10, 20, and 30 1 by Morim Kang: B

From the back cover:
Krumb is a clumsy, scatterbrained widow in her 30s whose teenaged daughter, Rok, is forced to take care of her. Belle is Rok’s jaded, twenty-something cousin suffering from a messy breakup with her boyfriend. The president of Krumb’s company has proposed, and she is posed to become a married woman once again, but Rok, who dreads the thought of growing up and its attendant responsibilities, hates men and is sure to complicate matters.

10, 20, and 30 features three female characters in different decades of life. Rok is seventeen and rather anti-romance, Belle is 26 and being pressured by her family to marry, and Krumb (Rok’s mother) is 36 and a widow. They each have a particular guy who fancies them, but whom they’re disinclined to accept for various reasons. Initially the story cycles between them, but once Belle is disowned by her parents for refusing to marry the male friend she’s been sleeping with and moves in to mooch off Krumb (her aunt) and Rok, there are more scenes with the three of them together.

Because of the setup of the story—particularly the wise-beyond-her-years teen saddled with a scatterbrained parent—and the whimsical artwork, 10, 20, and 30 feels like a sitcom at times, but there are still some nice moments that elevate it beyond mere comedy. Much of the volume focuses on Belle and the pressure she gets from her parents to marry. She balks at the idea of marriage, since she has “never really been free in [her] entire life.” Still, when her putative groom hooks up with someone else, she’s surprisingly upset. Another scene that made me smile was one in which Krumb and her boss (who has recently proposed to her) surreptitiously glance at each other during a company meal.

I had a bit of a hard time getting into the first few chapters, but beginning in chapter three, I found that the characters and art style were really growing on me. Too, there’s a warm feeling to this series that I find very appealing. It even improved my mood when I was feeling rather grumpy. I’m very interested to see what happens next.

10, 20, and 30 is published by NETCOMICS. The first two volumes were released in print editions but the others are only available online. According to the site’s update schedule, the chapters of the seventh and final volume of the series will appear throughout April 2009.

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  1. Danielle Leigh says

    have first two volumes and like with you, the title has really grown on me. My problem is I really do like to read things in print and not on screen, and so netcomics isn’t my favorite option these days since I don’t think they can really afford to print most of their stuff anymore (it seems like BL and crazy melodramatic shojo is what gets out these days).

  2. Mostly, yeah, though they are printing The Adventures of Young Det for which I’m grateful. I actually rather like their manga reader, though. If anything, it certainly makes it easy to capture images for reference in reviews. 🙂


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