There’s Something About Sunyool 2-3 by Youngran Lee: B+

Sunyool Lee’s life is full of disreputable accomplishments. If only she had something to show for them!

Volume two picks up four years after the dissolution of Sunyool’s six-month marriage to Sihyun Park, a wonderful guy with whom she was perfectly compatible. After a two-year stay in Paris, where she attempted to forget her pain and honed her pastry chef skills, she returned to Korea. A one-year stint running her own bakery ended in failure and now she works as an assistant at a bakery owned by a foul-tempered but gorgeous (aren’t they all?) novelist named Kangjae Lee.

When Kangjae first meets Sunyool, he’s willing to overlook the fact that she has just destroyed his laptop because she’s totally his type. Once he puts his contacts in, however, his illusions are shattered and they begin an adversarial relationship. Kangjae has the dubious talent of being able to enrage anyone within five seconds of meeting them, but Sunyool is able to hold her own against him, even while she’s working off her debt by working as his housekeeper. Most of the second volume consists of Kangjae acting like a spoiled child—“He’s a toddler who has no regard for anyone else’s feelings,” Sunyool decrees at one point—and Sunyool learning about his crappy childhood from his assistant/cousin, Byungman.

Things pick up a great deal in volume three with the return of Sihyun. In a nutshell: he still loves Sunyool and wants to be with her. Sunyool’s pride is stung because he didn’t stand up for their marriage four years ago and she knows that nothing has changed as far as his disapproving family is concerned. Various family members/wannabe fiancées show up to accuse Sunyool of ruining Sihyun’s life, and this is where she really shines as a character.

Although she, and members of the supporting cast, comment often on the storyline’s resemblance to a violent soap opera, Sunyool counters the over-the-top bitchiness of her accusers with a profound level-headedness that’s extremely satisfying. She has no expectations of a happy reunion with Sihyun, and makes that clear time and time again. Seeing a woman depicted as both in love and sensible is truly a lovely thing to behold, and though some of these twists are silly (though I did love the scene where she snaps and assaults someone) they also serve to show what makes her such a unique and interesting character.

Complicating matters is Kangjae. He begins hanging around the bakery more and more, getting antsy when Sunyool is not there and feeling jealous of Sihyun when he shows up. According to his cousin, Kangjae (whose real name also happens to be Sunyool Lee) was neglected by his parents in favor of his talented brother, so to see Sunyool all hung up on Sihyun when she could be basking in his hotness instead really bothers him. Initially, I was sort of annoyed that I was supposed to take the horrible Kangjae seriously as a love interest, but maybe this will shape up to be a Boys Over Flowers kind of scenario where the tough-as-nails commoner girl is able to help the immature rich guy become a better person.

In the end, There’s Something About Sunyool offers a lot of crackalicious drama that is extremely fun to read. Volume two is a bit slow, as all of the bickering grows tiresome, but don’t let that dissuade you from continuing on to volume three, which is much better and ends on quite a cliffhanger. That’s a little worrisome, since there haven’t been any new updates on the NETCOMICS site lately, but I choose to believe we’ll get more of this story in the future.

Volumes two and three of There’s Something About Sunyool are currently available only at, though a print version for volume two is scheduled for a September release. No cover image is currently available.

Review copies provided by the publisher.

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.

Click 6-8 by Youngran Lee: B-

I’ve decided to absolve myself from the entirely self-imposed edict that I review each volume of a series separately and start offering multi-volume reviews on this site. The final three volumes of Click seemed like an ideal place to start, since it was getting to be challenge coming up with new things to say about each volume when taken individually.

The romantic angst ramps up as we approach the conclusion, with Jinhoo realizing he has feelings for Joonha (and, believing Joonha is male, proceeding to be melodramatic and tortured about it) and Heewon being depressed because of her own pathetic behavior regarding same. (Meanwhile, Taehyun’s family resolves to learn the true gender of the person who has captivated his heart. I hesitate to include that in the angst category, though, since it’s pretty pointless and boring.) One has to wonder why all of these characters are in love with Joonha, since she’s only somewhat less of an ass now than she used to be.

In any case, Joonha seems to feel about equal affection for them all (judging by a conversation with her father at the beginning of the seventh volume) and they all know about each other too, resulting in fisticuffs between Taehyun and Jinhoo at one point. Jinhoo, the presumed favorite, breaks up with his girlfriend, Hyejin (whom he realizes he cares for but has never truly loved), and finally, finally comes out and asks Joonha, “Why does everyone say you’re a girl?” Alas, it’s here where the series takes a turn for the dramatastic, for as Joonha begins to respond to the question, Jinhoo’s phone rings with news that Hyejin’s entire family has been in a car accident. Dun dun dunnnn.

From that point on, the kooky just keeps on coming, with two of the contenders for Joonha’s affection removing themselves from the picture for pretty much unnecessary reasons. The way the two scenes parallel each other is kind of interesting, though, and I finally have some sympathy for (okay, this is a spoiler, but did anyone really think this person would be the one?) Heewon who was feeling like a dupe for ever falling in love, but who now seems to be more at peace with the way things happened. There’s also an entirely random kidnapping that made me laugh out loud, it was so ridiculous.

