Moon Boy 1-6 by Lee YoungYou: C+

When boy-crazy Myung-Ee Joo was in the fifth grade, she picked a fight with her popular classmate, Yu-Da Lee, after he warned her to stay away from an older boy with a bad reputation. She told him to meet her in the alley behind school after class, intending to apologize, but he never showed up. Even weirder, the next day at school no one but Myung-Ee remembered he had ever existed!

Five years later, Myung-Ee’s family has relocated and she has transferred into a high school rumored to have many attractive male students. There, she runs into Yu-Da again—now a member of the student council—but he claims to have no memory of her. Later, one of the other student council members, Sa-Eun Won, turns up at Myung-Ee’s house to have another go at erasing her memory and ends up telling her the whole story: both she and Yu-Da are descended from a species of rabbits that once lived on the moon. That’s why their eyes glow red at night. Their predators are the fox tribe, who feed on the blood and livers of the rabbits.

Yu-Da is a very special type of rabbit—the “black rabbit”—whose liver, when fully grown, has the ability to grant immortality to the one who consumes it. Back in fifth grade, the fox tribe kidnapped him and altered his personality. The other members of the student council are all foxes ordered to guard him until his liver reaches maturity, at which point it will be used to awaken their queen.

Myung-Ee, like any plucky heroine, vows not to let them hurt Yu-Da and soon meets up with some members of the rabbit army. Over the course of subsequent volumes, she works on improving her fighting skills so that she can save him. Of course, even though she is very human in appearance and considered inferior by the other rabbits, she makes incredible progress and soon can hold her own in battles with low-level foxes. While the main plot essentially stagnates until volume six, there are a few other subplots, including revelations about Yu-Da’s personality and abilities, a couple of boys with feelings for Myung-Ee, and the introduction of some mysterious new characters who claim to want the rabbits and foxes to live in peace but have a rather violent way of showing it.

Moon Boy has a lot of flaws, but the unifying theme among them is inconsistency. The exact nature of Yu-Da’s personality, for example, changes a few times before the final version of the facts is set forth in volume five. Belated additions and story tweaks are sprinkled throughout, too, like in volume four when Yu-Da’s liver, originally useless until fully grown, suddenly becomes “deathly poisonous” before that time. Also, the story shifts radically in tone from serious combat to unfunny comedy, including the most banal school festival chapters I’ve ever read (and trust me, I’ve read plenty).

The art exhibits a similar problem. I’m not a big fan of the style in general—some of the characters look way too young, others have astoundingly improbably hair, and the combat scenes are very hard to follow—but it gets even more unattractive in the “comedy” segments. Occasionally, though, there’ll be a panel or page out of nowhere that actually looks pretty good.

And, really, the same can be said for the story as a whole. Yes, it has many problems, but sometimes it’s almost good. Invariably, these are the more serious moments, and I have to wonder how much better I’d enjoy this series if all attempts at comedy were excised. Volume six had the least comedy of any so far, and is probably the best of the lot. I just wish I could believe that the latest story developments are really heading to something satisfying instead of another meandering excursion to Dawdleville.

Review copies for volumes four through six provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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