Hissing 1 by Kang EunYoung: C-

From the back cover:
Da-Eh, an aspiring manhwa artist who lives with her father and her little brother, comes across Sun-Nam, a softie whose ultimate goal is simply to become a “tough guy.” Whenever these two meet, trouble follows. Meanwhile, Ta-Jun, the hottest guy in town, finds himself drawn to the one girl that his killer smile does not work on—Da-Eh. With their complicated family history hanging on their shoulders, watch how these three teenagers find their way out into the world!

I was hoping to like Hissing, since I’m on tap to review later volumes for Manga Recon and procured the earlier ones so I could write an informed review, but I really just don’t. There are so many things wrong with it and only one thing that is even kind of done right.

1. 75% of the guys look like they are from some alien planet where all males are blond and have voluminous lashes, naturally tinted eyelids, and luscious lips. This includes a kid who is about ten or so.

2. Too many characters are introduced too quickly. Just Da-Eh, her friend, her family, and the two supposed love interests are enough to begin with, and then suddenly one of the love interests develops two really annoying brothers who serve no real purpose but to torment him and us with their presence.

3. The storytelling is very disjointed. There’ll be two pages of something, then it’ll suddenly switch to something else, then something else again. For two-thirds of the book there’s no plot, just Da-Eh randomly encountering the same couple of guys over and over, until one of them suddenly realizes, “Hey, didn’t I use to have another sibling or something? I wonder where that kid went.” Thankfully, this area shows at least a little potential by the end of the volume.

4. The characters are fond of making random cryptic remarks, like, “I might get punished by God” and “I thought this might be the second.” I have absolutely no idea what that second quote means.

5. Nobody on the production team understands the difference between “then” and “than.” They also spell “jeez” like “gees,” which conjures images of large migratory waterfowl.

The only facet that’s actually marginally interesting is Da-Eh’s ambition to be a manhwa artist, a dream she shares with her childhood friend (see #1 above for a physical description). Their trip to a manhwa goods shop to buy screentone is the highlight of the book.

The first three volumes of Hissing were published by Ice Kunion but the license was then acquired by Yen Press, who has released the fourth and fifth volumes so far. The sixth and final volume will be available on March 24, 2009.

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