I’ve seen where some have found the ending of this series to be unsatisfying, and I can see where they’re coming from. My problem’s not with the ultimate pairing, though, but rather with how it was carried out. Like Beauty Pop, instead of actually showing the protagonist confessing her feelings to the person of her choice, the story instead jumps forward in time a few years to a point where they’re a recognized couple already. What a cheat! Plus, they’re not acting much differently than they ever did, and it seems to have taken four years for any kissing to transpire!

Click continues to be a fast read through to the end, and while the endless drama is part of it, the art’s another big factor. The page layouts tend to be pretty simple, with large panels and not a lot of backgrounds to stall the eye. This presents a problem, though, because without any pace-slowing, transitional panels, one can be zipping through a brief scene with Taehyun’s family and suddenly, disconcertingly, turn to a page on which Jinhoo is dramatically announcing that he’s postponing his return trip to New York. It happens fairly often and is jarring each time, like zooming along the interstate then suddenly slamming on the brakes.

Ultimately, I’m glad I read Click. Yes, it could be cheaply manipulative and ridiculous, and no, I didn’t much like any of the characters, but it was a fun ride all the same.

Click 5 by Youngran Lee: B-

Book description:
While Jinhoo doesn’t believe Heewon’s declaration that Joonha is actually a girl, his girlfriend, Hyejin, manages to catch a glimpse of Joonha in his school uniform. Will she share that information with Jinhoo, and risk him leaving her for his former best friend?

The status quo is upheld in this volume. Not much really happens aside from Hyejin becoming convinced that Joonha is a girl, but because of her own insecurities—we see in a side story about her that she has always felt Jinhoo valued Joonha more than he did her—her first thought is that Jinhoo is going to leave her. I can’t really like Hyejin much, or any of the characters for that matter, but I do have a little bit of sympathy for her, at least.

A diagram of the relationships in this series would be pretty amusing. Here’s how they stand at this point: Joonha is attracted to his/her best friend Jinhoo (who is going out with Hyejin, who hates Joonha), a new friend Taehyun, and a former love interest Heewon (who is now going out with Taehyun’s lackey, Jihan). With whom will Joonha end up?! Seeing as how I can’t stand Heewon at all, I’m really hoping it isn’t her. The pull towards Jinhoo is strong, but I think I actually prefer the idea of Joonha teaming up with Taehyun and getting away from the angst of the past.

In terms of redeeming qualities, Click doesn’t really have a lot aside from its sheer addictive potential. The premise is silly, the story’s kind of stagnating, and I don’t really like anybody, but I still want to know how it all ends.

Click 4 by Youngran Lee: B-

From the back cover:
Carefree player and rich kid Taehyun knows that he feels something for Joonha whether he’s a boy or a girl. But he hasn’t reckoned on the arrival of music star Jinhoo, Joonha’s friend from childhood, who’s back in Seoul to stay. That’s because Joonha seems ready to pick up right where he and his old pal left off. But can a close friendship remain just friendship when one of the boys is now a girl?

Good-natured and oblivious, Jinhoo seems to take it all in stride—that is, until Heewon, the trash-talking crazy girl, confronts him with a devastating revelation…

There’s not much I can say about this series that I haven’t already. I’m not terribly fond of any of the characters, and yet I find it pretty engrossing. I think it helps that the art is so clean and easy on the eyes and the layouts so simple—it makes it easy to just focus on the emotions and dialogue and zip right on through.

Most of the action in this volume is pretty boring. Taehyun is in love with Joonha, even though he’s unsure of her gender, and she admits to him that she lived for a guy as sixteen years. Taehyun’s minion is inexplicably in love with the violent Heewoon, and does her bidding a few times. Joonha bickers with Jinhoo’s girlfriend. The good stuff is in the interactions between Joonha and Jinhoo, especially a moment they share toward the end where Jinhoo confesses he’s still nervous that Joonha will spontaneously disappear again.

Also, despite the faults of this series, it seriously delivers come cliffhanger time. I think practically every volume has ended with a new step toward Jinhoo’s eventual discovery of Joonha’s secret. This time, I don’t know how can possibly avoid realizing that his old friend is now a girl, but we shall see.

Click 3 by Youngran Lee: B-

From the back cover:
Joonha, the transgender headcase, and Taehyun, the hotshot rich kid, are actually becoming buddies—so much so that they even team up to take down a card shark at the casino Taehyun’s family runs. Is the friendship about to turn into something… more?

Meanwhile, figures from Joonha’s past keep popping up—and stirring up real trouble. His old friend Jinhoo, now a star piano player, is back in Seoul and not going anywhere. And former nice girl Heewon: is she really as nasty as she acts, or is it all a front? Could she be the reason why brainy Jihan suddenly isn’t wearing his glasses anymore?

I’m not sure what it is about Click that makes it so addictive. I think perhaps the emphasis on character relationships over anything else is partly responsible, because the plot itself is pretty much just day-to-day things, even though what passes for day-to-day in Taehyun’s life is his stepfather accusing him of being gay, plotting business takeovers, winning at high stakes poker games, et cetera.

