cruel, and make demands that one would think that any reasonable person will refuse, but because this is a manga/manhwa they will be taken seriously by other characters, to those character's detriment. Plus the debt that makes characters dependent on each other? Hasn't anyone in Korea heard of homeowner's insurance? Or perhaps using banks to schedule payments over time? Sorry, one of these days I would like to see an approach of one of these massive debts in a somewhat reasonable fashion rather than just using them as a poor excuse to keep characters together when there is no other reason to. But there was a good beginning and some effective use ofchibi art throughout the book, so if the creator can resist the urge to go all cliche, she may still pull this off. (At least I believe it to be a woman, my grasp of Korean naming conventions is need of improvement.)

Star Project Chiro, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.



RedHot_105 said...

Um Excuse me, I respect your opinion and all; But I disagree with you drastically! If you read past vol. 1 you would have seen that this series is F**king amazing! Seriously it's the sh*t, I guess the way people view the manhwa depends on the genres that they like! But thanks anyway for giving me your opinion/review on this manhwa! ;)

Prospero's Manga said...

Unfortunately, most companies only send me the first volume to review, so I have review based on that. If UDON ever provides the later volumes, I am always willing to update my reviews. That is the downside of so many companies sending me their first volumes, many times it takes a little while for creators to find their feet . I have been told this especially with Gakuen Alice, that it takes a couple volumes for things to really start clicking.