There’s Something About Sunyool 1 by Youngran Lee: B

Sunyool Lee first met her father, a powerful politician, six months after her mother’s death. He’d been unable to have children with his wife, and so acknowledged Sunyool as his daughter. The arrangement gave Sunyool access to the finer things in life, but also required a number of sacrifices, including giving up the freedom to choose her own spouse. For her part, though, Sunyool is practical about the necessities of an arranged marriage, and is more than willing to check out the candidates her father has chosen. In the end, she chooses a gentlemanly young man named Sihyun Park and the two are married.

At first, one is led to believe that There’s Something About Sunyool will be a romantic comedy in which the two leads marry as strangers but learn to love each other—akin to something like Goong: The Royal Palace—but in actuality, they quickly discover that they are highly compatible, and that a happy future is not only possible but likely. Of course, such perfect bliss cannot last for long and—through no fault or desire of the newlyweds—the marriage is ultimately short-lived. The story picks up four years later with Sunyool living in another town and poised to embark on entirely new adventures.

It’s not until one reaches the final chapter that one realizes that this change of direction is coming and that the first volume is really serving as a prologue to a story that has hardly begun. These events establish Sunyool’s character and will presumably set up an overarching plot for the series, but the story cuts off at such a random point in her new life that it’s difficult to see how the events have changed her, if at all, and without any substantive hints about the story’s direction from here, it’s a pretty abrupt and lackluster conclusion.

Gripes about plot structure aside, though, this is still an engaging read, largely because of the strong and quirky protagonist. Sunyool faces life honestly and without pretension, which enables her to accept the idea of an arranged marriage without difficulty, saying, “Well, it’s not like I have some lofty dreams for the future… It might be nice to marry whoever (sic) Assemblyman Lee says to and live a life of comfort. I’ve been at the bottom and it was not pretty.” Too, her father gives her some advice—“Be brave and confident in any circumstance”—that she takes to heart and uses to get her through the tough times resulting in the dissolution of her marriage. While some guys are intimidated (or simply turned off) by her lack of feminine mystique, her fearlessness is largely responsible for Sihyun growing to love her so swiftly, and suggests she’ll land on her feet no matter what happens.

Lee’s art is attractive, featuring the pointed chins and pouty lips that would enable those familiar with manhwa to recognize its origins pretty immediately. Her style here is a little more cute than in Click, an earlier series from this creator also published by NETCOMICS, but not as frantically sparkly as it could’ve been. Unfortunately, there are a couple of errors in the script—mostly in the form of the wrong word being chosen rather than typos or general awkwardness—that I hope will be corrected for the print edition. There aren’t so many as to ruin the reading experience, but they’re distracting nonetheless.

Ultimately, I am very intrigued by There’s Something About Sunyool and eager to see where the story goes from this point. Happily, the series updates regularly at the NETCOMICS site, with several chapters of volume two already available.

There’s Something About Sunyool is being simultaneously released in the US and Korea, with new chapters appearing regularly at the NETCOMICS site. Amazon also lists a print edition of the first volume, due in June.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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