I don't know about you guys, but this is one heck of a title. Seriously, "Kill Me Kiss Me?" HELL YEAH!
Story: The story in volume one is about a girl who learns that her idol goes to her school so she convinces her cousin to become her and she becomes him (she's now a guy and he's now a girl) so she can meet her idol.
This is kind of pointless, because the rest of the volumes (two through five) revolve around a completely different story: Que-Min Ghun is a hot-headed former delinquent who can beat up any guy. She falls in love with Jung-Woo Im (the actual guy from scenario one) and vows to protect him. (Because, apparently, looking like a pretty boy means being weak and delicate.) A tough gang leader named Ghoon-Hahm Che tells Que-Min Ghun to be his girlfriend, and then the gang battles, love triangles and general kickassing really starts!
Moving past the fact that the Korean names really confused me, (I am great with Japanese names. Maybe I should read more of this so I can understand Korean ones, too...) there is the fact that this is basically just toughened-up fluff. It doesn't seem like your generic shoujo (gang battles and smoking and cursing, oh my!), but really is: Girl loves Guy A. Guy B loves Girl. Girl thinks Guy B is a complete douchenuclearmissle.
I'm not sure what to make of the second premise; it sounds less generic (and gender-confused) than the first, and it takes up more space.
Oh, and there is the obligatory fan club. "Fruits Basket" has the Prince Yuki Fan Club, "Kamichama Karin" has the Kazunays, and this manga has the Pretty Boy Fan Club. Perhaps due to having the most unoriginal name of all time, this club is generic. Sure, the Kazunays are pointless, too, but the Prince Yuki Fan Club actually consisted of real characters and made for some interesting plot points. The Pretty Boy Fan Club (I'll call them the PBFC) tries to take (and sell) candid shots of boys, and they Photoshop® some pictures into becoming as close to yaoi as simple pictures can be. (Why the school lets them do this is anyone's guess.)
There's also the question of Tokyopop's ratings. 13+? There are quite a few curse words (as bad as sh*t) and some mature themes, but I guess it's understandable. This is child's play compared to what the average middle schooler hears at school, right?
Art: The girls are pretty and the boys are pretty. Character designs themselves are okay, but some people look the same. The backgrounds are nothing great, but they serve their purpose. As far as blood goes, there isn't much. At one point, some boys are talking about how one main character looks like "raw meat" and is all chopped up. I was expecting a gory scene rivaling "Elfen Lied" (maybe not), but it was a few scratches. If that is disgusting, I don't want to know what "hurt" looks like. However, this all plays second fiddle to one enormous flaw:
The anatomy is a complete eyesore!
I don't know how to explain it. Characters frequently go off the model, poses become physically impossible, forced perspective causes hands to come out of nowhere and limbs become as skinny as toothpicks. Almost every character has some ridiculous anatomy issue, and it causes this manga to be very unpleasing to the eye.
Pictures to illustrate my point! (Pun not intended, of course.):
Characters: Well... (No backstories and no development and, really, no depth.)
You got your pictures.
Que-Min Ghun: She's tougher than the average shoujo heroine; think Ayuzawa Misaki. Other than punch, kick, and stalk pretty boy number one, she doesn't do much (except for be a member of the PBFC, I suppose). She tries to hide her tough-girl past in favor of a lighter, more airy persona, but it all fails when she gets whisked away into the world of gangs. I didn't mind her as a character, but I won't call her a great character.
Ghoon-Hahm Che: He is a rough-and-tumble gang leader to the highest point of the cliche. His statement about being Que-Min's boyfriend sounds ridiculous. ("Hey, I just met you/And this is crazy/But I need a bitch/So be mine, baby?") However, we learn that he (GASP!) might LIKE Que-Min?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Yet another archetype.
Jung-Woo Im: He is one of the blandest characters of all time, which is no small feat. Other than playing the damsel-in-distress, he supplies ample eye candy for the PBFC and the reader, and not much else.
Other than these people, everyone else is just a side character. There's the selfish, bitchy girl. There's the openly gay boys whom are adored by the fujoshi of the PBFC. There's Tae (the girl from scenario one), whom is practically forgotten. There's the happy-go-lucky best friend. There's the leader of the enemy gang. Nobody of interest.
Overall: If you want some fluff masquerading as a dark gang story, you may want to give this manhwa a whirl. Otherwise, don't bother.
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