Sunday, January 3, 2010

Moon Boy, vol. 1

The story: At first glance, boy-crazy fifth grader Myung-Ee seems pretty normal. Except for the fact that her eyes turn red during the full moon! When she finds out her classmate, Yu-da, experiences the same affliction, she also learns that they are both Earth rabbit refugees from the moon. Unfortunately, the next day Yu-da is never seen again and no one except for Myung-Ee remembers him. Five years later, Myung-Ee transfers into a new high school known for its pretty boys. Surprisingly, Yu-da is there, too, but he doesn't remember a thing about Myung-Ee. Just what is going on and will Yu-da ever remember Myung-Ee?

Reaction: This was one weird story with the juxtaposition of cute little kids alongside a sci-fi story of Earth rabbits exiled from the moon by a hungry tribe of fox people. And while the whole "drinking blood and eating livers" thing is fairly gruesome, it's even creepier that Myung-Ee is so boy crazy at such a young age. I had a hard time following this story, as there's a wide cast of odd characters. And what is the deal with the high school teacher dressed up as a tiger with Olympic medals? Is Tony the Tiger in charge or something?

Deep thoughts: The idea of people living on the moon is nothing new. From the man in the moon to Sailor Moon, the concept is rather popular despite there being little evidence of the moon's ability to support life. However, NASA discovered "significant" water on the moon in 2009, which could lead to development of a lunar space station.

Artwork: The art here is more manga-like than other manhwa. It's got a cartoonish quality to it with big-eyed characters and spiky hair, not to mention occasionally bunny-eared people. There's less emphasis on anatomy and even older characters are fairly child-like looking. Humor is relegated to chibi-like characters that are, again, more Japanese in look than Korean, and action goes swiftly and without much build-up. Otherwise, there's a lot of inexplicable panty-related moments and unusual character designs, like the aforementioned tiger-dressed teacher.

The verdict: Meh. This is a truly frustrating manhwa. There's unlikeable characters in Yu-da and Myung-Ee, a weird plot that stretches my ability to exercise suspension of disbelief and an even weirder subplot in Myung-Ee's boy-crazy ways. While the whole "Earth rabbit and fox tribe" story could be more entertaining in a campy sci-fi way, the other elements of this story really held it back. Moon Boy is available in the U.S. from Yen Press.

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