Story/Art: SangEun Lee
Translation/Adaptation: Natalie Baan
What They Say
Sae-Bom’s birthday turns into the happiest day… of Hee-So’s life?! After Won-Jun asks her out during Sae-Bom’s birthday party, Hee-So’s on cloud nine! But is everything really all sunshine and roses? Sae-Bom has had to grow up in the span of a day, Won-Jun is secretly troubled by Sae-Bom’s obvious distress, and Whie-Young’s magical exertions have kept him out of commission. On the five-day anniversary of Hee-So’s relationship bliss (leave it to her to celebrate even the smallest milestones!), she runs into the long-absent Whie-Young en route to school and gets dragged into cutting class with him! But when they return to find Won-Jun waiting for them back at Hee-So’s, will her cheating ways (?) lead to an explosive finale for her second chance at love?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Hee-So has reunited with (in her mind) her destined love and so she is simply on Cloud 9 as the volume opens, though perhaps she has a bit of a premonition of things to come as she only tells her best friend and asks her not to share the info around- not that anyone looking at Hee-So, world’s worst poker face, couldn’t make an educated guess about which is something Hee-So recognizes in herself but also knows she can’t stop. She isn’t the only one making brand new steps due to the relationship either as even Won-Jun has found the courage to do things he never has in the past in order to see her. Yep, everything looks fine on the horizon…well, for five days anyway.
It turns out that during this period of bliss for Hee-So something has been up with both Whie-Young and Sae-Bom who have been missing school which has Hee-So a bit concerned- at least in Sae-Bom’s case anyway. While she makes up her mind to visit her friend shortly she still focuses on her relationship and stays up to late making a small gift for Won-Jun to celebrate their five day anniversary which unfortunately has her over sleeping and as she rushes to school she runs into the one person she least wants to, Whie-Young.
He promptly semi abducts the young woman, sort of but not really against her will, as they do a bit of traveling around Seoul for the day in an attempt it seems to alleviate Whie-Young’s boredom. Whie-Young may have another plan though as he seems to want to make sure Hee-So continues to dislike him despite this trip. When Won-Jun sees the two together a bit of a heart to heart happens where Hee-So and Won-Jun come to a bit of understanding with each other as well as looking inward at their own behaviors but what role will Sae-Bom and her wants play moving forward?
With the sixth volume the series reaches what is often a dangerous point in stories as the first goal has been achieved (Hee-So and Won-Jun reunited) but now events have to transition to where the story will go from here on. In the case of 13th Boy the author has chosen to let events play out with some heart as she gives a look at the core cast and the happiness but also pain events have created in them as each tries to come to terms with some of the recent events beyond just the reuniting of the main couple.
It is here in watching the characters both interact with each other and try to deal with their own emotions that the story finds a delicate balance between romantic-comedy antics and human emotions as many of the characters find themselves questioning their own actions and emotions. This level of questioning is useful for Hee-So as she can come across as a very self centered and selfish girl at times which might alienate the audience as some of her words and actions can be rather cold at times.
This introspection softens her as she realizes that she is being unnecessarily cruel at times but that it is from her own insecurities- not that that can always stop herself when she is in the clutches of its swing or the passion of the moment. This pattern does present the picture of a young woman who is struggling to come to terms with her own needs and desires in terms of her boyfriend as well as the more assured and capable of dealing openly with others woman she wishes she were. And it isn’t Hee-So alone who will have to face he own inner motivations as this volume is populated with moments where many of the main cast reexamine their stance with each other and the feelings of love they posses for various members. What will happen to those who feel they are missing out or possibly about to lose someone to the arms of another and what kind of growth will be forced upon individuals when they actually have to face the results for some of their actions rather than just try to pretend they don’t see the hurt the actions can cause?
With the reunion of Hee-So and Won-Jun now complete all should be right with the comic’s world…except it still isn’t. While love is bringing out some new emotions in characters it is also causing ripples across the cast, forcing them to start looking within themselves and figuring out just where it is each stands in relationship to their own feelings. While it isn’t exactly the most thrilling volume of a series ever in terms of events, the introduction of a good deal of self introspection is a sign that the series may be maturing into a new angle soon and the start of some exploration of some key emotions may have a far bigger payoff down the line.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: February 22nd, 2011