Y Square by Judith Park
|Y Square by Judith Park|
|Genre: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A lustful young man with no chance of getting the girls, and his knockabout adventures with a special advisor. You don't see where this manga is ever going, but nor do you particularly want to.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 192||Date: December 2007|
|Publisher: Yen Press|
At his local high school, our hero Yoshi just cannot work out why the girls are not attracted to him. It might have something to do with his brash, foot-in-mouth approach, or just bad luck, but whatever, he turns to the stereotypical local babe-magnet. Except the hunk is not exactly what he seems. The main girl, the prettiest, bitchiest object of desire, is not what she seems either. And further girls on the horizon can only bring out jealousies, problems, and everything else you might expect.
Speaking of things you might expect, this review will end with the faintly damning conclusion you would deem due it from the above, but let's go a little further into the details first.
To begin, it must be said the book looks nice. It's unusual for a manga to be created by a German woman, and for all the FX and background writing that hasn't been airbrushed over to be in German, with at the same time everything else about the book so typically manga – the erratic page layouts, the style, the portrayals of all the main characters. Everything leads to a very attractive volume – though I cannot comment about the male leads.
There is good thought at work in the plotting as well – right to the end I could not rest assured I knew what was being resolved in this volume – nor indeed that this would not be a one-off (it isn't).
My main problem though is that the book is just so cheesy, soapy and almost trashy, I nearly didn't pick it up for the second half. I am sure there are fans of this kind of manga – and I dare say there is a special word for them in Japanese and Korean (and I don't mean rude ones) – but I cannot put myself in the place of them. It appears to me that anyone of a parallel age with the cast (15-ish, I think) would be far too old for this kind of book, which leaves some bizarre kind of aspirant to be the sole audience – and those willing to immerse themselves in this kind of ultra-light romance adventure.
Nor can I tell with any conviction how distinctive the book is, but we at the Bookbag are willing to give the item at hand three stars just in case it isn't all that bad really. It must be added though that this has suffered in the reformatting from the original, with far too much of the speech disappearing down in the fold between pages, in my copy at least.
My personal opinion of the book is a lot closer to two stars – but as I say, such limp attempts at knockabout romance-chasing fun in this format are just too alien to my reading tastes for me to be sure this isn't in fact a success I cannot discern.
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