Mon, 3 December 2007
Manwha review for Angel Cup Volume 5. Written by Dong Wook Kim. Illustrated by Jae-Ho Youn. Originally published in Korea by Daiwon in 2002. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated Teen 13+.
The Armageddon-like battle between Han Shin and Gai Leung comes to its climax as the psychotic Hee-Na Yoo is determined to prove that she is the best player on the field, even better than Shin-Bee. She doesn't need to be in a rush to prove anything since Shin-Bee isn't exactly living up to her star billing. Her team is becoming increasingly frustrated with her lackluster playing and her inability to get past some mental and physical roadblocks that are keeping her from doing her best. Perhaps it's going to take a pep talk from So-Jin to get her out of her funk. But Shin-Bee is going to have to make peace with her own past before So-Jin's words will reach her. And even then, will the Han Shin team be able to overcome the nationally ranked Gai Leung team?
I started out a big fan of Angel Cup and initially thought it was one of the best Korean comics being published in the US. It was really fun to see the different Han Shin team members being recruited and tested a la The Seven Samurai and seeing them doing their best against the boy's soccer team. The action scenes were crisp and exciting and the characters were intriguing. Where Angel Cup began to go wrong was the beginning of the Gai Leung story arc. From a realistic and grounded soccer comic we went overnight to an almost Dragonball-like work when Hee-Na Yoo began to use mystical attacks! And then when one of the players on the Gai Leung team looked like a reject from Fist of the North Star, the book went totally south. Volume 5 gets back to the more basic approach of portraying the hearts and souls of girls on the soccer field, but it too suffers from an ulterior motive. The writer takes the match and twists it into a flag waving advertisement for Korean women's soccer and ruins any credibility that Angel Cup had as a work of art. It's like you get to the end of Slam Dunk and find out it was all just written to promote Nike or something. The fact that the final showdown between Han Shin and Gai Leung had to be delayed by the months between each publication didn't help the continuity or momentum of the match. Probably would read better if you read entire series over a couple of days.
My Grade: C
Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 7:28pm CDT