Also, now that the mechanics of Joonha’s gender change are out of the way, the uncertainty of the other characters regarding her true gender is pretty interesting. Taehyun’s definitely attracted to her, but unable to really convince himself she’s a girl. Heewon, despite Joonha telling her outright that she’s a girl (though she made up a story about having been a girl all along) is in denial and insists to her friend that Joonha’s a guy. And Jinhoo is completely clueless, though the volume ends with a cliffhanger in which he seems poised to find out (or to at least spot Joonha in a girl’s uniform).

I also love the wordless reunion between Jinhoo and Joonha and the fact that when Joonha tells Taehyun she’s starting to like him, she doesn’t mean romantically (at least, I don’t think so), but rather means that she wants to be like him, a cool badass kind of guy. I can almost like Joonha now, but her nasty personality emerges once again when confronted with Jinhoo’s girlfriend. I also can’t stand Heewon, with her profanity, violence, and propensity for ordering people around like they’re her servants.

I think of a B- as meaning, “I enjoy this despite its flaws,” which fits Click pretty well.

Click 2 by Youngran Lee: B-

From the back cover:
Poor Joonha has moved to the big city and is now living incognito, as a girl, at a new school. But that doesn’t mean his (her?) troubles are over. First, Taehyun, the obnoxious class playboy, coerces Joonha into a “friendship” that royally ticks off Yoomi, Taehyun’s ex. That’s before the reappearance of Heewon, the lovesick stunner who’s followed Joonha all the way from their old school—and whose feelings apparently stay the same whether Joonha is a boy or a girl!

I liked this one much more than the first volume, to the point where I’m tempted to give it a B. There’s just too much lingering sexism (albeit an incredibly diluted amount compared to volume one) for me to justify doing so. There does look to be some progress on this front, though. First, Joonha, being severely humbled, is not actively being arrogant and cruel to girls. She does still, however, have this notion that being a girl means that there’s no reason to do well in school anymore or to have ambitions of any kind, so she’s been slacking off in a major way. When her new friend, Taehyun, gets wind of this attitude his response is one of disbelief at this antiquated notion. He encourages Joonha to live life to its fullest, whatever her gender may happen to be, and she ends up turning out a bravura performance on her next round of class exams and makes plans to join Taehyun as his business partner.

There’s all sorts of other drama going on, too, including the girl Joonha spurned in junior high emerging on the scene and beating up the leader of Joonha’s new gang of admirers, Taehyun’s serious-minded lackey falling in love/obsession with her, an angsty family background for Taehyun, and the return of Joonha’s childhood friend Jinhoo (now a famous concert pianist) after a concert tour.

Despite the persistent problem of no truly likable characters, but I can’t deny that it’s getting pretty addictive at this point. The volume serves up a couple of nice cliffhangers in the final chapter, too.

Click 1 by Youngran Lee: C+

From the back cover:
Joonha is a normal, healthy boy of sixteen who has cruised through life without too many problems. Imagine his surprise when a recent trip to the bathroom suddenly reveals that he’s not normal at all! With a shriek of “Oh, my God!!!,” he finds himself missing, well, something he never thought he could live without.

As it turns out, his family is abnormal in the weirdest possible way. After puberty, their chromosomes undergo some kind of mutation, which converts their bodies into the opposite sex!

There are a few things that bothered me quite a lot about Click, even while I think it’s fundamentally fairly interesting and I plan to keep reading.

1. Before spontaneously turning into a girl, Joonha is the most thoroughly infuriating chauvinist pig imaginable. He treats girls like his playthings in an attempt to teach them the feminine virtues of obedience. When the girl he likes confesses to him, he blows her off, saying that it’s her duty to “wait gracefully until you are chosen.”

2. When Joonha begins to live as a girl, he’s more tolerable, but I can’t help but think that this is because he suffered such a tremendous blow to his pride. The remorse he shows for his past actions is more along the lines of, “I should have kissed her” rather than “I shouldn’t have treated her that way.” It’s still ultimately about what’s in it for him.

3. None of the other characters are really all that likable, either. Joonha’s friend from childhood, Jinhoo, comes closest. The fact that he merely expresses mild disapproval of Joonha’s treatment of girls, however, speaks volumes.

4. Joonha’s parents are annoyingly chipper and dim. When he asks why they didn’t tell him about the family’s tendency to change genders, they claim they forgot about it. Yes, I know, I always take stories with wacky premises too seriously, but this is just too ridiculous to be suffered quietly.

There are a few good moments scattered throughout, though. My favorite is the scene in which Jinwoo and Heewon (the girl who confessed her feelings to Joonha) share their hurt feelings about Joonha’s sudden disappearing act. The art is also quite nice. It’s interesting to note, too, that once Joonha begins living as a girl, he doesn’t embody the same ideals of feminine behavior that he once held.

At this point, it’s hard to care about the story or any of the characters, but I plan to give it a couple more volumes at least to see if it gets any better.