Wed, 2 July 2008
Manga Review: 10,20, and 30 Volume 2 by Morim Kang. Translated by Misun Jang. Published by Net Comics, $9.99, Rated 16+.
As this second volume opens, Belle has run away from the Krumb household. Well, if you call going to your mom's house running away. Belle's mom is still on about her finding a man and getting married, even if it means marrying the useless Beau. Meanwhile, Rok is having her own man problems as she continues to question why she treats Angel so badly, lashing out at him for no reason. And she gets even more upset when she finds out her best friend has been hanging out with him. Plus, Rok is trying her best to help her overworked mom juggle her roles of mother and breadwinner. Krumb herself is struggling over the guilt of becoming more and more attached to her boss, Mr. Choe, whose marriage proposal is still on the table. When he tells Krumb he is going to Hong Kong to see about a problem at one of the company's factories, he neglects to tell her that it the main retailer that carries their fashion line has gone out of business. Krumb's employer itself is now facing bankruptcy.
This second installment of 10,20, and 30 at times slips a little too close to over the top melodrama for my taste. But a little soap opera is ok if you care about the characters. And Krumb, Belle, and Rok are definitely interesting and sympathetic. You're not going to find any protagonists that have all the answers in their backpocket here. All three women (or should I say two women and 1 young lady) are desperately in search of something, even though they don't always know what it is. Perhaps it is happiness? So they fumble their way towards this goal, sometimes being bitchy and getting on each other's nerves, or snapping at the guys that like them. But in turn, they are just as likely to cry in each other's arms a moment after saying they can't stand each other. It's real life, man! Relationships, whether they are between family members or lovers, can be quite complex, unless you lead a really boring life. Kang's art, is very cartoony and lacks formal realism but she gets it to work within the framework of her story and is able to get just as much emotional mileage out of it as more detailed art might. While the plot is made up mostly of relationship problems, the characters will win you over.
My Grade: B+
See Episode 12 of my podcast show for a review of Volume 1.
Only two volumes of this series have been printed, but more volumes are available online at www.netcomics.com